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Typical motorcycle jackets are great for added protection when you ride, but they have their shortcomings. For starters, even the lightest mesh jackets run hot during proper off-road riding, where speeds are lower and you’re much more active on the bike. This is where Motorcycle Armored Jackets come into play.
In an attempt to part the biblical seas of sweat, many riders peel their jackets off entirely and stuff them into a pannier, but if you’re not wearing a motorcycle armored jacket underneath, you know that’s a dangerous game to play.
Add to that the fact that armored riding jackets are often too loose-fitting to actually keep their protection in place when you go down, and you’ll start to see the conundrum here. Motorcycle armored jackets like the ones recommended below offer a one-size-fits-all solution for every riding style.
You can rock them with a simple dirt jersey when off-road, and then throw your abrasion-resistant shell on when you hit the blacktop. You’ll be just as well protected (if not more), much more comfortable, and as a plus, you’ll get rid of the “Michelin Man Effect” that bulky armor is known for. Ready to take the leap? Here are your best options.
Best Motorcycle Armored Jackets
1. Alpinestars Bionic Tech V2
Alpinestars updated their selection of motorcycle armored jackets back in 2019, and the Bionic Tech V2 is our favorite update of the lot. We’ve put thousands of miles on these jackets over the last few years and they’ve saved us from an untold number of injuries in some pretty remote places.
Our favorite feature of the Bionic Tech V2 is the fit and comfort of this motorcycle armored jacket. The mesh is stretchy and comfortable on the skin, and does a fantastic job of keeping the armor in place when you come off the bike.
The floating chest protector design is particularly good in that regard, as it’s directly tethered to the pack protector rather than directly sewn into the jacket. The Tech V2 is also impressively breathable and takes full advantage of Alpinestars open honeycomb armor to flow a ton of air without sacrificing protection.
Speaking of protection, the Bionic Tech V2 gets CE level 2 armor at the chest and back, while CE level one armor covers the shoulders and elbows. We particularly appreciate that Alpinestars added an extra layer of abrasion-resistant fabric to the elbows, as these are often the first areas to show wear, especially if a jersey is all you’re wearing on top.
As far as cons go, the floating chest protector fits better and feels more comfortable than the bulkier split protector on jackets like the Alpinestars Bionic Action, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity of a split protector. All things considered, it’s a welcome tradeoff in the name of comfort and safety, but a tradeoff nonetheless.
It’s also worth pointing out that while the Bionic Tech V2 is clearly the superior offering here, the Bionic Action is still around for more than $100 bucks less. Protection is significantly better on the V2 though, so if you’ve got the money to spend, you won’t regret it.
- All day comfortable with excellent armor
- Added abrasion-resistant panels at elbows
- Armor panels all stay in place reliably
- CE level 1 protection at shoulders and elbows
- Single piece chest protector lays over zipper
- Drives a hard barbarian compared to Alpinestars Bionic Action jacket
2. Rev’It Proteus Motorcycle Armored Jacket
Rev’It was a little late to the game on motorcycle armored jackets (the Proteus just came out in 2021), but boy did they come out swinging. The Proteus is their first foray into the segment, and in typical Rev’It fashion, it outclasses the overwhelming majority of the competition by a solid margin.
We love the Proteus because where most jackets of this ilk stick to level 1 armor in the shoulders and elbows, Rev’It upgrades to their comfortable level 2 Seeflex armor in both zones. You’ll also get a level 2 Seesoft back protector, which is particularly impressive considering that the Proteus is also one of the more affordable jackets on our list.
We also dig the split chest armor design Rev’It uses here, allowing you to fully unzip the jacket without taking anything off, which is great when you’re exploring off the bike but don’t want to strip everything off to be comfortable.
Other highlights include solid padding along the ribs, tougher mesh fabric in high wear zones like the elbows, and thumb loops to keep the sleeves in place when putting on a jacket or gloves.
The main drawback to the Proteus is that the split chest protector employs less-protective CE level 1 armor, presumably to reduce overall bulk. It does make for a svelte and streamlined package though, so if you split your time evenly between pavement and dirt, it’s a great option.
- Center zip is easy to live with on and off the bike
- CE level 2 protection everywhere but the chest
- Low profile and impressively comfortable
- Surprisingly affordable
- Chest armor CE level 1 only
3. Forcefield Pro X-V2 Air Motorcycle Armored Jacket
If all-out protection is what you’re after, the Forcefield Pro X-V2 Air is the armored jacket to beat. Forcefield have made a name for themselves by selling some of the most protective armor on the planet, and the Pro X-V2 delivers a full buffet of their best stuff from top to bottom.
