By Bryan Rastok

We’re here to talk about motorcycle jackets, but more importantly, leather versus textile and what you should be looking at when you decide to purchase your new riding jacket. I'm going to talk to you about three seasons: cold weather riding, warm weather, and hot. Let's start off with some cold weather options for both textile and leather.

Firstgear Kilimanjaro Textile Jacket 

For colder weather riding the first textile example is the Firstgear Kilimanjaro. When considering textiles, they do a good job of providing you a three-season riding experience - spring, summer, and fall. They’re able to pull this off thanks to some amount of modularity. The outside shell is generally a water-wicking membrane. The Kilimanjaro Jacket uses a heavier Cordura fabric. Textile jackets keep you warm thanks to additional layers on the inside, either a thermal layer with a vest or a full thermal jacket on the inside. One thing I really like about these is they offer a lot of adjustability and pockets if you're traveling or adventure riding.

Mia Black Leather Jacket from Roland Sands Design 

A good cold weather leather jacket is the ladies Mia Jacket from Roland Sands Design. With the Mia you’ve got two layers of protection, 1.0-1.2mm thick buffalo leather on the outside and a removable soft-shell liner with a hoody on the inside. Leather is stronger than most textiles, it feels good, and breaks in really well, all factors in favor of the RSD Mia Jacket. It also comes with CE-Knox armor in the elbows and shoulders. It’s a versatile jacket that will easily transition from a summer riding jacket to fall and even early winter.

Speed and Strength Hammer Down Textile Jacket 

For a jacket tailored more toward spring rides there’s the Speed and Strength Hammer Down Jacket, a soft-shell textile jacket. The Hammer Down has all the armor and articulation a rider could want, so it's very comfortable. This material has some a stretch and give to it, so whether you're on a sportbike or a cruiser, you can move around comfortably. When you’re looking at motorcycle jackets, be sure to check out ventilation. You want to make sure that you can open up or close vents easily with gloved fingers.

Roland Sands Clash Men's Leather Jacket 

An equivalent in leather is going to be the Roland Sands Clash Jacket. I picked this because the leather is very supple and nice. I actually have one of these I like to wear when I take out my Yamaha Warrior. There are adjustable and closable vents on this, so just like the textile, you can dictate when you want that airflow or not. Depending on how you layer it, it can extend your riding season at both the beginning and end.

Icon Mesh AF Men's Textile Jacket 

Now let's look at some hot weather jackets and what you should be looking for. Now in textile, mesh is key. This is the Mesh AF from Icon. You can see right through this jacket thanks to all the perforations (be sure to check out the video and you'll see!). What's nice about these is on those hot summer days, especially here in Texas where it’s frequently more than 100 degrees, this will allow the air to go right through it while still providing the protection you need.

When you get a mesh jacket, most of them are going to have a thicker covering over the impact zones, the shoulders and elbows. You still get all the abrasion-resistant qualities you're looking for and want in a jacket, but you also get the comfort of the air flow coming through. What's nice about Icon’s Mesh AF Jacket is it offers quite a bit of adjustability, but you're going to get pretty cold if you wear this later in the year because it’s a true summer jacket.

RSD Men's Ronin Leather Jacket 

It’s equivalent in leather is going to be the Ronin Jacket from Roland Sands. This is a very highly perforated jacket, but still in that leather you love. You have extra layers over the impact areas, your shoulders and elbows, but there’s more than enough perforations to keep air flowing through so you're not going to have to sacrifice comfort in the heat of summer by wearing a leather jacket

Rev'It Ignition 2 Textile Jacket 

One of the last ones I wanted to kind of talk about is the Rev'It Ignition 2. For some of you guys who are like, "Well, I like leather, I like textile, but I want a little bit of both," this is a great compromise. This jacket has leather panels in the arms and a mesh textile front to allow you some of that modularity. Textile jackets tend to give you more zippered vents, you can get a bit more mesh options with them, and overall it’s a lighter jacket. There's pros and cons with both. You just need to figure out what's best for the time of year and your riding style.