It’s great to have so many styles and options in motorcycle jackets, but what safety factors should you consider?
The thickness of the leather determines how much abrasion it will take before shredding and exposing your skin (which doesn’t take abrasion well at all). Lightweight jackets made of leather that’s about 1 mm thick are certainly better than a flannel shirt and might be fine in a slow slide. Much better is the general-purpose width: 1.2 mm. That doesn’t sound too thick, but it makes a big difference. Heavyweight leather is about 1.4 mm thick and is used for racing jackets and by professional riders.
Untreated leather leaks, and treated leather might be water-resistant, but it cannot be waterproof. On the other hand, good leather is always windproof.
Check the stitching by pulling gently on either side of a seam. The holes should not enlarge and the thread should not stretch.
Take the zipper all the way up and down and be sure it doesn’t bind. Be sure any fastenings on the cuffs or waist work as they should.
A safe jacket fits well. To get good fit, wear the clothes you ride in when you buy your jacket. Check that it doesn’t pinch or bind but do remember that leather will adapt to your body to some extent.
If you’re buying a jacket with armor, move around with the armor in to be sure it won’t shift out of position and that it’s comfortable to wear.