The Best Motorcycle Jackets for Beginners Under $500 [2020]

When I began my eternal passion in the world of motorcycles, I bought a bike and three pieces of gear to start me off: a helmet, jacket, and gloves. I’d be lying if I said I did enough research and picked the best jacket for myself… I was riding high on cloud 9 with my new motorcycle purchase and bought the first jacket I found that filled my needs. From my own experience, I can confidently say this is not the way to go. Shortly after I found tons of options I could have purchased instead that would have been far superior to the jacket I picked on a whim.

To avoid the same demise I had to learn the hard way, I have assembled a list of ten amazing jackets for $500 or less that are backed by great reviews (in some cases hundreds) and have tried my best to cover jacket options for different riding styles and safety levels.

Klim Induction Jacket

  • Price: $349.99-$379.99
  • Category: Casual / ADV

To start this list off, I thought it would be smart to begin with a great all-arounder jacket with ample protection and safety features.

This is a very solid option for riders living in warmer climates and those who aren’t afraid to layer-up for cooler rides.

The Klim Induction Jacket features Klim’s Karbonite mesh venting with heavy tear resistance and protection against the pavement that can quickly turn into a cheese-grater given the right speeds.

You can find high abrasion zones in the shoulders and elbows, with D30 Level 1 armor hiding beneath those zones. The jacket is equipped with many 3m Scotchlite reflective zones in positions designed for ‘maximum biomotion perception’ along the arms and upper back.

 

Speed and Strength Off The Chain 2.0 Textile Jacket

  • Price: $199.95
  • Category: Casual

If you’re in the market for a jacket that ditches the ‘ATGATT look’, the ‘Off The Chain’ could be a great low-cost option for you.

The jacket is one of the highest and most reviewed jackets on the RevZilla website by far, so you can trust the hundreds of individuals who have purchased this jacket in knowing you have made a good purchase.

The S&S OTC 2.0 Textile Jacket is an all-rounder jacket that will trick you into thinking it has far fewer features than it really does.

Despite the appearance, this jacket is constructed from a water-resistant AR-600 frame, has 3 total locations of CE Level 1 armor (shoulder, elbow, and spine), reflective trim and shoulder expansion gussets in the event you need room for an extra layer underneath.

If the hood isn’t you’re thing, it’s completely removable.

REV’IT! GT-R Air 2 Jacket

  • Price: $219.99
  • Category: Sport
  • Buy: Revzilla

If you’re looking for a $600 Dainese race jacket on a smaller budget, the REV’IT GT-R Air 2 Jacket might be just what you’re looking for. It looks fast, and it even has GT-R in its name.

The GT-R Air 2 is the perfect sports jacket for warm summer riding due to its 3D mesh paneling and 600D polyester construction.

On the protection side, it has Seesmart CE level 1 protection in the elbows and shoulders with a pocket on the spine to add your own additional protection for the back area.

Many reviewers applaud the jacket for being so light-weight and breathable making this a perfect low-cost option for riders seeking a cool and sporty looking jacket.

REV’IT! Sand 3 Jacket

  • Price: $499.99
  • Category: ADV / Touring

The Sand 3 takes what REV’IT needed to improve on with the 2nd version of the jacket while simultaneously doubleing-down on what makes this jacket such a great option for ADV and sport-touring riding styles.

Although you’re paying $500, making it one of the pricer options on this list, I urger you to think of it like buying 3 separate jackets; because that’s exactly what this jacket it is. The Sand 3 has three separate and removable layers to keep you comfortable year-round.

The Sand 3 features a lightweight ripstop polyester construction on the outer shell, with a detachable thermal liner, detachable hydratex waterproof liner, giving you three total outer shells so you can take on any season.

The back protector is sold separately – as is the story with many jackets – and comes preinstalled with Seeflex CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders and elbows.

The jacket has laminated reflection panels to keep you visible in low-light scenarios and has VCIS 1 zippers on the front, chest, back, and arms for great ventilation. If the vents aren’t enough to keep you cool, remove some of the layers or add a Challenger Cooling vest insert (the jacket is designed to accept it).

