best motorcycle jackets

The 6 Best Motorcycle Jackets Reviewed for 2017 & 2018

Are you a serious motorcycle rider? An enthusiast? Maybe you’re a fanatic.  In any of these cases you know how important having the best motorcycle jacket is for your comfort, protection and safety.

From street cruising, to extended motorcycle tours, to serious off-road riding on challenging terrain, the different riding styles all have one thing in common: you are exposed and you need the best motorcycle jacket for your protection.

For more of our motorcycle gear recommendations, have a look through these other Outside Pursuits guide links: HelmetsBluetooth HelmetsBoots, Winter Gloves and Rain Gear.

Here we will look at (3) categories of motorcycle jackets and choose the (2) top performers in each.

Quick Answer: The 6 Best Motorcycle Jackets

Sport Touring Jackets

Adventure Riding & Off-Road Jackets

Waterproof Motorcycle Jackets

Best Motorcycle Jackets

 Best Sport Touring Motorcycle JacketBest Adventure and Off-Road Motorcycle JacketBest Waterproof Motorcycle Jacket
Milano Sport Gamma Motorcycle JacketPilot Motosport Trans.Urban V2 Motorcycle Touring/Adventure Jacket
Alpinestars Andes Drystar Motorcycle Jacket
editors choice
Weight 4.4 lbs.4.0 lbs.4.9 lbs.
Sizes AvailableS-M-L-XL-XXL-3XLS-M-L-XL-XXL-3XL-4XLS-M-L-XL-XXL-3XL-4XL
Special FeaturesRemovable thermal liner & zippered vents on chest and backZip-out sleeve length Thermolite warmth liner100% waterproof and breathable Drystar inner lining, plus removable thermal liner
Customer Ratings4.0 / 5.0 Stars4.3 / 5.0 Stars4.5 / 5.0 Stars

 Best Motorcycle Jackets Reviews

Sport Touring Jackets

#1: Milano Sport Gamma Motorcycle Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
Waterproof Waterproof Athletic fit might require you to order one size up, especially XXL and up
Main material: canvas Suitable for all weather conditions Back plate not included
Removable thermal quilted liner High visibility color choices
Zippered chest and back vents Good ventilation properties
CE approved shoulder and elbow armor Compatible with D30 back protector insert
Reflective stripes, velcro straps to reduce billowing, 3 pockets

 

The Milano Sport Gamma motorcycle jacket is a top choice with great features for sport touring riders. It is not only waterproof, but can adapt to all weather conditions and is suitable for all seasons, depending on how you layer up in winter.

A fixed liner achieves the waterproofing while maintaining breathability and a removable thermal quilted liner keeps you warm. On hot days, two zippered vents each on the chest and lower back provide ventilation and heat regulation.

sport touring motorcycle jacket

The adjustable snap-to collar gives you comfort and you can reduce billowing with straps on cuffs, lower and upper arms. Stretch panels and twin waist belts enable a snug fit.

For your protection, the Milano Sport Gamma motorcycle jacket has padded panels on the front and back as well as CE approved armor on the shoulder and elbows.

A back plate is not included, but a fitted pouch is compatible with the D30 back protector insert. There are two external pockets and one internal pocket for storage. The reflective stripes on upper arms and back are a nice details and there a high visibility color options available.

The only downside to this jacket is that the sizes continue to run athletic instead of oversize, so that users tended to order one size up from XXL on. This jacket will keep you dry and comfortable and is a great daily driver at a very reasonable price.

#2: Klim Induction Motorcycle Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
Main material: Cordura with proprietary Klim Karbonite Nylon Mesh Highly breathable, great ventilation Articulated fit results in small sizes running tighter yet large sizes running slightly looser
Breathable & moisture-wicking internal mesh comfort liner Perfect for hot season, good for layering Wrist adjustment very durable, yet stiff & slightly obtrusive
D30 armor for elbows & shoulders Best protection for a textile/mesh jacket In the upper price range
Level 1 back pad Durable, heavy resistance to abrasion and tears
UV-resistant treatment on mesh material High visibility color choice available
Reflective stripes, 2 adjustable arm straps, 3 external and 3 internal pockets Highly functional & lightweight

 

The Klim Induction motorcycle jacket is a highly functional and lightweight mesh model with excellent protection. Its premium quality allows for full ventilation without compromising safety, making it a great pick for warmer to hot climates.

In colder weather, you’d need to layer up underneath. Despite the excellent breathability, Klim achieves a tough, rugged and durable jacket thanks to the combination of Cordura with their own Karbonite mesh material, which is many times stronger than regular nylon or polyester.

The abrasion resistance in the elbow and shoulder zones is outstanding and exceeds military specifications. D30 armor is integrated in the elbows, shoulders and back.

