Short Motorcycle Jackets: Are They Supposed To Fit That Way?

Motorcycle jackets are one of the most crucial pieces of gear you should wear when riding a bike. They help protect you from the elements and, um, make you look cool. However, in our years of riding, we’ve always wondered: are short motorcycle jackets a thing?

How Do Short Motorcycle Jackets Benefit You?

Motorcycle jackets are short for improved comfort and safety. Shorter jackets won’t press against the belly, flap in the wind, or shift up your body during an accident.

Short Motorcycle Jackets Increase Comfort

First and foremost, this shorter length is all about comfort. Since most bikes require you to lean forward while sitting, long jackets mean there’s excess fabric pressing against your lower belly. This can be quite uncomfortable, especially on longer rides.

Meanwhile, some jackets are designed to be longer to give the parka looks. These jackets are commonly used by adventure riders who ride bikes where you can sit straight without leaning forward.

Short Motorcycle Jackets Prevent Flapping in the Wind

While riding a motorbike, you’ve probably noticed the resistance to moving air. Chances are you’re always running against the wind, which can be very strong. This is especially true for “naked” motorcycles that don’t have any windscreen.

Short motorcycle jackets fit closer to the body to avoid suspension in the air while you’re moving. Meaning, even if you ride at faster speeds, your jacket won’t flap in the wind to avoid any distraction.

Short Motorcycle Jackets Increase Safety

Another reason why motorcycle jackets are short is to increase your safety. Besides, you wear a jacket for safety reasons, right?

Motorcycle jackets are short so that if there’s an accident, they won’t get caught on any part of the bike. You won’t get hooked on your bike during a crash, which also means there’s a lesser chance of injuries.

No one wants to meet an accident at all. But, if you do, the best way to crash is by sliding over the road rather than tumbling around. With the right gear, sliding may leave you unharmed while tumbling causes broken bones and other injuries. This is one of the most important reasons why motorcycle jackets are shorter.

How Do You Choose a Short Motorcycle Jacket?

You may not realize it, but motorcycle jackets play an important role in your overall safety. However, there are lots of different types in the market and it’s not always easy to find the right one.

Aside from your personal preferences, you must also pay attention to other factors to ensure you’re riding safely and comfortably. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right motorcycle jacket:

Match It to Your Riding Style

Motorcycle jackets can either be one-piece or two-piece suits.

One-piece suits offer full-body protection, fit closer to your body, and won’t flap in the wind while you’re riding. They’re perfect if you enjoy racing or riding through traffic on your bike.

Two-piece suits, on the other hand, offer protection and flexibility. For instance, if you’re just going for a casual ride, you don’t need to wear both pieces. You can simply place the jacket in your saddlebag and wear your regular coat once you reach your destination. Plus, a motorcycle jacket has more pockets than one-piece suits, so there are more places to keep other personal belongings.


One of the most common debates among riders is whether you should get a jacket made of leather or textile. While they’re both different, they still have a few things in common. The quality of the materials and the construction determine performance.

It takes a lot of experience to recognize quality, so for beginners, consider talking to more experienced riders for advice.

Textile jackets, whether made of nylon or polyester, are comfortable and are best for touring bikers, cruisers, and weekend warriors. Meanwhile, leather provides more safety and is ideal for sporty riders who are racing or taking more risks in traffic.

You can also get combination-type jackets or those that combine textile and leather. Consider going for this type since it gives you the advantage of two in one.


A good motorcycle jacket makes sure that you stay safe and comfortable. This is why you should pay close attention to these small details before making that purchase:

  • Make sure the seams are inside your jacket so they won’t cause abrasions in case of an accident. Leather motorcycle jackets typically have very few seams since the seams compromise the jacket’s stability. Moreover, the back and chest should be a whole piece of material rather than small pieces sewn together for integrity.
  • The zippers should be made of metal or plastic and should be quick to close yet easy to open. They should be covered with a flap, too, to reduce further injuries in the event of a crash.


Motorcycle jackets are available in men’s and women’s sizes. Also, while some are labeled unisex, sizing will still differ from one manufacturer to the next. This is why it’s important to take some time to make sure you get a proper fit.

The jacket should fit you perfectly while you’re standing and sitting. Therefore, it’s best to try on the jacket based on how you’ll be sitting on your bike.

For example, the sleeves should be long enough to reach your wrists while your arms are bent and extended. The cuffs should also have a zipper so the sleeves won’t bunch over your wrists in case of an accident. Lastly, the zipper should come with a cover to decrease the risk of injury.

American Cut

These jackets are typically more generous with their fit and offer more room at the waist, arms, and shoulders. American cuts are sometimes also called “regular” or “touring” fit.

European Cut

These jackets have a closer and tighter fit and have a more tapered profile. They’re also sometimes called “slim” or “sport cut.” European cuts are your best bet if you don’t need much extra space.

Race Cut

This fit is for the all-out sport rider. It offers a snug fit and has pre-curved arms for comfort and flexibility in a three-quarter to the full-tuck riding position.

If a motorcycle jacket meets these requirements, it’s as safe as can be and you’re practically good to go. Over time, you may choose to upgrade the armor, add a back protector, or add some base layers. None of those will be a problem as long as your jacket fits properly.

How Do You Care for a Motorcycle Jacket?

After buying the right jacket, the next thing you have to learn is how to take care of it. You should take good care of your jacket the same way you would your motorcycle.

Care is important for all, regardless if you choose to go with leather or textile. Just remember that each type should be handled differently. Here are ways on how to take care of leather and textile jackets to increase their lifespan:

Leather Motorcycle Jackets

Leather jackets are more difficult to clean and handle as compared to textile jackets. You need to pay close attention while cleaning them so that they won’t dry out and harden. A stiff and dried-out jacket doesn’t look good, will compromise its lifespan, and is a complete waste of money.

Apply some leather oil, leather balm, or Vaseline regularly to prevent your leather jacket from drying out and hardening. Doing this will also help prevent water from penetrating the leather. Plus, you may choose a transparent product or black grease depending on the color of your jacket.

Textile Motorcycle Jackets

Meanwhile, textile jackets require a lot less work—you can easily find care instructions on the tag itself. However, you should make sure to follow the instructions very carefully.

You can wash most textile jackets in the washing machine on delicate and in cool water (normally below 85 degrees.) It’s vital to follow the water temperature stated on the label to avoid any damage to the jacket.

Depending on how dirty your jacket is, you can simply use water or add a detergent booster. The detergent booster will help remove all stubborn stains to leave your jacket fresh and clean.

How Do You Measure Motorcycle Jackets?

Motorcycle jackets use letter sizing (S, M, L, etc.) or numeric sizing (42, 44, 46, etc.) Here’s an example of a typical men’s textile motorcycle jacket:

Chest34-36 in38-40 in40-42 in42-44 in46-48 in
Waist28-28 in29-31 in32-34 in34-36 in36-39 in
Sleeve32 in32 in33 in34 in35 in
Chest40 in42 in44 in46 in48 in
Waist32 in34 in38 in40 in42 in
Sleeve33 in33 in34 in35 in35 in

Should You Go One Size Up When Buying Leather Jackets?

Picking a size bigger in leather motorcycle jackets is not recommended since the leather will still stretch with frequent use. Therefore, it may be better to get a tighter version of what you would normally wear.


Short motorcycle jackets are created that way to help protect you in case of a crash. Since no extra material will get caught on anything, the risk of developing more critical injuries is reduced.

Happy shopping and be safe on the road!

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