So you've just bought a brand new motorcycle jacket. But you've never shopped for one before, or you've been wearing your friend's/brother's/boyfriend's/girlfriend's/neighbor's jacket and have no idea how something should fit. The fit can also vary greatly from jacket to jacket, depending on what kind of rider it was designed for. A sport leather can be more comfortable for sportbike riding position. A touring textile jacket is more comfortable in upright / dual sport / 2up riding position. A relaxed fit leather jacket may be more comfortable in cruising / standard riding position.
You simply have to try each one on and see what feels most comfortable on your motorcycle or scooter (yes, you need protection on your scooter too). So I've put together some tips to help you get shopping and then figure out if it fits you correctly. Ive also got a tip for all the ladies out there that is going to change how you put on your motorcycle jacket forever!
And don't forget to read my shopping rules before you get started. :)
Here are a few of my favorite features when it comes to protective motorcycle jackets:
- Adjustable snaps/velcro/buttons at the collar and wrists to adjust fit, depending on how many layers you're wearing
- Sealed zippers either with velcro, or a silicone/rubber seal to keep water out on winter jackets
- Vents on the chest and/or back
- Cinching at the waist to adjust fit
- Exterior and interior access pockets
- Big zipper pulls on any vents so you can open and close them while riding
- Accordian/stretch panels above the elbows and over the shoulderblades to give more flexibility and room to reach forward
- Removable liners for layering
- Articulated (fit) for riding position
- Pockets for CE/EN rated back protection, shoulder and elbow armor
Now to the fun part, checking your fit! Up until now, you've been standing in front of a mirror and not considering how it's going to feel and fit on your Motorcycle. It's time to put your motorcycle's feelings ahead of yours. It should matter more how the fit feels ON the bike, not off. So jump on a bike, or assume proper riding position to check sleeve length, etc.
Sit on a motorcycle and check the following:
- Check that your sleeves are long enough to wear under the gauntlet of your gloves.
- Check your elbow and shoulder armor and make sure that they’re sitting snugly against you, without the ability to move freely.
- Ask someone nearby to see if they can move the armor while you’re in riding position. If they can move it around, then you need to cinch something or it’s simply too big.
- How much extra room is there in the torso? If you’re trying one on that includes a removable thermal liner, make sure that the fit is as snug as possible, because you may not wear it, depending on the weather. You won’t need to ‘layer up’ if you’re buying a winter textile with a thermal liner.
- Check to see if excess bunching appears at the chest and shoulder (in riding position). If it looks as if the shoulders are pushing up while in riding position, then it’s probably too big or if it's the wrong cut/style for your body type.
- And ladies, if you have ladies... then you know how difficult it can be to get things to fit over them! Remember that motorcycle jackets (protective ones) are *always* going to fit best in riding position. So you might need to bend over a little and bring your shoulders forward, while bring your girls back. Then you're going to get on your motorcycle and go riding!
It's difficult to break the habit of mall shopping, because that's what you're used to. Always pick a size and fit that works BEST in Riding Position. Since that's where you're going to be spending the majority of your time, you will want the most comfortable fit in this position!
More often than not, people buy jackets that are 1-2 sizes too large in order to layer up when it’s cold. A properly fitting winter jacket should provide insulation by: 1) being the right size and 2) the thermal liner. If the thermal liner isn’t warm enough, substitute it for your favorite layer. But don’t buy it one size up so you can wear even more layers underneath. What’s going to happen when you decide to wear that jacket when it’s nice out? All of a sudden, without any layers, it’s 1-2 sizes too big. Or, if you want to be as warm as possible, try a heated liner. You can never go wrong with heated!
So try it on with and without every layer and see how it fits in the various combinations. Think about how you’ll wear it the most and then choose your size.
A multi layer textile jacket is ideal if you want just one outfit to do everything, in different temperatures/environments. Look for zippered vents for summer and removable thermal/waterproof liners for winter.
This one has 2 removable liners, one is waterproof and one is thermal. Everything you need to stay warm and dry. The performance shell also provides good abrasion resistance and protection in case of an accident.
With features such as a removable collar system and a touring oriented fit, this is also the ideal touring jacket. The removable layers give you a little more flexibility to ride in all those different temperatures.
This is comfortable in all riding positions.
A perfect option for city riding on your motorcycle or scooter!
It has a lightweight, removable full sleeve thermal liner but isn't the warmest in the world. It'll be warmer and more protective than any casual option.
Since it's lighter, it's great for summer and fall but provides enough protection for city speeds (25-35mph).
Typically, a jacket like this will be less expensive, have a lower abrasion resistant material and basic armor. Definitely not meant for touring/commuting long distance or freeway speeds.
This is comfortable in an upright riding and forward (sportbike) riding position.
You love to carve the canyons, hit the twisties hard and are thinking about doing some track days.
This will offer the best protection, armor and fit if you love riding sportbikes like I do. The arms are very precurved, the collar is short for spring/summer riding (when you typically do track days) and the length is a little shorter, with a connection zipper for wearing matching track pants.
The sleeves are also tapered at the cuffs, so your gauntlets will fit over them. It probably doesn't have any removable liners either.
This is most comfortable on a sportbike in a forward riding position.
A more casual looking jacket like this one is perfect for wearing out to dinner or going to a party without standing out too much as 'the biker'.
It's also fully armored in the shoulders and elbows and a pocket for an optional back protector.
The thickness can be thinner (1.1mm) or thicker (1.3mm) for city or freeway speeds and come in both forms.
The fit is also more relaxed and is comfortable in all riding positions.