What to Look For in a Protective Motorcycle Jacket

Part of the Motorcycling For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A motorcycling jacket is an important piece of safety equipment for a rider or a motorcycle passenger. To provide the best protection when riding, a jacket should be properly fitted. When you’re looking for a good motorcycle jacket, answer these questions:

  • Does it protect from abrasions? A tag on the jacket should say that it’s abrasion resistant.

  • Is it snug but not too tight? If it’s too tight it will be uncomfortable, and you won’t wear it. It shouldn’t bind at the shoulders when your arms are stretched out reaching for the handlebars.

  • If leather, is it competition-grade (1.1mm to 1.3mm thick) leather? If a tag on the jacket doesn’t give the thickness, just feel various jackets and hold them. Competition-grade leather jackets feel heavy, and the leather feels thick compared to lesser-quality jackets. Avoid thin leather jackets made for fashion and looks rather than protection.

  • Does it zip at the wrists for a snug fit? Zippers keep the sleeve in place and allow gloves to fit over the sleeve easily. If gloves are worn under the sleeve, the zipper keeps air from blowing up the sleeve as you ride.

  • Does it have built-in padding or armor for protection in the elbows and shoulders, at a minimum? Padding or hard-armor protection in the back is also useful.

  • Does it have as many pockets as you want? Some riders like two outside pockets, some like two outside pockets and an inside pocket, and some riders like five pockets. Decide how much stuff you might carry.

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