The beginner's guide to purchasing a motorcycle jacket
Your beginners guide to buy a motorcycle jacket
As learner rider, you may have a basic knowledge about motorcycle jackets being crucial for your protection in the case of a crash, and that’s as much as you know! If you’re a complete newbie, not sure what features to look for, what kind of fabric is best.../you want the best money can buy. If you’re looking for value for money, look no further than our Shark Leathers' beginners guide to buying motorcycle jackets.
Leather, Kevlar and textile motorcycle jackets are designed to reduce impact from debris, stationary objects and connecting with the ground, and abrasions. Every ride you’re taking your life in your hands. Maybe not so much because of your riding skills, but because unlike a car, you don’t have any other protection. The only thing between you and the road is the motorcycle clothing you’re wearing. We’re sure you’re smart enough to know that shorts, a lightweight jacket and a pair of thongs are not going to save your life in a collision. A motorcycle jacket may not save you either, but it’s sure as hell going to give you the best chance.
There’s no such thing as a quick blat up to the shops. If you’re not wearing protective gear when you ride, you’re putting yourself at risk
Do I need a motorcycle jacket with armour?
Absolutely, if you want to ride to survive, get the best you can for the amount of money you’re looking to spend. The addition of armour to a motorcycle jacket will provide increased protection in the areas you’re most likely to need it, such as the elbows, shoulders and back and lumber. It depends on the brand and style of jacket, but armour can vary from full protection through to cheap protective inserts. Most protective inserts are removable, so if you can’t afford that top of the range jacket you really want. You can upgrade the armour at a later date. Naturally, the more heavy duty the motorcycle jacket means the more protection you get. The thing you have to weigh up is how much do you value your life?
What kind of fabric is best for motorcycle jackets?
Once upon a time, leather was the go-to fabric for motorcycle jackets and it’s the one fabric that’s proven to be timeless. Leather’s certainly one of the most popular choices, however, when you live in a warmer region like the Gold Coast or the top end of Australia you may prefer to opt for a textile jacket.
The textile jackets can come in a vast range of colours and styles, but what’s great about them is they still give you the protection you're looking without being too heavy. Most good textile jackets will come with strategically placed zips which allow airflow for warmer days, but won’t sacrifice your level of protection.
Wet weather jackets
No one really likes to ride in the rain, but with a changeable climate such as the Gold Coast or further north, it may be bright and sunny most of the day while you’re at work, and raining by the time you need to start the commute home. A waterproof jacket can make the difference between getting home dry or looking like a drowned rat. Keep in mind to look at the waterproof rating on the jacket.
Waterproof ratings vary from 0mm-20,000+mm. Generally, manufacturers will list the water resistance rating on the label. A jacket that has 10K/15K rating means your jacket will withstand moderate rainfall. All waterproof jackets, given enough rain, time and pressure will start to allow moisture through. We could make a motorcycle jacket out of rubber, it would be completely waterproof but you'd end up sweating bullets in no time at all.
Waterproof jackets also need to be treated regularly with a good waterproofing treatment to retain their waterproof properties. They are also great for reducing wind-chill. When you’re not dressed comfortable riding, riding isn’t fun!
What style of motorcycle jacket should I choose?
The style of motorbike jacket comes down to personal preference and the type of riding you are doing
Commuting to and from work
If your motorcycle is your main mode of transportation and you’re riding too and from work, like the Shark Leathers Impakt motorcycle jacket. Some jackets have removable linings that can be easily zipped out when the weather is warmer and the waterproof membrane will prevent you from getting drenched if it rains and reduces wind-chill factor.
If you’re a casual rider in the weekends and meet friends at cafes, a casual wear style jacket like the Macna Aytee can look in place at any restaurant, yet still gives you the protection you need on the bike.
Club or pro racing
If you’re a newbie racer, a bike jacket with full protection and curved to help you maintain the perfect position on your motorcycle is the best option.
What features should I look for in a motorcycle jacket?
- Water resistance
- Ventilation that's not going to flat and distract you
- Quality leather such as cowhide, kangaroo or buffalo are the go-to options of most riders due to their superior protection
- Protective lining - if you want a softer fabric like a hoodie jacket, make sure it has a protective liner made from DuPont™ Kevlar® fibres
- Armour. This will reduce the impact should you come off your bike. Make sure they are have a Certified European standard rating (CE approved)
- Quality zips. YKK zippers are corrosion resistant and ensure the zips are easy to grasp while wearing gloves.
- Sealed seams can help prevent water penetrating where the fabric joins
- Internal pockets to keep your wallet and phone safe.
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