5 Of The Best Leather Motorcycle Jackets For Protection and Style


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Last Updated: 18th October 2021

The world of leather motorcycle jackets has really opened up; gone are the days of just plain black jackets lacking style.

There is something out there for all riders, from sports leathers with racing hump inserts to retro Marlon Brando inspired jackets.

There is nothing quite like getting suited and booted in full leather and heading out for a ride; it is almost like preparing for battle, except the battle is hours of incredible riding fun.

Let’s delve in. 

Here are our top leather motorcycle jackets.

Best Overall
RST GT CE Leather Jacket

Comfortable, Protective, Great Value

Excellent protective leather jacket, classically styled with modern levels of protection.

Best Value
Mens Leather Motorcycle Jacket

Casual, Feature Rich, Great Value

Great value option with adequate protection, casual retro styling and features found on pricier jackets.

RST GT CE Leather Jacket

This sports touring leather jacket from RST is great value for money, offering exceptional protection and classic styling at an excellent price.

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The jacket has been approved to CE AAA, the highest certification grade currently available, so you can rest assured that the jacket will do its job protecting you. 

Additionally, the jacket comes equipped with CE-approved Level 2 shoulder, elbow and back protection. 

Externally the jacket has TPU shoulder armour for a further added level of protection.

A full connection zip is fitted, which means you can connect to the RST GT CE jeans

The only issue with RST is their inconsistent sizing; my best advice is always to go up a size. 

With their newer jackets like this one, they seem to be addressing their sizing issues, so hopefully, we will start to eliminate the issue.  

Pros:

  • Excellent Value
  • CE AAA approved
  • Level 2 Shoulder, Elbow and Back Protection
  • Connection Zip for Trousers

Cons:

  • Inconsistent Sizing

Texpeed Touring Motorbike Jacket – Brown 

This Texpeed leather jacket proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get your hands on quality motorcycle clothing. 

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Straying from the traditional black, the jacket is in a lovely brown colour and has a quilted design on the shoulders; much attention to detail has been paid to the styling of this jacket.

Four zip pockets give you plenty of space to store your stuff; the waist is fully adjustable, and the wrists have poppers and zips to make sure it’s easy to get on and off.

There is also a short zip on the back that is compatible with Texpeed trousers, but you can also stitch the other half of the supplied zip into your own trousers if you wish. 

The jacket is supplied with CE protective armour in the shoulders, elbows and forearms. However, it would be worth considering upgrading this to something of a higher standard. 

The back protector is CE Level 1 approved and is a little on the small side, so this may be something to look to upgrade. (See our guide to the best back protectors.)

This jacket looks a lot more expensive than it is and is a great choice for urban casual riders who like the retro look.

Pros:

  • Great Value
  • Comfortable and Excellent Leather 
  • 4 Zip Pockets and Removable Thermal Liner
  • Feature Packed

Cons:

  • Armour is Basic 
  • Bit Short in The Body

Alpinestars GP Pro V2 Leather Jacket

On the other end of the spectrum in terms of pricing is the GP Pro V2 from Alpinestars.

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There is no question that Alpinestars know what they are doing when it comes to producing quality motorcycle clothing. They have such a presence in racing for a reason.

This jacket is the second version of the GP Pro. It is approved to the highest CE AAA grade and includes CE certified shoulder and elbow armour.

There is compatibility for extra safety features that make this jacket overall pretty great from a protective standpoint.

It can be fitted with the Nucleon KR-R back protector, which is Level 2 protection and has a kidney protection belt that is height adjustable. 

You can also equip the jacket with a KR-CiR chest armour insert, a lightweight piece of track armour.  

The standout feature and why the GP Pro jacket made the list is its compatibility with Alpinestars Race Tech Airbag, the latest and greatest form of protection a rider can get for their upper body in a crash. 

It is a comfortable jacket with plenty of mesh, stretch panels, and comfort collar. It is adjustable at the waist and has a removable windbreaker liner to accommodate cooler and warmer weather rides. 

The jacket may be overkill for everyday riders and be more suited for those sportier riders among us.

My only real issue is the initial price point and then the fact more money is needed to equip the jacket with further protection. 

Pros:

  • CE AAA approved
  • Race Tech Airbag Compatible 
  • Premium Materials and Construction
  • Adjustability Options

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Tight fit
  • Back Protector Not Included

Richa Daytona 2 Leather Jacket

The Daytona 2 is another retro-style jacket to throw into the mix but is a more premium addition than the Texpeed. 

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Richa offers some of the best motorcycle clothing on the market and is well equipped with the knowledge to produce quality kit. 

This jacket is CE AA approved and, as such, is aimed at everyday riders that are likely to face mixed riding situations and the jacket’s protective abilities have been tested to account for this. 

You get D30 armour in the elbows, shoulders and back. 

D30 is my favourite armour as it is so supple and soft when wearing it in your jacket, it is easy to forget it is there. 

