How Thick Should a Leather Motorcycle Jacket Be?

Light jackets (or no jacket at all) and blue jeans might look really cool while riding a motorcycle, but you’re likely seeing less and less of that style, and that’s because of safety issues.

That’s why wearing proper motorcycle gear (such as a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots) is essential. A helmet is always a must, but a proper jacket can also reduce the risk of injury if an accident occurs.

In terms of leather motorcycle jackets, you might be wondering how thick your jacket should be. While it does depend on the preference of the rider, a thicker jacket (made with quality material) will protect you better than a lighter and less thick jacket will.

Basic jacket specs

Other factors play into this. If your jacket is too thick (the jacket is big and bulky), then you might have trouble moving your arms and upper body. Comfort on a motorcycle is a big deal. Having protective gloves in the winter is important, but if you can’t feel the controls and have trouble gripping your handlebar, then that could be dangerous in itself.

For maximum protection, a thickness of 1.2 mm is sufficient. Even still, lightweight jackets that will provide more protection than a shirt or sweater can be purchased at one millimeter thick. However, even thicker jackets are made at 1.4 mm, which are typically for racing purposes.

While these measurements are important to keep in mind when purchasing a leather jacket, quality and the type of material play a role as well.

Checking for quality

Motorcycle jackets typically go through testing to ensure they’ll provide proper protection to riders, and a certification label (such as CE) can be found on the jacket if they do go through this testing process. CE stands for Conformitè Europëenne and indicates a European product meets requirements and complies with the EU’s New Approach Directives.

While there’s not a certification for American-made jackets (unless otherwise stated by a specific company), American jacket manufacturers ensure quality, durability, and safety through their own testing and research. As a result, if you purchase a leather jacket from an American company and it’s made with high-quality material and meets the one to 1.4 mm thickness mentioned above, then you should feel confident in the protection being provided by the jacket.

Other considerations

Riding a motorcycle is a real joy and some people’s favorite hobby, but riders should take every safety precaution necessary. And this should take place in everything from the protective gear you buy to the maintenance required. This way, your bike is running properly and you’re taking actual precautions taken out on the open road.

Motorcycle deaths might be down, but it’s still important to wear the proper gear every single time you ride. Leather jackets are preferred by many because they provide abrasion resistance and they won’t melt under extreme friction. There are certainly other lightweight options, but the key is finding a good balance between safety and comfort.
Simply put, riders want to be as protected as possible when riding, just in case an accident occurs. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash.” Riders are out in the open while riding, making accidents potentially more fatal.

Author: Brandon Park