Best Budget Motorcycle Jackets 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

What’s the ideal course of action for any motorcyclist?

A. Buy your motorcycle

B. Buy your helmet

C. Buy your motorcycle jacket

But if you’ve spent all your money on A and B, a budget motorcycle jacket could be the biggest blessing of your life. And the good news is there are some great budget motorcycle jackets in the market that are really high on safety protection measures as well as utility and style.

But finding them isn’t easy — there are way too many cheap jackets manufactured in China and I’m sure you’re not volunteering to be the guinea pig that crash-tests them.

I chose the best motorcycle jackets by wearing them and riding in them, but of course, I couldn’t willingly crash test them (sorry, I don’t love my readers that much). Instead, I’ve done extensive research to ensure all the jackets on this list are CE certified and EN1621-1 and EN1621-2 impact test certified.

Short on time and don’t feel like reading a personally tested, well-researched budget motorcycle jacket guide? I got you — get the Borleni Motorcycle Jacket and call it a day.

Top 6 Best Budget Motorcycle Jackets 2021

1. Borleni Motorcycle Jacket

Our Top Pick in Budget Motorcycle Jackets

Borleni’s Motorcycle Jacket

This Borleni Motorcycle Jacket is one of the best options available in the budget motorcycle jacket. When I first tested this out, I was super impressed at the extent of full-body protection that this classic motorcycle jacket provides. One of my first impressions was that it looks like a high-quality real leather motorcycle jacket, but this jacket isn’t just a pretty face.

There’s plenty of built-in external armor in this jacket, with extra padding on the shoulders and elbows as well as a back protector. All the protectors are CE-approved armor and can be removed in case you want to wear the leather jacket for a casual dinner date (I’d suggest keeping the armor on in case you plan to split the bill).

The fabric used is breathable mesh lining, made from polyester DTY500D mesh wire, which is super abrasion-resistant. Mesh construction is one of the best options when it comes to motorcycle jacket fabric materials.

One of the primary reasons why the Borleni jacket makes it my top pick is because it functions as an all-season jacket. It has enough protective lining for extra warmth in colder weather, and this removable thermal liner can take a back seat during the summer. A key factor here is that ventilation doesn’t come at the cost of protection — which is the case with most motorcycle jackets. You can safely make this jacket warm-weather friendly while having all the abrasion resistance, foam padding, and CE armor needed in case you get into an accident.

The only real issue with this jacket is that there is no reflective taping or piping, which are big contributors to the safety factor. There can also be size issues. The arms are extra long, so it’s really important to use the forearm adjusters as well as waist adjusters. The Xelement CF380, by comparison, has a much better true-to-size fitting.

If I had to be really picky: I wish there was more padding on the sides of the abdomen, in the kidney region. However, this is probably as good as it gets for the price range.

Pros:

  • Wire Mesh motorcycle jacket
  • Removable armor
  • Removable liner
  • Great for summer riding
  • Sleeve liner
  • Safety features
  • Abrasion protection

Cons:

  • No side abdomen protection
  • Armor could be made from harder material
  • Could be longer in length
  • No reflective panels or reflective tape

Suitable for:

The Borleni jacket is a great choice for anyone looking for a budget motorcycle jacket. It’s got plenty of protective safety features while also being one of the best-looking leather jackets in the budget jacket category. A safe and reliable choice that’s suitable for everyone. Be sure to get the sizing right!

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2. Xelement CF38 Mesh Jacket

Best Premium Jacket in Budget Mesh Motorcycle Jackets

Xelement CF38 Mesh Jacket

‘The Best Premium Budget Motorcycle Jacket’ may sound like an oxymoron, but here’s why I’ve given it that title. The Xelement CF38 is pushing our $100 upper limit as a budget motorcycle jacket, and it is as premium as it gets in this category. If you’re looking for the best money can buy in your budget, this Xelement jacket is that: plain and simple. With CE-approved X-armour and a textile-mesh blend, this jacket is the finest in the budget market.

This is a textile motorcycle jacket — and it uses Denier High-Performance fabric. This fabric is inherently breathable and a lot less bulky than regular leather motorcycle jackets. When it comes to protection: this jacket actually features an X-armor which is really cutting edge protection technology usually found in really premium jackets. X armor is ergonomically designed to absorb more impact.

The removable lining isn’t just a thermal layer but is also quilted, and it was definitely warm when I tried it on. This would come in handy in the winter for sure.

I have to say: the number of concealed pockets is great. There’s nothing like a high utility motorcycle jacket, and having 5 pockets is a welcome bonus. The spine padding and shoulder padding may seem like it’s too soft to serve their purpose — but this jacket has passed the highest level EN1621-1 and EN1621-2 impact tests. That’s enough to put any anxieties at ease.