On impact, you will find it hardens to absorb the impact and protect your body. 

The jacket comes with a short zip to connect to Richa trousers and a removable thermal liner, so you are good to go in all weather.

It is also constructed of quality leather, as you would expect with Richa, and it is nice and soft off the shelf; you won’t have an extended period of breaking in stiff leather with this jacket.

My only issue with Richa’s leathers is that they tend to come up a little small and a little long in the arm. Their textile kit tends to be spot on with sizing, so it’s just the leathers that can be off. 

Make sure you check out the size guide, which is helpful and accurate; compare against your measurements, so you get the right size. 

Pros:

  • Casual Look
  • CE AA Approved
  • D30 CE Armour at Elbows, Shoulders and Back
  • Removable Thermal Liner

Cons:

  • Small Sizing

Dainese Fighter Leather Jacket

It would be rude to ignore the Italian manufacturer Dainese for the best leather jackets available. 

Here is the thing, they don’t come cheap. 

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Now that is out the way, let me tell you what you get for your hard-earned money.

Constructed from the very best materials, you will be hard-pressed to find a more premium feeling jacket. 

The leather is excellent, and the Nanofeel liner is incredibly soft; the stretch panels ensure maximum flexibility in all the necessary places. 

There are three internal and two external pockets for your bits and bobs and a removable thermal liner. 

The jacket has plenty of elastic in all the right places, like the collar and wrists, and a longer length at the back to ensure no wind gets down the lower back.

From a protective standpoint, you have Dainese CE shoulder and elbow armour and external aluminium shoulder inserts. 

There are also pockets for a Dainese back protector and chest inserts. Unfortunately, these two key pieces of armour are not included with the jacket.

Make sure you order a size up with Dainese leathers as they do come up small. 

Pros:

  • Quality Construction
  • Premium Materials
  • Comfortable 

Cons:

  • Small Sizing
  • Back and Chest Protector Not Included

Buyers Guide

There are a few things to consider when buying a leather motorcycle jacket. 

Once you have these things straight in your head, you can go ahead and purchase the right jacket for your needs. 

Here are my top tips for buying a leather motorcycle jacket:

Certification

The most important thing to consider when looking at motorcycle clothing is how protective it is. 

What you need to look out for is the CE-approval certification on the label. 

To make sure you are purchasing a protective leather jacket, check for the following codes:

CE – A, AA, AAA.

A- Jackets with A grade certification are most suitable for Urban riding; they are usually lighter and have less bulk. 

AA- Jackets graded AA have been tested more extensively for wider typical riding encounters. CE AA graded jackets are for everyday riders who face all kinds of roads and conditions.

AAA- This is the highest grade; all the key impact areas must be covered by appropriate armour. Clothing with AAA certification leans heavily towards sports riding, where high-speed impacts are more likely. 

Protective Armour

Once you have checked how protective your jacket is from a certification standpoint, you need to look at the armour. 

My biggest issue with manufacturers is that they will put CE-approved protective armour in the elbows and shoulders, but think it is perfectly adequate to put a piece of foam in as a back protector. 

Always check what armour is used in your jacket, and don’t be fooled into thinking that a piece of foam will do the job. 

Fortunately, if your jacket has a pocket for a back protector, it is easy to upgrade to a quality protective certified back protector

The same goes for elbow and shoulder armour. It should be easy to upgrade the armour to a higher standard of protection if the jacket is only equipped with very basic armour to pass the CE-approval tests.

Do you need them to be waterproof? 

Generally, leather jackets are deemed as water-resistant. However, they are not going to keep you dry in a downpour. See our guide to the best waterproof motorcycle jackets if this is important to you.

Riding Style

Consider your riding style when buying a leather jacket. 

Are you a sporty rider that likes to lean the bike into every country road bend you can find? Or are you quite happy chugging along on a Sunday to find the best cream cake in the county?

These factors will affect which kind of jacket you are looking for. 

Arguably, you will look somewhat out of place on a big Harley bagger wearing an Alpinestars sports jacket with a hump.

However, this is superficial and provided you are happy with the jacket’s styling and the level of protection is up to your needs and standards, then it doesn’t matter too much what anyone else thinks.

Other Features

External and internal pockets are always great features on a jacket. 

Being able to stash some money, my phone and chapstick, then taking off with no bags, panniers etc., is true freedom. 

You may also want to look out for adjusters on the waist and wrists. 

Making these small adjustments for the perfect fit go a long way in making you comfortable.  

Connection zips to motorcycle trousers are common on leather jackets and help keep your jacket riding up, so these are worth looking out for. 

Conclusion

There you have it, a selection of some of the best leather motorcycle jackets on the market to suit a range of different riders and budgets. 

I think you cannot go wrong with the RST GT CE; it offers incredible value for money for a CE AAA certified jacket, mixing modern protection with timeless styling. 

Related: Best leather motorcycle trousers.