If you’re looking for a motorcycle jacket with timeless styling, you’re spoilt for choice right now.
Long-established brands are plundering their archives for classic designs to update. And upstart makers are taking traditional styles—like quilted shooting jackets—and adapting them for motorcycle use.
Here’s our pick of the best new (or should that be old?) designs.
Pagnol M2 California-based Pagnol is riding high on the success of its beautifully constructed, vintage-styled M1 motorcycle jackets. That single piece of clothing has become a favorite with high-profile bike builders such as Walt Siegl and Alex Earle—as well as design luminaries such as Robert Egger, creative director of Specialized Bicycles.
This week, Pagnol launched its second jacket, the $625 M2, which adopts the ‘retro yet modern’ vibe seen on bikes such as the BMW R NineT, the Ducati Scrambler and Husqvarna’s 401 concepts. It’s built using tumble-aged cowhide that will look better as the years go by, and includes accordion panels for a comfortable fit and a mesh lining with inserts for the armor of your choice. The main color is black, but Pagnol is also producing a limited run of 50 M2s in a ‘dirty cream’ finish.
Get yours direct from the Pagnol website.
Alpinestars Oscar Brass Alpinestars has a long and rich heritage that goes back to its days as a motocross boot specialist in the early 1960s. The Italian company is now capitalizing on that heritage with its retro-themed Oscar range, headlined by this very classy café racer style jacket.
The $580 Brass jacket is crafted from supple, full-grain leather finished with an ‘artisanal tanning treatment,’ and includes removable CE-certified shoulder and elbow armor. (There’s a pocket for a back protector too if you wish to add one.) The leather is perforated on the sleeves to improve ventilation, and the trims, snap buttons and rivets have that genuine vintage feel.
It’s one of those jackets that look old even when new. Choose from Black or Brown styles. [Buy]
Roland Sands Seeker This is the kind of motorcycle jacket that would look right at home on a vintage Triumph or BSA. The all-over quilting is reminiscent of English hunting attire: it’s a practical cotton/poly/nylon blend with a traditional waxed finish.
It’s a true motorcycle cut though, with rotated, pre-curved sleeves and pockets for you to add shoulder, elbow and back protectors. You also get a soft cotton plaid lining, a suede-trimmed collar, and underarm venting to keep you cool. [Buy]
Richa Memphis Unless you live in Europe, you probably haven’t heard of Richa. But the Belgian company has been operating for almost 60 years, and has a superb range of ‘vintage’ leather motorcycle jackets. Our pick is the Memphis finished in ‘Cognac,’ a rich mid-brown color.
The chassis is buffalo leather, with a quilted effect on the upper body. You get CE-approved flexible armor for the shoulder and elbows, and a removable lining for temperature control. It’s exceptional value at just £250—around US$385—and available from Urban Rider. [Buy]
Spidi Roadrunner The latest from Spidi is like a softer, modern update of a classic Schott Perfecto, complete with slanted chest pocket but minus the fussy detailing. The outer is fine Italian cowhide, 1.1mm thick, and you also get CE-certified Level 1 armor for the elbows and shoulders.
There’s a removable thermal liner and the waist is adjustable for a precise fit. The $450 Roadrunner is an appealing mix of modern Italian materials and vintage Anglo-American styling—a perfect match for bikes like the Triumph Thruxton or Moto Guzzi V7. [Buy]