Whether you’re a weekend cruiser or a ride-or-die enthusiast, every biker needs a quality motorcycle jacket—or two—in their closet. Motorcycle jackets don’t just look cool, either: they help make you visible to others, protect you from the elements, and guard against road rash.
With a variety of options available on the market, it’s important to evaluate your personal needs related to your bike type, riding style, and aesthetic preferences. We reviewed dozens of motorcycle jackets to identify the best of the best, based on factors including style, protection, durability, and visibility. Joe Rocket’s Atomic 5.0 Textile Jacket was ultimately our top pick. Available in a variety of colors for varying levels of visibility and preferences, this versatile jacket is suitable for a variety of climates and temperatures and provides real protection in case of accidents. The Atomic 5.0 Jacket from Joe Rocket checks enough boxes that it had to top the list.
If you’re unsure how to ensure a proper fit for your motorcycle jacket, make sure you read more about what a good fit looks like.
Our Expert’s Top 5 Motorcycle Jackets
Here are the top motorcycle jackets on the market. Compare their ratings and features to see which is best for you.
|Expert's Picks||Brand||Rating||Style/Fit||Armor||Water Resistance||Material||Pockets|
|Best Overall||Joe Rocket's Atomic 5.0 Motorcycle Jacket||Sport/Street||Textile||3|
|Best Budget Buy||HWK’s ADV 1 Adventure Motorcycle Jacket||Adventure/Sport||Textile||3|
|Best Waterproof Jacket||Alpinestars’ Andes V2 Drystar Motorcycle Jacket||Adventure/Sport||Textile||7|
|Best Leather Jacket||Xelement's '3 Skull Head' Black Leather Motorcycle Jacket||Cruiser||Leather (Buffalo)||5|
|Best Women's Jacket||Joe Rocket’s Velocity Mesh Women's Motorcycle Jacket||Sport/Street||Textile||3|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Motorcycle Jacket
- Any motorcycle owner – If you ride a motorcycle, whether it’s every day or once a month, a quality riding jacket is a must. Studies have shown “strong associations between use of protective clothing and mitigation of the consequences of injury in terms of post-crash health and well-being.”1
- Owners of ATVs, scooters, etc. – The right motorcycle jacket can also afford comfort and protection to riders of other motorized two-, three-, and four-wheeled open vehicles.
Who Should Not Buy a Motorcycle Jacket
- You don’t own a motorcycle, scooter, ATV, etc. – If you’re just driving around in your car or truck, there’s really no need to buy a motorcycle jacket.
- Fashionistas – True motorcycle jackets are designed for protection during accidents and from the elements, as well as visibility while riding. As such, they might not be the most comfortable or best choice for someone after just “the look”.
Research Tips (from an Expert)
Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing your motorcycle jacket. Be sure to do some research on the jackets you are considering before purchasing them. If possible, consult riding buddies or other bikers to learn their thoughts and opinions as well.
- Consider the style, size, and length of the jacket – Motorcycle jackets can be classed into cruiser, sport/street, racing, and adventure/dual sport categories.2
- Each will fit a bit differently to accommodate different motorcycle types and how you sit on your bike. Generally, you want your coat to be snug, but not tight. You also want it to have a “too long” look so it covers you properly when seated.
- Determine how much and what kind of armor – Motorcycle jackets are designed to protect you if you’re ever in an accident. Armor types vary in rigidness, with some being removable/replaceable and some not. Added armor means a heavier, bulkier jacket, so keep this in mind when shopping.
- How much visibility it provides – Making yourself as visible as possible to other motorists isn’t just for those who ride when the sun goes down. The reflective strips and squares can prove useful and lifesaving at any time of the day. It’s worth remembering that a lack of conspicuity is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents, so making yourself more visible can help to reduce your chances of becoming involved in an accident.3
- Consider your climate and when and where you’ll be riding – The ventilation, water resistance, and insulation needs of a biker in Florida versus Alaska are going to be quite different. Also consider temperature differences between morning and afternoon, and if removable liners would be helpful.
- Pay attention to the fine details – Construction is important because the better the stitching, the more protection you’ll have during a fall or bad weather. Likewise, ensure closures are also waterproof.
- How many pockets it has – The standard jacket will have two outer and one inner pocket. Pricier jackets typically have more of each. Keep this in mind when deciding which jacket is right for you.
How Much Do They Cost?Between $60 and $300
The price range of motorcycle jackets is as varied as the many styles on the market. However, you can typically expect to find great options between $60-$300. A hefty price tag doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best product, however. Several things can impact the cost, such as the materials used in the jacket’s construction, any special features, and whether the armor is included or sold separately. The brand name can influence a jacket’s price quite significantly too. It won’t be hard to find jackets costing over $600, but you really don’t need to spend that much to get proper quality, comfort, and protection.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Ride Digest
Customer feedback and product features were at the forefront of our collective consideration. The quality of the jackets selected was determined by considering their ability to protect from falls and the elements, as well as offer the comfort and features that riders are looking for.
