Riding with Style, Safety, and Comfort: Your Guide to How a Motorcycle Jacket Should Fit

Motorcycle jackets are an almost iconic piece of gear that come with a distinctive vibe. Many of us will begin to think about leather biking jackets, and there are also many other fabrics and styles available that will get the job done. But a motorcycle jacket is more than just a stylistic choice, especially for those that regularly ride.

Much like having the right helmet and boots, you need a proper motorcycle jacket to provide safety while on the road. A well-designed motorcycle jacket will come with padding for protection, as well as insulation and ventilation for temperature regulation, no matter what time of year you ride.

In the many factors that make up the effectiveness of a jacket, how it fits is no doubt one of them. An ill-fitting coat won't be as good at keeping you comfortable and safe when you hit the road on that 3 wheel motorcycle of yours. So how do you know that the fit is right? By following the checkpoints listed on our guide.

How Should a Motorcycle Jacket Fit?

If you want a motorcycle jacket for merely aesthetic reasons, the fit won't matter as much to you. After all, the coat needs to be there to look stylish. However, when you're trying to pick out a piece of equipment that's much more suited to riding, whether it be for those who ride new or used motorcycles, most of what makes a good fit comes down to how the size matches up to your body.

Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to know what your size is, as there isn't a universal standard. Some manufacturers even have variations among their product lines. For the best results, we recommend being able to try on your jacket in person and seeing how it stacks up in these categories.

Length

Length comes into play in two major areas. First, if it's too long, it's much more likely to get in the way and billow upwards in the wind, letting in uncomfortable air. Second, too much fabric can mean that you'll have an awkward bunching effect around your waist as you ride. Neither is a favorable situation, but you don't want to go too short, either.

Instead, you should have a length that rests on your thighs whenever sitting on your bike while staying close to your belt line whenever you stand. Bikers who engage in adventure riding can go a bit longer, but you still don't want it flapping in the wind. Falling into this range gives you the comfort you need without also risking getting caught on your bike in the event of a crash.

Sleeves

The sleeves of your motorcycle jacket are another area where you want to pay attention to the length. For this measurement, the end of the sleeve should come to rest at mid palm if standing with your arms hanging down your sides. This length is preferable, as it will generally let the sleeves rest at your wrists whenever in the driving position.

If you're taking your measurements to compare to for purchase, keep the ideal sleeve length in mind, and don't use your regular shirt size for reference. Non-biking clothes and jackets will only fall to your wrist when you have your arms at your sides. This length isn't long enough for what you need from a motorcycle jacket.

Collar

When it comes to the collar of your jacket, the concern shifts from length to tightness. You want a collar to help protect your neck, but it also shouldn't be too loose. If it is, then you may find yourself with a bug flying in where you don't want it to be.

Loose collars also run the risk of hitting you in the face as you ride, especially if they have attachments or fasteners on them. (Collars with secure zippers or buttons can significantly reduce this risk.) The goal is to have everything closed off as securely as possible to keep you safe, without being so tight that your breathing feels constricted.

Overall Tightness

We mentioned it in the collar section because it applies there, but tightness is something you want to pay attention to when it comes to the entire jacket. Motorcycle jackets have designs that incorporate both ventilation systems to prevent overheating and enough insulation to keep you warm in the face of cold winds. The tightness can impact both these areas.

A too loose jacket may flap up at the edges, letting in cold air. On the flip side, too tight of a fit will mean that the ventilation system won't work correctly. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that, during the winter months, you'll likely be wearing your motorcycle jacket over a hoodie or sweater for extra warmth. If your coat of choice feels too tight with that extra layer in place, then you should go a size up.

For a tightness test, put on your jacket over a hoodie or extra layer, then zip it up. If you can hug yourself, then you should have enough room to keep your temperature regulated while also making sure you have enough mobility.

Comfort

While all the other factors play an essential role when it comes to safety, the most vital part of motorcycle jacket fit is its comfort. If you ride a lot, you'll be wearing your coat a lot, so you naturally don't want something uncomfortable to wear. An ill-fitting jacket can also discourage you from wearing it, which could mean you lose out on essential protection during an accident.

How to Stretch the Leather

One of the major appeals of a leather biking jacket is that it can adjust to fit your body and provide a comfortable shape. If you want to do this or you need to revive a leather garment that's been out of use for some time, consider these stretching tips:

  • Wear it around the house for a few hours
  • Use leather conditioner
  • Spray it with water and allow it to dry
  • Manually stretch out the leather with your hands several times a week

If you don't have much luck on your own, you can also take the jacket to a professional leatherworker.

Things to Consider When Buying a Motorcycle Jacket

Fit plays a role in picking out the best motorcycle jacket to suit your needs, but here are some other factors to keep in mind:

  • Style – Motorcycle jackets come in various designs and fits. While you should focus on how well the garment will do its job, there's nothing wrong with paying attention to aesthetic as well! Jackets that come from motorcycle manufacturers can give you a fresh matching style.
  • Protection – A jacket made for use while biking will come with protection and padding essential to your safety while in a crash. Wearing appropriate gear can impact your safety as well as your insurance claim in the event of an accident, so make sure your jacket delivers on this front.
  • Price – Like any other piece of motorcycle equipment, the price range can vastly vary when it comes to buying a jacket. Don't spend more than your budget can handle, but also don't skimp out on the right fit to get a better price.
  • Adjustability – Since the sizes of jackets and people cover a wide range, some motorcycle jackets will come with adjustable components to help you get a more customized fit.

While it can take time and effort, you can find the best motorcycle jacket that meets your needs, while also covering the area it should, not being too tight in any place while zipped, and providing you with a comfortable wearing experience as you ride your bike.

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