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Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets 2024

Published on: 26 June 2024


In this review we are going to be looking at ten of our favourite summer jackets. We don't do every brand out there, obviously, but we do tend to be quite picky, so I think you can be reasonably confident that we're going to be talking about some of the better, summer jackets on the market.

But I suppose the first question has to be: 'what is a summer jacket'? And for us the answer is any jacket without a waterproof membrane. There are, of course, a lot of lightweight, waterproof jackets out there; but the way we see it, when it's hot the last thing you want anywhere near your body is a waterproof membrane. And that's because a membrane is going to get in the way of our ability to sweat effectively. And when it's hot we need to be able sweat properly, as this is the body's natural mechanism for cooling itself down.

When we're hot, glands beneath the skin secrete sweat, allowing it to come to the surface. This liquid then needs to be able to evaporate; and when it does, the transition from a liquid state to a gaseous one, requires energy. The creation of this energy draws heat from the skin, and as a result we feel cooler. It's a process known as 'evaporative cooling'. But if your sweat cannot evaporate, it stays on the surface of the skin, and instead of cooling down, we just get hotter.

Sweat on skin

To sweat effectively in order to cool down, the sweat has to evaporate.

Now even though all waterproof membranes are, to some degree, breathable, any membrane is going to impede the escape of sweat in its gaseous form. And that's why, in the hottest conditions, or when we're working hard on the bike, you want to be wearing a jacket that does not have a membrane.

But there are lots of jackets that don't have membranes. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are heavier; some are lighter. Some flow lots of air; others flow less. And, of course, the styling of jackets without membranes knows no bounds. And so what we are going to do today is look at lots of different summer jackets. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and so we are going to be talking about many different jackets that all have one thing in common.

They are all designed to help you stay cool when the weather gets hot. Anyway, let’s take a look at some of these jackets.

Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Halvarssons Arvika

The Halvarssons Arvika

In some ways, the ultimate expression of a summer jacket might be considered to be a mesh jacket. A mesh jacket will have a basic Nylon chassis interspersed with lots of panels of loosely woven, mesh material. The air will flow easily through these mesh panels, and this will help the rider to stay cool.

In some ways, the Arvika is a typical mesh jacket, although it's a rather superior one. Of course, it is equipped with lots of mesh panels; they run all the way up the front of the jacket, and all the way down the back, as well as up both arms. But most mesh jackets are rather flimsy and insubstantial affairs. Well the Arvika doesn't feel or wear like most mesh jackets. It is rated AA for abrasion resistance under EN17092, and it comes as standard with Level 2 armour in the shoulders and elbows.

All the other stuff is pretty standard, but make no mistake the Arvika is not your average mesh jacket. It's not the cheapest one on the market, but if it's a classic, mesh jacket you want, this is one of the best.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Brema Silver Vase

The Spidi Brema Silver Vase

The Brema Silver Vase jacket by Spidi is something a little bit different. The jacket is inspired by an Italian brand that was famous back in the 1970s for its trials gear. And indeed the current Brema jacket looks like a trials jacket of old.

It's a mid-length jacket. It's got the profile of something like the Belstaff Crosby, but it's a very different to the Belstaff. The first thing to note is how light and stretchy the outer fabric is. It’s almost as stretchy as a Marrakesh.

Of course, this is not a mesh jacket, but with its lightweight chassis and the absence of a membrane it is going to help you stay cool in hot weather.

The Brema is insanely comfortable. We reckon the Marrakesh is comfortable, but the Brema is probably even easier to wear. And herein lies the one potential issue with the jacket. It is so light and so comfortable that it doesn't feel as reassuring as some people expect a motorcycle jacket to be.

Some people put the Marrakesh on, and are initially concerned about its protective qualities. But the Brema is lighter still. Yet, amazingly, it is rated AA under EN 17092; and on a summer jacket that is not unimpressive. Obviously, it comes with CE armour in the elbows and shoulders; there's a pocket for a back protector.

There is no jacket quite like the Brema. It wears a bit like the Marrakesh, and you could certainly layer beneath it, but in some ways it is actually nothing like it. It is less hardy. You probably wouldn't wear it off-road, despite its classic trials look. In truth, it’s probably better suited to a more urban environment. But if you're looking for comfort, lightness, and a great dose of retro styling you should take a look. It really is rather nice.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Belstaff Temple wax cotton

The Belstaff Temple wax cotton

The Temple jacket has been in the Belstaff motorcycle collection for many years. Before this version came along, it was always a Nylon jacket. It was a light and easy jacket to wear, but in our view it always felt a little insubstantial. Not the kind of jacket you would have wanted to be wearing in an accident at motorway speeds.

Well this wax cotton version is a whole different ballgame. It feels like a proper, rugged, motorcycle jacket. It's only rated single A under the EN17092 abrasion test, but that's because the mesh panelling extends into what EN17092 considers to be the more susceptible areas. What we know, however, is that the wax cotton fabric is AA rated; and we know that because the same fabric is used on Belstaff’s AA-rated Crosby and Brooklands jackets.

