When I look in women’s motorcycling groups and on dedicated pages online, it looks like a lot of ladies are at a loss when it comes to picking women’s leather motorcycle jackets, and even more so when it comes to trousers. I’m certainly a proponent of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) within reason, and leather clothing can do a lot for a motorcyclist in the event of a crash, but what not a lot of people know, is that if it fits correctly, leather gear can actually support you while riding. Let’s take a look at how to choose and how to buy for fit rather than for fashion.
The oxygen factor
I see a lot of people struggling and riding the bike with ill fitting leather gear all the time, heck even I have an old leather suit that’s a size too small and I insisted on stuffing myself into it at the expense of my freedom of movement and the ability to breathe. Yep, I’m guilty of trying to convince myself I’ll fit into it one day, well… That didn’t happen. There are some rules to this, one of which is the rule that Leather gear WILL NOT STRETCH TO FIT, yes, repeat after me, WILL NOT STRETCH TO FIT. This one is an old myth, probably originating from the time when leather garments were not constructed to the level they are today. Now, it is true that a well fitting jacket or pant will adapt to your body shape over time, but it will never stretch to accommodate a needed size up. This is by far the most common problem people face so, do yourself a favor and do buy a size up when in doubt.
The back protector
Another crucial mistake people often make is not allowing sufficient space for the back protector. Some jackets will have a foam place holder pad in them, to simulate the thickness of a back protector. This foam pad is not protective and the best thing to do is to take it out and ask the store staff to try the jacket with a back protector, to avoid inconvenience later on. If you’ve ordered your motorcycle protective clothing online, make sure to try it with a back protector if you have one on hand, or even better, get the internal back protector option if available for your jacket. I have internal back protectors in all of my jackets, that way they’re a breeze to put on and I don’t have to think about bringing a separate item along.
It’s true what they say, women’s items are rare and hard to come by, at women’s items that fit and do so well, are an even rarer phenomenon. That being said, thanks to ever rising numbers of female bikers, most big name companies now offer a pretty wide range of women’s leather and textile jackets. One important rule is this however: different brands and different models will fit differently, as manufacturers model their fit for different populations. For example, I can’t fit well into Dainese stuff, but do perfectly well in Alpinestars, Spidi and Rev’it. There are also some brands (such as Bering for example) that offer Queen’s sizes in lady specific fit, so the curvier girls can avoid purchasing ill fitting man’s jackets. Basically what I’m trying to say is follow the fit, not the brand name or design when choosing your gear, an expensive, beautiful jacket is useless if you can’t wear it.
The wiggle room
A good, well fitting motorcycle leather jacket should be snug, but not restrictive. Some range of movement of your arms should actually be restricted (you’re not supposed to be able to stretch them above your head, for example) and it should feel most comfortable IN RIDING POSITION, so if you can’t do yoga in it, it’s ok.
When choosing your jacket, think ahead and plan. If you’ll want to complete the set, are there matching trousers from the same brand? How does the jacket attach to your existing pants? Does it have a little latch or a loop to hook to your riding jeans? There are little things that seem small, but make a big difference in everyday use.
Last but not least, do buy your motorcycle gear from a reputable vendor, one that will be able to provide warranty assistance or exchange in case of a sizing error. We are talking safety gear, not garden gnomes so avoid buying from shady places or cheap knockoffs.
Have you found the best ever fitting jacket or are you still struggling to find the fit of your dreams? Let me know in the comments below and share your story!
Till next time,