Like the Borleni Motorcycle Jacket, the Xellement doesn’t have reflective piping either. That’s a piece of safety equipment that shouldn’t be missing, ideally. But having a full black leather jacket makes it more versatile — you don’t just have to wear it when you’re riding.

Pros:

  • External armor jacket
  • Waterproof liner
  • Padding for shoulders and elbows
  • Breathable mesh
  • Zippered vents
  • Internal and external pockets

Cons:

  • No reflective piping
  • No waist adjuster
  • No side abdomen protection

Suitable for:

The Xelement CF380 is one of the best budget motorcycle jackets out there, but I’d say it’s most suited for someone who rides in cold weather. Even though the inner lining is removable, the jacket has the best quilted warm features. Regardless, since it’s made with durable materials, it’s a great fit for anyone looking for a quality motorcycle jacket.

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3. HWK’s Adventure/Touring Motorcycle Jacket

Most Affordable Budget Motorcycle Jacket

HWK’s Adventure/Touring Motorcycle Jacket

Out of all the budget jackets on our list, HWK’s Adventure/Touring Motorcycle Jacket is the most affordable. It had to make it in our top 3 for best cheap motorcycle jackets. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s cheaply made. This jacket has 600D Cordura Construction and CE-approved body armor, as well as high-density foam back protection.

This all-weather textile motorcycle jacket features removable thermal lining along with a breathable and waterproof Reissa membrane. With the thermal lining, it can be really warm, and quite breathable without. It’s not as breathable, like say, the Borleni Jacket, but won’t have you drowning in sweat. (Better sweat than bleed, am I right?)

Finally, we come to an adventure motorcycle jacket with high-visibility reflective strips and logos around the arm. This is a feature that other affordable motorcycle jackets tend to skimp out on.

It would be a crime to review this jacket without mentioning the pockets at least once. There are both interior and exterior pockets, even one dedicated for your phone. They’re waterproof, secure, and non-bulky. I also really appreciate the tightening straps for every part of your body: it makes the jacket fit your body perfectly.

Now the aspects I wish were improved: the throat cuff could get tighter, and this isn’t the best for colder weather. If you do decide to remove the armor, it can be a big task. The lower part of the sleeve does start to flap about a little when riding above 90mph. But these are all really minor inconveniences, and this remains to be an incredible mesh motorcycle jacket at the price point.

Pros:

  • Great mesh motorcycle jacket
  • High-quality textile motorcycle jacket
  • Adjustable straps and tensioners
  • Removable armor
  • Removable liner
  • Internal pockets and external pockets
  • Affordable price point

Cons:

  • Not a leather jacket
  • The throat cuff can’t be tightened
  • Removing armor is tricky

Suitable for:

This is one of the best adventure or touring jacket options in the budget range. It’s perfect for sports bike riders and those looking for an hhr textile motorcycle jacket below $100. It would be honestly a value-for-money choice even if it were priced double!

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4. ILM’s JK41 Jacket 

Best Ventilation in Budget Motorcycle JacketsILM’s JK41 Jacket 

The trick with summer motorcycle jackets is finding one that has enough ventilation without gaps in the jacket that can leave you vulnerable in a crash. The JK41 from the ILM range has sports carbon-fiber armor for the shoulders, back, chest, and kidneys in addition to a detachable CE-certified spine and elbow armor. Carbon fiber padding is definitely a step up from high-density foam padding.

This jacket ventilation system has clever in-built air vents on the sleeves, front, and back of the jacket, but they don’t open up and leave the skin vulnerable. But it’s not just summer that the ILM jacket is prepared for — the exterior of the JK41 jacket is waterproof and is lined with a removable thermal quilted liner that keeps the wearer warm during cold days.

I’m not the biggest fan of gaudy neon piping, which is why I love that this textile jacket has white reflective piping running across the back for visibility during the nights and low-light situations.

But this jacket isn’t perfect — the adjustable straps on the upper arm aren’t the most sturdy and can come undone mid-ride, leaving you with a loose-fitted sleeve. I also struggled with the zips, they could’ve been slightly better quality and kept getting stuck.

Pros:

  • Great ventilation
  • Removable thermal quilted liner
  • White reflective piping
  • Stylish textile jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Carbon fiber padding

Cons:

  • Arm adjustor not sturdy
  • Zips can get stuck

Suitable for:

If you’re looking for a summer riding jacket, the ILM’s JK41 has enough ventilation to keep you cool. It’s a great budget option for the short to medium rides.

