Despite the recent advances in materials science and improvements in textile jackets, I'm still a die-hard leather stan. Leather just seems right to me, the proper material for motorcycle gear. I've worn primarily leather jackets since I started riding with a few review jackets sprinkled in here or there. I love a good piece of hide though, and a solid leather jacket should be, in my opinion as the final arbiter in all matters of taste and style around here, the centerpiece of any rider's wardrobe.
Rev'It's Cordite jacket is the perfect example of the kind of leather jacket I'm talking about. It's a simple, no-nonsense jacket built for daily use. It has a classic, straight-sided cut, integral armor, a sturdy, short-connection zipper, and enough pockets and modern amenities to make it an indispensable piece of your gear collection.
Available in slightly distressed black or olive green, the Cordite has a soft, full-grain cowhide outer shell with a soft, comfortable textile lining. The shoulders feature a padded, tuck-and-roll-style diamond pattern that really sets the jacket apart from its competitors in the looks department. Aside from the fancy shoulder stitching, the Cordite is a basic, retro-styled jacket that harkens back to the old-school racing leathers of yesteryear. It has straight-cut flanks, a sturdy central zipper, and a Mandarin-style collar with snap closure. It is, overall, quite a handsome jacket.
Features-wise, the Cordite is stripped down but still has all the features you expect in a modern riding jacket. The waist is adjustable with external straps and buckles, and it has the normal array of pockets—two external slit pockets, a horizontal internal pocket, and a napoleon pocket hidden just behind the zipper. The jacket also has two snap-fastened loops to attach it to your riding jeans and even a built-in zipper in the lower back that allows attachment to Rev'It's zipper-equipped Safeway-series belts.
The outer, zipper-closed slit pockets are nice and deep, deep enough to hold all your keys, knives, masks, chewing gum, slingshots, frogs, cool rocks, earplugs, and whatever else is part of your daily carry. They're also well positioned in the jacket so that they're at a normal and comfortable place to stuff your hands into. The internal horizontal pocket is just the right size for a larger-sized phone in a protective case, and deep enough to swallow the whole phone. The napoleon pocket is, well, there but I don't really use it.
For safety, the jacket features integral SEESMART CE-level 1 armor at the shoulders and elbows and has a prEN 17902 AA rating out of the box. The integrated armor can be upgraded with CE-level 2 armor from Rev'It, and the jacket has a pouch in the back for the company's CE-level 2 insert back protector. The armor is placed well in the jacket and doesn't hinder your movements even when you're all buttoned up. Even with the back protector installed, the jacket sits very comfortably on your torso with all the armor installed, and after a few minutes of wearing the Cordite you barely notice it.
While the Cordite has a lot of pros, it does have a few cons. The integral liner isn't insulated, and there are no accommodations for added insulation. Thanks to a lack of vents and perforations, the jacket doesn't breathe very well and it can get mighty sweaty in there on hot days. The lack of insulation and ventilation make the Cordite more suited to late spring and early fall riding than to full-on summer wear. The only other real complaint I have about the Cordite is that the forearm/wrist zippers are on top of the sleeve rather than on the bottom. It's not a dealbreaker, but it's a weird stylistic choice that took me a while to get used to. Other than those little quibbles, it's pretty great.
Since about September of 2021, Rev'It's Cordite has been my regular riding jacket. In fact, it's replaced my Dainese Bardo as my go-to, daily-wear leather. It was one of two jackets I took on my cross-country Ural trip, and was the jacket I wore the most over the course of the 3,800-mile odyssey. I found it incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time, even in the searing summer heat, and it blocks wind well when you're at speed. It's rugged, handsome, and well-equipped, everything I like in a jacket.
In the year I've had it, the Cordite has worn in very nicely and now fits me like a glove. The color has faded a bit, especially over the course of the Ural trip, but it's held up nicely to daily wear and tear and I see myself wearing it for many more years. Hell, I may even buy a couple more just to have backups in case my current one wears out or gets ruined.
If you're in the market for a stylish new leather jacket that does a good job balancing form and function, I highly recommend the Rev'It Cordite. It runs around $499, and is definitely worth it.