Kevlar vs Leather Motorcycle Jackets

kevlar vs leather motorcycle jacket

In the decades since I first climbed on top of a motorcycle, I have seen a lot of changes. Riding partners have come and gone, laws have evolved, and the public’s perception of bikers has, thankfully, improved. 

The biking community is in a state of perpetual change, just like the world around it, but one thing remains constant: leather jackets. 

Both stylish and secure, leather has been relied upon by bikers throughout history to keep them safe from the elements and protect them from falls and crashes.

Best Kevlar Motorcycle Jacket 2018

Rank

Name

Product

Type

Our Rating

Price

#1

Klim Induction

best kevlar motorcycle jacket 2018

Best Kevlar

five stars

5/5

#2

Klim Rally Air

best kevlar motorcycle jacket

Kevlar

4 and a half stars

4.8/5


#1.

Klim Induction

best kevlar motorcycle jacket 2018
five stars

Kevlar vs Leather Motorcycle Jackets

The leather jacket is as synonymous with motorcycles as two wheels and an engine, but an increasing number of bikers are leaving behind their leather jackets in favor of alternatives of a different material, such as mesh or Kevlar. 

Some readers may be unfamiliar with Kevlar, which hasn’t received as much publicity as some other protective materials, but if Kevlar motorcycle jackets can gain global attention, it is quite possible they can dethrone their leather opponents. 

The real question here is, what exactly does a Kevlar Jacket have to offer that a Leather Jacket doesn’t?

Leather over Kevlar

leather vs kevlar motorcycle jackets

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Pros 

Warm 

A lot of people don’t realize that leather jackets were originally worn by soldiers in the first half of the 20th century due to their heat retention capabilities. 

This is one of the main reasons the leather jacket was adopted by motorcyclists, who often find themselves riding in cold weather. 

If you plan to take your bike out all year long, a leather jacket will keep winds at bay, with some models even boasting a waterproof lining.

Thick 

Leather is a pretty thick material, so you can imagine how effective it is in protecting the human body when it is combined with a layer of padding. 

If you find yourself a leather motorcycle  jacket with CE approved armor, there is almost no risk of a collision leaving you with cuts or bruises on your upper body.

Fashionable 

Sure, certain textile motorcycle jackets can rival leather models in terms of heat retention and durability, but the leather jacket is pretty much in a class of its own when it comes to fashion. 

A quality leather motorcycle jacket will keep you safe while making you look like a badass, with many translating perfectly into street and nightclub wear.

Cons 

Poor Ventilation

The major problem with leather jackets is that they are composed of what is arguably the least breathable material in the world. 

Leather jackets tend to offer very poor ventilation, even when they are fitted with mesh vents. If you live in a cold climate, this likely won't be a problem, but those who attempt to ride in a leather motorcycle jacket during warmer months will be putting themselves at risk of heat stroke.

Cruel 

As the world becomes increasingly more mindful, the cruelty associated with leather jackets becomes a bigger and bigger problem. 

Leather, as most of us know but do our best to ignore, is made from the skin of animals, most commonly cows. 

Killing animals for the sake of clothing is, admittedly, pretty horrendous, and many animal-loving bikers have moved on to textile motorcycle jackets while actively campaigning against leather protective equipment. 

Kevlar over Leather

best kevlar motorcycle jackets

Pros 

Strong

If you are unfamiliar with Kevlar, there’s no need to worry, as I’m sure these next few points will give you enough information to decide between a Kevlar motorbike jacket review and any of the several leather alternatives. 

The most important thing to note about kevlar is that it is among the most powerful fibers in the world. Kevlar was invented by a chemist by the name of Stephanie Kwolek while she was working for DuPoint, the company behind Cordura, another material commonly seen in motorcycle protective gear. 

Because of its strength, Kevlar is used to manufacture personal armor and can be found in ballistic face masks, combat helmets, and even bulletproof vests. 

This, of course, makes it the perfect material for a motorcycle jacket, particularly when it comes to racing and off-road riding. 

Breathable 

If there is one area in which a Kevlar motorcycle jacket will always, without fail, trump a leather alternative, it is ventilation. 

Kevlar, while not as well-ventilated as something like mesh, is a great deal more breathable than leather and makes overheating and heavy sweating practically impossible. 

Motorcycle enthusiasts who live in a perpetually hot climate have a lot to gain from purchasing the best kevlar motorcycle jacket.

Abrasion Resistant

A lot of bikers would love to abandon their leather equipment in favor of an animal-friendly alternative but are fearful a textile jacket will not hold up as well as a leather model in the event of a crash. 

Those bikers should definitely consider jumping ship to Kevlar Motorcycle Jackets, which are just as resistant to knocks and pavement slides as their leather counterparts.

Cons 

Unsuited to Damp Conditions 

As great as I think Kevlar motorcycle jackets are, even I have to admit to running into problems with them. 

Something I wish I had known when I purchased my first piece of Kevlar gear is that the material is remarkably unsuited to damp conditions. 

Kevlar absorbs moisture and therefore increases in weight when worn during rainfall, essentially undoing any benefits of a Kevlar jacket being lightweight and breathable. 

Furthermore, frequent exposure to water wears down the fibers and can weaken the garment as a whole, reducing its usefulness in the event of a collision.

Expensive

Because Kevlar is a man-made material, the manufacturing of a Kevlar motorcycle jacket is pretty difficult and, therefore, costly. 

This, of course, drives up the price of the jacket when it hits retail and means you could end up paying several hundred dollars for even the least impressive Kevlar jacket. 

The high price tag is not helped by the fact that Kevlar motorcycle jackets are not nearly as widely available as leather alternatives, yet are in increasing demand.

Conclusion

Kevlar motorcycle jackets are a definite up and comer, they provide the rider with unparalleled protection, great cooling material and are without a doubt the best-built jackets on the market. If money is not an object, I would take a look at a Kevlar jacket.

If you consider yourself a motorcycle enthusiast, then spend the extra money and grab yourself a Kevlar jacket. You won't be disappointed. But for the average biker, you can't go wrong with a reasonably priced, multifunctional leather jacket.

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