Why Do Bikers Wear Vests: Top Reasons Why Every Harley-Davidson Biker Wears A Vest


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Why Do Bikers Wear Vests

Have you ever seen a group of Harley-Davidson bikers and wondered why do bikers wear vests? It’s a common question and a question that will be answered in this article.

Bikers wear vests for a variety of reasons, with the most critical one being protection. There are many other reasons as well such as style, carrying extra items, giving warmth to your body, representing your biker gang, and more.

In this article, you will get to know all about biker vests, why leather vests, and why do bikers wear vests among other things. Stick around to know more.

Harley-Davidson bikers and vests

The practice of wearing vests among bikers can be traced all the way back to the early 1920s. During those days, the members of an outlaw society had to wear biker vests. Also known as a cut, a biker vest has been a must-have attire for Harley-Davidson bikers for over a century. It isn’t just a piece of clothing that motorcycle riders don when they’re planning on riding their bikes. There is a lot more meaning and significance attached to a biker vest than some may think.

As a part of their outlaw life, bikers wear vests on which they’ll sew patches to represent their biker clubs. Most bikers wear leather biker vests and in some cases, they wear denim vests. This way, they get to establish themselves among a group of like-minded riders. These like-minded people have the same ambitions, as they enjoy riding their bikes and being a part of an outlaw society.

Why do bikers wear vests?

There are several reasons why most Harley-Davidson bikers wear vests. Some of the most common reasons are –


The primary reason why most bikers wear a vest is for protection. A quality vest will protect you from harsh weather conditions while also saving you from accidents. A biker vest will be the difference between a scratch and a bruise, or even a fatal injury. Bikers are popular for laying down their bike in case they’re racing or riding, and a vest will come in handy. Additionally, bikers are also at risk of road accidents. However, vests will protect you from minor bruises. However, they might not have enough to protect you from serious road accidents.

Proudly displaying their allegiance to a biker group

Among the things that differentiate one biker from the other is a patch. Bikers wear club patches for identifying with their clubs. However, these patches will be sewn to their vests, which is one of the main reasons why bikers wear vests. A Harley-Davidson biker who has been riding for a long time with have several patches on their vests. In comparison, a novice who is relatively new to the biking scene might have just one, if any. You’ll be able to tell how long a biker has been riding by looking at the patches on their vests.

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Warmth during riding

Bikers are known for loving the high speed and engaging in long drives. A vest, especially a leather vest, will come in handy as it’ll ensure warmth and comfort during the winter seasons. A biker vest will also offer assurance that despite long rides, you will feel warm thanks to the vest.

Representing the culture

A way to signify culture for a biker is to proudly show off the type of vest they’re wearing. It’s a culture commonly associated with outlaw members that they’ve to wear biker vests to identify with society. Similar to tattoos and assorted jewelry, vests also form an essential culture for bikers. A Harley-Davidson biker will always wear a biker vest when riding, as it is proof that they’re proud of themselves. Moreover, it’ll also help them identify with other outlaw members.

Bikers Wearing Vests


A biker isn’t believed to be a loyal biker unless they wear a biker vest. Many bikers also wear a leather or denim biker vest for complementing their look. When a vest is layered over other attires, it’ll present an icon look to your outfit. It will differentiate them from other motorcycle drivers, the ones who aren’t members of the outlaw society. Most bikers prefer donning leather vests as they’re not just comfortable, but they’re stylish as well.

Keeping extra items within reach

A vest will come in handy for a Harley-Davidson biker if they want space for keeping cigarettes, cards, mobiles, etc. Most biker vest come with inner pockets where you can carry your valuable items. When cruising on their bikes, some bikers prefer keeping weapons along with them. The internal pockets will come in handy for holding such weapons or anything else.

Maintaining an image

It is very rare to see a Harley-Davidson rider without a vest on. Bikers are known for donning biker vests for maintaining their image. A biker who isn’t wearing their biker vest isn’t taken seriously by other members of the group and other groups. Wearing a vest will establish that you’re a proud biker. Moreover, it’ll project the image of a reputed and serious biker. Additionally, novice bikers always wear a biker vet as they’re looking to get accepted by other outlaw members.

