Functional Fashion: The Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets
If there’s a piece of apparel most associated with motorcycling, it’s undoubtedly the leather motorcycle jacket. The leather jacket is part of our uniform, but even non-riders search the bins for cowhide when it’s time to dress up for Halloween, or down for any occasion that calls for cool. No matter what you ride, the best leather motorcycle jackets are versatile enough to look at home nearly anywhere, and on nearly anything. A premium leather jacket will never go out of style, and the more you wear a quality one, the more comfortable it will feel – there’s just something about leather that other materials can’t match. Bountiful and ubiquitous, with seemingly endless options to choose from, it would be impossible for us to feature every single jacket out there. So here we’ve gathered a small sampling of the best leather motorcycle jackets the market has to offer, listed in alphabetical order.
Best Two-piece Motorcycle Leathers
Updated April, 2021
Wearing a one-piece leather suit can be such a commitment; they’re a chore to put on, you’re stuck in a racer-like position even when you don’t want to be, and what do you do when nature calls? That last reason must be why apparel manufacturers decided to make two-piece leathers. That, or lots of people just want to wear the jacket most of the time, saving the pants for sporty rides and track days. Two-piece suits offer nearly the same amount of protection as their one-piece counterparts, but they’re way more convenient for those who only see the track once or twice a year. Or never. As you can probably guess, two-piece suits consist of a jacket and pants that zip together in the middle via a circumference zip. Some jacket/pant combos out there connect via a zip connection that’s only six inches or so in length, in the back. We don’t trust them as much as a zipper that goes all the way around, and most sanctioning bodies won’t allow them on the race track. What we have below is a collection of dedicated two-piece offerings from a few of our favorite, trusted manufacturers.
Evans Off Camber – Motorcycle Gear Carries More Than Armor
Motorcycle gear has several important functions. While maybe not the primary purpose of dedicated riding gear, our chosen wardrobe tells the world that we are motorcyclists. Yes, there is a large fashion component to our apparel, one that announces what tribe we claim. From canyon carvers to stunters to cruisers to tourers and adventure tourers to street racers or vintage riders to even the one-percenters (of the pre Occupy Wall Street variety), every subculture within the motorcycle world has its own uniform. And if we’re really honest with ourselves, who among us hasn’t at least once pulled up to a stop light, noticed our reflection in the storefront window, and thought, “Yep, I look pretty damn cool.”
Riding gear’s primary purpose, however, is to protect our delicate bodies from the ravages of road rash and blunt force trauma. While we are aware of this reality when we shop for gear, we all hope not to test the protection or the fates each time we slip it over our appendages and zip the zippers or snap the snaps.
Still, over time, our riding gear becomes more than a fashion statement or a means of preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. Like bugs collecting on a motorcycle’s headlight, the time and miles our gear shares with us changes it. The leather creases and gains a patina. Fabrics fade while becoming more supple. The dust from the road works into every crevice. If we keep it around long enough, our motorcycle gear becomes part of who we are.
Over my riding career, I’ve owned tons of riding gear – particularly during the time I’ve worked in the motorcycle industry. Manufacturers want us to wear their products in front of the cameras, which is a fairly inexpensive advertising cost compared to other methods. Even with that pool to draw from, the gear that I’ve maintained a long-term relationship with is relatively small. These are items that I will likely never get rid of even if it is either too small or too fragile (leather dries out after a while) to actually be used for riding any more.
So, join me on a tour of my personal hall of fame – as represented by a small wardrobe in my garage attic.