The Basics of Motorcycle Clothing

Motorcycle Clothing

Motorcycle Clothing

The Basics of Motorcycle Clothing

When you are a motorcycle rider, you are responsible for your safety and the safety of others. You do not always have the control over whether an accident will take place. But you can take the best precautions to keep them from happening and to minimize the fallout. One way to go about protecting yourself is using the right motorcycle clothing. Here are the basics on what to choose under which circumstances.

A lot of Variance in Motorcycle Clothing

Clothing for motorcycle riders has gone through some transformations over the years, but some things never changed. The first motorcycle jacket came out in 1928 and its iconic leather jacket style with its belted hip and asymmetric zipper is still around in motorcycle clothing today.

The base principle of the protective gear remains unchanged: a robust material protects the rider from rode rash and cuts. Today, the abrasive-resistant layer is joined by insulated inner linings and protective armor and padding who add comfort and absorb impacts.

The types of motorcycle clothing can be separated into these groups:

  • jackets
  • pants
  • suits
  • armor
  • rain gear
  • casual gear

Motorcycle Jackets

Motorcycle jackets are made from leather or similarly robust textiles. They keep your skin from direct contact with the pavement and protect from penetrations from other objects. At the same time, the fabric protects from rain and the air flow. To keep you from cooking underneath the leather, a breathable inner lining helps to pass heat and sweat to the outer layers.

They should fit snug to avoid wind entering or pulling on the clothing, but flexible enough, so you can bend and move without baring skin. Vulnerable parts of your body, like shoulders, back and elbows, are covered by armor and/or padding. Often, they are installed in pockets and can be changed if they lose effectiveness.


The jacket can be combined with layers to improve on the comfort. A thermal base layer and an additional mid-layer can keep you warm in the winter.

Motorcycle Pants

The motorcycle pants work similarly. They are usually made from leather, Kevlar or other textiles and include padding around the hips and knees. Some motorcycle pants look more casual (Kevlar) than others (leather). Additionally, they can include zippers that let them combine with matching jackets.

Motorcycle Armor

The motorcycle armor is mostly included in the pants or jackets. If you are not happy with the armor in your jacket, you can swap it with something more protective. There are also harnesses with armor you can strap on and wear over or underneath your clothing.

Motorcycle Suit

Motorcycle suits are jumpsuits with protective padding. You can easily put them on and wear them over your regular clothing. This makes them ideal for commuters who can wear their work clothes underneath. The motorcycle suit is less insulated than other jackets and pants, which makes it helpful in the summer when you need to cool down rather than warm yourself.

Rain Gear

Most motorcycle clothing has a waterproof coating. Some can lose their effectiveness over time. Things like motorcycle suits offer less protection from rain. In cases of heavy rain, you can buy full rain suits or separate pieces of rain clothing to be prepared.

Casual Motorcycle Clothing

For those who use their bike for short rides in urban areas, a full set of protective motorcycle gear and armor might seem too excessive. In these cases, you can choose more casual looking motorcycle clothing. These days, you can buy hoodies or jeans with subtle protective armor that look closer to street clothing. Make sure not to trade your safety in for superficial reasons, and look for a good manufacturer.


There are many ways you can protect your body when you are riding a motorcycle. Next to boots, gloves, and a helmet, the motorcycle clothing reduces possible injuries and weather influences. The clothing comes in different designs. Make sure to pick the best protection that is still practical for your individual situation. If you want to pick more casual gear, you should consider only using it for slow speed rides.

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