To maintain its visibility properties against fading, the mesh material has received UV-resistant treatment and there are reflective stripes on the upper and lower arms as well as the upper back.

For your comfort, the soft collar is fleece-lined and the mesh liner wicks moisture away. High quality zippers, straps to adjust arms and waist as well as internal belt loops are nice details to allow for the perfect fit. For storage, you have 3 external and 3 internal pockets.

If you want to be equipped for the wet season, you can get the same model with waterproofing thanks to an inner liner (and a higher price).

For a tighter budget, consider the Joe Rocket Phoenix Ion Mesh motorcycle jacket or the Joe Rocket Velocity Mesh Riding Jacket as an alternative.

Adventure Riding & Off-Road Jackets

#1: Pilot Motosport Trans.Urban V2 Motorcycle Touring/Adventure Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
Waterproof & windproof, breathable membrane Three-season jacket Limited ventilation (chest covers don’t fold down)
Main materials: Pilotex 600D NPF shell with REISSA membrane and FlexDura thermal liner Highly versatile adventure touring jacket In hot weather, ventilation adjustment can require you to take off the jacket
Removable sleeve length Thermolite liner for warmth Great fitting functions for adjustment and nice details
CE approved microcellular PU armor on elbows and sleeves Good protective armor
Replaceable level 1 back pad Durable, high quality resistive materials and patches
Adjustable waist High visibility color choice available
2 map pockets, 2 envelope pockets, 2 hand warmer pockets, wrist & pass through pockets, internal pocket, cable assist, reflective strips Warranty of 2 years

 

The Pilot Motosport Trans.Urban V2 motorcycle jacket is an improvement on the manufacturer’s previous model and high quality adventure touring gear at an affordable price. Comfort on long rides, options for adjusting the fit and smart features let this jacket stand out.

The outer shell is made from Pilotex 600D NPF (a nylon/polyester mix) with overlay panels for shoulders and elbows for high abrasion resistance.

A permanent breathable liner proofed against water and wind is built into the shell, while the 2-way-stretch inner Thermolite liner offers warmth and is removable within moments.

Pilot Motorsport employs new CE approved microcellular PU armor for the elbows and shoulders. It’s soft and flexible, yet hardens upon impact and absorbs energy. A level 1 back pad is included and can be replaced with a level 2 pad.

Compared to a mesh jacket, the ventilation is limited, but you get sufficient airflow from arm zippers, a single vent at the top and exhaust at the bottom.

Thanks to two adjustable snap straps on each arm, velcro wrist closures, high-waist velcro straps and a neck closure for the neoprene collar, you can achieve a highly personal fit with this jacket.

It also excels in terms of functional pockets: there are two vertical chest pockets, two top-loading cargo pockets, two hand warmer pockets, one arm pocket and rear cargo pocket, and three interior pockets smartly duplicated in the liner.

This adventure touring motorcycle jacket won’t fail even the most ambitious rider and offers great value.

#2: Joe Rocket Atomic 4.0 Riding Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
100 % waterproof Three-season jacket Less pockets than other adventure touring jackets
Main materials: Rock Tex 600 outer shell (polyester with polyurethane coating) Versatile adventure touring jacket in a sportive style For connecting pants, you only have four belt loop snaps, no zipper
Removable insulated full sleeve liner Well-constructed ventilation system with good breathability
Removable CE approved armor in shoulders and elbows Good adjustability to prevent flapping
Removable spine armor Armor can be taken out from the outside
6-point adjustment system High visibility color choice available
Ventilation system, 2 handwarmer pockets, 1 inside pocket, 1 liner pocket, reflective stripes Great value at reasonable price

 

The Joe Rocket Atomic 4.0 motorcycle jacket is a versatile adventure touring model in a sportive style. It’s technical enough and offers sufficient functionality and adjustability for a variety of situations and conditions.

With waterproofing, a removable insulated liner and a very clever ventilation system, you’re well suited for riding in three seasons. The outer shell is a mix of polyester and polyurethane and will take tearing and abrasion well.

The armor in the shoulders, elbows and for the spine offers protection and can be removed through outer zippers, a unique feature. Thanks to an athletic fit and adjustments in the waist, sleeves and cuffs, the armor stays close to your body where it should be.

The Joe Rocket Atomic 4.0 jacket guarantees plenty of ventilation with waterproof zippers: two on the chest, two back ones and two bicep ones. The snap collar keeps water out and you have one liner pocket and one inside pocket for storage as well as two handwarmers.

Stripes on the shoulders and back ensure visibility. The downside: other adventure touring jackets offer more pockets, and this model only has four belt loops for connecting a pair of pants, not a zipper. Still, you get a highly functional and versatile jacket with ample protection at a fair price.

Joe Rocket also offers a women’s version of this jacket.

If you know you’ll be touring in mostly hot weather and are looking for a hybrid mesh-textile model, consider the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Mesh Motorcycle Jacket.

