With riding season in full swing, I wanted to find a durable and versatile leather jacket that could handle long days on the road.
My goal was to find something affordable yet high-quality, with plenty of airflow to keep me cool in the summer heat. After researching the latest options, I decided to try out the Raider from First Manufacturing.
In this review, I’ll share my hands-on testing results after wearing the Raider on multiple rides. I’ll break down the jacket’s extensive feature set, from the premium leather construction to the ample storage options.
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!
Leather Construction and Durability
The leather has a rich, matte finish that gives it a vintage, well-worn look straight out of the box. It’s also been treated as water-resistant, which is handy when you get caught in an unexpected shower.
In terms of durability, First Manufacturing claims this leather will last for years of regular use. It’s designed to withstand the wear and tear of life on the road.
To back it up, they offer a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects. This gives me confidence that the Raider can handle whatever adventures I take it on.
Armor and Impact Protection
Safety is my top priority when choosing motorcycle gear, so I was glad to see the Raider comes prepared. This jacket contains integrated pockets for optional CE-approved armor at the elbows, shoulders, and back.
The Raider has reflective piping along the front zipper and back exhaust vents for additional safety. This helps increase your visibility to other motorists at night or in low-light conditions.
Overall, the ample armor options and reflective details provide crucial impact protection when you’re on the move.
Climate Control and Ventilation
One of my pet peeves with leather jackets is poor ventilation. Fortunately, the Raider uses multiple vents and direct airflow to prevent overheating:
- Mesh Vents – Front chest panels allow air to flow directly to your core.
- Zippered Sleeves – Openings at the wrist offer additional ventilation.
- Exhaust Vents – Rear vents release hot air from along your back.
- Removable Insulator – The full sleeve liner can be removed to increase airflow on hot days.
During testing, I found these vents and airflow zones kept me cool during 50-60 degree spring rides. When the temperature spiked above 65 degrees, I took out the insulated liner for maximum airflow.
The direct chest vents are particularly effective at delivering cooling air as you ride. This is one of the most breathable leather jackets I’ve worn.
Storage and Pockets
Another highlight of the Raider is the extensive storage options. There are multiple exterior pockets, plus interior pockets for securing valuables. Here’s a quick rundown of the storage areas:
- 2 Chest Pockets – Spacious pockets fit phones, wallets, and snacks.
- 2 Side Pockets – Deep pockets with internal organizers for tools.
- 2 Interior Pockets – Discreet pockets for documents or cash.
- 2 Concealed Carry – Special pockets for self-defense weapons.
The side cargo pockets are a particular standout, with all kinds of internal compartments for organizing your gear.
Between the interior and exterior pockets, you can carry everything you need for a day of riding. There’s also a pocket for an optional hydration bladder to keep you hydrated on long hauls.
Fit, Sizing, and Adjustability
Finding the right fit is crucial for maximizing comfort and protection. The Raider uses a tailored cut designed to flatter the shape of the human body in a riding position. It has an athletic fit through the shoulders and arms, while the waist tapers to avoid bunching.
I’m 6’2″ with a 44″ chest, and the size large fits me well in the shoulders with room to layer underneath. However, the waist and sleeves are snug when I first put it on.
For dialing in the fit, the Raider has several adjustable features:
- Waist Tabs – Side adjustments customize waist tightness.
- Bicep Tabs – Straps control sleeve tightness.
- Collar Tab – Snaps allow you to adjust collar snugness.
Between the different adjustments and the natural stretch of the leather, you can achieve the perfect tailored fit over time.
Style and Design
Beyond the technical features, I love the style and design of this jacket. It has a classic biker look that’s perfect for cruising around town or hitting the open road.
The distressed leather finish gives it a well-worn, vintage vibe. And the black-on-black color scheme and exposed zippers reinforce the rebellious spirit at the heart of motorcycling.
Other style details include stretch panels along the lower back to facilitate movement. The sleeves also have zippered gussets for increased mobility. And the tassels on the zipper pulls add a rugged touch.
The Raider nails the outlaw biker aesthetic while packing in the latest protective technology. If you’re looking for an old-school leather jacket with modern safety, this one brings together the best of both worlds.
Value and Cost
Considering the premium materials and extensive features, the Raider provides excellent value for the price. Full leather jackets made of this quality typically cost $600 or more.
However, First Manufacturing is able to offer the Raider for just $319 – $359, making it reasonably affordable for most riders.
When you factor in the custom armor, storage options, and climate control features, it’s impressive how much you get at this price point.
The Raider is tough to beat for a versatile leather riding jacket under $400. It provides an unrivaled combination of quality, performance, and protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Raider run small or large?
The Raider runs slightly small/snug compared to the size chart. Order one size up if you plan to add armor or layers underneath. The leather will stretch and conform to your body shape over time.
Is the armor removable?
How long is the jacket?
I’m 6′ 2″ tall, and the size large Raider provided plenty of length and coverage for my body frame. It covers my waistline even when reaching forward in a riding position.
Can you customize the fit?
Yes, the Raider has adjustable waist tabs, bicep tabs, and a collar snap to customize the fit through the torso, arms, and neck. This allows you to dial in the fit as the jacket breaks in.
Is the Raider waterproof?
The leather is treated to resist light rain and moisture. However, it is not fully waterproof, and extended heavy rain may seep through the seams. I recommend applying a waterproofing spray for enhanced water resistance.
After extensively testing the Raider leather motorcycle jacket, I can confidently recommend it for riders seeking a high-quality option that won’t break the bank.
Climate control is excellent thanks to the strategic venting, and storage options abound with the multitude of pockets.
For around $350, it’s incredible how much thoughtful design and safety First Manufacturing packed into this jacket.
If you want versatile leather riding apparel that handles as well as looks, the new Raider will satisfy your inner biker. Now hit the open road and ride safe this season.
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