10 Best Protective Motorcycle Jacket Review Guide

Updated May 2022


AETHER Badlands Motorcycle Jacket

When the going gets bad, the bad get AETHER. The AETHER Badlands Jacket was designed for the baddest of the bad who demand the best of the best.

If you’ve been searching for just the right classic-styled leather jacket with a slim cut and modern moto amenities, the AETHER Badlands Leather Motorcycle Jacket just may be the perfect fit.


  • Slim fit
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Breathable
  • Vintage Cafe Racer Jacket inspired collar
  • Perforated panels for ventilation
  • Center front zipper
  • Zippered welt chest pockets
  • Zippered welt hand pockets
  • Zippered gussets at wrists
  • Removable D3O® EVO XT elbow, shoulder and back
  • Stylish plaid lining


Spidi Clubber Jacket

The Clubber Jacket is the ace in the hole of Spidi’s line of classic leather jackets. The buffalo hide that differentiates the Clubber from other jackets is tanned and processed by Spidi in Italy. In the moto realm, buffalo is noted for its stout resistance to abrasion and supple hand. Inside the jacket, the Clubber is lined with cotton and given an “Italian” tartan print. Subtle Warrior Lite elbow and shoulder armor provide CE-rated impact protection, and the jacket can accept a Warrior back protector (available separately). With this unique combination of Spidi style, multi-colored accent stitching at the arms and buffalo leather, “cool” is the Clubber Jacket’s one and only setting. 


  • Italian 1.0-1.1mm buffalo leather construction
  • Meets certification CE pr EN 17092-2:2017 Class AA for protective riding jackets
  • Included Warrior Lite CE Level 1 elbow and shoulder armor
  • Pocket for an optional Warrior back protector (sold separately)
  • Premium Italian tartan cotton liner
  • Snap adjustments at the waist
  • Embroidered Spidi badges
  • Multi-colored accent stitching at biceps and collar
  • Hook and loop zipper guard 
  • Accepts optional Spidi H2Out X47 waterproof rain and L30 thermal liners (sold separately)
  • Leather tanned in Italy




Merlin Ridge Jacket

Leather and Cotec wax cotton combine to create a uniquely styled, highly protective jacket. The vest portion of the jacket is leather, while the sleeves are the Cotec technical wax cotton. These features combined with a full suite of D3O armor make sure you stay abrasion resistant as well as impact protected. A removable thermal gilet ensures you can stay warm when the temperatures drop, while the YKK antique effect zippers tie together the garment.

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  • 1.2-1.3mm matte finish cowhide leather combined with Cotec Technical Wax Cotton
  • D3O level 1 shoulder and elbow armor
  • D3O level 1 back protector
  • Removable 125g thermal gilet
  • YKK antique effect zippers
  • 2 front pockets
  • 2 side pockets
  • CE AA certified

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Merlin Trance Jacket

The Merlin Trance is a traditional bomber jacket disguised as sleek leather hoody. The full leather body uses premium cowhide lined with black cotton – spec’d with warmer weather riding in mind. Heavier gauge cotton is used for the removable hood. Finally, cotton makes one final appearance at the plush, elasticated cuffs and hem to create the body hugging feel that defines a good bomber. An embroidered Merlin badge is found at the bicep, right between the included shoulder and elbow impact armor. 


  • Full leather construction with heavy 220 gram premium cotton hood (detachable)
  • Ribbed cotton varsity collar, cuffs and hem
  • Black cotton lining
  • Oversized drawstrings at hood
  • Front, vertical zipped chest pocket
  • Two zippered handwarmer pockets
  • Internal storage pockets
  • Embroidered Merlin patch at bicep
  • Full YKK zippers
  • CE Level 1 shoulder and elbow armor included 
  • Pocket for optional back protector (sold separately) 
  • YKK jacket to pants connection zipper
  • Jacket to pants connection loop


Merlin Hixon Heritage Jacket

The first thing you will notice about the Hixton is how unique the leather looks and feels. This is because the Aniline treatment results in not only an incredibly soft hand, but also a very natural visible grain with a matte finish. Merlin strives to keep a retro look through the style of jacket; the cut, patterns and colors are decidedly classic, but functional touches and thoughtful design features but bring the Merlin Hixon Leather Jacket firmly into the 21st, leveraging modern manufacturing and technology.