Waterproof Motorcycle Jackets

#1: Alpinestars Andes Drystar Motorcycle Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
Waterproof & windproof, breathable membrane Versatile and functional three-season jacket Good but limited ventilation
Main materials: 600-denier polyester shell with PU coating, Drystar membrane Good elbow and shoulder protection Back protection should be updated
Removable long sleeve thermal liner Two-way zipper
Removable CE approved Bio-armor in shoulders and elbows Clever chest flap with chest pocket access
Pockets for chest & back protectors (pads incl.) Front and back armor can be added for 360° protection
Sleeve and waist adjustment, comfort collar High visibility color choice available
Shoulder & rear vents, 2 waterproof main pockets, chest pockets, reflective stripes Great value at reasonable price

 

With the Alpinestars Andes Drystar motorcycle jacket, you get an all weather and three-season touring model. The technical reinforced poly-fabric shell is combined with a permanent Drystar membrane for waterproofing.

It’s breathable enough so water stays out while respiration can leave through the vents in the shell. The long sleeve thermal liner keeps you warm in colder climate and is removable. For your protection, the jacket features shoulder and elbow Bio-armor with CE approval.

There are chest and back pockets for more armor, but only PE comfort padding is included, which can be upgraded to CE certified Bio-armor as well. The abrasion resistance in critical areas is excellent, and for your comfort, sleeves are pre-contoured and dynamic stretch panels improve the fit and feel.

Adjustments bands on the sleeves and waist enable a near-perfect fit. The tight collar comfortably keeps water out. Ventilation is a minor weak point: climate control comes from zippered air intake at the shoulders and back exhaust vents.

For more airflow, you can also open the two-way front zipper from the bottom. Storage options are excellent with large waterproof cargo front pockets, zipped chest pockets, a large external pocket on the lower back and waterproof inside pockets and a wallet insert.

All in all, the Alpinestars Andes Drystar jacket is a great waterproof touring jacket for three-season riding.

The Alpinestars Andes Drystar V2 jacket is an updated model with refined ventilation and suitability for all four seasons.

#2:Tourmaster Transition Series 4 Motorcycle Touring Jacket

 

KEY FEATURES PROS CONS
Waterproof & windproof, breathable Rainguard barrier Versatile and technical three-season jacket Good but limited ventilation
Main materials: Carbolex 600-denier shell with 1680 denier Ballistic in the elbows, Rainguard membrane Good elbow and shoulder protection Back protection should be upgraded
Removable thermal liner Aqua-Barrier under-the-helmet hood included
Removable CE approved shoulder and elbow armor Soft & comfortable microfiber for neck and wrists
Articulated triple-density back protector (can be upgraded) Airflow vents can lock open for best circulation
Sleeve and waist adjustment, collar anchor High visibility color choice available
Pipeline ventilation, chest pocket, handwarmer pockets, internal pouch, fanny pack, reflective stripes Good value

 

The Tourmaster Transition Series 4 motorcycle jacket delivers a wide range of rider-friendly features that make it very versatile three-season gear. This great touring companion will definitely keep you dry and warm and reasonably cool in warmer weather.

The durable shell is constructed from Carbolex 600-denier with reinforced elbows and a riding posture cut. An integrated Rainguard membrane achieves the waterproofing while maintaining breathability.

best waterproof motorcycle jacket

A unique feature is the patented Aqua-Barrier hood: it can be worn under your helmet to prevent water seeping into your neck and stows away under the collar. The thermal liner can be zippered in or out and keeps you warm.

For your protection, CE certified armor is included for elbows and shoulders, while the back pouch features only an articulated triple-density pad. For hot days, the jacket features a pipeline ventilation system with six air intake vents and two exhaust vents in the back.

Their zippers are waterproof, of course. The shoulder ventilation vents can be locked open to ensure continuous airflow, a clever feature but difficult to operate while riding. A front flap seals the main zipper and the neck area, which uses comfortable microfiber same as the wrists.

Plenty of adjustment options allow for a comfortable and secure fit while keeping armor in place, and you can zipper pants to this motorcycle jacket.

For storage, there are waterproof front pockets, a zippered chest map pocket, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, internal pouch pockets and a mobile media pocket as well as a dual-zippered fanny pack.

The verdict: the Tourmaster Transition Series 4 motorcycle jacket is feature-rich, functional and effective at keeping you dry while being reasonably priced.

Tourmaster also offers a women’s version of this jacket.

How To Choose The Best Motorcycle Jacket For You

A proper motorcycle jacket is your shell against weather conditions, and it provides an abrasive-resistant shield in case of accidents.  Above, we reviewed the top motorcycle jackets in 2017 to help you pick the right riding companion, best suited for your motorcycle activities.

