A Guide to Motorcycle Jackets: The Types of Riding Jackets

Whether you’re a new rider or a seasoned vet, you know gear matters. Good quality riding jackets, pants, gloves, boots, and a helmet are a must even if you’re just zipping around town. On long-distance motorcycle trips, track days, or weekend rides, gear is even more important. But with so many choices out there, how do you pick the gear that’s best for you? 

In this post, we’ll take a look at one of the most important pieces of motorcycle apparel: riding jackets. Choosing a motorcycle jacket depends on the type of riding you do, the level of protection you require, and the sort of weather you’re facing, as well as the aesthetics factor and the quality of the jacket. Let’s jump right in and figure out what types of riding jackets are out there.

Urban Motorcycle Jackets

If you’re a sworn city rider aboard a café racer, a cruiser, or a street bike, chances are, you’re looking for a motorcycle jacket that would offer enough protection yet remain lightweight, versatile, and look good on and off the bike. If you’re commuting, your bike jacket needs to be well-ventilated as well as water-resistant and comfortable yet protective. Because of this, most urban riders tend to go with textile riding jackets, Kevlar-reinforced overshirts, or light leather jackets that work as both motorcycle gear and everyday wear. Looking for something a little more unique? Textile and leather combination motorcycle jackets might be the way to go. Feeling nostalgic? We love this Worker Overshirt motorcycle jacket by Rev’It because of its sturdy Cordura textile combined with CE Level 1 protection features: it’s got everything an urban rider needs, including that rugged, adventurous look.

Adventure and Touring Jackets

Adventure motorcyclists are a one of a kind: these riders are always ready to hit the road sunshine or rain, all their belongings packed away in their panniers, a GPS programmed for some remote destination ahead. If your bike is your travel companion, and you often brave off-road trails, unpredictable weather, and long hours in the saddle, you need some serious hardware to protect you while riding. Adventure motorcycle jackets are usually four-season wear designed to withstand any temperatures, weather conditions, and unexpected challenges on the road. For adventure riding, look for a jacket that has a Cordura or Kevlar-reinforced outer shell, a GoreTex layer to protect you from the rain, a removable inner liner, plenty of vents, and several pockets to house your wallet, bike docs, and probably a stray washer or two. We think the Dominator GTX motorcycle jacket by Rev’It ticks all the boxes: tried and tested by experienced world travelers, this jacket features CE Level 2 protection, aramid, and Kevlar-reinforced outer shell, integrated GoreTex for 100% water resistance, and plenty of pockets and vents to make it fully adjustable for any weather and any riding conditions. These types of riding jackets also work great for tourers and weekend riders who want more protection and more function out of their riding gear.

Street and Track Riding Jackets

Speed and adrenaline junkie? We’ve got your back: if you ride a street bike or a sports beast, if racing tracks are your natural habitat, and if you were born for dragging the knee, leather motorcycle jackets are the way to go. Leather is the most protective fabric out there, so if you’re all about the speed and the corners, a leather motorcycle jacket would work best for you. When shopping for leather jackets, however, remember that they need to be motorcycle-specific: a high street brand won’t do. This is because the leather in motorcycle jackets is thicker than in casual wear to protect you from road rash in case you crash, and it is often reinforced at the most vulnerable areas such as your shoulders and elbows to offer that little bit of extra safety.

When it comes to leather motorcycle jackets, there’s no shortage of choices: from full-on racing leathers to leather and textile combos, there’s a jacket out there that will fit your riding, protection level, and style to a T. For street bike riders, the Quantum Air jacket by Rev’It can be an excellent option: Moto GP-inspired but aimed at street riders, this jacket is perfect for a day of canyon carving or enjoying the twisties on your sports bike. For a more comfortable fit, check out the Glide: this jacket is slightly longer at the waist making it an ideal choice for urban and street riders. And if you’re planning to hit the race tracks, opt for something a little sportier yet fully protective such as the Convex jacket offering CE Level 2 armor and a sleek, racing-inspired look.


What’s your favorite type of riding jacket and why? Let us know in the comments below!