We all love a sporty jacket, fully vented with built in camelback, speed hump and made from the finest leather available in every colour, they are perfect for a warm weather spin to the local bike meet.
Now imagine wearing it to a slightly dodgy pub during a football game. You run the risk of getting a bottle over the back of your head within seconds of walking through the door or, even worse, you may get called a ponce.
Most of the bike clothing manufacturers have at least one casual looking jacket in their range nowadays so you can stay protected without shouting “look at me! I ride a motorbike!” to everyone within eyeshot.
Ducati Monster Anniversary
This is Ducati’s official jacket to honour 20 years of the Monster. I am supposed to remain impartial when reviewing products but as soon as this jacket arrived I knew it was my favourite. Even though there is no armour whatsoever it still has that Fonz from ‘happy days’ styling with the gold stitching in the Ducati logos and leather so soft I’m wondering if the cows that went into making it were moisturised daily. The price and lack of armour make this an item of indulgence.
Alpinestars Black Shadow Huntsman
Alpinestars’ casual offering is constructed from supple, premium full-grain leather with the distressed look that is synonymous with these kinds of jackets. Safety is high on the list of requirements for the Hunstman jacket with reinforced stitching in the shoulders and elbow for durability and both areas also contain removable CE-certified protection. The liner is a cotton blend for comfort plus an advanced poly-fabric inner sleeve for easy removal and re-fitting. The Alpinestars jacket comes with an internal zippered wallet pocket to stash your phone in and is 100% waterproof, a really handy little addition. General build and fit is as you’d expect from Alpinestars, that is class leading.
I know what you’re thinking, £434.99 for a leather jacket! Dainese kit has never been the cheapest but the R-Twin offers the Italian style with the build quality to match the price. Resin is used to treat the cowhide to give it the worn-out look and it has patented microelastic inserts in the rear that offer freedom of movement. Shoulder and elbow protection is composite and conforms to EN 1621.1/97 standard. Reassuring stuff, that. Colours are black, tan or dark brown.
Roland Sands Design Tracker
I’d love to tell you how well this jacket fitted before going into intricate detail about the quality of the stitching and the softness of the satin liner.
The truth is the tracker jacket belongs to our esteemed editor John Hogan and he wasn’t letting go of it, so it must be good. OK so it isn’t leather and you’ll need to fill the pockets for elbow, back and shoulder protection with armour you’ve bought separately, but it’s a price worth paying for a jacket that looks as bad-ass as this.
RSD isn’t huge over here yet so if exclusivity is your thing then this’ll be right up your street.
RST have a reputation for affordable kit that is right up there with the big players in terms of quality and their Retro jacket is no different. Constructed of 1.3mm vintage cowhide they have taken the quilted look and pushed it up a notch. Seams are triple stitched using bonded nylon thread and elbows and shoulders are protected courtesy of CE approved armour with space for an optional back protector. The retro jacket is also able to connect to their Kevlar jeans via the 360 zip for maximum protection with a casual look.
The Thruxton has taken pride of place in my wardrobe and I’ve been using it for the last couple of months. Within the first hour I had junked the built-in CE approved back protector as it sits awkwardly making me look like a hunchback. The elbows and quilted shoulders are also equipped with CE approved armour. The thermal quilted liner was also ditched to make it easier for me to get the YKK vintage styled zips fastened.
you know that being made by Weise it’s built to last and the 1.2mm brown leather comes with the distressed look already included.
French company Ixon have been making a name for themselves in the last few years with quality gear at decent prices and the Opium is their casual offering available in either brown or black leather. It may not have the flashy styling touches of some others in this review but the quality is there with CE approved elbow and shoulder protection and a removable winter liner. It may not have the badge but the price reflects this and it’s a good choice in the medium price bracket.
Furygan New Texas
The New Texas jacket from Furygan may seem a little pricey but when you start to look at the features you realise it offers pretty decent value for money. Shoulder and elbow protection is CE approved but uses super smart D30 material in its construction.
There is also a pocket to fit the optional D30 back protector. The liner has aluminium in the front for insulation and the outside has a unique wax coating.
Bering say their Branigan jacket pays tribute to the 70’s. The quilted panels on the shoulders and elbows certainly set the Branigan apart in a market of products that are very similar at a glance. Again the protection comes in the form of CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows, the latter of which can be adjusted to fit as well as an L2 back protector. There is triple stitching on all high impact areas to avoid tearing of the 1.5mm cowhide. The liner on the Bering jacket also contains thermo aluminium and is removable. Not the cheapest but you get a sturdy, top quality jacket that is sure to survive the test of time.
Coming in at the budget end of the range, the Café jacket from UK firm Spada is a pretty basic entry into leather jacket ownership. There is the ubiquitous CE armour in the shoulders and elbows and a removable fleece liner. It doesn’t have the label or quality finish of some of the others in this review and the price reflects that, although the fit isn’t particularly great either. You pays your money, you takes your choice.