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What Motorcycle Jacket Should I Buy?
Leather is the traditional material for motorcycle clothing, worn by bikers throughout the world for countless years. Leather is great for abrasion resistance and keeping the wind off you, however in a downpour or after a while the jacket will start letting in water. Eventually the leather will get sodden and absorb water making it uncomfortable but that’s the pay off for having coolest looking jacket. Most leather jackets come with protection at the very least in the elbows and shoulders with an option to add a back protector, we always recommend upgrading your back protection to L2 no matter what. A great addition to your leathers would be a lightweight waterproof over-jacket. They often come in hi-vis materials which will also be useful in poor weather conditions for visibility, you’ll often find they come in a small bag so they can be easily carried around with you in a pocket or bag.
Sports racing jackets are usually heavy leather jackets with bright colours to match your bike and helmet etc. They’ll almost certainly have all the armour you’ll need at the shoulders, back and elbows and often you’ll see flex panels around the arms for better mobility and comfort. You’re likely to see curved cut arms and a shorter cut for comfort when riding in more aggressive positions, the jacket won't bunch up. For overall protection there will often be the option of a zip all around the waist to match and fasten to trousers making a suit perfect for track days, a naked bike or sports tourer.
Wax cotton jackets fall into a traditional style of jacket, you'll often see them coming from the likes of Belstaff, who were the first to make wax cotton motorcycle jackets. Like other textile jackets these are often reinforced with abrasion resistant materials in addition to having armour in key vulnerable areas. You'll always have the option to add/upgrade should the jacket not come with armour. Breathable waterproof linings on these jackets will need maintaining with special cleaners but if maintained well these jackets will last a very long time. Sometimes there will be a thermal removable liner to add to the flexibility of the jacket allowing it to be used throughout many different seasons.
Adventure/touring jackets are a step up from the textile jackets, they’re usually 3 in so there’s a waterproof layer, external layer and thermal layer, you can wear the outer layer alone or zip in and out the layers you need based on the weather. You’ll find they’re often lighter in colour to reflect heat away from the body which will be great for those long touring rides and there will be plenty of reflective panels or hi-vis included as well. They tend to be longer in the body and come with plenty of technical features to wick away moisture, keep out the cold and so on. They're really versatile, suitable for most occassions which is why they're so popular.