Safety in style: Best casual textile motorcycle jackets

Casual motorcycle jacket
Casual motorcycle jacket
10

Casual textile motorcycle jackets offer all the comfort and style of a fashion garment but also carry some level of proper protection to the rider.

Sometimes, you want the full-length protection that a touring-style textile motorcycle jacket offers. The combination of coverage, adjustability and flexibility just can’t be beaten, particularly if you’re commuting or on a long tour.

However, other times, you may want a less formal and traditional style of jacket, particularly if you’re out for a short ride for fun or in an urban setting, for example. In this case, there are plenty of casual textile motorcycle jackets around that will keep you safe, warm and even dry but won’t necessarily look like a motorcycle jacket.

What to look for in a casual textile motorcycle jacket

Of course, regardless of the style, you should still be looking for a jacket that will keep you protected, so investigate CE ratings, which apply just like other garments, with B the lowest-protection rating up to A, AA and AAA, the latter the highest.

Also, when considering a casual textile motorcycle jacket, look for armour in at least the elbows and shoulders and if one isn’t present, a pocket for a back protector. Again, Level-2 armour is more effective than Level-1.

Some jackets may include removable thermal liners to keep you warm on chilly rides while many will offer some form of waterproofing, at least water resistance to offer some protection in showers.

With so many casual textile motorcycle jackets on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky, but here a few we reckon look good and will look after you on your bike.

Price: £159.00 (was £329.00)
Tested by Mike Armitage for three months, 1,500 miles.

Have you seen those bizarre Youtube videos of people taking things out of packaging? I think they call it ‘unboxing’. I’ve got better things to do with my time than to sit watching someone else pull open cardboard – but admit that I sort of get it after this Enginehawk jacket arrived. The box is heavy, glossy and perfectly presented, and the inner layers and perfect wrapping give a genuine sense of occasion. And the best bit, of course, is that the jacket within is chuffin’ glorious too.

Enginehawk is a still-new British brand from the people behind Ruroc helmets, and while the Mother Trucker name might be a tad cringey this is a classy textile jacket. Calling it ‘textile’ is perhaps a bit misleading, as the 85% cotton (and 15% nylon) material gives a modern wax jacket look and feel. It feels heavyweight and robust, without actually being cumbersome.

Detailing is great: I really like the logos on the high-quality press studs, loops to attach to a belt, discreet zip-open vents, subtle branding and chain-link hanger tag. I like the sense of safety too: it’s got an AA rating for tear and abrasion resistance and comes with lightweight, flexible armour in the shoulders, elbows and back. Feels like I could trust it in a spill as well – and that’s important.

There’s a fur lining inside the collar and main body (with mesh inserts for the vents), but despite this the Mother Trucker hasn’t really the warmth that calling it a ‘classic winter trucker jacket’ implies. Mind you, I’m nesh and feel the cold, and the jacket is great three-season clobber with just a T-shirt or single base layer underneath. There’s no fur in the sleeves, so it’s easy to slide off on a warm day. There’s no fancy membrane or mention of the word waterproof either; however, Enginehawk say that it’s water resistant and it’s certainly resisted the showers I’ve encountered so far.

Criticism? The collar clips down, but it’d also be handy if you could clip the tips together to hold it up and keep you neck snug on a cool ride. And, of course, the name is a bit duff. But this is about it. Everything about the jacket justifies its price, from the features and fit right back to that impressive unboxing carryon. Worth £329? Definitely. However, Enginehawk have been having a sale and at the time of writing the Mother Trucker is just £159. Blimey. For a jacket with the quality to rival the best stuff from the established go-to brands, that’s astounding.
  • Quality:
    5.0
  • Value:
    5.0
MCN Rated Best Women's Jacket
Price: £193.99
Tested by Saffron Wilson for 4 months, 2,807 miles

I always have the issue with women’s jackets that they are too short in the arm or the body, but the Lausanne didn’t fair too badly although I’d recommend teaming it up with long gloves for the motorway if you’re planning a longer ride through the rain.

