Apparel Pro: Sport Leather Jackets

When the classic leather jacket isn’t enough.

Stylish and naturally tough, leather is viewed as the quintessential material for motorcycle jackets. While riders wearing plain (or emblemed) leather jackets is a common (and expected) sight atop cruisers and tourers, the same can’t be said for those on sport bikes. If V-twin riders are all about the classic, understated black- or brown-leather look, sport bike riders prefer to carry over some of the bright colors and bold styling from their rides into their gear.

Yet, while many synthetic jackets have the colors and styles they’re looking for, some might want that classic leather feel and protection – with a few enhancements. Luckily, apparel companies offer sporty leather jackets that enhance safety, mobility and comfort especially for sport bike riders.  


While most leather motorcycle jackets have pockets for optional armor (sold separately), some sporty options come with certain pieces of armor already embedded into the jacket, usually around the shoulders and elbows. Take, for instance, the Joe Rocket Sinister jacket. It features injection-molded reinforced shoulder caps and CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows in addition to the pocket for the spine pad. Some sport leather jackets even come with inserts that can accommodate air bag systems.

Sinister Jacket
The Joe Rocket Sinister Jacket comes with injection-molded armor in the shoulder caps and CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows.

Another aspect of safety is visibility. The dark colors on leather jackets don’t lend themselves well to highlighting riders in low-light conditions, but sport leather jackets often mitigate this concern with reflective piping or detailing, generally in the form of branding.

While sport leather jackets often feature several pockets, both inside and out – including waterproof ones for document storage – they don’t tend to feature concealed carry pockets, which are more often found on classic/vintage-style leather motorcycle jackets.


Sport leather jackets generally have a tapered, race fit to reduce the drag atop a sports bike. But, if you think that’s going to make an already stiff and heavy jacket harder to move in, think again. Leather jackets that come with pre-curved sleeves are an especially good fit for sport bike riders who favor more aggressive positions. Furthermore, flexible elbows and stretch panels in the sleeves make it even easier to move and bend the arms.


In classic leather jackets, ventilation can be a problem, but sport leather jackets are designed to circulate air while still leaving the rider insulated and protected. Generally, apparel companies will either use strategically perforated leather or some other ventilation system along the inner arms and sides of the jacket. In addition, adjustable waists and cuffs help with fitting, and belt loops or pant attachments keep the jacket from blowing up in the wind. Low-profile mandarin collars keep the base of the neck warm and protected from the wind while also remaining discreet and comfortable.

If you sell sport bikes, you’re going to want to sell sport leather jackets too. These jackets are made to enhance the sport bike riding experience.

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