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5. Xelement CF-6019-66 Motorcycle Jacket

Best Protection Armor in a Motorcycle Jacket

Xelement CF-6019-66 Motorcycle Jacket

I was initially planning to include just one motorcycle jacket from Xelement on this list, but I had to include the Xelement CF-6019 as well. This guy has some of the best Protection Armor I’ve seen in a budget motorcycle jacket. This jacket has CE-approved removable armor in the X-armor design on the shoulders, elbows, and back. The armor itself is made from carbon fiber.

The ‘Invasion’ Motorcycle Jacket by Xelementis is made of Tri-Tex 600 Denier Mesh and Tri-Tex 1680 Denier Anti-abrasion material: this means that the material of the jacket is that much more resilient against asphalt in a crash, and will be scratch-resistant as well.

This is definitely a jacket suited for summer and fully ventilated mesh panels. Additional features include dual gun pockets, adjustable waist straps, removable internal liner, and external zippered pockets.

There’s a huge reflective panel on the front and back of the jacket. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of the jacket’s look and style, but that might be my personal preference. This is almost a full neon jacket, and would probably look better on a sports bike rider.

Pros:

  • Removable armor
  • Carbon fiber armor
  • Scratch-resistant material
  • Fully ventilated mesh panels
  • Dual gun pockets
  • Adjustable waist straps
  • Removable internal liner

Cons:

  • Not the warmest jacket
  • Sleeves can be too long

Suitable for:

This Xelement jacket is best suited for a summer rider who needs extra protection and safety.

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6. Wulful Vintage Motorcycle Jacket

Best Winter Motorcycle JacketWulful Vintage Motorcycle Jacket

I would buy this jacket for the looks alone.

No, really. This is one good-looking jacket, with its faux leather and trimmed fur hoodie. It’s also incredibly warm, making it a ridiculously value-for-money option if you’re riding in the cold. It’s rare to find a jacket with this much warmth at a budget price point.

The jacket features a removable hoodie, lots of storage pockets, and a warm quilted cotton lining. I’d describe this style to be vintage, definitely a classic motorcycle jacket. It’s also designed to be form-fitting, so it doesn’t have any customizable adjusters or tensioners. This could be a good and bad thing: the jacket would need to fit you perfectly, and if it doesn’t, there’s nothing you can do to adjust it. At the same time, form-fitting jackets without tensioners are always more secure since you don’t have to worry about a velcro strap giving way mid-ride.

This would be a great jacket for a cruiser motorcycle or any other low-speed form of motorcycle riding. That’s because there’s very little protection or armor in this jacket. If you’re looking to ride at higher speeds, I strongly suggest fitting it with external armor to get the best of both worlds – protection + warmth.

Pros:

  • Extremely warm jacket
  • Form-fitting jacket
  • Classic motorcycle jacket
  • Affordable price point
  • Detachable hoodie
  • Lots of storage pockets

Cons:

  • No in-built protection armor
  • No fasteners or tensioners

Suitable for:

This is the best motorcycle jacket for cold-weather riding.

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Types Of Motorcycle Jackets

Know your Motorcycle Jackets!

1. Cruiser

The most common type is a cruiser jacket. This is what most people think of when they picture a motorcycle jacket. In fact, regular leather jackets in fashion are inspired by this classic cruiser style of a motorcycle jacket.

Cruiser motorcycles don’t go very fast and are overall safer than sports bikes, which is why these jackets don’t have a whole lot of armor and padding.

2. Sport

Next up on the list is a sports jacket. As compared to a cruiser jacket, this type of motorcycle jacket is made using leather or an abrasion-resistant material. For extra protection, it has to have armor inserts. It is aerodynamically designed to help achieve high speeds and maintain balance during the ride. Sports jackets are created to offer the ultimate level of comfort and safety.

3. Touring

Touring jackets are specifically designed for long-distance journeys. They tend to be quite comfortable with the bonus of re-attachable liners, multiple pockets, and a waterproof exterior. It is convenient for motorcyclists who undertake long rides and want style, comfort, and protection.

4. Adventure

Uncertain terrain and weather conditions are what adventure motorcycling is all about. Adventure motorcyclists require strong and durable gear that will withstand extremities on rugged terrain. Adventure-oriented jackets are made of long-lasting and waterproof materials that protect the wearer against scrapes and bruises. They are breathable and lined with thermal liners. Some brands provide body armor as an added feature, so make sure you choose one with it.

What Makes The Best Budget Motorcycle Jacket?