The jacket is waterproof for the most part and I only had a little seepage through the zip in exceptionally heavy rain, so the Aquashell membrane held up well. The finish is nice to the touch, and the D30 shoulder, back and elbow protection is one less thing to worry about, although the elbow pads made the jacket quite tight on the arms to begin with.

The pockets are a decent size and can handle a phone easily, and the detachable thermal lining was welcome when the weather got too hot. Which is ideal because even though it is a waterproof jacket, it doesn’t look out of place on a summer ride.

You can get the Lausanne in grey or black, and there is a connection zipper for trouser attachments if you have any handy. Just remember to do up the collar button else you’ll be driven insane with the collar tapping on your helmet at motorway speeds.
  • Quality:
    4.0
  • Value:
    4.0
Tested by Mike Armitage for two months, 500 miles.

Sorry, who? I’d not heard of John Doe until my teenage son Ed started looking for proper bike kit and began showing me clobber that matched his image requirements but still claimed to be genuine bike gear. The promise of comfort, ‘urban streetwear’ style and protection seemed too good to be true – but this Explorer jacket is great.

With more than a hint of a classic M65 military jacket, the Explorer is made from cotton twill but with XTM Fiber underneath. This is their abrasion-resistant material, which is also stretchy and includes Coolmax to make it breathable and un-clammy. With this fancy material and discreet armour in the elbows, shoulders and back, the jacket has full-on AAA safety certification.

It’s staggering that something so light, comfy and easy to wear can be so handy at protecting your bark should it all go upside-down. There’s no fancy-sounding waterproof membrane, however the tight weave of the cotton and a Beeswax finish mean it’s water-resistant to a column of 900mm – this means it’ll deflect unexpected showers but doesn’t have the weather-beating capabilities for a 400-mile ride in a winter storm. Not that you’d wear it in winter anyway; with no thermal liming the Explorer is what you’d call a ‘three-season’ jacket (at best).

Details are good. The press studs are large and satisfying to click, there are plenty of pockets, its interior lining has a quality feel, and the sleeves are long and so don’t ride-up on the bike. I appreciate the discreet logos and badges, too. In business since 2001, John Doe clearly believe in the product too: there’s a five-year warranty. Colour options are Olive (this army-ish green), Camel (a warm sand colour) and Black (which is… er, black). Sizes range from XS to 5XL.

Buy directly from John Doe’s website (where you’ll also find some rather cool trousers, protective shirts, gloves, boots and more) and the Explorer is around £30 delivered to your door, depending on exchange rates. There are also a few stockists in the UK so you can go and see it for yourself, including Sportsbike Shop.
  • Quality:
    5.0
  • Value:
    5.0
Tested by Ali Silcox for 6 months, 2,00 miles.

I love the way that motorcycle gear has changed over recent years and you can wear protective kit, that doesn’t look bikey. Italian biking brand, Tucano Urbano, are experts at making their gear look stylish, while being practical and functional. The Ovetta jacket is no exception, CE certified to an A rating, this soft-shell jacket is made from a polyamide, is water resistant, has a fleece lining and a windproof membrane.

It’s a great fit and has been designed specifically for women, it comes in a full range of sizes and the fit is true to size. There’s cuff adjusters and the sleeves fit perfectly under all manner of riding gloves. Zipped outer pockets accommodate keys and cash, while inner pockets will hold a mobile phone. I’ve worn it since the spring time and found that because there’s no venting and with it being a solid black colour, on warmer days it’s a little too hot.

There’s CE approved, level 1 armour at the shoulders and elbows plus a back protector pocket, the back protector can be purchased for around £35. I like the way it looks, I think it’s great when paired with either riding leggings or denims, casual and smart, with the protection of a biking jacket but not the bulk. At under £100 it’s great value for money and a welcome addition to my riding wardrobe.
  • Quality:
    5.0
  • Value:
    5.0
Great for warmth
Price: £59.99
We've looked at Jet clothing before and it always seems to get good reviews. This armoured hoodie is no different.

