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Leather vs. Textile Motorcycle Jackets: Which is Right for You?

Leather vs. Textile Motorcycle Jackets: Which is Right for You?

You need a jacket that suits the weather and looks good too. Discover what to consider as we delve into the age-old debate between leather and textile jackets.

For more than some, textile or leather is all the same. And yes, they are right, but only up to 10kmph! The dynamics change as soon as you are off that mark. Eventually, prioritising both comfort and safety becomes inevitable.

Consider this: In a crash, at moderate speeds, a highly rated jacket will protect your body for longer than a funky hoodie, which won’t last a second before your skin comes into direct contact with the road. So, the choice is yours, whether to opt for the timeless appeal and durability of leather, or embrace the modern innovations of textile?

Speaking of choice, you may choose to go with the classic and popular leathers, which have been the choice for decades. However, the confusion starts when the recent advancements in textile jackets catapult and land amongst the current generation of motorcyclists. So, the real question is, which one you should go for? Leather for old school vibes along with its abrasion protection, or textile, which offers advantages that can’t be ignored.

Well, let’s take a closer look at the world of motorcycle clothing while we explore the differences between leather and textile motorcycle jackets and answer your question to help you make an informed decision. And once you decide, you can visit www.reisemoto.com that has CE Certified jackets from international brands.

The importance of it…

In the realm of motorcycle safety, proper and certified gear is just as crucial as a reliable helmet. From shielding against abrasions to providing insulation in harsh weather conditions, motorcycle clothing plays a pivotal role in ensuring rider safety and comfort. Additionally, motorcycle clothing can enhance your visibility on the road, making it easier for others to see you. In short, motorcycle gear is an essential investment for anyone who takes their safety seriously while riding (if not, please do)!

What are the types…

Leather has long been synonymous with motorcycle apparel, renowned for its durability and classic aesthetic. The most common materials used in motorcycle clothing are leather, textile and mesh. After leather and textile, combination gear, which combines elements of both leather and textile, is also becoming increasingly popular. Let’s take a closer look at each type of motorcycle clothing and examine the pros and cons of each.

Firstly, Leather Motorcycle Clothing!

Leather has been the go-to material for motorcycle clothing for decades and for good! Leather is tough, durable and has excellent abrasion resistance, making it ideal for protection in case of an accident. Of course, we cannot ignore how cool & great it looks and the classic style it adds, which is why it can be worn both on and off the bike. Besides the fact that it can mold to your body shape over time, providing a personalised fit, it also offers good wind resistance and can provide some insulation against cooler temperatures.

However, on the other hand, it turns hot due to limited ventilation than textiles, making it uncomfortable to wear during warm weather. Also, while some leather jackets come with waterproofing treatments, leather itself is not inherently waterproof or even resistant. It can also be difficult to clean and maintain, requiring special leather cleaning products and conditioning treatments to keep it supple and prevent drying out or cracking. Also, leather motorcycle jackets are often more expensive than their (textile) counterparts, making them less accessible to riders on a budget.

Here comes the textile motorcycle clothing…

It is a newer option that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks to their versatility and affordability as well as innovations in their design and materials. Textile jackets are typically made from synthetic materials like polyester, nylon and Kevlar and offer several advantages over leather. They often come with removable liners and ventilation options, making them suitable for a variety of weather conditions. Textile gear is generally lighter, more breathable and flexible than leather, making it more comfortable to wear in warmer weather. Additionally, textile jackets are often more affordable than leather, making them a great choice for riders on a budget. Hence, the difference can be compensated in a variety of features like removable mesh lining and waterproof lining, which add to the total cost.

However, textile gear is not as abrasion resistant as leather, meaning, it may not offer the same level of protection in the event of an accident. Also, textile jackets may not look as stylish as their leather counterparts too. Also, depending on the materials, textile jackets may not be as durable as leather jackets.

Mesh motorcycle clothing…

Mesh motorcycle clothing is a type of textile gear that is designed specifically for warm weather riding. Mesh jackets are made from lightweight, breathable materials that allow air to flow through the jacket, helping to keep riders cool and comfortable. Mesh gear is also typically more affordable than leather or textile jackets.

However, mesh jackets do not offer the same level of protection as leather or even textile gear, as the mesh material is not as abrasion resistant. Additionally, mesh jackets are not ideal for colder weather riding, as they offer little insulation.

Here comes the modern combination motorcycle clothing…

Combination motorcycle clothing is a newer option that combines the best of both leather and textile gear. Combination jackets typically have a leather shell with textile panels in areas that are more prone to wear and tear. This allows riders to enjoy the durability and style of leather, while also benefiting from the lightweight, breathable properties of textile gear. Combination jackets are also typically more affordable than all-leather jackets. However, combination gear may not offer the same level of protection as all-leather jackets, as the textile panels may not be as abrasion resistant.

What should you consider then?

Well, there are several factors you should be aligned to, like the riding environment and your budget. If you’re riding in hot weather, you’ll want to choose a jacket that is lightweight and breathable, like mesh or textile gear. In case of riding in colder weather, you’ll want to choose a jacket that offers insulation, like leather or combination gear. When it comes to the budget, leather jackets are typically the most expensive option, while textile and mesh gear are more affordable. Finally, & importantly, you’ll want to choose a jacket that fits properly and is comfortable to wear. A jacket that is too tight or too loose can be uncomfortable and distracting while riding.

You use it, you maintain it!

Appropriate maintenance of your motorcycle gear is directly proportional to its condition and extends its life and your safety. When it comes to the leather jackets, they require special leather cleaning products and conditioners to keep their looks up, while textile and mesh jackets can be machine washed. But don’t forget to hang them to dry to avoid shrinkage. Regardless of the material, adhering to the manufacturer's care instructions is imperative for maintaining gear integrity.

Let’s conclude then, shall we?

It all comes down to the right choice you make and to do that, you need to know your needs and preferences. This will help you in choosing the right type of motorcycle clothing for staying safe and comfortable on the road. Whether you opt for leather's timeless appeal or embrace the versatility of textile, prioritise safety, comfort and practicality. Reisemoto, the one-stop shop for everything riding, will help you do just that.

And once you know that you are armed with the right gear, there is nothing that will stop you from enjoying that ride with peace of mind.


- Vishal Joshi , Expert Motorcyclist & Blogger

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