Ultimately, we all want a riding jacket that meets our needs without breaking the bank. The ones highlighted here will do just that.
The Best Motorcycle Jackets: Full Reviews
The Atomic 5.0 Jacket from Joe Rocket tops the list and for good reason. Its outer shell is crafted not only for impact resistance, but also for water resistance to keep you both safe and dry. It features externally accessible CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows. It also boasts removable spine armor with a pocket for an optional spine protector, which is an excellent addition to the total protection it already offers.
This jacket is suitable for sport bike riding as well as upright touring, with arm lengths to meet both needs. The Variable Flow ventilation will also ensure you won’t overheat. Waterproof zippers are another plus. Between all this and the excellent $150 starting price, the Atomic 5.0 is the best overall option that expertly balances features, price, and style.
- Water-resistant, including waterproof zippers
- Fully removable insulated full sleeve liner with internal pocket
- Built for ventilation and airflow
- External stitching that can lead to tears
- Can fit large around the midsection for slimmer body types
The ADV1 from HWK is a true adventure motorcycle jacket. It has CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor with high-density foam back safety. This jacket is constructed from Cordura fabric, known for being both strong and versatile. It’s ready to survive what the world throws at it, including pavement.
A soft collar with neoprene lining, front and back air ventilation, and extra stretchiness in the shoulders and elbows contribute to its comfort. The detachable insulated thermal liner allows you to adjust to the weather conditions you’re riding in. Featuring double-safety stitching and top-quality zippers, this coat is built to last and is a real bargain at the $60 price point.
- Good for a variety of climates and weather conditions
- Tons of pockets to carry items in
- Comes in a variety of colors, including high-visibility neon yellow
- Waterproofing doesn’t stand up in heavy or prolonged rain
- Arms/forearms can be tight for some
The Andes v2 Drystar Jacket from Alpinestars is what you need when planning long, cold, wet rides. Combining 100% waterproofing and great breathability, it outperforms most of the competition in difficult riding conditions.
We especially appreciate the removable long-sleeve thermal liner that ensures comfort on both hot and cold days, as well as the pre-contoured sleeves with accordion stretch panels on the elbows for improved riding performance. The external zipped pockets are secure places to store important items and the Velcro-closing waist adjustment will offer a customizable fit for varying body types. It isn’t cheap at $270, but you can’t beat it among lightweight yet waterproof motorcycle jackets.
- Lightweight compared to most armored/waterproof jackets
- Liner makes it suitable for varying temperatures/conditions
- Drystar technology ensures proper waterproofing
- On the more expensive side of available options
- Runs very small, making sizing difficult
The ‘3 Skull Head’ Black Leather Jacket from Xelement may not have the most creative of names, but it certainly delivers in the categories of quality, looks, and performance. Crafted from premium buffalo leather and featuring reflective, night-visibility material sewn into the skull embroidery, this jacket will help you get recognized in more ways than one.
The devil is in the details here with genuine YKK zippers, known for their longevity and durability, as well as a removable zip-out black quilted full lining. Perhaps best of all is the CE-approved armor, which has passed the highest levels of impact testing. Its affordable $170 asking price is a small concession for something that will keep you safe if ever you find yourself in an accident.
- Quality workmanship and materials
- Useful pockets inside and out
- CE approved armor/pads
- Can fit a bit small
- Can be heavy or hot in warmer weather
The Velocity Mesh Women’s Motorcycle Jacket from Joe Rocket comes in either black or pink and has a host of features that make it a win in this category. It features a cooling FreeAir mesh shell torso, arms, and back to ensure you don’t overheat on rides. It also boasts Rock Tex abrasion resistance at the shoulders, ribs, elbows, and forearms. It comes with a removable waterproof full sleeve liner and contoured armor at the shoulder and elbows. There is also a removable dual-density spine pad.
Form-fitting and great for varying weather, it also holds up well in an accident—something verified by one unfortunate customer. Yet the padding and protection don’t really show through, giving this jacket a fantastic look all the way around. It also has an inside pocket for your phone, something that’s unfortunately sacrificed on many other women’s jackets.
- Good for warmer weather
- Offers protection from light rain
- Stands up to pavement during accidents
- Will soak through during heavy rainfall
- Might not fit short-waisted body types well
Frequently Asked Questions
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Ride Digest uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- de Rome L, Ivers R, Fitzharris M, Haworth N, Heritier S, Richardson D. Effectiveness of motorcycle protective clothing: riders’ health outcomes in the six months following a crash. Injury. 2012; 43(12):2035-45. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2011.10.025.
- Dennis Kirk, Inc. Motorcycle jacket guide. Denniskirk.com. Accessed July 20, 2021.
- Dying to Ride. World motorcycle fatalities statistics. Dyingtoride.org. Accessed July 20, 2021.