A leather jacket is an essential part of a rider’s kit —so much so, you probably feel naked without one.
But you shouldn’t just run out and buy the first leather jacket you see. There are an endless number of leather jacket manufacturers and styles.
While it’s tempting to pick the one that looks most bad-ass, there’s more to finding the right jacket. Here’s what you should consider.
1) Thickness and Durability
Leather jackets are there to protect your body in the event of a scrape. A good leather jacket is tough enough to withstand meeting the pavement, but not so heavy and strong that you’re uncomfortable while riding.
For lightweight jackets, which can withstand a slow slide, you’re looking for leather that’s about 1mm thick. These lightweight jackets may have textile panels that offer additional breathability. Still on the lighter side, 1.2mm leather offers much more resistance without a lot of added weight.
If you’re looking for something stronger, a heavyweight jacket of about 1.4mm thick can protect you in the event of a serious slide. Also called “racing weight” or “professional weight,” these jackets are built to withstand the abuse of bugs, gravel, and unfortunate accidents.
Your choice will depend on how much you privilege safety over comfort.
2) Water and Wind Proofing
Leather is a natural material, and as such, it responds to the elements. If it gets too much sun, it may begin to crack and fade. And without adequate tanning and proofing, it won’t do much to stop the rain.
When you’re shopping for a leather jacket, ask the salesperson or expert about how water resistant their jackets are. While you’ll want to invest in a canvas cover-all for the very worst storms (or avoid them altogether), your ideal leather jacket should have some measure of weather-proofing to stand up to the elements.
3) The Right Fit
Most bikers know this, but just in case: an average leather jacket found at the mall is not good enough for serious riders. While these jackets may be fashionable, they’re often made of imitation leather, and aren’t strong enough to protect you in the event of a crash.
That being said, fit is also an important part of choosing your leather jacket. For a leather jacket to provide the best protection, it has to fit over your normal riding clothes, as well as not be too tight or too loose.
Some leather jackets come with armor at the elbows, back, and shoulders. This armor shouldn’t move around too much while you try out your leather jacket — otherwise, it runs the risk of being ineffective.
Finally, when purchasing your leather jacket, remember that European and American sizes are different. European sizes run smaller and may be numbered differently, so be sure that you’re getting the size that’s best for you.
4) The Fewest Panels
Generally speaking, the more panels a motorcycle jacket has, the more likely it is to come apart when faced with an accident. Even if the stitching is sound, riders have found greater success by relying on jackets that are made mostly of one continuous piece.
Unless you’re absolutely set on a jacket with multiple panels, you might want to take a second look at jackets made of one continuous piece of leather.
Finding the Best Jacket
Remember, your motorcycle jacket is one more layer of defense between you and the asphalt. It pays to get a jacket that’s thick enough to withstand a slide, made of fewer panels so it doesn’t burst in an accident, fits correctly, and can stand up to the elements.
Need help finding the leather jacket of your dreams? Two Rivers Customs provides the best detailing, accessories, and custom fabricated parts for your bike. Contact us today!