1. Material

Motorcycle jackets usually come with three main fabric options- leather, textile, and mesh.

a. Leather

The most common fabric used for motorcycle jackets is leather. Leather is a very durable material that provides superior levels of comfort, style, and protection. Top-notch leather is abrasion-resistant and protects against grave injuries and road rash. Though leather may not be comfortable to wear during extremely hot days, certain perforated leathers are breathable.

b. Textile

Textile motorcycle jackets are a budget-friendly alternative to leather jackets. Offering a slightly lower level of protection, they come with additional features such as removable liners, multiple storage pockets, and body armor. Textile jackets provide great ventilation and are waterproof, in most cases.

c. Mesh

Mesh jackets are perfect to wear on hot summer days. They provide excellent ventilation for riders during long rides. Mesh jackets can be worn during casual outings along with the right protective gear. Mesh material does not guarantee lasting use and can tear easily.

2. Protective Features

The best budget motorcycle jacket comes in bright colors with built-in or removable body armor, spine, and impact protectors.

a. Armour

Many of the best motorcycle jackets include or are compatible with external armors that protect high-impact areas such as shoulders, chest, and forearms from grievous injuries. CE-approved protective equipment undergoes rigorous testing to ensure product quality and effectiveness.

b. Reflective Elements

It is recommended to wear riding gear with either bright, fluorescent colors or reflective strips so that you are visible to others on the road at night.

3. Style

While style won’t save you in a crash, it’s definitely an important factor. A motorcycle jacket has always been a fashion statement. Opting for a leather motorcycle jacket vs. a textile motorcycle jacket is also a style choice that should compliment you and your bike.

4. Breathability

During really hot days, some jacket materials can get warm, thick, and dense. For example- a leather jacket might keep you warm on a cold morning but as the day progresses, it will get uncomfortable and unbearable.

With effective ventilation, the best motorcycle jacket will keep you comfortable in all types of weather. Jackets are now available with perforated leather, textile mesh, or adjustable zippered air vents that regulate airflow.

FAQs on Budget Motorcycle Jackets

Q1. Should A Motorcycle Jacket Fit Tightly?

Ideally, yes. A form-fitting jacket ensures better aerodynamics during motorcycling and offers better protection from road rash and impact-related injuries.

Contour-fitting jackets often allow the wearer to layer clothes underneath them while keeping some room to move the forearms, elbows, and shoulders. Often, the cuffs of the jacket will have additional buttons or magnets to prevent them from flapping in the wind.

Having form-fitting jackets also protect the rider from cold winds that may cause discomfort. A soft, short collar ensures a snug fit and does not interfere with the edge of the helmet.

Q2. What Makes A Safe Motorcycle Jacket?

Any jacket with a rugged and strong exterior made from an abrasion-resistant material would be considered to be the safest. Additionally, it should be fitted with CE-approved body armor or should be compatible with external body armors and braces. The presence of reflective logos or strips is always a bonus as it enhances the rider’s visibility to others on the road at night.

During high-speed motorcycling, it’s crucial to wear protective motorcycle gear to prevent or reduce the extent of the injuries. Motorcycling jackets with thick exteriors, body armors, and impact-absorbing padding will protect the wearer from road rash and grievous injuries.

Q3. How Do I Choose A Motorcycle Jacket?

First and foremost, a motorcycle jacket must compliment your form of motorcycling. Each style of jacket is made for a specific type of riding. You cannot wear a cruiser jacket while participating in off-road motorcycling.

There are four main categories of jackets- cruiser, touring, adventure, and off-road. Each style has its own characteristics and safety features. Once you identify with a type of motorcycling, you can look into the requirements of each activity and finalize a jacket based on those criteria.

Q4. Which Is Better- Leather Or Textile Motorcycle Jacket?

Real leather jackets surely offer better resistance against abrasion and road rash. They offer higher levels of protection against scrapes and bruises. However, while looking for a budget-friendly option, leather jackets might be heavy on your pocket. PU leather doesn’t provide the same protection.

On the other hand, textile jackets are extremely budget-friendly but might not offer the same level of safety. They are lighter in weight and easy to maintain.

To get the best of both worlds, try opting for jackets with blends of leather and textile that have great tensile strength and offer protection against injuries while not burning a hole in your pocket.

Best Budget Motorcycle Jackets – Conclusion

Getting a budget motorcycle jacket that protects you, fits comfortably, and looks great is a steal: and rightfully so. There’s no real reason to spend a few hundred dollars on a jacket when you can achieve the same result under $100. Of course, you may not get the same durability, but these jackets should work great for around a year or so (bang for the buck, if you ask me).

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, the Borleni Motorcycle Jacket is a safe bet.

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