There will, I suppose, be jackets that flow more air than the Temple, but we've not come across a mesh-panelled jacket that's as stylish and cool-looking as this one.

This is, frankly, the nicest, easiest-to-wear, Belstaff wax-cotton jacket we have ever come across. But unlike most wax cotton jackets you'd be happy to wear it on the hottest of days. Not in the desert, perhaps; but in temperatures up to and around the very high twenties it would still be very comfortable.

It comes with Ghost armour, which only adds to the jacket's wearability.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Rokker Houston rider shirt

The Rokker Houston rider shirt

Riding shirts are not really jackets, although the Rokker shirt is not like most other riding shirts. If we were just talking about classic, riding shirts we'd probably have chosen the Held one over the Rokker because, frankly, it's lighter and easier to wear. But the reason we have included the Rokker shirt in this review is because, in our view, it wears more like a jacket than a shirt.

The outer fabric is a flannel material. This is what you'd expect a classic, Canadian lumberjack shirt to be made from. What Rokker has done is line the shirt with a substantial denim fabric. It is this that gives the shirt its abrasion and tear resistance. But it's this same lining that causes this so-called shirt to feel and wear more like a jacket.

And so what we have here is a really authentic-looking, plaid shirt that looks as cool as a shirt can be, but that wears more like a lightweight jacket.

Yes, the air will flow through the Houston, although it's not a high-airflow number. It's just a nice piece to wear on warmer days; days when you want to adopt a slighter more relaxed, Bike Sheddy look.

But this is still a properly protective garment. It is rated AA under EN17092, and comes with flat armour in the shoulders and elbows. It will take a D3O back protector.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Klim Marrakesh

The Klim Marrakesh

We really like the Marrakesh. Indeed, we have already put our cards on the table. We think it's quite simply the best motorcycle jacket that money can buy. (And by that we mean the best regardless of its construction). It's constructed from a loosely woven 1000 denier Cordura that is infused with Elastane for an incredibly stretchy and comfortable fit.

This is, without doubt, one of the most comfortable jackets you'll ever wear on a motorcycle, but as it flows air through every single panel, it also flows lots of air. Yet despite the way it fits and feels, it is still rated AA under the EN17092 abrasion test. It also comes fitted with D3O Ghost in the elbows and shoulders, and a D3O back protector as standard.

But what makes the Marrakesh so special is its stretch. And that's because the stretch allows you to wear layers beneath it. We like to wear a Klim Zephyr when it's a bit chilly, and a Klim Maverick when it's really cold. Throw in a Scott when it rains, and you have a system that allows you to ride in every conceivable climatic condition. Literally, with these four pieces you could travel the world. (You’d still probably need trousers)!

Layering on the bike makes so much sense, and no jacket does layering as well as the Marrakesh. On its own it's not particularly expensive. The price creeps up when you start to add the other components, but even then we'd argue that, with the Marrakesh, you get unparalleled versatility; the kind of versatility you won't find with any traditional motorcycle jacket, however much you spend.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Helstons Elis Air

The Helstons Elis Air

In terms of what it does, the Elis jacket is perhaps just another mesh jacket; it is pretty similar to dozens of other mesh jackets out there. So you get large mesh panels up the front, mesh panels running down the sleeves, and a large panel across the back. Pretty standard fare.

In terms of protection, it’s what you’d expect. The jacket is only rated A under EN17092 for abrasion resistance; but that’s what you’d normally expect with a mesh jacket. Unusual for a mesh jacket, but standard for Helstons, is that it comes with a back protector included.

But what makes the Elis interesting is not so much what it does, as how it looks. It’s very much fashioned on the famous MA-1 jacket that was created for US air force and navy jet pilots in the fifties. With its sage exterior and bright orange ‘safety’ lining, it is one of those jackets that can truly be termed iconic.

The Elis mirrors the MA-1 in a number of respects. The same exterior colour. The bright orange interior. The french rib hem, cuffs and collar. The two, sloping, flap-covered, hand pockets. The pen holder pocket with its zip compartment on the left sleeve, and so on.

We just think it’s a bit different to your bog-standard, mesh jacket. It’s no Marrakesh, but it’s nonetheless a fun alternative to most of the mesh jacket out there. It will flow oodles of air, and it’s well priced too, especially given that it comes, as we have said, with a back protector as standard.

It’s a bit different. And often we like a bit different.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Rokker Black AAA

The Rokker Black AAA

The Rokker Black jacket is something a bit special; there is nothing quite like it.

It's made from a Schoeller Industries fabric known as Dynatec. It's the material Rokker uses for its chinos. It has a slide time of over six seconds under the old EN13595 abrasion resistance protocol, and under EN17092 it is rated AAA. It technically doesn't get better than that. But it's still a single-layer material, so even though we wouldn't classify the jacket as a high-airflow garment, it is still going to be cooler to wear than anything with a membrane.

