It's a much better jacket than I was expecting it to be.

Dainese sent us a few pieces of gear to review, among them this new revision of their Nikita jacket. I’ve worn it for a few weeks and to be honest, I like it more than I thought I would. Dainese’s Nikita 2 Lady Leather Jacket is a gorgeous piece of kit, even though it is definitely a day-trip jacket and not touring gear.

First, the cons:

It’s Black

I know that may seem obvious, but in the greater Boston metro area the traffic is thick and the drivers do not look out for motorcycles. A black jacket makes me more invisible on the road than my customary bright red one. That said, I definitely own and wear other colors that are not bright. I just know I have to be on my toes a little more when wearing all black.

Also, those of us who ride a bunch know that in the summer sun, a full black leather jacket heats up, and it heats you up, like crazy. OK if you’re moving, but not so good if you’re sitting still. Black gear just cooks you.

Adjustability?

The description of the jacket on Dainese’s website says the jacket has neck adjustment, and that amounts to two snaps on the neck. Choose one for your neck width or comfort level. There is hip adjustment (two available snap settings) but no waist adjustment. Dainese also says the jacket has wrist adjustment, but there is only one snap on the wrist, paired with a zipper. I suppose you could just not snap the wrist shut, but I have never met a woman with wrists this big. I have a hard time stuffing the cuffs into the gauntlets of my Held gloves, but they do eventually go. I imagine the leather will soften with use.

Dainese Nikita Jacket Cuff

The Pros:

Venting

I would have lost this bet, having been cooked in the sun in black leather in the past, but the two vents on the sleeves of this jacket actually do encourage a surprising amount of air flow. They couple very nicely with Dainese’s proprietary “Techframe” internal liner. This is a thick but mesh non-removable liner that covers the inside back of the jacket and promotes airflow like I have never experienced in a leather jacket. Generally on a hot day in slow traffic I would be an absolute sweaty mess inside a black leather jacket with only two little sleeve vents, but this stuff works. It keeps the leather up off your back and lets air move between the jacket and your person. I installed a D3O back protector into the pocket this jacket has for back protection, and even though it is not Dainese branded, it fits and works very well, and does not interrupt that very important airflow. That’s the jacket, not the (non-vented) armor, doing its job.

Dainese Nikita Jacket Techframe

Warmth

I would have thought that the Techframe liner would make this a chilly jacket to ride in when the weather is cold, but with a light jacket underneath and the vents closed, it does in fact keep the wind out and keep you warm-ish. It is by no means cold-weather gear, though.

Fit

This jacket is true to its official size-chart size and I’m impressed at how well it fit me right out of the box.

Finish

It’s a bit strange and I did not like the finish of the full-grain cowhide construction at first. It was very shiny and looked like a vinyl jacket, but the extremely strong smell gave it away as leather. With use (and some airing out) the smell has died down and the finish has become less shiny. I can see that it will wear into a great looking leather jacket.

Pockets

Pockets are important. The two hip pockets in this jacket are each blessedly large enough to hold a decent-sized cell phone.

Overall the jacket is way better than I expected from a plain black leather jacket. The bilt-in Techframe makes it much more comfortable than a traditional, cheaper leather jacket, and the construction is absolutely solid. You can find this jacket for sale in your favorite motorcycle gear shop or online retailer, and Dainese's recommended retail price is $499.