Motorcycle jackets can cost a ton of money but we all can agree how important they are (or at least we should). But do they expire? Will you have to purchase another one again after a few years?

Well, actually no. Unlike helmets, motorcycle jackets don’t expire. They can last very long – 10 to 15 years is quite common, granted you take care of them. Replace your jackets only when the components are worn out – think zipper, velcro, etc. 

I will discuss much further about motorcycle jackets today – specifically how to take care of them and when should you look to replace them. 

As a bonus, I will also cover if you could get a used motorcycle jacket – could be useful to you!

Different Materials For Motorcycle Jacket (And Lifespan)

Motorcycle jackets come in different material – where each of them has their own lifespans. I will list down the most common materials and how long they usually last. 

Remember, they don’t have a specific expiry but below are the average lifespans. Yours could even last longer if you take care of them. 

Summary of the list: if you want the longest lasting, go for leather – they can last 10-20 years with proper care. Other motorcycle jackets like Cordura or Kevlar can last only up to 5-10 years. 

1. Leather Jacket (10-20 years)

Leather is the king of motorcycle jackets and for good reasons – they are tough, comfortable (once once broken in) and extremely long lasting. 

And not to mention they are stylish and can be molded around your body once you have worn them enough.

If you have the budget, a leather jacket should be your go to – they last a minimum of 10 years if taken care properly. 

Passing a leather motorcycle jacket from father to son is actually quite common and is highly appreciated.

Motorcycle leather jacket

Motorcycle leather jacket

2. Cordura Jacket (5-10 years)

Cordura jackets (also known as nylon) are popular for racers because they are extremely light and breathable. You don’t want your gears to weigh you down when you are going fast right?

Cordura is a material that’s stronger than regular nylon. They can protect you well but they don’t last as long as leather jackets. When taken care properly, cordura jackets can last a minimum of 5 years. 

Also, cordura jackets are cheaper than leather jackets. If you are more focused on racing and sports bikes, cordura jackets are for you.

motorcycle cordura jacket

motorcycle cordura jacket

3. Kevlar Jacket (5-10 years)

Kevlar jackets are popular for cruisers or regular commuters because they look most casual and could be the most affordable options. 

Kevlar jackets also have a high heat resistance. This is extremely important when you crash your bike and slide across hard pavement. 

Similar to cordura, kevlar jackets will last a minimum of 5 years if taken care properly. 

motorcycle kevlar jacket

Motorcycle kevlar jacket

When Should You Replace Motorcycle Jackets? (6 Factors To Consider)

Ideally, motorcycle jackets can last up to 10 or 20 years – but how do you know when you should replace them? What are the things to see? 

Actually, motorcycle jackets include various components that can be replaced / fixed independently – think velcro, zipper, and armours. You should evaluate whether to replace the entire jacket or just parts of it. 

Here’s a list of factors you need to examine when deciding to replace motorcycle jackets or not. Or at least fix parts of it

  1. Recently got into accident. Accidents are the fastest way to ruin a motorcycle jacket. If you just had an accident, you will need to replace the jacket if there’s any significant tear to the fabric / armor. 
  2. Broken fastener components. When components like the velcro, button, or zip aren’t working anymore, you should consider getting a new one. Or at least have the individual parts fixed. These fasteners are important to keep the protection in place. 
  3. Worn out armor. You should replace the armors of a jacket when it’s no longer springy and has lots of creases. This shows the armor is worn out and is not as effective anymore. 
  4. Discoloration. If your jacket faces any discoloration (turning pale), it’s a sign that you have had it for too long. The materials might not be as durable anymore and it’s time to replace it. This is especially true for leather jackets. 
  5. Worn out reflective components. Reflective components in jackets don’t last as long as the actual jacket. Nonetheless, they are important. Look to replace these reflective components when they are no longer as reflective.
  6. Worn out water resistance. If a jacket was once waterproof and now it’s not, the jacket likely needs to be replaced. Water leaking on a waterproof jacket proves there are broken materials inside. It’s best to replace the jacket for additional protection.

Tips To Make Your Motorcycle Jackets Long Lasting

Motorcycle jackets (especially leather jackets) last for as long as you take care of them. These are tips and tricks you could do to preserve your motorcycle jackets. 

  1. Keep the jacket dry. Make sure to keep moisture away from your motorcycle jackets – especially the leather ones. Continuous exposure to moisture can damage your jackets through mold. Once wet, immediately dry your jackets by hanging!
  2. Keep the jacket away from extreme heat. Continuous exposure to high heat can destroy a garment – causing them to crack or go through discoloration. Just remember to keep the jacket as soon as it’s dry – don’t leave it hanging for a week!
  3. Clean jacket by a professional. Different jackets require different washing procedures – some need dry cleaning, wet cleaning etc. If you don’t know how to, bring your jacket to a professional washer at least  once a year. 
  4. Apply leather conditioner. This applies only to leather jackets but applying leather conditioner can go a long way in preserving your leather jackets. Leather conditioner prevents creases and cracks.
  5. Hang jacket properly. Use a padded (thick) hanger – nothing sharp like a wire hanger. This ensures the shape or your jacket stays in shape and there isn’t any weird pointy bumps on it.

Are Good Motorcycle Jackets Worth The Money?

Good quality motorcycle jackets are definitely worth the money. It’s a one-time investment that can last a long time if you take care of it. And I already explained to you what you need to do – no more excuses. 

A good motorcycle jacket protects your body well in case of accidents – you wouldn’t want to slide across the pavement without a good and padded jacket. Believe me, I know.  

Also, a good motorcycle jacket protects you well from the weather. Be it during summer or winter, it keeps you comfortable. And not to mention a good quality jacket makes you look stylish.

Those are a lot of points for a one-time investment – do you think it’s worth it?

Can You Buy Used Motorcycle Jackets?

People’s views on buying used motorcycle jackets (or gears) are usually mixed. Some say go for it while others swear to never do it because these gears have been worn and sweated on. 

My view is if the savings are massive (like 60%), then I say go for it – especially when it comes to jackets. Motorcycle jackets are proven to last a long time. If you can get a used one that’s relatively new with huge savings, then why not?

I say this comes down to personal preferences. If you don’t mind someone else’s clothing, then buying a used motorcycle jacket can be worth it. 

Unlike used motorcycle helmets, buying a used motorcycle jacket is not as dangerous. Just make sure you inspect the jacket properly for damages. Refer to the 6 factors I listed above.

Ifandi S.

Ifandi S.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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