Every piece of armor on this jacket carries a full CE-2 rating. That includes the chest, back, shoulders, and elbows, which makes this the most protective jacket in its class pound for pound.
Previous iterations of the Forcefield Pro were notoriously hot and heavy due to a lack of mesh material, but the latest version is 100% mesh rather than solid moisture-wicking fabric, so breathability is now a non-issue. We also appreciate the Pro X-V2’s thumb cuffs for easier layering, and its unobstructed zipper which runs down the side of the jacket to prevent chafing and irritation.
The Forcefield is definitely a force to reckoned with in terms of armor quality, but it comes with a few tradeoffs as well. The first thing you’ll notice is that the armor is significantly bulkier than most motorcycle armored jackets, so you while some will appreciate how “buff they look” under that jersey, most will have to take it with a grain of salt in the name of protection.
Our second complaint with the Pro X-V2 is that there’s no extra padding built into the biceps/ribs/hips etc. Granted some folks will appreciate the added breathability of its all-mesh approach, but if you spend a fair amount of time riding in the woods, prepare yourself for a proper branch-whipping.
- Highest level of protection available with CE-2 armor everywhere
- Extremely light and breathable mesh
- Extra armor = extra bulk
- No additional padding at ribs, biceps, hips, etc.
4. Fox Titan Sport Armored Jacket
Fox’s Titan armored jacket has been a massively popular choice for off-roaders for years, and the updated Titan Sport adds some much-needed refinement to the original design. The highly-breathable mesh chassis and center zip design remains the same, but nearly every other part of the Fox Titan has been refined.
The armor has been reshaped to provide better articulation and increased comfort, the adjustment straps have been moved down to the forearm for a more secure fit, and the back protector has been shortened up to get rid of that annoying overhang below the waist.
Fox also designed the back protector to be completely removable, so you can use it as a standalone unit with just the kidney belt as needed.
All things considered the Fox Titan Sport delivers solid protection at a great price point, but it certainly feels more budget-focused than our other favorites. The armor uses a simpler motocross-style plastic covering, which is great for fending off the gravel your buddy kicks up in front of you, but feels less refined than other jackets on our list.
The chest protector is particularly bulky, and protrudes out at the ribs similarly to the Forcefield jacket above. Still, it’s a great option for off-road-focused riding, and should feel particularly familiar if you’re coming from a motocross background.
- Secure fit
- Removable/standalone back protector
- Basic CE 1 protection throughout
- Plastic plated armor lacks refinement
- Bulky chest protector
5. Leatt 3DF Airfit Hybrid Motorcycle Armored Jacket
If you’ve spent any time riding in the dirt, you know that Leatt is one of the first names in protection. They make some of the best chest protectors and knee braces in the game, and the 3DF Airfit Hybrid Body Protector is their top-of-the-line motorcycle armored jacket for dual-sport use.
This jacket takes its name from its “hybrid” approach to body armor, which uses a soft 3DF armor against the body, but adds a layer of hardshell protection over the top for extra reinforcement. The design is well executed and remains impressively streamlined unlike other hardshell options like the Fox Titan Sport above.
The other major selling point here is the added padding in the biceps and flank area, which is easily the beefiest in our roundup. We’re also impressed by how comfortable and well-ventilated the Leatt 3DF Airfit Hybrid is in spite of it all.
You’d think all that added padding would make the jacket feel hotter and heavier than something like the Forcefield above, but Leatt added air ports to every piece of armor on the jacket, so it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it at all once you get going.
The main downside to the Leatt is the price, as it’s easily the most expensive jacket on our list. The price is particularly painful considering the shoulder and elbows offer the same CE1 level protection as most motorcycle armored jackets, and for the premium price, CE2 doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.
Still, there’s added value in Leatt’s hybrid hardshell approach to armor (both in terms of protection and durability), and if you’re looking for a leg up on protection without sacrificing off-road chops, the AirFit Hybrid won’t disappoint.
- Hybrid hard/soft armor adds a degree of protection
- Best extra bicep and flank protection on our list
- Comfortable fit with well-designed adjustment system
- CE1 only at shoulders and elbows
- Most expensive option on our list
So which motorcycle armored jacket are you choosing? Thanks for reading and I hope you found this list helpful!
I’m a motorcycle adventure travel addict who has been rippin’ two-wheels across remote lands and working in the motorcycle touring industry since 2018! I’ve since developed MotoMoves to offer tips and tricks on adventure motorcycling as well as take you along for a few rides here and there. Enjoy!