First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket: Cool Style or Safety Hazard?

I’ve been riding motorcycles for over ten years, commuting daily on my trusty BMW RnineT. My commute takes me through rural backroads as well as congested city streets, so I need a jacket that can handle varying speeds, temperatures, and conditions.

My ideal commuter jacket needs to have abrasion resistance, ventilation for warm-weather riding, and flexible armor that moves with me.

In this review, I’ll share my experiences testing this jacket to help fellow riders make an informed decision.

But, the main question I will answer in this review will be: Is this the best leather motorcycle jacket for you? Let’s find out!

First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket


Key Takeaways

  • Vented for airflow
  • Durable leather protective shell
  • Removable thermal liner included

Construction and Materials

The first thing I noticed when handling the First Manufacturing Commuter jacket is its premium full-grain cowhide leather construction.

The leather feels thick and sturdy in the hand yet flexible enough to allow a comfortable range of motion.

Full-grain leather provides excellent abrasion resistance in the event of a slide, giving me confidence that this jacket can hold up in a crash.

The leather has a slightly worn-in look straight out of the box, with some creasing and character rather than a stiff glossy appearance. I appreciate that it won’t need much breaking in to feel comfortable.

Fit and Comfort

Finding the right fit is crucial for functionality and safety. I’m 6’0″ and 180 lbs with an athletic build. Based on First Manufacturing’s sizing chart, I selected a size large.

The jacket fits me very well in both the sleeves and the body. There’s enough room to add layers underneath during colder weather, but it’s not overly baggy or billowy when worn with just a t-shirt.

The sleeves are pre-curved to match a natural riding position. I have a good range of motion without any pulling or restrictions.

For reference, here are the detailed sizing measurements for the Commuter Jacket:


The collar, cuffs, and waistband are lined with soft leather for comfort against bare skin. I spent hours riding in this jacket with no issues of chafing or discomfort.

The sleeves feature stretch panels and gussets at the shoulders to allow freedom of movement. The back of the jacket is slightly elongated for coverage in a tucked riding position.

Overall the ergonomic design means this jacket moves with me whether I’m sitting upright in traffic or leaning forward at speed.

Ventilation and Weather Protection

Since I ride year-round through rain, heat, and cold, I need a jacket that can adapt to whatever Mother Nature throws my way.

The First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket comes with a removable insulated thermal liner. I can ride comfortably with just the outer shell on warmer spring and fall days. When temperatures drop, I can zip in the thermal liner for insulation against cold winds.

The outer shell has direct chest vents that flow air right through the jacket. I did find airflow to be somewhat limited with the liner installed, so this may not be the best choice for sweltering mid-summer riding. But for the rest of the year, it offers suitable weather protection.

The leather performs well in wet conditions. I rode through several downpours and remained nicely dry thanks to the water-resistant treatment.

Overall this jacket provides seasonal versatility to suit 3-season riding. Just beware it may get a bit steamy on 90+ degree sunny days.

Armor and Safety Features

Protecting the rider is the number one job of motorcycle gear, so I took a close look at the safety components of this jacket.

It does not include CE-rated shoulder, elbows, or back armor. But it’s ready for you to customize your protection with First Manufacturing’s aftermarket armor options:

  • Shoulders and elbows: $25 each for CE Level 2 protector inserts
  • Back protector: $25 for CE Level 2 foam pad

I opted to install the shoulder and elbow protectors, which slipped easily into interior pockets. The CE Level 2 rating means they meet stringent impact absorption, penetration resistance, and shock dispersion standards.

Though not as robust as pricier CE Level 2 protectors, they provide basic protection without restricting movement or comfort.

The elbows have padded foam overlays for extra abrasion resistance in a slide. The shoulders feature reflective piping for visibility at night. I would have liked to see some reflective details on the back as well for a full 360° visibility.

Convenience Features

Beyond protection and weatherproofing, the Commuter Jacket includes several handy features tailored to daily motorcycle use.

The two zippered hand pockets are lined with soft fleece for warming cold fingers on chilly morning rides. Inside the jacket are two large cargo pockets with snap closures, perfect for stashing my phone, wallet, and keys.

And for riding while armed, the jacket has dual internal concealed carry pockets for emergency access to a sidearm. With the thermal liner removed, a cooling mesh lining remains to wick away sweat on hot days.

Finally, the waistband can be tightened using side adjustable snaps, helping block wind from blowing up the jacket. This allows me to fine-tune the fit for maximum coverage and comfort.

The Verdict

After putting the First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket to the test, here is my final verdict:


  • The durable full-grain leather protective shell
  • Removable thermal liner for seasonal versatility
  • Direct ventilation chest panels
  • Shoulder/elbow armor pockets (armor sold separately)
  • Useful convenience features like internal pockets


  • Lacks back protector
  • Limited ventilation with thermal liner installed
  • No reflective details on the back

Overall this is an excellent mid-range commuter jacket choice for riders looking for abrasion resistance combined with classic styling. The premium leather construction provides confidence-inspiring durability for road rash protection.

The included thermal liner and direct venting grant decent seasonal adaptability. And the array of pockets and adjustments grant customizable convenience for daily commutes.

Just be mindful of the limitations in hot weather airflow and consider adding a back protector for all-around safety.

For riders who commute year-round through varying conditions and want timeless leather style, the First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket is a solid option.

Considering its quality construction and versatile 4-season comfort, this jacket provides excellent value for a reasonable price tag.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of weather is this jacket best suited for?

This jacket is ideal for cooler 3-season spring, fall, and mild summer riding. The direct vents provide some airflow on hot days, but the thermal liner limits ventilation options during peak summer heat.

Does it come with armor?

No, armor is sold separately. But it has pockets ready to add First Manufacturing shoulder, elbow, and back protectors.

How is the sizing?

It runs true to size based on the company’s sizing chart. I recommend measuring your best-fitting jacket and comparing it to the size chart for the best fit.

Is the leather thick and durable?

The full-grain cowhide leather shell is thick, durable, and abrasion-resistant for excellent protection. It also has a flexible feel that’s comfortable right out of the box.

Does it have a waterproof lining?

No, but the leather is treated to be water-resistant. I stayed dry riding in several downpours but sustained heavy rain may seep through the seams over time.


The First Manufacturing Commuter Jacket is a fine choice for riders seeking a stylish, protective leather jacket suited for year-round commuting duties.

It may not have top-shelf features like waterproof membranes or CE Level 2 armor, but its premium materials, versatile comfort, and an array of convenience features make this a very appealing mid-range option.

Just be wary of high-heat scenarios and consider beefing up the armor for optimal safety. At the end of the day, this jacket provides ample value for the price and will serve most 3-season commuters very well.

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