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Choosing a Motorcycle Jacket for the Type Riding You Do

Sep 1, 2008
The choices of motorcycle jackets available today are varied and plentiful. Styles are as unique as their designers, and modern synthetic materials give the biker an added option over the standard leather jacket, a tried and true material for protection against the elements and the road.

When making a decision on the purchase of a new motorcycle jacket, there are basically three areas of consideration that come into play, with various degrees of magnitude:

- the style of jacket preferred by the individual consumer

- the comfort and durability of the style and material used

- protection against the elements of wind, water, and temperature, as well as against the road

By todays standards, most of the major motorcycle apparel manufacturers have come to agree on a common set of characteristics that tend to the specific needs of bikers as learned over the years.

Many of these needs vary with personal taste, and will vary with the type of riding being done, and the individual priorities of the discerning consumer.

To begin with, lets discuss the different styles of motorcycle jackets that have made the biker culture into a sub category of the fashion industry.

For Motorcycle Jackets, Style Counts

While it may seem frivolous compared to the dire consequences of safety and protection, motorcycle fashion has evolved into distinct styles that offer the consumer choices based on just what kind of riding is being done, how often, and in what kind of weather.

As is its nature, the fashion industry has come up with just the right piece of clothing, tailored to fit your kind of riding, and making sure you are looking good doing it! Lets look at some of the general styles available.

The Traditional Classic Motorcycle Jacket

The traditional motorcycle jacket first came on the scene in 1928 in the form of the double sided Perfecto, manufactured by Schott NYC. Through the years the Perfecto style has been improved upon in many ways, but the basic traditional style remains a constant.

The traditional motorcycle jacket has enjoyed wild bouts of popularity in the fashion world. In 1958 Marlon Brando debuted the style in the film The Wild Ones, and subsequent appearances in films by James Dean and others have brought the jacket in and out of style throughout its history. Perhaps because of the kind of films it was portrayed in, the traditional motorcycle jacket has taken on a somewhat bad boy image, a rebel type personality, or even a criminal element, consequently gaining or loosing cool points, depending on your side of the fence.

While fads and fashion trends go in and out of style, for the biker community, the classic motorcycle jackets popularity is based not on its cool good looks, but on its practicality.

Traditional style motorcycle jackets have become classic mainly because the material they are made of, leather, is and remains one of the best form of protection from the elements. More importantly, it provides a second layer of skin between the biker and the rough surface of an asphalt road, reducing the likelihood of painful skin grafts in the event of an unfortunate skid across the road.

Of course, leather jackets can be made into many different styles, but what makes the classic motorcycle jacket unique for bikers is that it tends to the bikers needs. Plenty of storage is provided for with cargo pockets, inside pockets, and the generous use of zippers and snaps in the form of pockets, air vents, sleeve cuffs, and snap downs.

The modern motorcycle jacket is designed with an eye on the various positions a biker might find himself in. Slightly longer arm length provides for a more comfortable ride when leaning forward, and the backs of the jackets provide for some extra length so they dont ride up in the same position.

The option of side laces makes for a snugger, warmer fit in the cold months, and the better traditional motorcycle jackets will have an insulated zip out lining, making it a jacket for all seasons.

One particular aspect of most traditional motorcycle jackets that pretty much defines the look, is the inclusion of a belt. Classic motorcycle jackets that include a belt opt for a half belt more often than not, with a large buckle in the front. Full removable belts complete with belt loops are available on some jackets. Practically speaking, a belt is good for tightening up the jacket, and to keep it from flapping around at high speeds.

Throughout the years, the traditional style motorcycle jacket has catered best to the needs of the biking community by providing a tough and durable jacket that conforms to the unique positions only a biker would find themselves in. With the use of heavy duty hardware, this classic style provides for plenty of places to put things (to counter the lack of such on the motorcycle itself), and includes multiple options for your comfort and protection year round.
About the Author
Michael Talbert is the creator, owner, and operator of Biker Leather Ltd., an online retailer of fine leather and textile motorcycle jackets, leather chaps, vests and biker accessories. Visit the website at www.NakedLeatherBiker.com.
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