Finding the right motorcycle jacket can be tough. Do you want to go the traditional route with some fine cowhide, or does high-tech textile construction suit your needs? Don’t forget about protection either because it’s a lot more fun to ride with peace of mind. MCUSA editors have been putting a number of jackets through the ringer this past year and they’ve finally decided on some favorites for the 2012 Motorcycle Gift Guide: Jackets.
Icon 1000 Chapter Jacket
How much do we like our Icon 1000 Chapter Jacket? Enough to make our other motorcycle jackets jealous because of lack of attention. Since the Icon 1000 Chapter Jacket arrived in our office in March, no other jackets have been getting any love. It’s gorgeous, from its cut to its thick brown Brazilian cowhide that’s supple and durable. Soft enough to wear right out of the box but reinforced with D30 CE-approved impact protectors in the shoulders, elbows and back. The armor is integrated so subtly you don’t even notice it and it doesn’t square up your shoulders like you’re wearing football gear. It vents well courtesy of two zippered vents in the back and plenty of carefully placed perforations. Plus the brown jacket we’ve been testing doesn’t attract near as much as a black one. A removable diamond-tuck liner is classy, just like the jacket. Can’t count how many times people have complimented how good-looking this jacket is. Premium product comes with a premium price though, because its $600 price tag places it in the uptown range. – Bryan Harley.
RSD Ronin Leather Jacket
The RSD Ronin jacket is a stunning piece of work, and our favorite leather jacket tested to date. We sourced the Ronin for everything from casual rides to long distance tours. Riders will definitely look the part, but the Ronin doesn’t shirk in performance either. There’s substance to this stylish jacket. Fit is tailored to a riding stance, with decent ventilation from the perforated panels. We’re confident in its durability too, with crash protection bolstered by easy to access armor inserts. The interior liner is comfortable as well, and the armor can be taken out quickly – making the Ronin a great looking jacket off the bike. – Bart Madson
REV’IT Tarmac Air Leather Jacket
Riders looking for a slim and well-fitting leather riding jacket will adore REV’IT!’s Tarmac Air Leather Jacket. The coat offers the protection and warmth of leather with surprisingly effective ventilation making it useful during the warmer months of summer, too. The fit is slender which keeps excess material from bunching and keeps the jacket in place when riding at higher speeds. Another nice touch is the zipper connection at the back of the waist so it can be paired with REV’IT pants thereby providing complete protection. Perhaps the best part is that the jacket is currently on close-out so you can save hundreds of dollars over new. – Adam Waheed
MSRP: $649.99; Sale Price: $349.99
Joe Rocket Velocity Jacket
While December might not be the warmest time of year, summer will eventually return and with it, high temperatures. The Joe Rocket Velocity Jacket is a lightweight, well ventilated and well protected choice for the rider in your life who wants to stay safe and cool while on the road. Contoured armor at the shoulders and elbows and a removable Dual Density spine pad with pocket for optional CE spine armor mark just some of the protective characteristics of the Velocity. The FreeAir mesh shell offers constant cooling while on the move, while the six-point SureFit custom adjustment system ensures a tight fit, whatever your body type. The Velocity also has an extended back and belt loop for pant attachment. – MotoUSA.
Klim Latitude 840 Jacket
Klim builds gear that will outlast your current ride in the garage, and the Klim Latitude 840 Jacket is no exception. Its 840 Cordura and Gore-Tex construction is fully water and virtually bombproof. There are enough straps, zippers and vents to customize the fit to your liking, and the reflective strips and armor will help keep you safe on and off the road. We recently used the Latitude 840 in the 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere Two-Up Review and since then it has been my go-to Dual Sport and Adventure Touring Jacket. To be honest I will probably lose the jacket before I wear it out. – Justin Dawes.
Axo Stone Jacket
The Axo Stone jacket is very versatile and while it’s suggested for off-road use it can also be used for sport touring or dual-sporting. The Stone has a bunch of different options including a removable collar to accommodate the use of a neck brace. A camel back-style bladder can be placed in a pocket on the back and a grommet for a hose is found up front. An adjustable waist and arms allows you to tailor the fit to accommodate your preference. One of my favorite aspects is the big zipper openings that allow for airflow. The zippers are big enough to feel with gloves on and enable riders to open the vents while riding. If you’re looking for a top notch off road jacket, the Axo Stone should be on your Christmas list. – Frankie Garcia.
Icon Contra Jacket
Icon’s nylon textile Contra Jacket is a comfortable, well-protected piece of gear. The stylish Contra draws inspiration from the world of MX in appearance, but has removable CE Field Armor impact protectors on the shoulders and elbows to make sure you’re safe on the pavement. Heavyweight ballistic impact panels and a removable dual-density foam back pad provide added protection as well. It comes with a detachable, insulated liner and an internal zippered pocket for secure storage. Mesh panels allow air to flow through easily, helping you to keep cool on even the warmest days. – MotoUSA.