If ever there was a time to take your bike out for a spin, it’s the summer. The skies are clear, the weather is warm, and the roads are just beckoning for you to conquer them. And while there are plenty of daredevils that will hit the pavement in shorts and a t-shirt, we implore you to keep safety at the top of your priorities list – meaning you should still be decked out in protective gear.
Of course, wearing a helmet seems obvious, but you should also keep your extremities protected with proper pants and a jacket. Most motorcycle jackets, however, are hefty and thick – making for an uncomfortable ride when the mercury starts rising. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of gear brands out there that make protective jackets that are breathable and lightweight, so long as you know where to find them. And this is a good place to start, as we’ve rounded up the 10 best motorcycle jackets for summer.
BILT Blaze Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
The mesh construction of this jacket means that, while you’re racing down your favorite motorcycle road, the air can flow freely through the jacket – giving you a lot more breathability than, say, a leather jacket, while still offering up plenty of protection. And that protection comes in a number of forms, including abrasion resistance from the 600D protection panels, as well as memory foam impact pads. This isn’t the most armored jacket out there, but it’s got plenty of safety built-in for the cautious rider.
Exterior: Ultra-Flow Mesh With 600D Protection Panels
Armor: Memory Foam Impact Panels
Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
Built with performance bike riding in mind, this racing-style jacket offers up plenty of breathability – thanks to its mesh construction – but also doesn’t skimp on the safety. You see, the shell is reinforced with C.E. approved shoulder and elbow armor and there’s a removable spine pad with a pocket for additional back armor. It also features storage for hand warmers, sunglasses, and more. While the protection and breathability are all there to make this an excellent summer jacket, it also comes in a huge number of colorways, so you can customize it to your bike and the rest of your riding gear.
Exterior: FreeAir Poly/Mesh With RockTex Reinforcements
Liner: Removable Waterproof
Armor: C.E. Approved Elbows & Shoulders, Sculpted High-Density Padding At Ribs/Kidneys/Lower Back
Icon 1000 Basehawk Motorcycle Jacket
If any motorcycle gear brand knows how to strike a superb balance between iconic styling and next-generation technologies, it’s Icon, and their 1000 Basehawk motorcycle jacket is a perfect example of just that. Between its black-on-black hoodie appearance and construction of PU-coated fabric, this jacket will look good no matter where you ride and it’ll keep you safe, as well. And that’s only bolstered by how comfortable it is, resulting from a four-way stretch imbued into the ballistic nylon shell. This jacket also comes with a full suite of removable protective pads, so you will remain unharmed even if you take a spill.
Exterior: Four-Way Stretch Softshell, Ballistic Nylon, & Select-Grain Leather
Liner: Level 1 Waterproof
Armor: Full D30 Impact Protector Suite
Alpinestars T-GP R Air Motorcycle Jacket
A leader when it comes to gear designed for performance riders, Alpinestars has a style that is unmistakable – even to the untrained eye. And that bodes well for anyone who appreciates their gear’s sleekness. Luckily, they also are well aware that fans of their gear don’t want to stay off the roads or the race track when the weather gets warmer, which is why they built their T-GP R Air motorcycle jacket. With its PU-coated poly-fabric, perforation, and full-mesh lining, this jacket is both lightweight and breathable – but also features C.E. certified elbow and shoulder protection, as well as compartments for chest and back protection.
Exterior: PU-Coated 450D Poly-Fabric & Accordion Stretch Panels, Dual-Density Polymer Impact Panels
Liner: Full Mesh
Armor: C.E. Certified Elbow & Shoulder, Chest & Back Pad Compartments With PE Foam Padding
REV’IT! Levante Motorcycle Jacket
While the Levante is actually designed for 3/4-season motorcycle riding, one of the seasons it fits is definitely summer. The reason is simple: it features a lightweight outer shell with a detachable thermal waterproof liner – meaning you can make it even lighter when the weather gets warmer. But it doesn’t skimp on protection, either, as it comes with C.E. certified protection at the elbows and shoulders and has slots for a full suite of other armor (which is sold separately). It also comes with built-in reflective panels, should your rides take you into the evening.
