The history of motorcycle protective gear can be traced back to the early days of motorcycling, when riders first began using them as a form of protective clothing. In the early 20th century, motorcycling was still a relatively new and dangerous activity, and riders were looking for ways to protect themselves from the hazards of the road.
Initially, the motorcycle protective gear was made from heavy materials such as canvas or denim and were designed to provide protection to the rider's upper body. These early vests and jackets were often bulky and cumbersome, making them uncomfortable to wear while riding.
As motorcycling became more popular in USA and with the advent of modern technology, manufacturers began to experiment with different materials, such as leather, which was more durable and provided better protection. Leather vests and jackets quickly became a popular choice among motorcyclists, and they have remained a staple of the biker wardrobe to this day.
In the 1960s, motorcycle clubs began to form, and these groups of riders often wore matching leather vests as a way to identify themselves. These vests often featured club patches and other decorations, and they became an important symbol of the biker lifestyle.
Motorcycle Vests vs. Motorcycle Jackets
A leather motorcycle vest as well as a motorcycle jacket are a type of protective clothing worn by motorcyclists. Both the vest and the jacket are usually made from leather and serve the primary purpose of providing protection to a rider’s upper body. Both the jacket and the vest usually have a front closure with snaps, zippers, buttons, or a combination of these. Sometimes, these pieces of protective gear come with additional features such as pockets for storing personal items, and reflective panels for added visibility.
Motorcycle leather vests and jackets both provide protection for the rider, but they have some key differences:
Even though designed to protect the riders in case of a crash, leather jackets can come in handier as they cover the entire upper body, including the arms, while vests typically only cover the torso. A good leather motorcycle vest comes with reinforced panels in key impact areas such as shoulders, elbows and the back providing additional protection in case of any unfortunate incident on the road.
Jackets typically provide more overall protection than vests, especially for the arms and shoulders. While both serve the primary purpose of protection, a leather jacket generally is better at protecting the rider from the elements such as wind, rain or debris.
Jackets cover more body area such as the shoulders and arms of the rider they are therefore warmer than vests and are better for riding in colder weather.
Both jackets and the Vests are designed while keeping in mind the needs of the riders and therefore come with vents that provide flow of air throughout the body. Vests, however allow for greater freedom of movement than jackets, making them more comfortable for riding.
With the improvement in materials and manufacturing, Leather vests and jackets come in plenty of designs to go with a rider’s personality. The vests however remain to be a popular style choice among motorcyclists, while jackets can have a more casual look.
Why do bikers wear vests instead of jackets?
Bikers these days have plenty of choices available when it comes to buying protective gear for the ride. However, they often wear leather vests instead of jackets because leather vests provide them with a level of protection while allowing for greater flexibility and freedom of movement. Vests are also typically made from durable materials such as leather or denim, which can help to protect the rider from abrasion in the event of a crash.
Additionally, vests often have pockets for carrying items such as wallets, cell phones and keys, making them practical for long rides. Finally, vests are often adorned with patches and other embellishments that can be used to display membership in a motorcycle club or other group.
Here are some of the reasons why vets are preferred over jackets by the riders:
Protection: Leather vests provide protection to the upper body in the event of a crash or slide. The thick and durable material helps to absorb impact and reduce the risk of injury. Leather vests are specifically designed for motorcycle riders to offer protection to the most vulnerable parts of the body in case of an accident.
Comfort: Leather vests are often cooler and more comfortable to wear in warm weather than heavy jackets. A proper ventilated vest tends be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, with a good balance of protection and breathability.
Versatility: Leather vests can be worn over a t-shirt or other light clothing, making them suitable for a range of weather conditions. They are worn over a motorcycle jacket or other clothing and are designed to keep the rider safe while riding.
Freedom of Movement: Vests allow for greater freedom of movement than jackets, making them more comfortable for riding. The leather can mold to the shape of the rider’s body becoming more comfortable over time. It is flexible and allows for a full range of motion.
Concealment: Leather vests allow for concealed carry of firearms. Concealment is important to some motorcyclists because it allows them to carry a firearm for self-defense while riding. Motorcycling can be a risky activity, and some riders feel that carrying a weapon can provide an added level of security and peace of mind.
Cost: Leather vests come in a variety of designs and are often less expensive than jackets with similar protection, which can make them more accessible to some riders.
Style Statement: Bikers love to showcase their patches and one of the major reasons that riders prefer vests over jackets is because it comes with a large single panel on the back which can be used to display their club membership patches.
Today, motorcycle vests are available in a wide variety of styles and materials, and they continue to be a popular choice among riders. They are worn not only for protection but also for style and as a representation of the biker culture.
Ultimately, whether a rider chooses a vest or a jacket will depend on their personal preferences and riding needs. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity and whether you are a beginner or a pro, motorcycle protective gear is a must for every motorcycle rider. While a motorcycle jacket or a vest is not a guarantee of safety, it is considered to be an important piece of protective gear that can help reduce the risk of injury while riding. It is always recommended to wear a jacket or a vest that is designed specifically for motorcycle riding, not just for casual wear.