Featured photo taken of Danny Eslick at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

10 Steps to Dry: The Perfect Motorcycle Rain Jacket

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers, but that’s not all! April also brings two wheel riders back on the road. If you’re as excited as we are about finally being able to ride after a long winter, you’re probably already back on the road. We hope you’re wearing proper protective gear, but you shouldn’t just protect yourself, when it comes to rain you also need to protect your gear. If you haven’t purchased your wet weather gear yet, have no fear, just follow our 10 step guide to choosing the best motorcycle rain jacket this season!

  1. Primary vs. Secondary: One of the first decisions you have to make is between making your primary jacket water-resistant or carrying an additional rain jacket to layer. An additional waterproof jacket is the typical choice for leather jackets because of the damage water does to the material. Textiles are more commonly waterproof, but typically still require additional protection, such as a waterproof liner. Most riders would benefit from carrying an additional waterproof jacket in case of heavy rainfall.

  2. Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant: If you thought these words were synonyms, you’d be mistaken. While both words are commonly associated with rain gear, there is a huge difference between the two. Water-resistant jackets will protect you for a damp ride, but when the skies actually cry, you’ll end your ride soaked. Water-resistant is more for the damp nights and short term rain fall, not a long ride on a rainy day. What you really want and need is a waterproof jacket, which will block out all moisture, keeping you completely dry no matter how heavy the rain.

  3. Quality: You’ve probably heard it more times than you cared to, but we can’t stress the importance enough, so here it goes: just like the rest of your gear, you get the quality you pay for, meaning that if you buy gear cheap, expect cheap gear. Going with a reputable brand isn’t a bad thing in the motorcycle industry, because you know that you’ll be paying for top quality. Remember that any sort of discomfort can be a distraction and safety hazard on the road, even rain jackets are protective gear and should be looked at as such.

  4. Material: There are three common rain gear materials: PVC, polyurethane, and polypropylene. The least expensive would be PVC. PVC jackets are easy to pack and will keep you dry, but are not durable. One hole or tear and your jacket is most likely done. If your bike has exposed pipes, this material is absolutely out of the question, unless you’re interested in a melted jacket. PVC can be a great choice if you are on a strict budget or will only be caught in the rain once in a great while for a short period of time. The next material, polyurethane, is the most common. It’s popular amongst riders experiencing a large variety of temperatures and rainfall, because it keeps you comfortable in every condition. The third rain gear material is polypropylene. This material is comfortable to the touch while remaining extremely durable. Depending on the fit, it can flap and billow in the wind, but above all, it will definitely keep you dry.

  5. Ventilation: While PVC makes for a wonderful windbreaker, and keeps you warm on a cool ride, it lacks proper ventilation. Polyurethane is more breathable than PVC, however, polypropylene will allow the most airflow. The best motorcycle jackets add a breathable membrane like Gore-Tex, Hipora, or Reissa. These membranes evaporate moisture while still keeping out rain, therefore keeping you dry. This added layer keeps you comfortable in the heat and the cold allowing ventilation and keeping moisture out.

  6. Visibility: If you think motorcyclists are hard to see in sunshine or even just at night, imagine adding rain to the mix. Look for a rain jacket with high visibility reflective properties. Remember that rain comes with darker skies, mist, and fog, making you even harder to see. It’s your responsibility to make yourself visible to other drivers on the road for their safety and your own.

  7. Fit: You’ve probably done this with your primary jacket, but even with rain gear you’ll want to do the seat test to make sure your jacket fits properly in any riding position. Make sure your sleeves are long enough to cover your wrists. You’ll want a looser fit so it fits easily over your primary gear. If you go with a secondary jacket, it should be longer than your primary to not only fully cover your back, but fully protect your jacket. Look for jackets with proper waist and sleeve closures so you can tighten to your specific measurements, keeping out rain and wind. Worried about ordering the wrong size? Don’t be, Riders Discount has an easy returns and exchanges policy.

  8. Features: Some waterproof motorcycle jackets will come with added features that make your ride even safer and more comfortable. Look for jackets with built in rain hoods that will fit under your helmet. You’ll want a high collar, but that may not be enough. Without a hood, the rain can slide down your helmet and into your jacket. A proper hood, will prevent this discomfort. Some jackets come with vents you can open and close depending on the temperature, keeping you comfortable in any sort of rain. If you require additional pockets make sure they are also waterproof to not damage your wallet, phone, and other valuables.

  9. Style: You should adhere to your style of riding. Whether you are a commuter, adventure rider, or racer, your chosen style directly effects your needs from your jacket. It can determine desired features and fit, in order to make your ride as comfortable as possible no matter what weather you experience. Racers will want a tighter fit than other styles, because they’ll be riding at higher speeds and it will be more aerodynamic. Adventure riders will need the most durable jackets because they may be in the rain for hours at a time, while commuters may only see rain for a few minutes. Whichever style fits your ride, remember to apply those conditions to your choice.

  10. Accessibility: Choose a jacket that’s simple to take on and off so that you can easily pull off the road and change quickly. Consider the storage space you have available on your bike. You want your jacket to be easy to pack away and access when you need it. If you don’t have motorcycle luggage on your bike, you’re going to have less space. Think about the type of bike you have too, for example, a sportbike will have less space than a cruiser. Choose a jacket that’s easy to access and easy to throw on and off as the weather changes to reduce time and increase safety.

Rain or shine, we know you want to ride, so don’t let the wet get you down. When those dark clouds roll in and the sun disappears, you can sense what is going to come next, and you need to be prepared. Rain can ruin your gear and your ride. You can try your hardest to avoid it, but at some point you will get caught in the rain. If your primary jacket is not completely waterproof, no matter if it’s leather or textile, it will soak through to your skin. Just like every other piece of gear, your choice in rain jacket is personal to your specific wants and needs.

Even on the hottest summer day, you should never leave home without your rain gear. After years of false predictions, you should know that no one can predict the weather 100% of the time. Always be prepared at the lowest prices on the web with motorcycle rain jackets from Riders Discount.

If you require additional help choosing the perfect motorcycle rain jacket for your specific needs, contact our expert sales team 10AM-6PM ET M-F by calling 1-866-931-6644 or sending us a message at support@ridersdiscount.com.

Featured photo taken of Danny Eslick at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Featured photo taken of Danny Eslick at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

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