Exterior: Polyester Rib & PWR Shell Mesh
Liner: Removable 2-in-1 Thermal Liner & Membrane, Detachable Hydratex G-Liner
Armor: C.E. Certified Knox Flexiform Shoulders & Elbows, Slot For Back Panel
Saint Unbreakable Motorcycle Jacket
Before you get up in arms over this jacket’s lack of armor reinforcement, let’s remember that the whole jacket is made from one of the most indestructible materials being used today: Dyneema. It’s insanely lightweight – the brand even claims that it can float on water – but has a protective rating that’s 133 times better than normal denim. It also stands up to a whopping 45-second slide time without failing, meaning the abrasion-resistance is through the roof. Sure, it doesn’t have padding, which is certainly a downside but is more than made up for in comfort, style, and durability.
Exterior: Dyneema UHMWPE Denim
Crave Montana Motorcycle Shirt Jacket
Made from Armalith – which, like Dyneema, is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene – this shirt jacket is incredibly lightweight while still being absurdly durable and protective. And while that combination makes for a very solid summer motorcycle jacket, it’s also hydrophobic – so you can wear it when the weather is less than ideal, as well. This jacket also features an extremely comfortable microfiber lining and comes with armor slots – so you can fit it with some extra protection if you see fit to include it. Incredibly stylish, comfortable, and safe – this jacket has it all.
Exterior: Armalith 2.0 UHMWPE Denim
Armor: Built-In Armor Slots
Jane Motorcycles The Driggs Waxed Canvas Jacket
Waxed canvas jackets are timeless in their styling, and while the material is fairly protective on its own, this particular one was specifically made to suit motorcycle riding, so it has a bit of extra protection to boot. In fact, every seam is double reinforced with a nylon thread for extra toughness, it has slots for a full suite of armor, and it features a comfortable satin lining with lambskin around the inside of the collar. And while you could certainly get away with wearing just a t-shirt under it, it’s also got enough room to layer when the weather takes a turn for the colder.
Exterior: 8.5 oz Waxed Canvas
Liner: 100% Satin, Lamb Skin Collar
Armor: Built-In Armor Slots
Aether Mojave Motorcycle Jacket
As you might imagine from its name, the Aether Mojave Motorcycle jacket might just be the ideal wear for warm-weather riding – thanks both to its construction of Halley Stevensons heavy-duty duck canvas and a lightweight poly-mesh lining. And while it is plenty breathable, it also offers up plenty of protection in the form of included removable D30 armor. But the features just keep on going, as this jacket also has a full complement of zippered vents to up the breathability even further, a number of internal organizational pockets to stash all your gear, and even more.
Exterior: Halley Stevensons Heavy Duty Cotton Canvas
Liner: 100% Poly-Mesh
Armor: Removable LP1-Series D30 Elbow & Shoulder Panels, Removable D30 Back Pad
Dainese Prima72 Perforated Leather Jacket
Brilliantly inspired, the Dainese Prima72 offers the same protection you’d get out of any full leather jacket but is much more breathable thanks to its perforation. It’s a relatively simple alteration, but it makes the difference between sweltering uncomfortably and riding breezy. But it’s not just the simple fix that makes this jacket special, as it also features removable protection pads, a number of pockets in which to stash your everyday carry gear, and the leather is a high-grade soft cowhide that’s soft to the touch for maximum comfort.
Exterior: Open Grain Cowhide Leather
Armor: Removable C.E. Certified Pro-Armor Elbow & Shoulder Panels, G1/G2 Back Protector Pocket
10 Best Motorcycle Backpakcs
Whether headed to and from work or out for the weekend, you need something reliable in which to haul all your gear. Find something worthwhile on our list of the 10 best motorcycle backpacks.