Canstar Blue’s 2019 motorcycle jackets review has seen BMW, DriRider, Harley-Davidson and ALDI rated on their value for money, style, comfort & fit, functionality, protection, durability, and overall satisfaction.
You’ve got your dream bike, and now you need all the accessories to go along 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, good motorcycle jackets 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 when it comes to long and tiring journeys.
But 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. Taking your time when you’re trying on jackets can help ensure you find the right fit for you and your riding preferences. To help you sort through the wardrobe, Canstar Blue produces an annual review for motorcycle jackets, rated by Aussie motorcycle riders based on their everyday experiences.
This year, close to 400 Aussie adults took part in our review of motorcycle jackets, with BMW taking out the top spot with five stars in all research categories.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 motorcycle jackets review saw four brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
With BMW taking the chequered flag, DriRider and Harley-Davidson were awarded four stars for overall satisfaction, while ALDI finished with three stars overall. While BMW was streets ahead, DriRider joined the winner at the top with five stars for protection, while Harley-Davidson recorded top marks for style and comfort, meaning there are plenty of choices for riders to compare and get a feel for.
Read on as we review what each brand has to offer when it comes to motorcycle jackets, while offering 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 were at the top of the list for riders after a new jacket. 62% of survey respondents also said that they feel safer when wearing a jacket, with 51% wearing a protective jacket every time they ride.
Additionally, 16% of respondents said they wear their jacket when they’re not riding, meaning that your jacket can be as much of a fashion statement as it is a piece of protective equipment, so finding one that makes you feel good is an added bonus. But with riders spending an average of more than $300 on their jackets, you’ll have to be careful that you aren’t sacrificing your bank account for the latest style.
Luxury bike brand BMW offers a number of motorcycle jackets with plenty of protection and features for comfort. Primarily offering jackets for you on-road riders, off-road adventurers might have to look elsewhere for their protective needs. 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 got you covered. Jackets include the Downtown, San Diego 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.
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 $90 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, while 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. If you’re looking to make a statement on your ride, jackets like the denim-styled Memphis and the leather Phoenix jacket may be the option for you, both on and off your motorcycle.
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. While one of the more expensive options on the market – with most jackets priced between $400 and over $1,000 – Harley-Davidson may be a worthwhile option if price isn’t a problem, or you’re going for the full Harley aesthetic.
Split between leather and mesh options, Harley-Davidson 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, as well as 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 consumer.
Known for its Special Buys, the German supermarket’s range of motorcycle gear isn’t available all year-round, meaning 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 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!
While the four brands mentioned above got the minimum sample size to qualify for our ratings, there are still plenty of other brands available for Aussie riders to choose from. Here are some of the other major brands readily available.
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. Priced up to $1,000 for riding jackets, Alpinestars may be one of the pricier options, but may be well worth the money if you’re hoping to get out on the racetrack.
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 $999 and $1,999, 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 also features pre-curved sleeves for additional comfort while you’re on your bike, with a removable mesh liner for breathability.
If you’re looking for a stylish option, Alpinestars offers plenty of options under its Urban range, with prices ranging between $75 and $800. It includes simple rain coats all the way through to full leather jackets.
A popular British manufacturer, Triumph may be the brand of choice for you if you’re looking for a leather motorcycle jacket, although you may have to go elsewhere if you do the majority of your riding off-road, with the brand sticking to on-road jackets. Reasonably priced within the market, most of Triumph’s range will 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-styled 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.
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Apart from helmets, a jacket is one of the most essential pieces of motorcycle gear you can pick up to ensure you don’t lose a bit of skin, or worse, when in the saddle. Add in the fact that you can also spruce up your look when hitting the town, and a motorcycle jacket is a bit more than just protective pads.
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 head out to get a few laps on the track under your belt. To ensure you ride off with best fit, it’s best to do your research, as 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 Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
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 3 years – in this case, 370 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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