The fella above has to score 10/10 for improvisation but I’m not sure the police here in the UK would give you the credit you deserve if they saw you flying down the outside lane of the M40 wearing that setup.
A sudden downpour can ruin a good ride. If you have quality textile gear it should be waterproof but no matter how good your gear is, if you wear a waterproof top you’ll keep the rain from creeping in. A dry biker is a happy biker.
Not only that but if you’re doing a long day in the saddle or you’re going touring, it’s far better to use a waterproof top to deal with the rain and keep your kit dryer, as it will dry faster when you’re off the bike. No-one likes putting on damp gear the next morning..
Likewise, if you’re out for a summer blast in your leathers, you’ll be well protected in the event of a crash but they aren’t that great at keeping you dry. A waterproof top can be stashed in a stowaway bag, kept under your seat or in your tail pack, making it easy to chuck it on if you get caught in the rain.
With the market flooded (pun intended!) with different types of waterproof motorcycle jackets, it’s hard to know what to choose.
We’ve created this short guide with our best picks and handy hints to sink your teeth in to. What are you waiting for? Take on the rain!
Built to withstand the worst
The Richa Rain Warrior waterproof over jacket is designed to be worn over your jacket or leathers. It’s that bit chunkier than a single-layer thin top but it’s well made, 100% waterproof and offers good wind protection. It’s also recommended by RiDE magazine. You’ll be quite comfortable wearing this in a downpour.
Hi-viz waterproof with quality and style
This high vis motorcycle jacket gives you added protection in dark conditions, thanks to its bright orange design. Storm cuffs prevent rain from getting up your sleeves and it comes with an integrated hood, two external pockets and one internal making it handy off the bike as well as on.
The Cheapest Waterproof Tops
If you’re on a really tight budget, then you could go for a non-motorcycle-specific waterproof top. You can find some decent-looking ones on Amazon for around £10.
However it’s worth noting that when you’re on the bike, your waterproof top is going to take a relative battering as you make progress at 50mph and not the maximum speed of 4mph that these non-bike jackets are designed for.
There are other drawbacks too, like the fact motorbike jackets are cut to give you plenty of room, they also don’t have hoods. If you have a hood you can’t stash away, it’ll flap around which is annoying and collect water too.
You’ve got to budget at least £20 to get a decent waterproof top. Anything less and you risk buying something that’s going to leak like a church roof or it’ll tear when you try and stretch it over your jacket in a lay-by in the middle of nowhere.
We’ve picked a couple of good-looking cheap motorcycle-focused options:
Oxford Rainseal All Weather Jacket / £26.99
This affordable motorbike waterproof jacket is fully lined, features adjustable Velcro cuffs and waist for a good fit. It won a RiDE Best Buy award too. Fluorescent yellow with reflective detailing means you’ll be visible from the moon.
Jet waterproof rain jacket / £19.99
With Velcro adjustable arms and cuffs, feel comfortable during your ride; lightweight and packs away easily in the supplied carry bag.
Is a rain suit a better choice?
If you want a bit more protection in the rain, then consider a one-piece rainsuit. A good one will be easy to get in to, with adjustable or elastic entry points and a long zip, meaning you can put it on over your leathers in seconds.
This Richa Typhoon Rain Overall is a top bit of kit, with excellent user reviews and a RiDE Best Buy award.
Waterproof tops: Ben's Top Tips
An external pocket can be handy but the more pockets you have the more chance you've got of water creeping in.
A stuff sack will make it much easier for you to get your waterproofs under your seat or in your luggage. Not all waterproofs come with a storage bag but you can grab one for a couple of quid on Amazon.
Go at least one size up from your usual jacket size to get a waterproof top that gives you plenty of room to move.
Some jackets come with a removable hoody, so if you’re planning on using it off the bike, a hoody is a handy additional feature
Other great picks from our shortlist
There are a lot of waterproof tops on the market but not all of them are worth your cash. We’ve picked a few other great options below.
Rev’it Nitric 2 H2O Waterproof Jacket / £71.99
Draw corded hood and hem with waist straps for optimal fit and dryness make this jacket a great choice.
Dainese Strom Waterproof Jacket / £99.99
Super stylish option. Waterproof and breathable with added high vis design, you’ll be dry inside and out; just what you need if you’ve been caught in a downpour mid-journey.
Alpinestars Hurricane Rain Jacket / £62.97
Usual top quality from Alpinestars, the Hurricane Rain Jacket is made from 100% waterproof fabric with elasticated cuffs.
Rev’it Cyclone 2 H2O Waterproof Jacket / £49.49
This high visibility fluorescent motorcycle jacket has your safety in mind while protecting you from the elements.
The Trackday Option
Alpinestars Racing Rain Jacket / £94.99 from SportsBikeShop
Alpinestars is a world-leading manufacturer of professional racing products and truly delivers in design aspects of their products. This waterproof top is used by many MotoGP riders, including the likes of Marc Marquez. Easy to put on and with a precise fit so they won’t flap around, whether you’re racing or trackdaying, you’ll look (almost) as fast as Marquez himself.
They also do a pair of matching bottoms – good for UK endurance racing or anyone doing a trackday at Spa!
Are leather motorcycle jackets waterproof?
No, but they can be rain repellant. Most leather jackets will keep a light shower out but if you’re in the rain for any longer than 10 minutes, the rain will saturate the leather and soak in. Once wet, a leather jacket takes ages to dry.
You can buy products like Nikwax Fabric & Leather waterproofing which will hugely improve the waterproofing of your kit, from leathers to textile jackets or gloves but if you are caught out in a downpour and want to stay dry, you’ll need a waterproof top to keep the rain from soaking in.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle waterproofs guide: