As brows sweat and roads melt, the temptation to leave the jacket at home and enjoy the cooling effect of motion is overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be that way; modern motorcycle jacket designs allow a refreshing through-breeze.
I once rode my motorcycle around Egypt in July. Even in the sweltering desert temperatures, the cleverly designed open-zip ventilation system gave me 3,500 miles of cool and comfortable riding.
Let’s take a look at the many options for staying cool and safe.
Best Summer Motorcycle Jacket Reviews
Let’s dive into our top picks.
ARMR Moto Kiso 3 Jacket
Buy a Moto Kiso, and you’ll get a very stylish, practical, and well-priced jacket. ARMR, a relative newcomer to motorcycle clothing manufacturing, has a great philosophy for its designs: ‘Performance and protection, comfort and fit, quality and durability and style and value.’
Their Moto Kiso jacket ticks all these boxes with well-designed features for the heat, the cold, the rain, and the unexpected. Multiple waterproof pockets allow you to access your documents, wallet, and mobile phone conveniently. Adjustable fastening straps around the wrists, waist, and neck keep the jacket tight when riding in the wind and rain.
Will it fit? I should think so; the Moto Kiso jacket comes in eight sizes, from small to 5XL.
- 600D outer shell construction and armour in shoulders and elbows
- Dry Tek waterproof liner and detachable insulating liner
- Storm flap front closure zip plus front and back ventilation zips
- Vision Tech reflective panels
- Stretch panels for improved fit
- YKK zips used throughout plus zip attachment for ARMR Moto jeans
- While not unfashionable if it’s looks and style you’re after, you may find better choices with leather
- Limited ventilation
- Shower resistant only struggles in heavy downpours
Weise Hydra WP Leather Jacket
And where better to look for style than the very fashionable Weise Hydra leather jacket?
You’ll find the CE-approved armour well hidden in this quality manufactured leather three-season riding jacket. Should the heat become too much, you can always remove the 120g thermal quilted lining and vent panels on the chest and back areas.
The leather, stitching, and zips in this jacket are of the highest standard; it just oozes quality.
It looks great, too, with a very stylish slim cut, be careful with the sizing though, many buyers have found they need to go up one or sometimes even two sizes to get the right fit.
The jacket also comes with a removable internal waterproof lining for those summer showers.
- 1.2mm performance leather construction
- Armour to shoulders, elbow and back
- Removable liner and effective venting
- Waterproof internal liner also removable
- Internal nylon strip under main zip to protect rider
- The high-quality leather design gives it a bigger price tag than other summer jackets
- Will almost certainly need to size up
RST GT CE Leather Jacket
The first thing to strike you on picking up the GT jacket is its build quality. The full-grain leather, quality stitching, and armour all feel like they come from a piece of equipment at a higher price point. And on putting it on, its comfort matches this impression.
The perforated areas and mesh lining make this jacket surprisingly airy for full leather. Typically, these types of jackets only feel cool once moving. In this case, the mesh effectively holds most of the heavy fabric away from the skin, allowing air to circulate freely.
The level of protection offered is decent, with both the shoulder and back inserts rated at CE level 2.
The shoulders use externally welded TPU armour (the same stuff as racing sliders). This means they can’t be popped out insert-style like the back protector, but they feel sturdy and like they will stay in place in an emergency.
A connection zip allows attaching to a pair of RST trousers or jeans. RST offer several perforated leather or vented textile options that look good with the fairly classic lines of this jacket.
Overall, this is an excellent summer jacket and hard to beat at the price.
- High build quality
- CE level 2 back and shoulder protection
- Lining and mesh keep you cool
- Sleeves come up short for those with longer arms
- Sizing is off – consider going a size up
Oxford Hardy Wax Textile Jacket
This is a classically styled wax cotton jacket with some modern design features and touches.
A wax cotton/polyester top layer has OK water resistance properties and good breathability.
Vents across the chest give decent airflow in hot weather, and the removable thermal lining keeps you warm in winter.
CE rated armour ships in the elbows and shoulders with a pocket for an optional back protector.
The understated look is achieved with a clean overall line, quilted diamond stitch sections on the shoulders, elbows, and lower back, a low rise, pop-fastened collar, and subtle reflective detailing.
This jacket is simple enough to look good on any bike but looks particularly good with retro and older machines.
While it’s OK for an average summer day with the vents open and the liner removed, it’s not nearly as cool as a dedicated, perforated jacket.
Still, this is an excellent option for the price and can be worn in most UK conditions.
- Looks great
- Warm with the liner in
- Reasonably cool with the vents open
- Not as cool as a dedicated summer jacket
- Not as warm as a dedicated winter jacket
Gearx Aircon Summer Motorcycle Jacket
At a glance, this jacket has a wide range of features. Jumping right at you are padded cushions, Velcro fasteners and zips.
The GearX Aircon looks more like a racing jacket than a light summer one. It comes with two linings; a removable thermal lining and a fixed waterproof lining.
