Canstar Blue’s 2020 motorcycle jackets review compared and rated Harley-Davidson, Alpinestars, BMW and Fox on their functionality, protection, durability, comfort & fit, style, value for money and overall satisfaction.
You’ve got your dream bike, now you need all the accessories to go with it. The costs certainly add up quickly, so you might be tempted to take a cheap option when it comes to your jacket. But that’s not necessarily a smart move. In addition to keeping you safe if you happen to come off your bike, a good motorcycle jacket can make riding in miserable weather a little more enjoyable, as well as look and feel great to wear. Ultimately, it’s important that you feel comfortable on the road, especially on those long and tiring journeys.
When it comes to finding a jacket that suits your ride, as well as your wardrobe, riders have plenty to pick from, making it a difficult decision to make. To help you sort through the gear, Canstar Blue produces this annual review for motorcycle jackets, rated by hundreds of Aussie motorcycle riders based on their everyday experiences. Brands featured in this report are those which received the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses.
In 2020, Harley-Davidson was the pick of the season, being the only brand to receive a five-star review for overall satisfaction, as well as all other categories! These were functionality, protection, durability, comfort & fit, style and value for money.
Here are the best brands of motorcycle jackets in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest ratings:
Harley-Davidson rode in on five stars for overall customer satisfaction, followed by Alpinestars on four stars and BMW and Fox on three stars overall.
Read on as we review what each brand has to offer when it comes to motorcycle jackets. Plus, offer some tips on what to look for the next time you go shopping for a new jacket.
In addition to rating their satisfaction with their motorcycle jackets, we also asked survey respondents to tell us about their main purchase decision factor when buying their jackets in the first place. This is what we found:
Considering that a jacket covers most of your upper body, with additional protective layers available for those at-risk areas such as the shoulders and elbows, it’s no surprise that protection and safety continue to top the list. Half of our respondents (51%) said they feel safer wearing a jacket when riding, with a similar number of people making sure to wear the protective outerwear every time they ride (46%). Almost a fifth (16%) of people also believed their jacket saved them from injury during an accident.
Regardless ─ one in three (30%) made sure to do their homework and research jackets before handing over their cash.
A fashion statement as much as it is a respected brand, Harley-Davidson provides a number of casual and riding jackets for consumers to choose from, whether you want to look good while on the road or strolling down the pavement. But it’s one of the more expensive options on the market – with most jackets priced between roughly $200 and up to $1,000.
Split between leather and mesh options, Harley-Davidson’s jackets contain body armour pockets primarily on the elbows and shoulders, with additional padding in the lower back. Most jackets will also include adjustable waist tabs and multiple pockets for extra comfort and convenience, with additional night-time visibility patches for increased safety.
The top-of-the-line leather jackets contain a removable full-sleeve waterproof liner, plus thermal reflective technology for long rides in the hot sun. Some jackets, such as the Auroral range, additionally include a removable hoodie, making it ideal for when you’re off your bike, or just riding in cold weather. Regardless of whether you’re looking to impress while cruising on your bike or out on the town, Harley-Davidson has plenty to offer the style-conscious rider.
Well-known within the racing community, Italian manufacturer Alpinestars has plenty of options for those looking to break lap times, as well as those who just enjoy a Sunday afternoon ride. Prices start from just under $170 and run up to $1,000 for the brand’s Road range, making it affordable for various budgets. Alpinestars also has an Urban line, which spins a $650 jacket that features the Tech-Air Race motorcycle airbag system. This is claimed to be the world’s ‘completely electronic, self-contained, full independent upper body motorcycle airbag system’ and doesn’t require a bike-to-rider setup.
For those wanting a bit more than a jacket, Alpinestars also offers racing suits, ideal for those looking to set a new lap record. While they will set you back between $699 and $2,599, each suit covers riders from shins to shoulders, with dynamic friction shields to keep you safe should you end up closer to the bitumen than you would like. Each suit features pre-curved sleeves for additional comfort while you’re on your bike, with a removable mesh liner for breathability.
Luxury automotive brand BMW offers a number of motorcycle jackets designed to provide plenty of protection and features for comfort. One of the more expensive options, BMW’s jackets will set you back around $600-$900 depending on the retailer and jacket, so be sure to shop around.
Those looking for a jacket for their morning commute may find the StreetGuard and Street Air lines ideal, each coming with airbag technology protection in case of an accident, plus removable elbows and shoulders for increased comfort. Other features include waterproofing for when the weather turns nasty, as well as ventilation zips and pockets for easy use.
