Buying a leather jacket is a big investment. It's an investment of your time, effort and money, and let's face it, not something you buy as often as a haircut. So when you're in the market for one, you want to make sure you're making the right decision and buying the perfect jacket that suits your protective needs, budget and style.
First of all, let's go through the material itself in more detail. When you're buying a jacket made from cowhide leather, you should always make sure that it is at least 1 mm thick. This offer you protection against the elements as well as against falls or accidents.
With regards to protection, leather jackets have protectors made from different materials such as styrofoam, plastic, carbon fibre or leather, with their main job being to absorb and distribute energy during impact. In most jackets, protection in the shoulders, elbows and back are integrated, and each can be removed separately. Some motorcycle jackets can also be zipped with motorcycle pants, to create a one piece racing suit.
Other features to look out for are built-in air vents for warm weather riding, as leather can be great in winter but a real sweat starter in the warmer months. However when winter does come around you'll be thanking your stars you bought on, and make sure you get one which contains a thick, removable lining to keep you really toasty in winter.
Since specially treated leather is almost always waterproof, you don't have to worry about getting caught in a few unexpected showers. However try and go for a jacket with a thick liner to ensure you keep warm during the rainy ride!