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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Tenacious Threads: 10 Best Denim Motorcycle Jackets

Updated: May 29, 2021

Denim jackets have long been a symbol of the working man, having roots in blue collar industries that require clothing to be as tough as the brutes that get the job done. With motorcycles also embodying the salt of the earth spirit that lives in the hardened working man, it is no surprise that denim jackets are the perfect fashion accessory for rugged moto guys.

Spanning various cuts, styles, and material selections, the offerings for motorcycle specific jackets goes well beyond the classic red tagged look your dad used to wear. Most all will be tailored to fit well when seated on a bike, with generally a higher waist and slimmer trim than street wear. But a stylish appearance doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the jacket to perform well while riding. What you will see is that denim motorcycle jackets are split into two distinct categories, those with pockets for armor and those without. Take a look at our list of the best denim jackets specifically manufactured for motorcycling to see what makes each a standout, and find out which model fills your bill.

10 Best Denim Motorcycle Jackets

Cushin for crashin' - Jackets with armor

Jackets that are developed specifically for motorcycle use generally incorporate internal pockets that accept armor designed to match these slots. Generally there will be pouches to hold padding for elbows, shoulders, and the spine, though any may be omitted and the jacket will still provide great protection in the event of a fall. Remember that not all jackets that integrate pockets for armor will come with the pads, which is good to keep in mind when purchasing your protection. The following five jackets all have accommodations for moto armor.

Roland Sands Bronson

Roland Sands Designs has been setting trends in motorcycle gear for over a decade, drawing inspiration from Southern Californian moto culture. Sticking to classic forms, the Bronson denim jacket is inspired by the blue collar worker’s everyday wear, ensuring the garment is as comfortable off the bike as on. Structured sleeves and a gusseted back panel provide a great fit when on the bike, and pockets for armor guarantee the fit stays good if you happen to unintentionally get off.

Crave Denim Jacket

From sun filled, blue sky days we all dream of, to the dark and dreary overcast afternoons that might be reality, Crave has designed their denim jacket to be the go to garment choice for almost any day of the year. Handmade from a heavyweight denim with a Kevlar lining, the Crave jacket is full of ventilation to keep you cool during the summer. Packed with plenty of pockets inside and out, there is always a handy place to store any of your everyday riding essentials, including a phone sleeve on the outside of the arm for quick access.

Pando Moto Capo Rider

Just because they have classically been utilitarian, denim jackets don’t have to leave fit and styling behind, as the Capo Rider jacket Pando Moto exemplifies. Designed to be as comfortable on the street as in the saddle, the Capo Rider employs stretch panels in the garment to keep the fit tight while allowing for enough room to feel relaxed when hugging the tank. Tucked up under the arms are vented openings to keep air circulating, while every union is reinforced by rivets for bombproof wearability.

Belstaff Velocette

Everyone has been caught out in the rain at least once in their life, and we all know how much of a bummer it can be to have an unexpected sprinkle put a damper on a day’s plans. Belstaff didn’t want to see anyone’s good time ruined by a little shower so they chose to finish their Velocette jacket with Schoeller’s NanoSphere coating to provide water and oil repellency, as well as abrasion resistant qualities to give the denim added strength. Adjusting straps at the waist and neck allow for the fit to be dialed in on any size rider.

Rokker Black Jakket

Denim is not often associated as a technical fabric, but you can always count on the Swiss to over-engineer anything, as Rokker has done with their Black Jakket. Tailored from ultra weighty 14-ounce Schoeller Dyantec denim, the Rokker is coated with finishes that enable the coat to be water, oil, and abrasion resistant, while also blocking and reflecting UV-rays to keep the climate controlled all year long. Combined with a waterproof chest zipper, this is a jacket ready to roll for any style rider.

Raw and ready - Jackets without armor

Not all jackets that are intended to wear while on your hog have integrated armor pockets, and if the jacket does not accept padding, it will usually employ other materials to beef up the protective attributes of the coat. Many of these garments will be made from super heavyweight denim or have liners made from ultra tough materials like Kevlar or Dyneema. These subsequent five jackets are all ride ready, sans pockets for protective padding.

Straight to Hell Outsider

The Straight To Hell Outsider proves that not all motorcycle jackets have to be expensive to work well. Simple and to the point, the Outsider is a heavyweight denim jacket that is cut slim and without extra features. Fitting like a shirt, keeping the cotton coat close to the body prevents the fabric from flapping in the wind. Designed in Chicago, STH designs their garments to look as good on the street as they feel on the bike, offering the Outsider in four color variants.

Knox Haydon

Knox has been a long time player in the motorcycle safety gear market, being the first brand to receive CE accreditation for the armor that launched their brand over 20 years ago. In recent years they have taken a different approach to their riding gear by separating the armor from the outer jacket layer, as seen in the Haydon, to provide a street wearable feel that can be converted to practical safety equipment. Stretch panels are unzipped when using the Haydon with a Knox armored base layer to provide the best fit in any environment.

Iron & Resin Scout

The Scout jacket from Iron & Resin isn’t just rugged good looks, because inside this coat there is a soft and tender side waiting to embrace even the roughest ramblers. Heavyweight, American milled denim provides a robust shell, with dual stitched, double felled seams ensuring the unions of the garment stay rock solid for a lifetime. The interior of the Scout is lined with a supple striped flannel blanket material, adding a warm touch with a good look, and priming the jacket for three season wearability.

Taylor Stitch Long Haul

The future of denim is here and it goes by a new name, Dyneema. Developed to be a flexible polymer with strength to weight characteristics that outperform steel, Taylor Stitch combines the fiber with cotton to produce their Long Haul jacket. The jackets, handmade in America, are extremely abrasion resistant while still being soft and very comfortable, giving riders the best of both worlds in a riding garment. High tech materials and top notch sewing quality assure this jacket will outlast your ability to straddle a hog.

Saint Unbreakable

The most important part of any motorcycle jacket is that it performs when you go down, because lookin good doesn’t matter if you’re dead. Saint lets their products speak for themselves, and their Unbreakable denim jacket is a performer that lives up to its name. Constructed from proprietary denim that is infused with ultra high strength polymer fibers, the Unbreakable boasts a 6-second slide time on high impact areas, giving you more than a fighting chance to walk away from a wreck with all your skin intact.

Author: Parker L Ross

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