Motorcycle jackets have come on leaps and bounds in the past 20 years or so. It wasnít so long ago that such garments were thought of as shiny, sweaty, unreliable and generally not worth the hassle. Leather ruled the roads and real men wore wax cotton.
There are many things to look for but with prices for quality items starting as low as £90 thereís something for everyone on the market.
You should look for a waterproof motorcycle jacket that has CE approved armour in the elbows and shoulders as a bare minimum. If it isnít stamped on the armour then the chances are its fake stuff and will offer little protection. You need to look for the code EN1621 on the product. Believe it or not fake protective clothing is widely sold, particularly on market stalls, and even at motorcycles shows. If youíre in any doubt just walk away.
A lot of waterproof motorcycle jackets will have a foam sheet in the back, donít be fooled into thinking that this is protective armour; itís generally only there to form the pocket and show that it exists. Some waterproof motorcycle jackets will have a CE approved armour sheet in the pocket, as with elbow and shoulder armour, check the labelling.
Another very useful feature in many waterproof motorcycle jackets is a removable thermal liner. This makes the waterproof motorcycle jacket a lot more versatile and extends its seasonal life. The quality and efficiency of the liner varies but just because a liner is thin donít be fooled into thinking it wonít keep you warm. There are some very high tech fabrics in available, such as Rukkaís Outlast linings.
Some waterproof motorcycle jackets are now available with three layers, meaning that you can remove the warmth and waterproof liners leaving an abrasion resistant armoured shell for the summer months. These really are year round motorcycle jackets and if youíre on a budget then this could be a very practical choice. Good quality items with this feature start at around £150.
A good retailer will also have a selection of ladies waterproof motorcycle jackets which are generally tailored to the female form.
As a rule of thumb leather isnít a waterproof fabric but some menís waterproof jackets now use material called Gore pro shell leather. This is a very high tech, and high priced material that several manufacturers such as Rukka, Dainese and Alpinestars are using in a limited number of items. Expect a suit to cost well into four figures though.
A very useful feature to look for is adjustability, not just on the waist but also on the hem and sleeves. This means that when you take the liners out, or are wearing less layers yourself the garment can be adjusted to fit you properly. Itís a good idea to try the waterproof motorcycle jacket on with the most amounts of layers you will ever wear underneath, and as with any motorcycle clothing try to sit on a bike with the motorcycle jacket to see how it feels.
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RDM (UK) Limited trading as Infinity Motorcycles
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