Merlin Miller Jacket Review: The Best Hot Weather Leather Jacket?

With summer riding season heating up, I wanted to test out the new Merlin leather jacket to see if it could truly keep me cool in hot weather.

Leather jackets typically stifle airflow and cause you to overheat, which led me to wonder – does the Merlin have what it takes for summer motorcycle riding?

In testing this jacket, I wanted to evaluate the cooling performance of the perforations and venting. I also assessed the quality of the materials, safety features, and overall fit.

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

Merlin Miller Jacket


Key Takeaways

  • Vents release trapped heat
  • Perforated leather enables airflow
  • The removable liner provides versatility

Fit and Sizing

I typically wear a size 40-inch chest, so I selected a size 40 Merlin jacket to test. The sizing was accurate, with the 40 fittings me comfortably in the chest and shoulders.

The jacket has a tailored fit in the chest and waist, with a generous degree of room to layer underneath. For reference, I am 5’9″ and 180 pounds. The size chart accurately reflects the fit.

The sleeves are pre-curved and allow a full range of motion. I appreciated the accordion panel at the back shoulders, preventing any pulling or restriction when riding.

The Merlin jacket fits true to size based on the sizing chart. It accommodates layering while maintaining a slim profile.


Construction and Materials

Merlin constructed this jacket from 1.1mm – 1.3mm brushed cowhide leather. The leather feels thick and durable, with a supple hand and vintage look straight out of the box.

I was concerned the leather would be too heavy for summer riding, but the perforations and venting significantly affect cooling.

Interior details include a polyester mesh lining and a removable 125-gram thermal vest. The mesh material helps wick moisture and allow air to flow through the jacket.

The Merlin jacket is put together with high-quality construction. All of the stitching is even and secure, with no loose threads. The zippers operate smoothly, and the snaps provide a secure closure.

Safety and Protection

For impact protection, the Merlin jacket includes CE-rated D3O armor in the elbows and shoulders. This low-profile armor stays flexible until an impact occurs.

I found the armor comfortable and hardly noticed it during wear. The elbow, shoulder, and back protector pockets make installing or removing the armor easy.

The jacket’s extensive perforations offer abrasion protection without compromising airflow. The leather still provides resistance in a slide while allowing air to permeate through.

The Merlin jacket includes reflective piping on the front, back, and sleeves for visibility. This provides added safety when riding at night.

While not a safety feature, the two hand warmer pockets are generously sized to fit gloves inside. I appreciated having this storage space built into the jacket.

Ventilation and Cooling

The Merlin jacket uses perforated leather along the inner arms, chest, and back to maximize airflow. This allows direct air contact with your skin for superior cooling.

Two zippered chest vents provide direct front torso ventilation when open. I frequently used these vents to allow maximum airflow in the hottest riding conditions.

Along the lower back are two rear exhaust vents. These helped release trapped heat and moisture when riding in warm temperatures.

With the vents and perforations fully open, I was impressed by how well the Merlin jacket flowed air and stayed cool even in near triple-digit heat.

The TFL Cool Tech coating on the leather also helped reduce heat absorption from the sun’s rays. This prevented the jacket from getting overly hot when stopped in traffic.

Versatility and Functionality

A major advantage of the Merlin jacket is its versatility across multiple seasons:

  • Wear it as a lightweight summer jacket with the vents open and the thermal liner removed.
  • Use it as a cooler spring jacket with the vents closed and the liner installed.
  • Layer it under a textile jacket for colder mornings and evenings.

The short connecting zipper allows you to attach Merlin riding pants for a complete leather suit.

Storage options include two zippered hand pockets, a cell phone pocket, and an interior stash pocket. These provide ample room for carrying daily essentials.


  • Extensive perforations and venting make it surprisingly cool.
  • Vintage styling with modern safety features.
  • D3O armor offers flexible impact protection.
  • The removable thermal liner provides versatility.
  • Soft brushed leather breaks in comfortably.


  • There is no included back protector.
  • Snaps could be more durable.
  • The sizing runs slightly big.


What is the main benefit of the Merlin summer jacket?

The main benefit is the venting and airflow from the perforations, chest vents, and rear exhaust vents. These features allow the jacket to remain cool in hot weather.

Does the jacket include a back protector?

No, the Merlin jacket does not come with a back protector. However, it has a pocket to accommodate an aftermarket back protector.

Is the leather quality good?

Yes, the leather is a soft, supple cowhide. It has a nice vintage look and feels straight out of the box. The construction quality is also very good.

Can you connect it to riding pants?

Yes, the Merlin jacket has a short connecting zipper that allows you to attach Merlin-branded riding pants to make a full leather suit.

What armor does it include?

The Merlin summer jacket includes CE-rated D3O armor in the elbows and shoulders for impact protection.

The Bottom Line

The Merlin is an excellent choice for riders seeking a warm-weather leather jacket. It provides abrasion, impact protection, and ample ventilation to keep you cool.

The jacket offers versatility to work across multiple seasons, and the construction quality exceeds the price.

The Merlin is a great option to consider for an affordable summer leather jacket packed with features.

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