The Black Jacket has a couple of other tricks up its sleeves, however. With its Nanosphere treatment to the fabric, the jacket is good for up to an hour in the rain, perhaps. And you can't say that about many summer jackets. The jacket also has a Coldblack treatment to reflect the sun's ultraviolet rays, meaning that it won't absorb the heat in the way that you might normally expect a black jacket to.

It comes with D3O Ghost in the shoulders and elbows, and a level 1 back protector as standard.

The black jacket looks like nothing more than a regular, black jacket. But it's more than that. Much more than that. It's not cheap, but it is pretty cool in both senses of the word; and very protective too.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Rukka Spirit R

The Rukka Spirit-R

The Spirit-R has replaced a Rukka jacket that was called the Forsair. The Forsair was about as close as anyone has ever got to replicating the Marrakesh. In truth, with its knitted Cordura chassis, the Forsair flowed more air than the Marrakesh. But it didn’t look as good, it didn't fit as well, it wasn't as comfortable, it wasn’t as protective, and it didn’t contain much stretch, so it didn’t lend itself to layering in the way the Marrakesh does.

The Spirit-R that replaced it is made from a 500 denier Cordura infused with a little Elastane. There are further Cordura 500 panels on the sleeves and elbows for added abrasion resistant. You get D3O Ghost in the elbows and shoulders. The only Level 1 back protector that will fit into the jacket, by the way, is D3O's Ghost back protector.

It seems obvious to us that Rukka was tilting at the Marrakesh when they produced the Spirit-R. Well, it falls a little short. So why? Unlike the Forsair, the Spirit-R has a woven chassis, and not a knitted one, so it flows much less air than its predecessor. In fact, it almost certainly flows less air than the Marrakesh. The Spirit-R isn't as stretchy as the Marrakesh, and that stretch is the key when it comes to layering. The Rukka jacket starts with a 500 denier Cordura instead of a 1000 denier Cordura, so it's only A rated, as opposed to the Marrakesh's AA. It also only comes in standard black. And whilst that's very Rukka, black is not a great colour for a summer jacket.

What Rukka has done so much better than Klim is sizing. The Marrakesh comes in just six sizes; and that's not enough. It leaves too many people being too big for one size, and too small for the next one up. The Spirit-R comes in 11 sizes, as one would expect of a proper motorcycle jacket.

But the bottom line is that, whatever the sizing issues, the Marrakesh is just nicer to wear. The Spirit-R does, though, zip into a Rukka pant. The fact that it comes emblazoned with a Rukka logo will clearly appeal to some.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Rokker Canvas

The Rokker Canvas

We like this jacket, introduced by Rokker for the first time for the 2024 season. The jacket resembles, although it’s not a stitch-for-stitch replica of, the US Navy N1 deck jacket.

It’s made from an abrasion-resistant fabric that comprises a mix of Cordura and canvas. This is very similar to the duck-canvas material you’d find on a Dickies or a Carhartt jacket or pant. So whilst the material is soft and pliable, there’s a slightly rougher texture to the exterior handle of the fabric.

This is very much one of those motorcycle jackets that doesn’t look like a motorcycle jacket. Indeed, remove the armour, and you’ve simply got yourself a cool-looking, casual jacket. The jacket’s got a kind of plaid lining, and it’s lightly wadded for warmth. Now this is a review of summer jackets, and so that doesn’t normally suggest a padded lining, but there’s no membrane involved, so in our book it’s still very much a summer piece.

The detailing is pretty plain. A corduroy collar. Two side pockets. One upper one. Adjustable cuffs and hem. A cover over the base of the zip. That’s about as simple as a bike jacket gets.

Rokker claim that the jacket is water resistant, but we would take that with a pinch of salt. A waterproofing coating will have been applied, but that will wash off over time. The jacket is rated AA for abrasion resistance under EN17092, which is what one might hope for. It comes supplied with SAS-tec armour in the elbows and shoulders. We would have preferred D3O, but you can’t always have what you want. There’s a pocket for a back protector.

In conclusion; a really stylish jacket. It’s so good looking, you don’t even need a bike to cool in it.


Top 10 summer motorcycle jackets Held Lawrence

The Held Lawrence

I suppose we are lucky here at Motolegends. With the breadth of our range, we usually have more than one way to skin a cat. And so the Lawrence jacket is yet another take on a summer jacket. As per our definition of a summer jacket, the Lawrence does not have a waterproof membrane.

The jacket is configured as a mid-length, wax-cotton jacket; something not unlike the Belstaff Crosby. Undeniably, it's a lightweight number, although with its wax-cotton chassis it's not going to flow a large amount of air. But it will be nice to wear in warm weather. It would still have to be pretty darned hot for you to feel sweaty.

And one benefit of the jacket is that, unlike most of the other summer jackets we have reviewed, the Lawrence will deliver a certain amount of protection from the rain. After all, before membranes came along, smearing a fabric with lots of wax was how we kept dry.

Of course, the waxed cotton fabric means that this is not going to be the most breathable of summer jackets. But it is still lightweight and easy to wear. Its the kind of jacket you’d be happy to wear most of the time in a British summer. An Australian summer, less so perhaps.


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