For those looking to get away for the weekend, or just enjoy longer rides, BMW offers the Tokyo and Race jackets, each suited for those who spend more time on their bike than off it. These are made from different materials such as mesh or leather to better suit the Aussie weather, with reflective print to keep you safe on night-time rides.
For those looking for something to wear out on the town, BMW has also got you covered. Jackets include the Downtown and the Club Leather ranges, all available in different styles and colours to suit the rest of your wardrobe. Each range includes removable protective gear for if you decide you want to look stylish while on your bike, with pockets to keep your phone and wallet safe.
Fox’s Legion collection gives riders a variety of motorcycle outwear to choose from. This is, however, a rather concise apparel range when compared to other brands featured in this year’s ratings. The line-up includes packable jackets, tac vests, downpour jackets and several convertible and regular off-road motocross jackets.
Fluid jackets are the most affordable items from Fox, typically available from $39.95. These PVC raincoats contain mesh armpit vents, a cape back vent and reflective taping on the back for visibility on the road. The brand’s wind vests, packable jackets and downpour jackets are similarly designed to be waterproof.
Prices usually reach up to $239.95, which will get you Fox’s convertible Legion jackets. The regular, non-convertible version is alternatively available for slightly less at $199.95. These are designed for off-road biking.
While the four brands mentioned above got the minimum sample size to qualify for our ratings, there are still plenty of others available for Aussie riders to choose from. Here are some of the other major brands readily available.
Popular British label Triumph might be worth checking out if you’re in the market for a leather motorcycle jacket for off-road riding. The range will usually set you back between $300 and $800, depending on your local retailer.
Riders are treated to options like the full leather Beachley jacket, which contains zip ventilation and a removable vest liner, in addition to multiple pockets for your smartphone and wallet. There’s also the vintage-style Raven range, which offers multiple styles to suit your wardrobe and bike. Raven jackets come with removable shoulder, elbow and back protectors, with an additional AirFlow zip ventilation feature to help keep you cool.
Other options include the Beaufort, Taloc and Mono jackets, each offering riders a variety of protective features to keep you safe on your motorcycle, while also providing plenty of features for added comfort for when you’re on two wheels or on foot.
A popular option for many riders, Australian brand DriRider offers plenty of protective gear for your rides, whether you’re commuting to work or adventuring off-road. Priced between $60 and $500, DriRider has plenty of jacket options, regardless of whether you’re looking to spend big or stick to a budget.
If you’re after a road jacket, the Apex series might be worth a look, whether you ride around town or like to get away on long road trips. Including a Maxtex polyester outer shell with shoulder and elbow padding, as well as a Hi-Density back pad, the Apex series is available in a variety of colours to suit your bike or style preferences.
For those big on off-roading adventures or Motocross, the Rallycross range could be the best fit for you, with an abrasion-resistant exoskeleton with rip-resistant mesh panels for extra protection if you fly off the handlebars. Additional features include zip-off sleeves for those hot days, as well as rear storage pockets and hand warmers for extra comfort on those longer rides.
For everything else in between, DriRider offers jackets such as the Climate Control range, for those who enjoy long trips. Alternatively, those more likely to ride in the city might be better suited with the Nordic range, which includes reflective printing for extra night-time visibility, in addition to a tailored fit and plenty of pockets.
Known for its Special Buys, the German supermarket’s range of motorcycle gear isn’t available all year-round. So, you’ll have to be quick to get your hands on the goods, unless you don’t mind buying second hand.
Offering a range of sizes for men and women, ALDI’s Torque motorcycle jacket range is said to be made with 100% leather for both style and comfort, with protective patches matched with high-risk injury areas, including elbows, shoulders and hips. ALDI jackets also include chest pockets, an internal pocket to ensure you don’t lose your phone while out on the road, along with zippers on the front and sleeves for comfort. Priced around $170 at the last Special Buys sale, the Torque range is one of the most affordable options available, if you can get to the store in time!
Ultimately, which jacket you decide to wear out the door will come down to a few individual factors, including your taste and style, how much you’re willing to spend as well as where you do most of your riding. After all, there’s not much point in buying a casual riding jacket to hit the dirt track or to get a few laps on the track under your belt. To ensure you ride off with the best fit, it’s best to do your research, because trying on a few jackets and looking into what brands have to offer will help ensure that you’re not only protected but kept comfortable while enjoying the ride.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Photo Credit: Maria Savenko/Shutterstock.com, kitzcorner/Shutterstock.com, Ismail Sadiron/Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed 800 Australian motorcycle riders across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used a motorcycle jacket in the last three years – in this case, 309 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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