Removable EVA armour protection you’ll find at the elbows and shoulders, plus a soft armour plate for the back area. Sizes range from Small (36) to 3XL (46)
- Air vent zippers
- Two side and one inner pocket
- Heavy-duty short-waist zipper to attach trousers
- 600D Strong Cordura fabric
- Reflective piping for increased road visibility
- Low price tag
- Low price tag equals cheaper production methods. Not much use in heavy rain?
- Armour moves around a lot and often needs adjustment
Richa Bonneville 2 Textile Jacket
‘I say chaps, chocks away.’ This vintage-looking motorcycle jacket is four-seasonal. Some might say that the only thing missing is a Belstaff or Barbour logo, but the Richa Bonneville has a style and quality of its own.
It’s also very affordable compared to its legendary look-a-likes. Protection exists in several ways, not least in the reinforced outer shell. This is constructed of Millerain fabric, providing a high-level shield of abrasion resistance.
Don’t be fooled! It isn’t the wax coating that keeps the rain off. It helps, and by all means, re-wax and treat the outer material as you wish. The lasting waterproofing, however, comes from the removable membrane inside.
Devoid of its many attachments, you can wear it like a normal jacket.
- Wax cotton construction
- Waterproof and breathable
- Fixed breathable membrane
- Cotton lining
- Removable quilted thermal liner
- CE approved armour at shoulders and elbows
- Pocket for back protector
- Bigger price tag than other summer jackets
- Heavier and thicker too – a drawback in very hot weather
Leather or textile is the first choice that you will need to make.
Modern textiles have advanced a lot in recent years, and the truth is there is not much difference between the two in terms of protection.
That being said, other differences need to be considered. Often it simply comes down to each rider’s individual style.
We take a look at the pros and cons of each below.
- Leather is tough and offers great abrasion resistance.
- Modern leather jackets can incorporate all the key features needed in a summer motorcycle jacket, including ventilation panels, armour and liners.
- Looks good and feels “right.”
- Leather is not as water-resistant in wet weather.
- Can be difficult to clean and requires more looking after.
- Expensive. Leather will nearly always cost more.
- Textile jackets are generally lighter.
- Have the advantage of more pockets and mini-storage areas for maps and phones.
- They are usually more adaptable than leather, with greater options for insulation, waterproofed linings, and attachable pants.
- Not as much abrasion protection as leather.
- Textile jackets can be bulky and will not fit as snugly as leather.
- Less durable than leather and will need replacing more often.
Read more about textile motorcycle jackets.
The more expensive and complex the item, the greater the need for a good fit.
Leather generally offers a tighter fit and is a softer material, so it will be more comfortable on long journeys.
Textile can be bulkier; however, it is usually lighter and will offer more ventilation.
You should consider linings and your ability to reach and stretch. A jacket that hampers movement is a distraction and a possible safety concern.
Weather & Waterproofing
Consider hot, cold, wet and dry riding conditions and the duration you’ll be in them.
A quick shower is very different from hours in the driving rain.
Will your attire handle the job? Rain resistance is usually achieved with a waterproof lining. Pay special attention to the quality and effectiveness of this lining.
Removable insulation lining allows you to ditch a layer of your jacket while remaining safe. Some models may be worn all year round simply by adding or removing these linings to suit the seasonal variances.
Summer motorcycle jackets come with a range of CE-approved protective features such as elbow, shoulder, and back armour. The addition of padding in strategic locations further protects the summer rider.
Consider the thicker materials offered by leather designs and anti-abrasion jackets featured in our reviews for extra reassurance.
It’s not always about the impact or the slide. Summer brings out the big flying insects, and a well-covered rider avoids the worst of these seasonal pests.
Extras and accessories
Imagine sitting on your motorcycle riding along in the middle of summer. What might you need and when?
Accessing those all-important items at short notice is made easier with a good selection of pockets. Hopefully, your riding techniques don’t require the frequent retrieval of your license for inspection by law enforcement officials.
More likely, you’ll want to pull over, blow your nose, ring your loved ones, spend some cash in a petrol station or stop to take a photograph. Strategically located pockets make those tasks all the more simple and fluid.
Other important features are wrist, neck, and waist straps. Having wind, rain, or insects flying into your clothing at speed is uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst.
Decide whether you wish to attach riding pants or fit a hydration system for in-ride fluid intake.
Also see our guide to riding a motorcycle in summer.
Wrap It Up
A jacket is a very close and personal item completely encasing your upper body. It has many functions, including the unintended.
On occasions, mine has doubled as a safety deposit box, a kitchen, and a small office. I have crammed with hard drives, credit cards, food, passports, smartphones, and anything else I wished to protect from water or predators, be they curious animals or thieves.
I reached 100,000 KM of tour bike riding this year. My jacket kept me dry, warm, cool, safe, reassured, and hopefully… reasonably smart.
I’ve had stones and birds bounce off it and various flying insects. Above all, it has given great peace of mind. Despite the minor inconvenience of taking it on and off or suffering short-term temperature irritations, a motorcycle summer jacket is worth every penny you spend on it.
Consider it as important as your crash helmet.
Safe and happy riding to all.