Hot stuff: Best summer motorcycle jackets

Summer motorcycle jacket
Summer motorcycle jacket

Everyone loves riding in the summer. The sun’s out, the temperature is up, and the beach is a perfect ride away – what can be better than a blast to the seaside for fish and chips or an ice cream. We’ve all seen, and shivered in terror at, riders of motorcycles or scooters in summer wearing full-safety flip-flops, T-shirts and shorts as they whizz around enjoying the warm temperatures. My blood freezes when I see this kind of thing because, as romantic and cool as it looks, the damage even a low-speed off can do without a summer motorcycle jacket doesn’t bear thinking about.

Warm weather is no reason not to be properly protected so thankfully there are numerous summer motorcycle jackets that will keep you safe and protected while allowing you to enjoy the freedom and warmth of a summer ride.

Safety first

First and foremost, you need to look for protection. As with any motorcycle clothing, summer jackets will have an overall CE rating which shows how protective it is. This is a measure of its abrasion resistance, to protect you in case you end up sliding along the road as well as its construction methods, so it won’t come apart in a crash.

All motorcycle gear is classified as PPE and must contain a CE label stating it’s protective rating in letters; from C, B, A, AA and AAA, the latter being the most protective.

Like all other protective clothing, summer motorcycle jackets should also include CE-approved armour. This can be either Level-1 or Level-2; the latter indicates a higher absorption of impact and hence, protection.

Look for armour in at least the shoulders and elbows and ideally, a back protector as well though even if a jacket is not supplied with one, there should be one available as an option from the manufacturer, usually either Level-1 or Level-2. You may also find that chest armour is available to add more protection.

Staying cool

One thing a summer jacket needs to do differently from say a year-round or a winter jacket is keep you cool, rather than warm.

You may find that some come with removable thermal liners and these can be handy for early-morning starts or late-evening finishes but generally, a summer jacket will either have mesh in the low-impact zones to allow huge amounts of air flow into the body or at least several vents that can be opened to do the same thing.

Leather jackets may have perforated sections to allow air in since they can retain heat more than textiles sometimes.


Think summer motorcycle jacket and a classic leather jacket may spring to mind. Leather is great for protection – that’s why racers and trackday riders use leather suits – it offers the best abrasion resistance and generally, excellent construction too.

However, leather can be hot and heavy and doesn’t necessarily make the best summer jacket for very warm weather. Textiles can be better, as they can be lighter yet reinforced in key impact areas and can even be breathable without opening vents, if necessary.

Think about cleaning as well – insect roadkill can be a real issue in summer and you may find it easier to get dead bugs off textile material than say leather but conversely, you might feel the extra effort is worth it if you prefer cowhide, for example.


Like any motorcycle jackets, summer versions will have a variety of features. A thermal liner, as we said, might be handy if you’re leaving home early or expected late back. While it may be nearly 30° at lunchtime, it could be much less as dawn approaches…

Related: Best summer motorcycle trousers

You may also find waterproofing could be useful. British summers are notorious for unexpected rain and an element of rainproofing may go down well when an inevitable shower approaches. Alternatively, just keep a small waterproof overjacket under the seat in case.


You can get a decent summer jacket in almost every style you would want; traditional touring, street or sports, casual or urban, adventure, classic or retro. Whatever your personal style or your bike, there is something out there for everyone.

Here’s ouyr pick of some of the best summer motorcycle jackets.

Price: £199.98 (was £229.99)

The Knox Urbane is something of an odd garment. It is basically all the protection you need, it is CE AA rated and comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows and a Level-2 back protector.

It is formed in stretch material and has large areas of mesh in non-critical areas so it allows huge amounts of cooling air in to the body. It is designed to be worn close to the skin over a base layer and the idea is that you then wear your choice of clothing over the top.

If it’s raining, wear a waterproof. If it’s cold, wear a jacket or a hoodie. If it’s warm, just wear the shirt. It is super comfortable and you barely know you’re wearing it. A great concept brilliantly executed.
<strong>CE rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour rating:</strong> L1 (S, E), L2 (B)
<strong>Material:</strong> Textile
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Chest pocket

Price: £172.49 (was £229.99)

Many feel that a traditional leather jacket can be too heavy and cumbersome for summer riding but this one, from Duchinni, is extremely supple and lightweight and features perforated sections across the chest to allow cooling air in.

