There’s nothing quite like a good-looking leather motorcycle jacket that suits both the rider and their bike. I’m an everyday motorcyclist who owns a 2012 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, and I live in Florida, where it’s often hot and humid but can get downright chilly in the winter (no, really).
The Joe Rocket Dakota jacket is made of 1.0-1.2mm cowhide with stylish stripes on the shoulders and a relaxed cut. I’m 5-foot-11, 275 lb on a good day, and very wide across the chest (and just about everywhere else). The 3XL Dakota fits me perfectly. I’d go so far as to say the jacket looks so good that it even makes me look good, but I should probably get a second opinion on that.
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The Dakota is comfortable to wear both on and off the bike, and it has inside storage pockets and three exterior pockets, so there are more places to stash stuff than I’ve got stuff to stash. The reflective trim on the shoulders isn’t noticeable during the day, but it really pops at night.
I have big hands, and the large brass YKK zipper up front works every time. The smaller zippers elsewhere are a little trickier to use, but that’s more the fault of my Shrek-like fingers than their functionality.
The jacket has pockets for optional shoulder, elbow, and back armor. A full set of CE Level 1 from Joe Rocket costs $54.99. There’s a removable, full-sleeved quilted liner that’s really handy, and even with the armor and liner in the jacket, I don’t feel like the Michelin Man.
Leather jackets like the Dakota with no vents or perforations don’t allow for any airflow, so that’s a drawback. Still, even though I’m a big guy and the Dakota is like a leather exoskeleton, I was surprised at how well it manages heat. Part of it may be attributable to my particular bike. Thanks to its fists-in-the-air apehangers, with the cuffs unzipped I get a nice blast of air right up the sleeve when cruising down the road. Your results may vary.
On the other side of the thermometer, with the quilted liner in, the Dakota does well when it gets cold. I woke up Christmas Eve morning and saw ice in my fountain outside. There was a rare frosty breeze, and as any dedicated biker would do, I geared up and went out for a ride. My hands got a little numb (Hey, Mr. EIC, how ’bout a pair of full-fingered gloves?), and my knees were chilly, so I kept ’em close to the engine. But my core was warm, even at 80 mph. The mandarin-style collar, storm flap under the main zipper, zippered cuffs, and adjustable waist kept the wind out. And local law enforcement was kind enough to ignore me when I sped by (Merry Christmas to me!).
I love this jacket, and I think you will too. Available in S-3XL for $324.99.