Riding gear is something many of us usually avoid, knowing we are ignoring our safety. Previously we discussed why riding gear is so important that it may save you from the most brutal accident, in case you missed that post you may read here.
Today in this motorcycle riding jacket buying guide we will discuss, how to choose a good riding jacket considering the most important factors like types, safety, features, comfort, price, brand, etc.
Note: This guide is not biased to any brand, all the inputs are as per my personal knowledge.
Types of Riding Jacket
Mostly we have either the street-focused riding jacket or touring riding jacket by the name you may have already understood their purpose. Basically, a street-focused jacket has a maximum mesh panel for better ventilation, comparatively more tight fit and another hand touring riding jacket also known as an all-season riding jacket comes with better safety protectors, coverable mesh panels & little bit comfortable fit.
Also, there is another category, race suit which fits very snug and protects you best.
Safety is the biggest factor while choosing a functional Riding Jacket otherwise there is no point in wasting money, correct. Lets first discuss what parts are prone to impact in a crash or accident, Elbow, Shoulder, Spinal Cord, and lastly Chest. While getting chest protection may need to shell out a few bucks more but you must not compromise.
You may have heard a lot of certification standards like SAS-TEC, CE, etc. Generally in budget Riding Gears, especially jacket & pants companies provide CE Level 1/2 protectors which cost less but provide basic safety. The more you spend, the more safety you usually get.
For a good Riding Jackets below are must-have points.
Riding Jacket should be made of a minimum of 600D Polyester (heavy duty fabric) material to protect you from abrasion in case of a crash. Some mid-range even provides Cordura reinforcement at abrasive zones. There are many brands that mix leather or denim for better styling.
In India, we mostly face scorching heat throughout the year, hence ventilation plays an important role. Generally, you should choose mesh jackets that provide excellent airflow to keep you comfortable. We will discuss a little more in the types of Riding Jacket Section.
Most of the budget jacket includes an inner/outer rain liner, which may save you from light to moderate showers. Nowadays, even budget rain liners tend to get breathable material but only a few feel as comfortable as Gore-Tex. If possible choose a Riding Jacket with outer Inner Liner so that you can wear or remove quickly.
Thermal (Winter) Liner
Similar to rain liner this inner shell (mostly) provides comfortable & cozy feeling in colder temperature weather. In the case of sub-zero temperature, you can additionally wear rain liner too.
Removable Protectors for easy wash & Upgrade
Over time, Riding Jackets will get dirty, smell bad and provide less airflow, so you need to wash it. And frankly, I feel you should have removable protectors for ease of wash. Also, if you wish to upgrade armor, you should have an option.
You may use a rain liner or external raincoat but what about your essentials like a mobile? For that most of the Riding Jackets comes with minimum one waterproof pocket.
Lastly, it is very important to stay visible during the dark. Here reflecting panels work great, although most of the riding jacket has them still look for it before you decide.
One of the most driving factors to decide not to buy a riding jacket is comfort. It is true that it adds heft and sometimes may create irritation or feel quite uncomfortable because of comparatively thick high abrasive resistance material and protectors but trust me, things have changed a lot.
Today most of the jackets come with lighter fabric and protectors. With continuous usage, you will definitely get accustomed, and do not forget to check for cushioned trims on the cuff and collar area.
Also, keep in mind similar to snug helmet fit mentioned in our helmet buying guide, Riding Jacket must also fit well to protect you. Protectors should be in place (use the buckle to adjust), initially you may feel odd but in a week it will be comfortable.
Brand & Price
There are many brands in Riding Jacket categories like Alpinestars, Rynox, Furygan, Aspida, Biking Brotherhood, Zeus, Solace, Royal Enfield, and many more. I feel in 10K (INR 10000) range Rynox can be your best pick, I personally have it and no doubt they are advancing their technology to provide better safety and quality at very comparative price.
- Always try to get light-colored Riding Gear for additional visibility at night along with a reflective panel.
- I personally prefer to shop Riding Jacket or any other Riding Gear offline because the correct size & fit is very important and you can even observe the product better. In case buying online, try to test it in an offline shop and then order the size you felt perfect.
- Protectors are there to save you so buy the best protection possible in your budget.
- In a week or so, the Riding jacket will get comfortable, hence wear regularly (break-in).
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Thanks! Have a great day ahead.