The easiest and most direct answer to this question is, “whatever is comfortable.” While I appreciate the simplistic sentiment by some I am in the business of fitting leather jackets on riders so let me share my approach.
Most new riders will start off with a non-leather jacket as they are getting into the sport. Mostly this is related to cost, not only theirs but their friends as well. I mean who wants to be the only rider in the group with a leather jacket? The advantage of the “starter” jacket is it gives you an idea of what you like and don’t like/want in your next jacket. Another advantage of a starter jacket is the measurements you can get from it if you like the fit.
Hopefully this is where you have found this article, when looking for your first leather jacket. The first thing to take into account is overall fitment. This is the snugness or lack of that you prefer in a jacket. If you are not comfortable in your jacket you won’t wear it and a jacket hanging in your closet at home isn’t going to do you much good. Despite your fitness preference make sure the jacket doesn’t constrict your shoulder or arm movement. If you did have a previous riding jacket that fit you well take the measurement’s from it. If it didn’t fit you well decide what you would change and add those to the measurements; i.e. “the back length was 24” and it always felt too short so I think 26” would be good for my next jacket.”
Once you have the measurements of yourself and/or previous jackets compare them to jackets you are interested in and order one the best suits you. If you would like help with this part please email us at Sales@Heritage-Moto.com and we would be happy to assist you.
When the jacket arrives at your house make sure that is fits easily over the thickest item you going to wear under it while riding. Next sit on your bike and place your hands on the grips. The sleeves should end at your wrist without leaving a large gap. Most “fashion” jackets are cut to stop at the wrist when standing but a riding jacket will fall mid-palm to first knuckle while standing.
Next, look at the length of the jacket’s body. The jacket should stop at your belt line when standing and your thighs when seated. Any longer and you will have the “bunching” effect. This is another point of dissension from the fashion world as motorcycle jackets are cut shorter in the torso so they fit a seated rider. If you prefer the look of a longer jacket, but need the functionality of a riding jacket, look for jackets where the zipper stops at your belt while standing. The material that extends past the zipper will fold up when seated and rest on your thighs. This zipper setup is common in longer motorcycle cuts such as the café racer and board racer style jackets.
If you have any questions at all, email us at Info@Heritage-Moto.com.