Specialized motorcycle protective jackets and pants shouldn’t be considered optional. Today’s technology has removed the common objections that it’s too hot, too bulky or too uncomfortable to wear protective gear. Effective riding gear will be your best protection.
Leather was the original material-of-choice for protection and it still is on the race track. On the street, riders can also access Cordura nylon and other man-made fabrics. Considerations include water resistance, breathability, venting, removable thermal liners and body armour.
Jacket length is also a consideration. Sport and cruiser riders will prefer a shorter waist length jacket. Touring and adventure riders might prefer the greater coverage of a 3/4 length jacket.
The type of jacket you buy can be influenced by where you live and what you ride. Your area may require more waterproof gear. Other areas may benefit from thermal liners. Some jackets offer all features, waterproof, breathable, venting and armour plus style.
For riding in the rain you can take one of two options: You can wear a Goretex or similar riding jacket and pants or you can wear a rain suit over top of your riding gear. Please note that a rain suit does not offer enough protection to be worn instead of riding gear.
Body armour is very popular. It generally covers impact parts like shoulders, elbows and spine. New technology like D30 is soft and supple body armour until an impact, at which point is hardens up to absorb the shock. Lower body protection is pretty much a mirror of upper body protection. Armour protects knees and hips instead of shoulders and elbows.The same materials and features exist.
Many long-time riders will collect riding jackets like hockey cards. They don’t tend to wear out, so your collection could include a cold weather jacket, a wet weather jacket and a hot weather mesh jacket.