About a year and a half ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Interestingly, I had no desire to actually purchase a motorcycle, but thought it would be both fun and helpful to go through some training and at least get myself an M1 license. Attaining the skill of riding a motorcycle was enough for me.
If you have similar aspirations, I just want to say right now: don’t fool yourself. If you go through a class and get a license, chances are that you’ll be shopping for a motorcycle relatively soon afterwards. At least this was my experience. Once you get a little taste, you’ll probably want more.
Anyhow, in the case that you have a motorcycle already, you probably know that motorcycle gear is a huge part of the experience. I’m a huge believer in getting the most robust gear possible. Get a back protector, pay the extra dime for thick cowhide leather, buy motorcycle pants, don’t skimp on the helmet, etc.
However, after you have all the heavy-duty equipment necessary, you’ll realize that sometimes you just want to take your bike from your place to a nearby restaurant, and lugging 40 lbs of gear around isn’t worth it. This is where the casual motorcycle jacket comes into play. Something you can wear on the bike with safety, but also strut around confidently in at the theater or restaurant.
Here are three recommendations I have on casual on-the-bike-off-the-bike motorcycle jackets:
Roland Sands makes some slick jackets. I'm a huge fan of a couple of their models, including the Enzo and Tracker, but I would have to say that the Ronin is my favorite. For one, it’s made of full grain cow-hide leather. I don’t care what other people will tell you, leather is the king for abrasion and impact resistance, so choose leather when possible. I will say that this jacket doesn’t come with any armor/padding, but the good news is that it has built in pockets to accommodate armor (D3O and Roland Sands' own armor sets are good options).
Although expensive, Aether Apparel makes some of the best-designed motorcycle jackets around. They are a fashion first company, but make no mistake that their motorcycle jackets are also very technical in nature. This model might be my favorite from a price/design perspective, but I will say that their premium model, the Eclipse, is also a stunner. If it just didn’t cost me an arm and a leg..
3. Dainese Mike
This is a jacket I personally own. Dainese is a well-respected Italian manufacturer of motorcycle gear, and they’ve always been my favorite brand for this type of stuff. The Mike is subtle, with very little branding and an incredibly simple design. But frankly that’s what I love about it. It also comes in with relatively low-profile (but substantial) protection.
If you have any interest in riding, take my advice and invest in some good quality gear. These three models not only provide adequate protection, but they also look fantastic. You won’t regret it.