1. Fresh from the folks at Corazzo, the updated Men’s 6.0 is a modern riding jacket with plenty of retro style. The outer shell is made from 1,000-denier Cordura for abrasion and water resistance, and while the shell looks tough — and is — it’s surprisingly pliable and comfortable. It features a large reflective 3M Scotchlite stripe that runs vertically up the front, over the left shoulder and down the back, combined with another large reflective stripe running horizontally on the right arm of the jacket to keep you visible at night. The zip-out quilted liner has long, stretchy cuffs complete with thumb cutouts, which allow the cuffs to tuck into your gloves for added warmth. Inside there’s removable CE-rated Knox armor in the shoulders, elbows and back for safety, along with vents under the arms and on the back for breathability when it’s warm out. Featuring a nice, trim cut, it’s a well-thought-out everyday riding jacket. Available in black/black, red/black and blue/tan (shown). A Women’s 6.0 is also available. Price: $289.
2. The latest in a long line of good ideas from Aerostich is the Cousin Jeremy Jacket. This jacket follows the pattern of the well-known Roadcrafter jacket, but instead of being made of Cordura, it features a 10-ounce waxed cotton outer layer doubled up with a second layer of waxed cotton at the elbows and shoulders for more protection. Roadcrafters are the bomb, but if you’ve tried one and found it too stiff, this is your jacket, as the waxed cotton is soft and supple from day one. The inside is lined with a slick and comfortable black supernyl lining, and there’s removable T3 armor in the shoulders and elbows. Vents are located under the arms, and there’s a two-way zippered back vent. There are pockets everywhere — nine of them, to be exact — including one on the right forearm that’s perfect for change or to make sure you never lose your earplugs. It’s available in black or brown, with the additional waxed cotton on the shoulders and elbows either black or brown (brown with black shoulders and elbows shown). A very well-made, classic riding jacket that needs almost no break-in. Men’s and women’s short, regular and long sizes available. Pants are also available. Price: $667.
3. The Firstgear 37.5 Kilimanjaro has recently received an upgrade. Made of 420-denier nylon with 620-denier nylon at the elbows, upper arms and shoulders, the Kilimanjaro features reflective patches front and back, an adjustable waist strap, three interior and six exterior pockets (all with waterproof zippers), top shoulder vents on the front and a pair of large vents on the back. A nice touch is the easily reached two-way waterproof zipper on the cuff that lets you keep them tight while also letting them breathe. The “37.5” in the name refers to the new waterproof, breathable barrier, a laminate that uses “micro particles to accelerate the capture and release of moisture vapor,” according to Firstgear. They call it technical outerwear for a reason. The jacket features D30-brand CE-certified armor at the shoulders, elbows and chest, along with D30-brand EVO T5 back armor, which claims to be more supple, breathable and comfortable to wear than many other types of back armor. Nicely executed and perfect for touring. Available in gray, yellow and white (shown) in men’s standard and tall sizes and women’s standard sizes. Price: $399.95.
4. New to the growing list of gear for women available from Joe Rocket is the Ladies Classic ’92 leather jacket. This sharp, retro-styled leather jacket is made of 1mm-1.2mm drum-dyed cowhide. The jacket features a zip-in quilted liner with full sleeves, pockets for optional armor in the shoulders, elbows and back, and five interior and five exterior pockets including a useful small zippered pocket on the right sleeve (again, perfect for stashing those ear plugs). There is a 1.5-inch storm flap behind the main zipper to keep out the wind, along with snaps at the waist and zippered cuffs to adjust the fit. Following the sizing guide online and taking the suggested measurements, we ordered a medium to fit a woman on our extended staff, who liked the Classic ’92 for its comfortable fit tailored specifically for a woman. It’s a straightforward leather jacket with classic cues at a reasonable price. Available in black/white (shown) or brown/cream. Price: $299.99.
5. The newest jacket from Scorpion is the Birmingham Jacket, which is made with the company’s own proprietary material. According to the folks at Scorpion, it’s waxed cotton with nylon weaved in for strength and abrasion resistance, with a laminated waterproof but breathable backing and taped seams so the jacket looks traditional yet, Scorpion says, is 100 percent waterproof. The Birmingham features SAS-TEC CE-certified armor at the elbows and shoulders, a PE foam back pad, brass YKK zippers and snaps and a traditional cotton plaid lining. There are four external cargo pockets and two leather-lined inner pockets, plus a large rear pass-through storage pocket. The collar and inner lapels are also lined with leather. The Birmingham is so new we weren’t able to get our hands on one, but it should be shipping to dealers as this goes to print. Available in black or green (shown). Pants are also available. Price: starting at $299.95.
Upgrade: Langlitz Leathers Cascade custom jacket
It’s been two years since I got measured for my Langlitz Cascade goatskin jacket during a visit to their Portland, Oregon, shop and the jacket still looks and feels great. It required no break-in and was supple and comfortable from day one. Buckets o’ bugs large and small have met their demise on it, but the jacket cleans up nicely with a little warm water. I rubbed on some of the Langlitz Leather Dressing a year ago and it’s probably due for another application. It’s a heavyweight jacket made with thick hide (no supplemental armor or back protection), but it only starts feeling too warm if the temp gets above the mid-80s. Since it’s custom-made, it fits like a second skin. I can’t imagine a more comfortable, durable or better-looking jacket. Such quality doesn’t come cheap but, on the upside, thinking about how sad I’ll be if I outgrow my Langlitz is the cornerstone of my weight control program. Prices start upward of $1,000, depending on model and options requested, but for that sum you get a jacket custom cut to perfectly fit you, entirely handmade in the Langlitz shop using American hides and hardware. — Corey Levenson