Let’s face it, we motorcyclists are an image-conscious bunch. We want not only our motorcycles to look good, but we ourselves, too, especially when we go out for a ride with our friends. Now, there are literally hundreds of different types of riding-specific apparel, all of which suit different types of motorcycles.
While it’s perfectly fine to wear any type of motorcycle-approved jacket when it comes to safety, things become a little bit more tricky when it comes to style. Of course, as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks, but if you’re new to motorcycling and aren’t exactly sure what type of jacket you want to buy, then maybe you want to learn more about the different types of jackets, as well as the amenities they provide. Having said that, let’s take a closer look at the most popular types of riding jackets.
Let’s start things off with the sportbike jacket. Now, this type of jacket, as the name suggests, is best used for sporting purposes such as a track day or an actual race in a closed and controlled environment. Racing jackets or suits often come with corresponding pants, and sometimes even come in a one-piece configuration. The sportbike jacket is definitely one of the most impractical jackets for street use, as it makes use of thick, abrasion-resistant materials such as leathers and heavy fibers. Additionally, sportbike jackets tend to lack pockets and ventilation, making them extremely hot especially in the Philippine setting.
Sportbike jackets do, however, offer incredible protection, with some models such as those of Alpinestars, even offering airbag systems for enhanced impact protection. If you’re a sporty rider who looks to take track riding seriously, then a racing jacket, or even a full suit is something you would definitely want to add to your collection. However, if you’re a motorcyclists who spends most of your time on the street, or even one who hits the race track casually and only on occasion, you could do away with a high-quality street jacket outfitted with all the necessary protective equipment.
Adventure and touring jacket
Moving on, we have the most versatile and utilitarian type of jacket. Adventure jackets are designed specifically as all-rounder pieces of protective equipment. They’re extra robust and oftentimes come equipped with internal and external protectors to account for the uneven, off road terrain. They also often come with numerous pockets to store your personal belongings. Sone high-end models are constructed out of a combination of high-quality textile materials and leather, giving you the comfort and protection you need for extended periods on the saddle.
Adventure jackets often come equipped with weatherproofing solutions such as air vents which can be opened and closed depending on how hot it is. Additionally, some premium adventure jackets such as those from REV’IT! come with internal waterproof lining which can be easily installed and uninstalled. One thing to note, however, is that adventure jackets tend to be rather bulky. If you’re one who likes to look sleek and slender when aboard your motorcycle, and are willing to sacrifice some the utility offered by ADV jackets, then maybe you’d like to consider something in the very vast street jacket segment.
Now the street jacket category is undoubtedly the widest and most vast. There are street jackets which are oriented towards sporty riding, retro-style enthusiasts, cruisers, and simple commuters. Sporty street jackets, ideal for those of you who ride sportbikes or performance-oriented naked bikes, are very sleek and slender in terms of design. Oftentimes made out of abrasion-resistant textile materials such as Dyneema or aramid fibers, these jackets are very breathable and prioritize comfort and safety. What sets them apart from standard commuting jackets, however, is the level of protection found in these jackets. Premium sporty street jackets will come equipped with D3O-rated back protectors, as well as the full suite of shoulder, elbow, and chest protection.
Commuter jackets, on the other hand, sometimes do away with the chest protectors, and tend to use lighter duty materials for the elbow and shoulder armor. They’re designed to offer maximum protection and breathability, especially for riders to spend a lot of time in heavy traffic around the city. Retro-styled jackets and cruiser jackets, on the other hand, are mostly about fashion and style. This, however, isn’t to say that they don’t offer decent protection. Helstons, for instance, makes some truly dapper retro-style jackets which don’t compromise on safety. Retro-jackets are usually constructed out of textile or leather, or sometimes a combination of both, and are accentuated by sleek, understated styling and a slim fit.
If you’re currently shopping for a new motorcycle jacket, it’s always a good idea to see the jacket you’re interested in in person—especially if it’s your first time. Several manufacturers have different standards when it comes to fit, so you may be surprised to find out that you’re a medium in one brand and a large in another. Additionally, given the fact that riding jackets from reputable brands tend to cost upwards of P8,000, you want to make sure that the jacket you’re buying is really the one for you.