Race trim: Best sporty leather jackets

A leather one piece race suit is the way to go for track riding, but if you want to keep the race look on the road then a sporty leather jacket may be a more practical solution. Most can be paired up with matching leather jeans to give a similar level of protection, but generally have a less race-focused fit so that you can feel comfortable off the bike too. They also have useful features like pockets that aren’t necessary in a race suit.

There’s no doubt that a leather jacket looks cool, but the main reason for wearing one is the resistance that cowhide has to abrasion. You can get an indication of how effective a given jacket will be in a slide by its CE rating, with AAA being the highest level. This also covers the strength of seams and zips among other details. One drawback of leather is that the thicker it is, the less flexible the jacket is likely to be, so accordion panels or stretchy textile sections are often incorporated to enhance rider manoeuvrability.

Check out the armour too, as it should have approved elbow and shoulder protectors at the very least. Armour is rated at Level 1 or 2, with the latter offering better impact protection. Many manufacturers will also include a back protector, or at least have a pocket for one, and there are also airbag options available. Bear in mind that if you’re planning to attach a pair of jeans, the jacket will need a compatible zip around the waist.

Comfort should be also be a consideration, so look for features such as soft trimmed collar and cuffs, mesh linings and removable thermal layers. As sporty leather jackets are designed for when you’re working hard on the bike, perforated panels for ventilation are a common feature, echoing those found in race suits. As a result, very few are waterproof, but there are exceptions.

We’ve picked a selection below to cover a variety of budgets.

Price: 284.99 (was £289.99)
A great jacket for pairing up with leather jeans for a two piece track suit, the RST Tractech Evo 4 has a AAA CE rating and comes with a full set of Level 1 armour. Four way stretch panels enhance rider manoeuvrability and it has an aerodynamic race hump for high speed stability. It's fully ventilated thanks to large perforated sections and has a removable mesh liner.
  • AAA CE rating
  • Level 1 shoulder and elbow armour
  • Level 1 back protector
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • External TPU armour
  • Race hump
  • Removable lining
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 398.99 (was £419.99)
Constructed from 1.3mm leather, the Faster V2 comes with Astars' Nucleon elbow and shoulder armour. There's provision for a similar back protector as well as the option to add the Tech-Air 5 airbag system. MCN's Joseph Wright has given the Faster V2 an in depth review.
  • AA CE rating
  • Shoulder and elbow armour
  • Provision for back protector
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • Matching leather jeans available
Tested by Dan Sutherland for one year, 1,000 miles. Quality 4/5, Value 3/5. There’s no question that the Richa Mugello is an expensive jacket at a penny shy of £420, but it’s a high-quality garment stuffed with comfortable, supple D3O protection. An understated design, with a streak of red across the chest and on the hard external shoulder protectors, it’s kept me safe and stylish on a range of bikes from early spring to the beginning of autumn. With perforations for ventilation, this is not a jacket for winter without plenty of layers, but it’s not billed as that.

It may be made of 1.3mm cowhide leather and feature a thermal lining, but you do get a cooling chill through the stretch panels of the arms, but that is welcome when the temperature climbs. On top of this, you also get D3O armour on the shoulders and elbows as standard which are soft, comfortable, and unnoticed when you’re riding, however I think you should get a back protector as standard for this price.

This particular jacket has the back armour installed and it too is soft and flexible, adding to the comfort. If you want to take things further, there’s space for a chest protector, too. Also adding to the comfort are the soft neoprene cuffs, with Velcro waist straps also allowing you to tailor it to your exact fit. Those wanting to make it into a set of two-piece leathers can do so too thanks to the wrap around zip.
  • AA CE rating
  • Level 1 shoulder and elbow armour
  • Provision for back and chest protection
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • External TPU armour
  • Detachable liner
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 314.93 (was £419.90)
The Vortex 2 has aggressively pre bent arms for a sporty riding position and flex accordion panels at the sides for flexibility. The track ready theme continues with an aerodynamic hump and external sliders at the shoulder and elbow. Perforated chest and arms, plus a full 360° waist zip for connecting jeans.
  • Shoulder and elbow armour
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • External TPU shoulder and elbow armour
  • Race hump
  • Detachable liner
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 474.95 (was £499.95)
As the name suggests, Dainese's sporty Super Race leather jacket is pretty much track ready. Crafted from specially treated D-SKIN® 2.0 leather, it features CE Level 2 armour at the shoulder and elbow, with exterior seamless aluminium sliders for added protection. Pockets are provided for optional chest and back protectors and the 'Nanofeel' liner brings an extra touch of comfort. Ventilation comes in the way of zipped side vents and a full length zip allows for the attachment of Dainese jeans.
Price: 459.99 (was £479.99)
A full grain leather jacket with removable thermal liner. Arms are pre bent for a sporty riding position, with neoprene cuffs for comfort. D3O armour is included for shoulder and elbow, and there are pockets for optional back and chest protection. Perforated chest and arms, with additional intake vents at the clavicle.
  • AAA CE rating
  • Level 1 shoulder and elbow armour
  • Provision for back and chest protection
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • External TPU shoulder and elbow armour
  • Removable thermal lining
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 349.99 (was £399.99)
The Weise Hydra comes with removable thermal and waterproof linings to give it true versatility. The outer is constructed for 1.2-1.4 mm leather and in additional to ventilated panels has adjustable vents at the clavicle, upper arm and lower back. Comfort touches include neoprene trim for collar and cuffs.
  • AA CE rating
  • Shoulder and elbow armour
  • Back protector
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • Removable thermal lining
  • Removable waterproof lining
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 224.99 (was £299.99)
A great value jacket, the 4.0 boasts 1.1mm cowhide leather construction and textile stretch panels for flexibility and comfort. Direct ventilation via perforations and mesh panel that runs vertically next to the main zip. Pockets both inside and out and reflective panels for visibility.
  • Unknown CE rating
  • Shoulder and elbow armour
  • Level 1 back protector
  • Perforated for ventilation
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • Removable lining
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 224.99 (was £349.99)
The Luna is packed with creature comforts. It has a removable Outlast temperature control liner to keep you warm in winter, a mesh lining for breathability and neoprene trimmed collar and cuffs to prevent chafing. It features Level 1 Safetech elbow and shoulder armour with the option for fitting a back protector, however it's also compatible with Merlin's integrated airbag system.
  • Unkown CE rating
  • Level 1 shoulder and elbow armour
  • Provision for back and chest protectors
  • Full connection zip
  • Stretch panels
  • Removable thermal liner
  • Matching leather jeans available
Price: 284.99 (was £379.99)
This sports style street jacket, featuring many of the details found on race kit. Level 2 Seesoft shoulder and elbow armour is included, with provision for similarly spec'ed back and chest protectors. A detachable thermal liner adds practicality and there's a short connector zip for attaching REV'IT! jeans.
  • Unkown CE rating
  • Level 2 shoulder and elbow armour
  • Provision for back protector
  • Stretch panels
  • External TPU armour
  • Removable lining
  • Matching leather jeans available

Justin Hayzelden is a Commercial Content Writer at MCN Products. He has extensive industry experience, having spent over 10 years as a freelance road tester and journalist.

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