How to Determine Which Motorcycle Jacket Material Suits You Best

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When selecting a motorcycle jacket, even before you begin comparing the many jacket styles and features available to you, it's a good idea to first consider which jacket material best suits you and the way you ride.

You have three motorcycle jacket materials to choose from …

  • Leather …
  • High-tech synthetics …
  • Cotton / denim …

The material you choose should suit the …

  • Type of riding you enjoy most …
  • Type of motorcycle you ride …
  • Typical daily biking miles you travel …
  • Weather conditions in which you ride …
  • Seasons when you like to ride …
  • Types of roads or trails you enjoy most …

Here's info to help you compare each jacket material's qualities and features and its ability to …

  • Protect you in an accident …
  • Keep you comfortable …
  • Fit your riding style …

Leather

Leather jackets come in many styles to suit the types of riding you enjoy and the seasons when you ride.

Also, leather jackets look good.

A leather jacket will keep you safe and comfortable for many years if you occasionally apply a cleaner / conservative to keep it clean and soft and prevent it from becoming dry and brittle.

You can rely on a leather to give you great abrasion protection if you have an accident.

But leather alone will not absorb hard falls onto your shoulder or elbow if you have an accident. To gain the advantage, you need strategically placed armor or padding on these impact-release areas.

Leather will block cold winds and keep out mild rain and damp weather.

But, without your jacket is lined with a waterproof material such as Gore-Tex, or the leather has been specially treated to make it water resistant, you must wear a rain jacket over your leather jacket to keep it dry and prevent water from seeping through .

On hot days, your leather jacket – especially a black jacket – that is not well-ventilated and exposed to a direct breeze when you ride can become very hot and uncomfortable.

Leather jackets tend to be snug and form-fitting. This keeps out drafts and prevails the material from flapping in the wind. But it also restricts your ability to wear extra layers underneath on cold days.

High-tech synthetics

A motorcycle jacket made of synthetic textiles such as nylon, polyester or Kevlar can be thinner, cooler, lighter, more flexible and more comfortable than a leather jacket.

Such benefits are important if you prefer a loose-fitting garment and – to some degree – if you're concerned about riding in hot weather.

However, when it's cold outside, you need an insulating layer underneath your synthetic textile jacket to keep you warm. Most synthetic jackets come with such a layer that you can remove in hot weather.

Synthetic materials resist mildew and are easy to wash and keep clean.

But they're not waterproof. So when riding in the rain, you need a jacket with a waterproof lining – such as Gore-Tex. Otherwise, you can cover up with a rain jacket.

Nylon and polyester will not protect you from abrasions if you hit the ground. Both materials will tear or wear through when scraped against a rough road surface.

But jackets made entirely of Kevlar can prevent road rash, especially on your elbows, shoulders and other abrasion-prone areas.

But, just like leather, synthetic textiles will not absorb the impact if you hit the ground hard. That's why most synthetic jackets have armor padding on elbows and shoulders. Many have built-in spine protectors.

Jackets made of synthetic fibers tend to fit loosely. But most have well-placed tabs and straps that let you tighten things down and customize the fit. This capability enables you to wear extra clothing underneath – or not – according to the weather.

Cotton / denim fibers

Cotton / denim motorcycle jackets tend to be airy, comfortable and will keep you cooler than leather or synthetic textile jackets.

Motorcycle jackets made of these materials give you lots of value and many nice features.

But because these natural materials by themselves give you virtually no abrasion or impact protection, such protection must be built in.

You can find cotton / denim jackets that have impact-absorbing padding or armor on the elbows and shoulders and protecting your spine.

But even with such protection, well-built leather and synthetic fiber jackets have the edge over cotton / denim when it comes to abrasion prevention.

Cotton / denim fibers are not waterproof. So, if you ride in all sorts of weather, you'll need a rain jacket.

When you start trying on different types of motorcycle jackets, it's good to know what each material offers. This awareness make selecting the right jacket for you that much easier.



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