With three jackets for the price of one, it’s no wonder this jacket is one of the top-selling tour-style jackets with a bunch of color options to choose from.

BILT Techno Jacket

  • Price: $179.99
  • Category: Casual

Due to the sub-$200 pricing, this jacket has close to 400 reviews on RevZilla making it not only one of the cheapest jackets on this list, but also one of the most popular. 

For $180 you’re getting BILT’s Ultra-Flow Techno Mesh with 600D poly reinforcement in the elbow and shoulder areas.

CE approved armor find their ways to the elbows and shoulder areas (which can be a shock when taking into account how cheap the jacket is), and you’re free to add a back protector with the provided pocket.

The jacket also has high visibility piping to keep you illuminated in the evening, and it comes in three colors ranging from black to white with something in-between.

For the price and safety, this is a great option for riders on a budget.

Dainese Super Speed Textile Jacket

  • Price: $369.95
  • Category: Sport

Ah yes, it was only a matter of time until Dainese popped its Italian head into this list. The Dainese Super Speed jacket is a great textile option for cool, and safe summer riding.

The jacket has all of Dainese’s technology found in their pro-level race suits combined with textile and mesh construction to keep you cool and safe.

The shoulders contain aluminum shoulder sliders in addition to the CE rated shoulder and elbow armor with room to add Dainese’s back and chest protectors in the event you feel you may need some extra layers for full 360-degree protection.

The neck, wrist, and waist are all fully adjustable and if you happen to purchase a pair of matching pants you can zip the two together (a match made in heaven, literally…) to keep everything in place.

If you really want to turn on the AC you can remove the windproof insert to enjoy 100 mph gusts of wind tear through the jacket to keep you cool.

Firstgear Kathmandu Jacket

  • Price: $369.95
  • Category: ADV / Touring

Kathmandu: the king of Adventure touring jackets. This jacket has been a thing of legend since it first came out, with famous ADV riders bringing it through the harshest of terrains to prove how durable and multi-functional it can be.

The Kathmandu is highly adjustable and features a HYPERTEX waterproof outer shell “constructed of 420 denier ripstop nylon and 300 denier high-density nylon, durable and lightweight for ease of movement”.

This is one of the few jackets on this list that will actually come with back protection included – namely an EVA dense back pad – in addition to the fully adjustable D30 T5 CE Armour in the shoulders and elbows.

This jacket is fully weatherproof and when equipped with it, nothing will be able to stop you. I couldn’t list every feature if I tried (the list looks more like a short-story) so for all the details be sure to hit the RevZilla link above and check out the ridiculously long list of features.

$370? Can’t go wrong.

Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 Jacket

  • Price: $184.99 – $199.99
  • Category: Casual

The Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 is the most recent version of the Atomic series jacket and is a great casual option for riders looking for a multi-season jacket without going full ADV about it.

The jacket is quite waterproof with its combined Rock Tex and Hitena outer shell and still maintains good ventilation through the use of waterproof zippers.

An interesting feature this jacket has that will be hard to find in other competetors are the externally removable CE approved armor found in pockets covering the shoulders and elbow areas.

The jacket is highly adjustable with its 6 area adjustment system and comes in five colors to match up with the rest of your gear.

Alpinestars GP Plus R v3 Airflow Jacket

  • Price: $499.95
  • Category: Sport

The Alpinestars GP Plus R V3 is one of the newest jackets on this list, meaning that it’s also going to come with the newest tech and development available.

This jacket is the highest quality of all the sport options listed, hence the $500 price tag. The Premium 1.3mm bovine leather construction paired with high resistant stretch fabric in all your mobility-zones makes this jacket a safe and comfortable option for hot summer rides.

The jacket includes CE Level 1 armor on the shoulder and elbow areas but unfortunately leaves back protection up to the rider to purchase separately which is disappointing to see from a $500 jacket.

Regardless, this jacket provides amazing airflow to keep you cool and comfortable due to the perforated nature of the construction and even has reflective accents to keep you safe at night.