Getting geared up for motorcycle riding means ticking the boxes of style and safety. Rule one is to armor yourself from head to toe with the right gear; style comes second, but when done right, it plays its part in your staying in one piece as well. For that extra bit of protection and tasteful flair, we’ve gathered five great leather moto jackets for the upcoming riding season and paired each with a like-minded beauty of a bike. As much as we love these sleeved hides, we do recommend that you get your bike before you buy your jacket, not the other way around.
MORE READING FOR MOTO RIDING: One Less Car in Los Angeles | Want This, Get This: Ducati 1199 Panigale R or Suzuki GSX-R1000 | The Spirit of Burt Munro: The World’s Fastest Indian
Belstaff Knockhill Jacket
If you like to echo Steve McQueen but don’t want to look exactly like him, this upscale leather touring jacket is about as nice as it gets. But it’s not just a pretty face. The thick black bull grain leather provides great abrasion protection, and the mid-thigh length provides that extra bit of cool-weather warmth. Great moto details like reinforcements at hard points, vented pits and an adjustable neck strap make the Knockhill even more practical. Keep in mind, though, that it’s more vintage sophistication than you can probably handle, so wear with caution. This one absolutely requires the right, slick but rugged two-wheeled steed.
Wear It While Riding: Wrenchmonkees Monkee #60 Yamaha SR 400
Schott NYC Retro Café Racer
Not many American clothiers do retro moto leather quite like the folks at Schott NYC. Their simple and crisp Retro Café Racer is as stylish as they come. The protective sleeve caps look great, while the vintage racing stripes mimic that café racer culture we love so much. A zipped chest pocket and sleeves, double snap banded collar and internal pocket top off the nice touches on this very thick cowhide moto jacket. Your bike of choice should also be appropriately retro.
Wear It While Riding: Harley-Davidson Dark Custom 883, $8,399
Roland Sands Enzo
Roland Sands Designs makes some of the best retro moto jackets around, and the Enzo looks like it’s been handed down a few times already. The café style jacket hits at the hip and is made for comfortable riding with rotated and curved sleeves so you’re minimizing break-in time; it’s ready to go right out of the box. The shoulders and sleeves are fitted for armor and the longer back means minimal exposure in the saddle. The nicely oiled brown leather is appropriately vintage, so it looks as good as it functions.
Wear It While Riding: Deus Ex Machina French Connection
Saint Laurent Leather Biker Jacket
This classic biker jacket will have you looking like Brando’s Wild One, but your pals might call you a rebel without a brain when they see the price tag. Regardless, this Italian-made jacket is a stunner. The thick and soft lambskin leather will age beautifully, and there are more zippers than you’ll ever need.
Wear It While Riding: Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, $10,490
Levi’s Made & Crafted Leather Biker Jacket
If you don’t want bells and whistles and simple style is your mantra, then look no further than Levi’s jacket. The 100 percent sheepskin is soft and supple and the basic moto design will look good just about anywhere. Zipped and snapped cuffs keep your sleeves secure while adjustable side buckles give you the right fit. Two zipped chest and hand-warmer pockets are the only practical decor you need. It’s got just the right touch of classic and modern.
Wear It While Riding: Ducati Monster 796, $10,495