Now we will review the factors to consider when choosing your jacket.  Some of these are pretty obvious to the seasoned rider, but there are some things here that you may have not considered.

Adventure motorcycle jacket

You need a motorcycle jacket to keep you warm and dry, yet also cool and ventilated enough. There is protective gear suitable for all seasons as well as jackets for very specific motorcycle riders. A more versatile model adapts to your changing needs and allows you to layer up underneath.

Traditional jackets and pants use leather because of its great resistance to abrasion. However, because modern jackets feature composite fabric materials with excellent qualities that allow for a variety of applications, we’ve excluded leather jackets from our selection.

To match your needs with a top motorcycle jacket, we’ve divided our picks into sport touring jackets, adventure riding jackets, and waterproof jackets.

How do you decide which model is best for you?

When choosing motorcycle gear, you try to prepare yourself for situations you will encounter, including climate, terrain, and accidents. Your motorcycle jacket is no exception and should fit your needs for protection from weather conditions, comfort and safety.

On what kind of rides will you be wearing your jacket: are you mostly commuting, going onto shorter, sportive tours or are you into adventure touring, which might include off-road stretches and harsh weather? Do you need to shield yourself from the sun, or from the cold and rainfall?

How versatile does the jacket have to be, or is there a limit to the seasons in which you’ll be riding? Below we’ll explain the key features to which you should pay attention to make the right choice for the best motorcycle jacket for you.

Riding Style

Sport touring jackets are for riders who stick to the roads and need protection from the elements as well as in case of an accident, but want sufficient ventilation on hot days.

These jackets can be worn for a commute or casual ride as well, but are not necessarily waterproof.

Adventure touring jackets aim to be functional and versatile with features for three or four seasons and sufficient protection even for off-road stretches. A waterproof motorcycle jacket is best for touring when you know you can expect wet conditions and heavy rainfall.

Material

Our selection features models made from composite fabric materials which favor versatility and breathability or ventilation. It’s possible to layer up underneath and they are easy to put on and take off.

For waterproofing, a membrane is worked into the jacket, while models for cold weather feature a thermal liner that can usually be removed for comfort.

Leather apparel has the best abrasion resistance, yet is less functional than synthetic materials, which is why we didn’t feature leather jackets in our selection. Speed racing gear and riding suits are made from leather.

Fit & adjustment

Achieving the right fit is important with your motorcycle jacket so the armor is correctly placed over elbows and shoulders and you’re comfortable even on long trips.

The sleeves should therefore not be too long, yet you want a little bit of room under the jacket to move comfortable and be able to layer up in colder weather, if that’s what you need.

Most jackets favor a contoured fit and have plenty of adjustment options for the sleeves, the waist and the neck.

Protection

CE certified armor for elbows and shoulder is standard with slight variations of material between manufacturers.

Chest and back protection is generally not included, yet touring jackets usually include a pouch with minor armor that you can upgrade to fully CE approved protection.

If you intend to go off-road, consider wearing a protective vest underneath your adventure touring jacket.

Ventilation

Technical jackets for sport touring riders include a mesh material that protects you from the sun and lets in plenty of air to keep you cool.

Once you select a waterproof and more feature-rich touring jacket, ventilation becomes an issue because the membrane limits breathability of your jacket.

Manufacturers include zippers and vents to allow for airflow: usually you’ll have some sort of intake in the front and on the shoulders and an exhaust in the back. A two-way zipper can also be opened from the bottom to allow air in.

Visibility

For safety reasons, jackets include reflective stripes which are generally placed on the shoulders and on the back. Most manufacturers also have a high visibility color option available for nighttime riders.

More Features

The more time you spend wearing your motorcycle jacket, the more features you might want. Pockets are definitely great to have, so pay attention how accessible they are, if they’re waterproof and how conveniently they are located on the jacket.

A liner can prevent access to inside pockets, unless the maker has a solution like a zipper or doubled pocket. Media outlets are good for phone or headphone cables, while a large cargo pocket can stow a map.

An integrated hood can be worn under your helmet and will prevent water seeping into your collar. If you intend to fully suit up complete with riding pants, look for a model that connect jacket to pants – only a zipper can achieve full waterproofing here.

Conclusion

Riding your motorcycle while insufficiently dressed will not only result in discomfort, it also compromises your safety. Choose your jacket wisely: it serves to stop the wind so you can avoid hypothermia, and it protects you from the sun.

You can keep the cold out with a thermal liner and by layering up, and a waterproof jacket is obviously your best choice for rainy conditions.

Every rider should have at least one motorcycle jacket with good protection in their arsenal to be prepared for any obstacles the road or weather conditions might pose.

Remember to ride safely and comfortably and enjoy your motorcycle activities!

I hope this guide was helpful in picking the best motorcycle jacket to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a product that we didn’t include, please use this contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and be safe out there!

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About El Tigre

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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