It also has a removable thermal vest in case things get chilly and has Velcro adjusters at the hem and over the cuffs, which have zip closures as well. It is CE AA rated and comes with a four-piece suite of Level-2 armour in the shoulders and elbows and has a pocket for a back protector.
<strong>CE Rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour:</strong> L2 (S, E), L1 (B – optional)
<strong>Material:</strong> Leather
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Perforations
  • Thermal vest
  • Chest pocket

Adventure or off-road riding can be very strenuous, so if you are heading away from the beaten track in warm weather, you need something that will keep you protected but at the same time, cool.

This jacket from T.Ur is an adventure jacket first and foremost but it is built to work very well in summer if you venture off-road. The main body is made from mesh with sections of Cordura in the impact zones.

This means that it admits vast amounts of cooling air yet achieves an overall CE rating of AA. It comes with Level-2 armour at the shoulders and elbows with a pocket for an optional L2 back protector and includes a waterproof thermal liner to keep rain and cold out as well.
<strong>CE rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour:</strong> L2 (S, E), L2 (B – optional)
<strong>Material:</strong> nylon/Cordura
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Waterproof/Thermal liner
  • Multiple pockets
  • Drink-bladder ready

This jacket from Merlin uses Cotec, a material that is loosely described as waxed cotton though it has none of the sticky, messy connotations that brings. It's the same material that is used for the Edale jacket we reviewed recently and though it feels initially fairly heavyweight, in use it is supple and easy-going.

This garment uses Cotec for the main body and in key impact zones while the non-crucial areas use mesh panels to allow huge airflow. There is a removeable waterproof and breathable thermal liner to keep you warm when chilly and it has a classic, semi-retro design. It is CE AA rated and comes with Level-1 armour at the shoulders, elbows and back.
<strong>CE Rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour:</strong> L1 (S, E, B)
<strong>Material:</strong> Cotec/ballistic mesh
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Waterproof and breathable thermal liner
  • Numerous pockets
Price: £244.99 (was £349.99)

RST has been on a mission in recent years to democratise airbag technology, aiming to make it accessible and relevant for every motorcyclist. Part of its range is the F-Lite airbag version, a short, sports-style mesh jacket that has the In&motion airbag technology built in from the outset.

As a jacket, it’s stylish and is made of a combination of HTC fabric and mesh and comes with a removable windproof liner for chillier rides where you don’t need the cooling ability. It is CE AA rated overall and comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows as well as the back protector that the airbag system is built into. It’s also available without the airbag and in a ladies cut too.
<strong>CE Rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour:</strong> L1 (S, E, B)
<strong>Material:</strong> HTC Fabric/K540 mesh
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • In&motion airbag
  • Windproof liner

The Eclipse is the highest-rated mesh jacket on Sportsbikeshop and it also gets great reviews on Amazon, and with good reason. It is a classic sports-style jacket that uses 600D polyester for the key impact zones and non-critical areas are formed with high-flow mesh for ultimate cooling.

It has adjusters on the cuffs, upper arms and waist and pockets at the front and inside. It is CE A rated and comes with Knox Flexiform Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows and there is a pocket for the optional L2 back protector. It’s great value and available in a ladies cut as well.
<strong>CE Rating:</strong> A
<strong>Armour:</strong> L1 (S, E), L2 (B – optional)
<strong>Material:</strong> Nylon
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Jeans loop

This second-generation version of the Network jacket from Italian predominantly-urban clothing manufacturer was the first piece of mesh clothing I ever used and it remains a cool and classy garment.

Formed in polyester, the key impact zones are in solid material while the rest is fully formed in mesh, for incredible airflow. It is made in a classic style and is supple and comfortable, with zip-close cuffs and Velcro adjusters as well as neoprene edging to the collar.

It also has a useful poacher’s pocket and is CE A rated, with Level-1 armour at the shoulder and elbows, with a pocket for a back protector.
<strong>CE rating:</strong> A
<strong>Armour:</strong> L1 (S, E)
<strong>Material:</strong> Polyester
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Neoprene collar
  • Poacher’s pocket

British kit brand Oxford Products has seemingly come up with the ideal summer jacket; it's a classic sports-style cut and the outer is formed in high-density polyester for an overall CE rating of AA.

However, the chest features huge mesh panels that allow copious amounts of air in and the entire outer is treated to prevent the material becoming waterlogged in rain.

It comes with a waterproof and windproof inner jacket so that if the weather is cold or damp at the beginning or end of a ride, you can stay dry and it comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders and elbows and a back protector pocket.

Check out our in depth review on the Oxford Dakar Air.
<strong>CE Rating:</strong> AA
<strong>Armour:</strong> L1 (S, E)
<strong>Material:</strong> Nylon
<strong>Cooling:</strong> Mesh
  • Waterproof liner

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Maria Martin

By Maria Martin

Former MCN Online Editor