The jacket is formed with a softshell, water-resistant material so it's light and flexible and though it's windproof, it's windproof, it's also breathable, making it ideal for summer rides.
Price: £133.92
Back in the day (late 1970s/early 80s), everyone wanted a Harrington. The short British jacket with the tartan lining was an icon and this version from Oxford keeps you safe on your bike. CE A rated, it comes with Level-1 shoulder and elbow armour and a pocket for a back protector. It uses Oxford's Dry2Dry membrane for water resistance yet breathability and has a Kevlar lining across the key areas.
Price: £109.99
Another timeless design, the MA-1-style flight jacket is now brought up to date by Spada, which makes it perfect for cool and casual rides. CE rated, it comes with CE armour in the shoulders and elbows with a pocket for a back protector.

It has a waterproof liner that helps keep the cold out while allowing the body to breathe and this is finished in the traditional bright orange – used by downed pilots to signal rescuers. Elasticated neck and cuffs and an arm pocket complete the look.
This CE A-rated jacket from Spidi has an Artic explorer look and feel to it, with an elasticated waist and cuffs and a removable hood. It is formed in a soft-shell outer with a microfleece lining and uses Spidi's 'Step in' layering system, so a thermal inner jacket can be added for cold rides.

It comes with a four-piece Level-1 armour set with the option to add a back protector and the H2Out membrane will keep water out but allow the body to breathe.
Price: £119.99 (was £159.99)
This hoodie from French manufacturer Furygan packs a serious punch; AA rated for overall protection and supplied with D3O armour, it has an option for a back protector from the manufacturer's range and can also be used with the company's airbag products, using the In&motion sensor and deployment technology. Its soft-shell outer hides a removable thermal liner and waterproof and breathable membrane for comfort.
Price: £135.99 (was £169.99)
Hoodies certainly seem to be the casual style of choice at the moment and this one from Richa combines modern casual looks with protection. The hood is removable and the cotton outer soft-shell jacket offer CE-rated protection to level A. There is D3O armour at the shoulders, elbows and back and it has a ribbed expanding waist and cuffs. It also has a connection zip to join trousers to prevent gaping while riding.
Price: £103.99 (was £129.99)
The Frontline, from RST, forms part of the brand's 'Built with Kevlar' collection and has a waterproof softshell outer backed with a Kevlar lining in key areas, such as the shoulders and elbows. It is CE A-rated and comes with Level-1 armour at the shoulders and elbows with a pocket for an optional back protector and also features a SinAqua waterproof and breathable membrane as well as zipped vents in the front and rear to allow cooling airflow.
Price: £139.99
One for the ladies here, as the Stealth has a more fitted design. A soft, fleece hoodie that hides a CE AA-rated jacket with CE armour at the shoulders, elbows and a back protector. The soft outer shell is backed with an aramid-fibre lining, combining style and protection and the hood is removable if it gets in the way on the bike. An elasticated hem and cuffs ensure comfort while there is also a zip to join trousers.
Price: £110.48 (was £129.99)
Another jacket only available in a ladies' cut, this short textile casual comes with a faux fur-edge removable hood and tall collar to keep the cold out. It's formed in 600D fabric and features an Arma Tex waterproof and breathable lining to keep water out but prevent the body becoming too hot and sweaty. It also comes with CE armour at the shoulders and elbows and a pocket for an optional back protector while the thermal liner is removable for warmer rides.
Price: £149.99 (was £199.99)
One for when the mercury really drops, this CE A-rated jacket from Italian casual-clothing specialist Tucano Urbano uses the company's HydroScud five-layer technology to keep the rain out yet allow the body to breathe while an ecodown filling helps keep the rider warm and gives the appearance of a 'normal' puffer jacket. CE Level-1 armour is included at the shoulders and elbows and there's a pocket for a back protector.

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

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