  • Aniline matte finish
  • Removable vest thermal liner featuring Marton Mills tartan fabric
  • Mesh drop liner for improved breathability
  • CE Level 1 armor in shoulders and elbows
  • Back pocket for optional CE back armor (sold separately)
  • YKK zippers used throughout
  • VELCRO® brand fastener hem adjustment
  • Two lower pockets plus two chest pockets
  • Internal pockets
  • Cross stitch quilted shoulder panels
  • Short connecting jacket-to-pant connecting zipper


Merlin Cambrian Jacket

The Cambrian Jacket from Merlin was designed to be your go-to lightweight, everyday riding jacket during the warmer months of riding. The perforated leather paneling and fixed mesh lining ensure air flows freely to your chest, while the included D3O elbow and shoulder armor help keep you protected at a CE AA level. Timeless patterns combined with color matched accessories from YKK ensure this jacket is as stylish as it is protective.

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  • 1.0-1.1mm waxed cowhide leather
  • Perforated leather panels
  • D3O LP1 elbow and shoulder armor
  • D3O Viper L back protector pocket (back protector sold separately)
  • 2 side pockets and 2 chest pockets
  • Fixed mesh lining for improved breathability
  • Color matched YKK zippers / toggles
  • Jacket to jean connecting zipper
  • CE AA certification


Merlin Chase Jacket

The Merlin Chase Jacket is a tracker-inspired leather jacket with loads of style and protection. Contrasting sleeves and body make for a sleek look while CE level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows provide modern day protection. Pop open the 2 chest and single back vents for comfort and add in the optional back protector to beef up protection.


  • 1.2-1.3mm cowhide leather
  • CE Level 2 shoulder and elbow armor
  • Pocket for optional back protector (sold separately)
  • 100g removable thermal vest
  • Satin black lining
  • Merlin branded snap studs with antique finish
  • Pin back collar 
  • YKK zippers
  • YKK jacket-to-pants connector zipper
  • Shoulder and elbow detailing


AETHER Rally Motorcycle Jacket

Inspired by the Paris-Dakar but built for the street, the AETHER Rally Motorcycle Jacket is designed for the rally raid of everyday motorcycling.

The AETHER Rally may be better matched to brawl the urban sprawl than to tangle with a deep desert scramble, but its heart is the same. 

Built on a rugged 3 layer nylon shell, the Rally is highly water, wind and abrasion resistant and packing a full set of D3O EVO XT armor under the hood. Muted canvas jacket simplicity lets the performance of the AETHER Rally Jacket do the talking. 


  • Slim fit
  • Highly water resistant
  • Windproof
  • Seam sealed
  • 3-layer abrasion-resistant field nylon shell
  • Taped at critical seams
  • Denim inspired details
  • Shank button placket and zipper at center front
  • Chest pocket
  • Dual hand pockets
  • Back vents
  • Removable D3O® EVO XT elbow, shoulder, and back
  • Rubber covered button at bottom button and rubber covered cuff snaps as to not scratch bike tank
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Note: Armor is included, but does not come installed.



Spidi Tech Armor Jacket

The Spidi Tech Armor Jacket will have your back if things get sketchy while riding. High tenacity polyester fabric surrounds perforated mesh fabric with shoulder and elbow armor included. An ergofit system gives riders the option to attach back protector and chest protector for an added barrier. Reflective inserts ensure that other drivers see you even if you don’t see them.


  • High tenacity polyester fabric
  • Perforated mesh fabric adds breathability 
  • Plush elasticated knit cuffs
  • Elbow and shoulder armor included
  • Ergofit system with localized straps to secure impact and back armor
  • Adjustable waist
  • Reflective inserts for nighttime visibility
  • Jacket to pants connection zipper at waist
  • Jacket to pants connection loop
  • Accepts optional Warrior style back protector (sold separately)
  • Accepts optional chest protector (sold separately)
  • Meets certification Pr En 17092-4:2017 Class A for protective riding garments


Merlin Miller Jacket

Heat reflecting leather and sleek styling are the highlights of this modern classic. The Miller Jacket from Merlin is constructed from 1.1-1.2mm soft cowhide leather infused with TFL’s COOL TEC technology, designed to reflect up to 70% of UV rays and reduce felt temperature inside the jacket by up to 25*C. For the colder times a 125g thermal gilet is included as well. The jacket also features LP1 elbow and shoulder armor from D3O and boasts a CE AA certification so you know you’re protected. Rounding out the look are color matched YKK accessories / zippers as well as a jacket to jean connecting zipper to keep the jacket in place.


  • 1.1-1.2mm soft cowhide leather
  • TFL treatment for up to 70% UV reflection, up to 25*C temperature reduction
  • Removable 125g thermal gilet
  • D3O LP1 elbow and shoulder armor
  • D3O Viper L back protector pocket (back protector sold separately)
  • 2 front pockets
  • 2 side pockets
  • Waist cinch
  • Color matched YKK accessories
  • Jacket to jean connecting zipper
  • CE AA certification