The Many Benefits of Motorcycle Jackets

Rear view of a motorcyclist

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When you’re cruising down the road on a bike, it’s easy to feel unstoppable. However, protection is necessary to keep motorcyclists safe. The need for something durable and stylish led to the creation of the motorcycle jacket.

Many companies offer different sizes, materials, colors and protection levels. With prices beginning close to $100, the long-lasting protection is more than worth it for bikers. Not only are they protective, they’ve become part of the identity for many riders.

Row of motorcycle jackets.

The Creation of the Biker Jacket

Brothers Jack and Irving Schott created the first biker jacket in 1913 through their company Schott NYC. The released the first motorcycle jacket in 1928 for Harley Davidson, naming it the Perfecto. It was the first biker jacket to feature functioning zippers instead of buttons.

Research published in 2011 studied riders who did or did not wear motorcycle jackets and found that those who did were safer from injury than those who didn’t. Those who were injured wearing one recovered faster than those who did not.

When searching for a jacket, style should come second to quality though many jackets have both. The material, built-in armor, element protection, color and fit can all impact how safe you are on the road. It can protect you from injury in minor accidents and increase your visibility on the road. Road rash is a common risk for riders and a quality jacket can minimize it. Many include padding for your back, shoulders and elbows. Some even have airbags that can cushion the blow of a hard fall.

Along with a helmet, a motorcycle jacket becomes a safety uniform for riders, reducing the likelihood of an accident and padding the injuries you might get in one.

Person racing motorcycle.


Leather motorcycle jackets are a staple of both men’s and women’s fashion. It is as much style and self-expression as it is protection. It’s popular among non-riders as well and is a staple of pop culture.

Marlon Brando popularized the Perfecto jacket in 1960’s The Wild One. The design was interpreted by Dior which caught on with the growing punk movement. Bands adopted the style with it becoming a uniform for groups like The Ramones and the Sex Pistols.


Leather is often the choice of bikers and has been since the beginning. It can get pricey but good leather should last you around 20 years. While leather is traditional, there are a few types of materials you could choose.

Waxed cotton is the traditional alternative to leather and can last just as long. It is wind and water-resistant and is excellent at keeping you warm and dry.

Oxford cloth is another durable option. It’s a woven fabric, commonly made from cotton. It works well in harsh weather and should last you around a decade.

Textile jackets are waterproof and offer a lot of breathability. They can last between five and 10 years but offer less abrasion protection than other materials.

Cordura is an extra comfortable and affordable material. It is stronger than typical nylon and is a preferred material for racers. It can last around 10 years.

Man standing over motorcycle.

How to Care for Motorcycle Jackets

To ensure your jacket’s longevity, you should take the following steps whether hand or machine washing it. Like any piece of clothing, you will need to clean it from time to time.

Check the Tag

Manufacturers know their products best and will place a tag inside with instructions on how to care for it properly. Always read it and research anything you don’t understand before you begin the process.

Remove Any Armor

Avoid washing any built-in protective armor as it could make it less effective. Check your back, shoulders and elbows. Also, remove any removable linings. Keep track of how these items are oriented before removing them from the jacket so you can replace them correctly.

Check Your Pockets

Earphones, keys or other items could damage your jacket when you wash it. Close and cuff the zippers after you empty them to reduce the risk of the track snagging on the material.

Pretreat Stains

You can pretreat any stains on your jacket with diluted detergent. For leather jackets, use a microfiber cleaning cloth to gently work at the stain without damaging it.

Turn it Inside Out

To protect its protective exterior, wash your jacket inside out.

Add Waterproofing

Adding an in-wash waterproofing solution can help preserve your jacket’s ability to withstand rainy rides. Check the bottle to ensure that it is safe to use with the fabric and your method of washing.

Air Dry

Don’t put your jacket in the dryer unless the manufacturer lists instructions for doing so. Air-dry your jacket on a hanger or towel to preserve its durability and fit. Dry it in an open area. You can place it in front of a cool-air vent or fan to help it dry faster.

Choosing a Motorcycle Jacket

Motorcycle jackets are stylish and protective options for bikers or anyone who enjoys the style. Choosing the style and material you desire can keep you safe and stylish on the road.

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