Why Do You Wear a Leather Jacket When On a Motorcycle?

Why Do You Wear a Leather Jacket When On a Motorcycle?

If you’re a new motorcyclist or a keen observer, you might have already noted that a big number of motorcycle owners wear leather jackets and vests when riding their bikes.

And if you’re the curious type, you might have wondered why this is so.

Some folks argue that it has something to do with the culture of motorcycle riders while others say that it’s all about looking classy and stylish.

BUT…the main reason behind bikers wearing leather jackets is to keep them protected in case they get involved in an accident.

Besides safety, there are other reasons why motorcyclists wear the leather jackets.

In the following post, we’ll delve more into the topic of leather jackets and why they’re part and parcel of motorcyclists.

6 Benefits of Wearing Leather Jacket On Motorcycle:

In this section, we’ll look at some of the top benefits that motorcycle owners enjoy from wearing leather jackets when riding their bikes…

#1. Superior Rider Protection

The MAIN reason why bikers wear leather jacket, vests, chaps, and other gear is for safety purposes.

Yes, the leather has excellent abrasion resistance properties. And this enables it to reduce the bruises and cuts you might suffer in the event of a crash.

The abrupt stop or crash throws you off your bike at a high speed and this can easily shred your skin as well as clothing—further magnifying the extent of injuries you suffer.

A quality leather jacket helps minimize these injuries.

A study conducted by the George Institute for Global Health on motorcycle accidents showed that motorcyclists who don’t wear a leather protective jacket, such as the leather jacket, 92% of those who get involved in accidents suffer injuries, up to 57% suffer abrasion injuries, and up to 43% suffer bruising.

For motorcyclists who wear leather jacket, the number of injuries drops from 92% to 78% (quite a significant drop, right?). those who suffered abrasion injuries dropped to 26% and those who got bruises dropped to 39%.

These findings clearly indicate how wearing a leather jacket when riding your motorcycle can greatly reduce the potential of getting injuries, abrasion injuries, and bruises.

More studies have been conducted regarding the durability of various fabrics in the event of a motorcycle accident. And they all arrive at the same conclusion—animal hides (especially elk and deer skin) offer superior resistance to abrasion damage which occurs at high speed scrape against the pavement. This is unlike fabrics like cotton which trail far much behind leather.

While the leather jacket might not offer you 100% protection in the event of a crash, it’ll surely offer a significant amount of protection during those few seconds of impact and sliding at high speeds.

Far from the accident scenarios, a leather jacket can also protect you from undesired elements. It keeps the bugs from getting onto your clothing and face (when used alongside a helmet).

It can also block the wind from hitting your chest, boosting the work of your bike’s wind shield.

And if you get caught up in a rainstorm, your leather jacket will keep you from getting wet.

#2. Style

Another reason why you’ll find many motorcyclists wearing leather jackets is to look cool and classy.

You have seen them before…riding their bikes across the streets, neighborhood, freeway, (everywhere!) in those sleek leather jackets.


And we can all agree they look really cool!

The jackets come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, etc. to help you find one that perfectly matches your preferences.

Most bikers prefer the black jackets as they look even classier on them.

As some expert bikers like to put it, the best way to compliment the sleekness of your new cruiser or sports bike is to wear a leather jacket when wearing it.

The tough appearance of the leather materials also makes you look like a tougher and stronger motorcyclist—which is exactly what you’d want people to see you.

#3. Suitable for all-weather use

Bikers also love wearing leather jackets because of their suitability for use in all weathers.

Whether you’re riding in hot summer weather or in the cold winter season, your leather jacket will always be your buddy.

As we mentioned earlier on, a leather jacket can keep you protected from weather elements including wind, rain, etc.

Suitable for all-weather use

Though leather isn’t weatherproof, it has great water repellent properties which means it’ll not allow rain water to penetrate your clothing or come into contact with your skin.

We all know that most of the cold comes from the wind blowing on our skin and going through the fabric we’re wearing. Luckily, weather stops this wind dead, so you don’t feel it blowing on your chest. This means you’ll feel warm when doing winter rides in a leather jacket.

