Fortunately for us Californians (an unfortunately for the rest of you), winter looks different everywhere. Some of us need the best in waterproofing technology, others need a guard from crazy low temperatures, and some of us just need an extra warm layer or two. Throw in various riding styles (touring, commuting, sport riding, and more), and the gamut of options gets pretty expansive. Here are some winter textile jackets that will meet a variety of cold weather needs.
The Alpinestars T-Jaws WP Jacket is a new textile version of the popular JAWS leather jacket. It’s ideal for those of you looking to do some colder weather sport riding or commuting and not looking to spend a lot of cash. It’s got a Polyurethane (PU) coated outer shell utilizing Alpinestars version of Gore-Tex, which they call Drystar, which is both waterproof and breathable. It has a removable thermal liner for additional warmth, and accordion stretch panels and pre-curved construction for improved fit. The T-Jaws comes with CE certified protection in the elbows and shoulders standard with PE padding in the chest and back, which you can upgrade to Alpinestars’ BioArmor (which we recommend). We sort of glanced over this one when we first saw Alpinestars press material, but were really impressed when we saw it in person.
The REV’IT Oxford is part of REV’IT’s beautiful new “City Collection.” It’s perfect for those of you commuting this winter or for taking your bike out for a night on the town, though you’d probably want to wear a sweater underneath. The Oxford is composed of three layers: an outer layer composed of heavy cotton, a secondary layer of Hydratex (their version of Gore-Tex), and a third insulating layer. It comes with Knox lite armor at the shoulders and elbows, with pockets for a CE 2 rated back protector. If you’re looking for something nice looking, nicely priced, and that can keep you warm enough; the Oxford should be on your list.
We aren’t sure if we were initially drawn to this jacket because of how cool it looked or because we kept thinking it was named after Transformer’s Megatron but, the more we learn about this jacket, the more excited we get. The Megaton is constructed of 600D Polyester with PU coating. As with many of the jackets on this list, it’s waterproofing comes from a secondary liner (Drystar in this case), and it also features a third thermal layer. Protection comes from CE armor at the shoulders and elbows while you can upgrade the padded back panel to real armor at an additional cost. The shoulders, elbows, and lower back are all reinforced with additional ballistic nylon panels and the cuffs at the wrist and neck have been lined with neoprene for a more comfortable fit. The Megaton has tons of vents, gussets, and pockets; making it applicable for all sorts of jobs and, at such a low price point, we think the Megaton is an absolute steal.
The SPIDI Voyager 2 H2OUT is cold weather tour/adventure/dual-sport jacket that is incredibly versatile. It uses the same three-layer system as many of the jackets in this category, allowing you to use the layers you need for the task at hand. We’re big fans of SPIDI’s fit and, if you’re a little longer and leaner like Wes and I, SPIDI is definitely a brand you should be looking to for gear. The Voyager 2 H2OUT comes with the standard armor setup (CE at shoulders and elbows) and has pockets for the optional additions of back and chest protectors (their chest protectors are awesome). If you’re looking for a Hi-Viz option, the Hi-Viz Voyager 2 H2OUT is only $299.95 on Revzilla right now.
Last year, I took the REV’IT Defender GTX Jacket to Seattle and back, choosing it over the Sand 2 because I wanted something all black and Gore-Tex. Turns out, REV’IT’s version of Gore-Tex (Hydratex) is awesome and most of you aren’t as crazy about aesthetics as we are, making the recent Revzilla “best textile jacket” award winning Sand 2 one of the best jackets you can buy period. It literally has too many features to list here, so I’ll trust in your abilities to click the link and read about it for yourself, but some of my favorites are its neck brace compatibility (for adventuring), a bevy of snaps/zips/tabs for fit adjustments, and the overall general thoughtfulness put into designing this jacket. The only real flaw is that it uses the same three-layer system (as do many jacket) that aren’t as effective at keeping you dry as something with a waterproof outer shell.
Dainese recently released news of their new 2014 collection and the D-Stormer D-Dry jacket is a true four-season jacket, with some really cool venting tricks. The D-Strormer D-Dry has the same setup as many of the jackets on this list (CE armor in the shoulder and elbows with a pocket for an optional back protector and a three-layer system), but they say the outer layer has a waterproof treatment as well. The multiple adjustment points on this jacket should help keep cold air from getting in, as will the high fleece-lined collar. We’re lusting over the Tarmac/black/grey one.
The ICON 1000 Akorp jacket is one of the ugliest in pictures, but most beautiful in person pieces of gear I’ve ever seen. I was legitimately bummed when ICON said they wanted our opinion on it, but I haven’t wanted to take it off since it arrived. The Akorp is definitely only going to be appropriate for us in warmer climates or for people with short commutes who want to look nice when they arrive at their destination. The coated canvas shell, paired with the removable quilted vest liner, does a pretty good job of keeping cold air out and, when paired with smart layering, has kept me comfortable on some chilly nights. The fit is about as good as it gets in the motorcycle gear market currently (still too wide but not enough to look ridiculous), and the finish is absolutely outstanding and the magnetic flap closure is a beautiful finishing touch.
The Aerostich Darien may not be the most featured, most technical, or nicest looking jacket, but it does one thing better than any other jacket on this list: keep bad weather out. At $517, its one of the cheapest jackets available that has waterproofing built into its outer layer. Why does this matter? Anything using the interior liner method of keeping water out will soak the outer layer, transferring that water to the places you least want it like the inside of your gloves or boots. The Darien has TF3 armor at the shoulders and elbows, reflective paneling to keep you visible at night, and allows you to pair it with an optional fleece liner or wiring kit for a heated vest. Our own Wes Siler just reviewed the pants and, paired with those and some intelligent layering, the Darien will keep your warm through pretty much anything.
The new Dainese Carve Master is another new jacket for 2014 that fits in the touring/commuting/sport category. The Carve Master is similar to the D-Stormer we looked at earlier, swapping the D-Dry for Gore-Tex and adding inserts in the shoulders and using a two-layer system, with the waterproof Gore-Tex finally finding its way into the outer shell. We also love to see that interior thermal liner getting a high collar to help keep our necks, one of the places we lose the most heat, warm while riding. The black on black Carve Master Gore-Tex Jacket is high on our Christmas list.
Want a nice winter motorcycle jacket that you can wear off the bike and will impress your friends? While on the pricier side, the only thing cooler than owning something by our friends at Aether is the tech that goes into the research and development of their products (they have a walk in freezer in their offices in LA just so you can test out their jackets for yourself!). The Canyon jacket is constructed using Schoeller®-Dynatec, a three-layer abrasion resistant fabric tested by Schoeller’s “Sturzsimulator,” which simulates crashes on pavement up to 75 mph to ensure the jacket can take a beating. It’s also completely waterproof, while maintaining the breathable qualities we’ve come to love from Gore-Tex. Sealed seams and weatherproof zippers finish the waterproofing, while D30 armor at the shoulders, elbows, and back will keep you safe in a crash. Matte black, reflective piping helps keep you looking cool during the day while visible at night and their “ergonomic fit” was actually designed for healthy sized humans. You’ll need to pair this jacket with base layers if the temp drops too low, but if you can afford it and it fit’s your temperature needs; the Aether Canyon Motorcycle Jacket is as good as it gets.
Had any experience with the jackets on our list? Tell us about them. Ready to buy? Tell us which jacket you’d love to have in the comments below.