The Sportsbikeshop guide to laminated waterproof motorcycle gear

Paid partnership with Sportsbikeshop


Staying warm and dry on the bike in poor whether is every rider’s top priority, but you can’t count on the first unless you take care of the second- there’s no point investing in thermal base layers and down-filled insulation if it’s going to get wet.

For a long time, the solution has been a separate waterproof membrane worn underneath your jacket or trousers. This is covered in microscopic holes that are too small to let rain in, but large enough to allow sweat to evaporate, so you don’t overheat.

These drop-liners do a great job of keeping rain from reaching your skin, but they have limitations – you have to remember to zip them back in after a period of warm weather, and they still allow the outer fabric to get soaked, eventually making it heavy and cold.

wet weather

Laminated waterproof gear features a liner bonded to the inside of the outer fabric. The tech has existed for years but only very recently has it become more affordable – Oxford’s Mondial Advanced jacket can be found for under £200 at Sportsbikeshop (and is RiDE Recommended) and there are plenty of options for not much more.

But that’s still an extra outlay compared to a more basic drop-liner jacket, with options like the RST Axis starting from under £100. So, what’s the deal with laminates, what gear does it feature in, and who’s it best for? Here is MCN and Sportsbikeshop’s guide to the best things (and some not so good) about laminated waterproof motorcycle gear.

You don’t need to remember a waterproof layer

Drop-liners tend to get removed the second the sun shows its face and for good reason – while they’re more breathable than old “boil-in-the-bag” waterproofs, they still insulate warm air against your skin. They also block cooling air coming in through any vents you might have, making them sweaty in summer.

So when you get caught in a sudden downpour with your lining stuffed into a pannier (or worse, a drawer at home) you’ll need to pull over to zip them back in. Not a huge issue for your jacket, but having to remove your trousers at the side of the road is not ideal, and unless you can find somewhere dry to get changed, you’re going to get wet.

With laminated gear the fabric itself is already waterproof – no need for a removable liner at all. It’s also quite likely that the drop liner doesn’t actually cover the entire garment, again, not the case with laminated fabric.


  • Supremely waterproof
  • Excellent D30 armour
  • Plenty of pockets


  • Fabric is stiff at first


  • Warm and dry
  • Full body zip
  • Braces included


  • Slim fit means slim pockets

They don’t “wet out”

The waterproof membrane is bonded to the inside of the outer fabric, and the outside of that is usually coated with a water-resistant treatment, so in light showers the rain will simply bead off.

At the very worst the material will become damp, but this still a huge improvement over riding in a soaking wet drop-liner jacket. This also means the garment is faster drying, which is a huge benefit if you’ve ridden to work in a downpour, as there’s a much better chance it’ll have dried out by the time you clock off.

Better ventilation

A jacket may feature lots of vents to allow wind though, but it won’t reach your skin if there’s a drop-liner in the way, so while it will still have a cooling effect, it won’t be as effective.


Laminated gear does away with the intermediate layer and so any vents you open will direct a blast of air direct onto your body. Look for waterproof zips on these vents to ensure they don’t let rain in, though. There is a caveat to this, which we’ll get to in a minute.

You can get gloves, trousers, boots…

While we’ve talked quite a bit about jackets it’s worth pointing out that all sorts of gear can be upgraded with a laminated waterproof layer.

These come with additional benefits to comfort and usability – got a separate lining in your gloves that bunches up or pulls out when you remove your hand? Not if it’s laminated to the fabric. The same goes for trousers that need a lining awkwardly zipped in.


  • Touchscreen compatible
  • Full leather outer
  • Visor wipe on thumb


  • Not warm enough in full winter

The not so good stuff…

Laminated gear has come down in price but it’s still expensive, and it’s worth investigating what features you’re missing out on in a budget laminated jacket that could be had for the same (or less) money if you bought a drop-liner.

For the casual Sunday morning scratcher it’s probably overkill, in all honesty. If you only ever ride in the sunshine then some sort of deployable waterproof (weather it’s a drop-liner or oversuit) is likely to be a better option.

There are more reasons for this than just cost too – because the fabric is laminated it’s quite a bit stiffer, especially when new, and while this might not be a huge problem on an upright bike, if you ride a sportsbike you might find it bunches up uncomfortably.

Finally while we said laminated gear is generally cooler without a drop-liner in the way, the fabric itself is less breathable due to the waterproof membrane. Gear featuring a removable layer will in theory be better in hot weather, providing you’ve taken the waterproof bit out.

Why Sportsbikeshop?

Simple really, they’ve got a huge range of 250+ brands, and next day delivery to your home or one of their eight stores is free for orders over £25. You also get free, 365-day returns (again, for orders over £25) so there’s plenty of time to change your mind.

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