Moreover, its ability to block wind translates to reduced wind buffeting, so you won’t feel exhausted after riding over a short distance.

Some of the latest motorcycle jackets even come with a built-in liner (featuring fleece, faux fur, or shearling) to keep you warm in winter.

As for the summer rides, you can easily find special leather jackets and vests which are specially made for the hot weather. They usually feature well-throughout ventilation to ensure you don’t get too hot or sweaty due to the hot weather.

#4. Comfort

The best motorcycle jacket not only gives you pretention and good looks but also keep you comfortable all-ride long.


A leather jacket is generally easy to wear and also easily removable when not riding.

However, keep in mind that the comfort offered by a given leather jacket will depend on the overall fit and the weight.

Leather is generally heavy, but that doesn’t mean you can find a lighter jacket that feels comfortable on your body.

You also want to ensure you get the best fit for a leather jacket. Look for a jacket that offers you a tight fit. This is based on the fact that leather tends to stretch over time and become less tight with continued use.

#5. Easy maintenance

You’ll love the fact that you can enjoy wearing your leather jacket for years with pretty little maintenance.

Cleaning it is quite easy and removing any strains gotten when riding up there is effortless.

Don’t you want easy to maintain motorcycle gear?

#6. More storage options

If you always find yourself running out of storage space when riding your motorcycle, then this is another reason you’d want to get yourself a leather jacket.

Most leather jackets come with several interior pockets where you safely put small items during transportation.

Other comes come with additional pockets on the exterior—chest pockets, elbow pockets, shoulder pockets, side pockets, etc.—to offer you even more storage space for all your things.

Even better, both the exterior and interior pockets come with zippers to ensure you don’t easily lose your possessions when riding your motorcycle.

Other reasons why motorcyclists wear leather:

Some motorcyclists might also wear leather jackets as part of the uniform for their motorcycle club. These motorcyclists usually wear jackets of the same color, with the name of their club at the back of the jacket.

Some motorcyclists might wear leather jackets of the same color to create awareness. For instance, a group of bikers might wear pink leather jackets to create breast cancer awareness.

Are There Any Alternatives To Leather?

What if you don’t fancy leather? Could there be any other material you can use in place of leather for a motorcycle jacket?

If you have your own reasons for not using leather—maybe due to the animal cruelty involved in getting it, or the adverse effects it has on the environment—then you can look for alternative to leather jackets.

So, what’s the alternative?

You can turn to textile jackets which are specially made for motorcycle riders. The most popular materials used for these jackets is usually referred to as ballistic nylon. It offers you almost the same level of protection as leather jacket. Plus, it has excellent ventilation to keep you feeling comfortable when riding in hot weather.

IMPORTANT: Contrary to what most people think, faux leather isn’t an alternative for real leather. Faux leather jackets don’t offer you the same level of protection, so make sure you don’t make a mistake of getting fake leather and thinking it’ll protect you like the real animal hide leather.

Related questions:

1. Can you wear motorcycle leather jacket in rain?

Absolutely! Motorcycle-specific leather jackets feature a thicker and stronger design. this enables them to withstand harsh weather elements, including rain.

While the jacket isn’t 100% waterproof, it does a great job at preventing the rain water from penetrating it and getting in contact with your skin. This means you can trust your motorcycle leather jacket to keep you from getting wet in bad weather.

2. Can I use a regular leather jacket as motorcycle jacket?

This depends on how your regular leather jacket is designed.

If it comes with a thicker leather and have excellent padding in key areas like around the elbows, shoulders, etc., then it might be suitable for motorcycle riding.

Jackets made from soft leather should, however, not be used as they won’t offer you much protection during a crash.

Final Verdict

Leather jackets are part and parcel of motorcycle riding. Motorcyclists who wear leather jackets enjoy superior protection in case of a crash and against harsh elements, bugs, and flying debris when riding their motorcycles.

Other reasons why bikers put on leather jackets include wanting to look stylish, feel comfortable, suitability for use in all weathers, easy maintenance, and extra storage they come with.

For you to enjoy all the benefits of a leather jacket when riding your motorcycle, we encourage you to ensure you invest in a quality leather jacket specially made for motorcycle riders.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!