Icon Motorhead3 Jacket Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

When Icon released the third generation of its popular Motorhead jacket, I knew I had to put it through its paces.

After testing it on long highway tours and aggressive canyon carving, one question remained: Does the Icon Motorhead 3 finally achieve the perfect balance between protection, comfort, and ventilation?

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!

Icon Motorhead3 Jacket


Sub Title

  • Maximum airflow
  • Premium protection.
  • Adaptable four-season design


Transitioning from a sportbike tuck to an upright cruiser position, the jacket moves fluidly without binding or bunching.

This flexibility comes from the stretch panels subtly integrated along the sleeves, sides, and back waist. The subtle perforations on the chest and cuff zippers add airflow without compromising abrasion protection.

For colder months, the thermal liner combines with the waterproof liner to block wind-chill, although, as mentioned, I’d prefer to have the waterproof layer on the outside.

Breaking Down the Icon Motorhead 3’s Standout Features

Now, let’s take a more detailed look at why this jacket stands out from the competition.

Premium Protection Where It Matters Most

The full-grain cowhide leather construction provides the ultimate abrasion protection without sacrificing comfort and flexibility.

Leather jackets with reinforcement panels often have a bulky, rigid feel. The Motorhead 3 maintains a supple feel because the 1.2mm – 1.4mm leather comprises the whole jacket, not just high-impact zones. This improves comfort exponentially on long rides.

The CE-rated D3O armor offers impressive impact protection. This innovative material flows freely until it instantly hardens upon impact to disperse energy. I’d choose D3O over cheaper foam options any day for its comfort and performance.

Airflow for Mile After Sweltering Mile

Summertime heat compromises your concentration. The Motorhead 3 combats oppressive temperatures with an ingenious 4-point airflow system:

  • Huge 20-inch front zipper vent
  • Mesh-lined collar vents
  • Shoulder ventilation ports
  • Forearm zipper vents

These smartly designed vents channel wind right where you need it most when leaning forward. I could feel my core and arms cooling even while wearing a jacket liner. This one ventilates best out of all the leather jackets I’ve worn.

Stretch Panels Create a Custom Fit

Generating confident body positioning requires unrestricted movement. The jacket’s flexible stretch panels prevent restriction when shifting your weight.

These panels appear on the following:

  • Inside of the arms
  • Tops of the shoulders
  • Sides of the torso
  • Lower back waist

The stretch leather contours to your natural movements without limiting your range or aggressiveness.

Adaptable All-Season Design

Many leather jackets need to be bigger with their limited 3-season functionality. The Motorhead 3 bucks this trend by including:

  • Waterproof liner for riding through downpours
  • Insulating thermal liner for retaining warmth
  • Airflow vents to prevent overheating

Ideally, the waterproof liner would be external to the thermal one to block wind-chill simultaneously. Besides this odd design choice, the Motorhead 3 transforms to match the conditions at hand.

The abundance of vents nearly eliminates the need for a separate summer mesh jacket when cold fronts roll in; zip in the insulating thermal liner to trap heat.

The waterproof liner blocks wind and rain, so you can keep riding through questionable weather. This jacket spans three seasons, which is better than most dedicated riding jackets.

My Experience Testing the Icon Motorhead 3

I’ve logged over 800 miles wearing the Motorhead 3 jacket in every condition imaginable. Here’s what stood out during testing:

Highway Touring Comfort

On a weekend trip through twisty backroads, the jacket moved fluidly in sync with my body motions. The buttery leather didn’t creak or restrict me.

Its smooth flexibility reveals why premium leather motorcycle apparel costs more than textiles.

Opening the voluminous chest vent zipper accelerated airflow for superior cooling. Hitting speeds over 70 mph, my core stayed cool despite wearing a base layer.

The vent’s size does impact sizing, so I’d suggest ordering a size down if you’ll use it often.

Canyon Carving Protection

When carving tight lines on an empty mountain road, the D3O armor cocooned my most vulnerable areas to ensure hard impacts don’t ruin the ride. The leather felt reassuringly thick when dragging a knee around hairpin turns.

High speeds through the canyon’s exposed cliffs made me appreciate full-grain cowhide’s abrasion and tear resistance.

Textile jackets disintegrate rapidly when skidding across asphalt. Leather holds up substantially better to keep your skin protected.

All-Day Comfort

I wore the Motorhead 3 during a 14-hour ride over rolling hills and sustained speeds. The jacket stayed comfortable hour after hour thanks to the flexible leather and stretch panels that moved with me.

I expected some break-in stiffness, but the supple construction molded to me from the first mile onward.

Venting heat away kept me cool and concentrated throughout the long journey. I’d pick leather over textile for comfort any day of the week.

Storm Riding Capabilities

Catching a few rain showers revealed the value of having a waterproof liner. I rode 20 minutes through a passing downpour and stayed dry underneath. Without it, water would have saturated the leather and liner, causing them to weigh me down.

The thermal liner did a reasonable job blocking wind chill during a 50-degree ride. It’s limited in insulation, so I relied on baselayers for warmth below 50 degrees. The slim liner maximizes flexibility and range of motion.

I’m ready for anything short of snow with the Motorhead 3’s storm-fighting capabilities. A thicker insulating liner would improve true cold-weather performance.

Key Reasons to Consider the Icon Motorhead 3

1. Versatile 4-Season Design

The Motorhead 3 stands out for its exceptional cooling airflow and adaptable all-season liners. Ventilated leather jackets often lack insulation or waterproofing for colder months. This Icon jacket provides complete versatility.

2. Abrasion Protection of Leather

Leather is unrivaled for abrasion and tear resistance. The construction will hold up substantially better than textile jackets if you take a tumble. Leather provides peace of mind by creating a durable outer shell between you and the pavement.

3. Lightweight Flexibility

Despite using thick premium leather, the Motorhead 3 moves more flexibly than expected. Other leather jackets made me feel stiff and restricted. The stretch panels ensure this one breaks in quickly to match your riding motions.

4. Streamlined Style

Nothing looks or feels on a motorcycle like a fitted leather jacket. The Motorhead 3 has an understated style with classic black leather and zippered accent panels. Upgrade your riding wardrobe with the timeless cool of leather.

5. Great Value for Premium Materials

Considering the premium cowhide leather shell and name-brand D3O armor, this jacket provides strong value at around $350. Lesser jackets use cheap nylon and foam elbow pads to lower costs. With the Motorhead 3, you get what you pay for.

Pros & Cons

After hundreds of miles on the road and track, here are the main pros and cons I discovered:


  • Premium full-grain leather balances comfort and protection
  • D30 armor in main impact zones boosts safety
  • Large front vent zipper enables exceptional airflow
  • Stretch panels in key areas allow flexibility of movement
  • Cuff zippers double as extra vents for adjustable airflow


  • Waterproof liner should be exterior to thermal liner
  • Sizing runs slightly large due to the front vent – consider going down
  • Storage is limited to a single Napoleon pocket

Overall, the Motorhead 3 excels at flowing air while providing reassuring protection. The premium materials withstand abrasion far better than cheaper textile jackets without compromising comfort.

While not perfect, the upgrades make this Icon’s best 4-season touring jacket yet. If you want a single jacket to ride through anything nature throws your way, the Motorhead 3 won’t let you down.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the sizing run?

It runs slightly large, especially if using the front vent