After a helmet, the next piece of kit one should consider is a Riding Jacket. The primary purpose of wearing one is to reduce the impact to the torso, hands and back, in case of an accident.
Let us see how this works:
A riding jacket consists of protective armor at the elbows, shoulder, back, and sometimes at the chest as well. Whenever you go to purchase a jacket, do ensure the armors are CE certified/approved. There are various armor manufacturing companies and various certifications for different types of armor, but the minimum certification should be a CE level 1 certification. Look for engraving on the armors and documentation to ensure authenticity. If you want better protection, then look for armors that satisfy the CE level 2 tests. To summarize, a riding jacket is one with protective armors. Without them, it’s use as a protective jacket is virtually non-existent.
A jacket can be broadly classified into two types:
- Classic/Touring: Usually made of textile material, these jackets should suit most riders who go out for a casual spin now and then, and also suit long distance tourers alike. Being textile, these are relatively more comfortable than leathers. The materials used can be Mesh(For summer riding), and other synthetic materials like polyester. There are various other material classifications, but in short, you must select the jacket type based on the intended use, and the climate in which you are going to use it in.
- Racing Jacket/Suit: Usually made of leather, this type of jacket/suit is primarily intended for track days, or for short runs in relatively cold conditions. Leather being the most abrasion resistant material apart from Kevlar, provides maximum protection in case of a fall. However, leather requires more care vis-a-vis textile based ones, and is generally best avoided in hot summer conditions.
Some important features of most jackets are:
- Pockets: Most jackets come with multiple outer and inner pockets, and some of them are waterproof to keep your important belongings like your wallet and mobile phone.
- Adjustable straps: Most jackets have adjustable straps at the waist and arms. These are important to provide a snug-fit. All armors should fit firmly around your shoulders and elbows so that they do not move out of place on impact, while the jacket itself should fit snugly without being uncomfortable.
- Weather proof: Some jackets come with a detachable rain-liner/thermal liner. Others are multi-weather whose construction material is waterproof, breathable, and windproof as well. Most jackets are equipped with cooling vents at the front, at the back, and on the arms. These help in further ventilation.
- Further safety: For further safety, most jackets are reinforced with abrasion resistant Cordura material at the impact points such as the elbows and shoulders, and most come with reflective material on the back side, which enhances visibility at night.
- Cleaning: For cleaning, textile based jackets can be washed in a washing machine as well, after removing the armors.
A common myth is that riding jackets are uncomfortable. Come to think of it, there are multiple types for multiple weather conditions, so you are spoilt for choice to be honest. I do agree that it can never be as comfortable as a T-shirt, but the protection that a riding jacket provides is reason enough to go ahead and use one. Another myth that some people have is that a riding jacket will save your life during any type of crash. Do remember that the armors and other protective features only help reducing the impact of a crash, so one must still ride sensibly. The price of a riding jacket can be as low as INR 4000 ($65) and as high as INR 100000 ($1600) or more.
All in all, I hope this article persuades more and more two-wheeler riders to go ahead and wear a proper riding jacket. I am sure you will not regret the decision.
To know about the importance of a helmet, click here.
To know more about the importance of riding gloves, click here.
To know more about the importance of riding pants, click here.
For a detailed and unbiased review of the INR 6799 Aspida (Spartan Progear) Helios jacket, click here
More on Moto Gear Advisor
Latest posts by Suraj Patil (see all)
- Motul Chain Lube: Review - October 26, 2015
- How to: Wash Riding Pants - October 21, 2015
- Bell Transitions SolFX Photochromic Face Shield: Review - October 19, 2015