Visibility in the dark

Although it might sound a bit far-fetched, but bikers wear vests under a visibility jacket for ensuring visibility at night. It’ll make it possible for other bikers to see you, avoiding road accidents due to lack of visibility.

Wearing leather biker vests for safety

As the culture of Harley-Davidson bikers grows, more and more riders have been following suit with the leather vest thing. It isn’t just Harley-Davidson riders who wear leather jackets though. The hipster café racers or the doctors who ride bikes and most other motorcycle drivers have started wearing leather jackets. It has been proven that the less protection you wear when riding a bike, the more you’ll risk serious injuries. Even brands and manufacturers have started taking note. Stores have started selling different types of leather jackets that fit different types of personalities.

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Leather has been used for protection for thousands of years. Native Americans were very quick to find out the protective properties of leather. They would wear them to protect themselves from cuts and bruises. People in medieval times also used to wear leather armor for similar protection reasons. In case of accidents, leather will do a far better job of protecting your skin as compared to other materials. It makes sense as leather is made from animal skin, something that is tougher than human skin.

Of course, leather won’t be able to give you 100% of coverage in case of a crash. However, the first few milliseconds of the impact will be covered by the leather. This will make a great deal of difference for you. Leather will also offer protection from other external elements. When made properly, leather vests are generally waterproof. If you ever find yourself in the midst of a rainstorm when riding, your leather vest will protect you.

Leather vests can be worn throughout the year. Leather will offer essential warmth if you’re driving during the winter season. There are certain leather vests that are made to be worn in the summer season. The high-quality vests feature a ventilation system, which means you won’t have to worry about feeling too hot.

Possible alternatives to leather

There are some riders who don’t like the idea of wearing leather vests. They believe that leather has a negative effect on the environment or cruelty against animals. Some just don’t like the feel and heaviness of the leather. Luckily, there are many alternatives that could offer as good of protection as leather. It’s important to consider that there are leather chops and jackets, but they don’t offer nearly as much protection as real leather vests do. Many people mistake that real leather and fake leather will have similar properties and offer the same protection. Fake leather will not do much for you if you’re wearing it during a crash.

There are many textile jackets and pants made specifically for the safety of the bikers. This material is commonly referred to as ballistic nylon. It will offer almost as much protection as leather while giving excellent ventilation for when it is hot outside. Now comes the important question – which material is the best option to wear when riding a Harley-Davidson bike.  Different materials serve their own purposes, while also offering different levels of protection from accidents. It will ultimately depend on your style, what keeps you safe, and what you’re comfortable with.

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Other protective gear that you must wear

Unfortunately, wearing a leather biker vest will not give you total protection when riding a bike. There are many other items that you’ll need to wear to ensure your safety from any injuries. Of course, the most essential safety gear that you must wear when riding a Harley-Davidson bike is a helmet. Head injuries are the last thing that you can risk. Always wear a helmet even if you’re simply going for a short ride down the street. Accidents can happy anytime, anywhere, and it’ll only take a split second before the damage is done.

In fact, studies have found out that serious head injuries are very common among fatally injured bikers. This is why the use of a helmet is essential. Helmets will be around 37% effective when it comes to preventing motorcycle-related deaths. Moreover, helmets will be around 67% effective when it comes to preventing brain injuries.

Wearing gloves will be another important part of safety protocols. It is a natural human reaction to automatically use your hands to protect other body parts when you’ve fallen down. If you ever end up in a crash, you’ll notice that your hands have torn up due to your body’s natural reaction. Gloves will help you a lot when it comes to protecting your hands during such situations.

Wearing the right boots will be equally important for a biker. The boots need to be sturdy and cover your ankles. This will help reduce the risk of injuries to your feet and ankles. Moreover, you’ll also get protection from your bike’s hot pipes or any rock or debris from the tires shoot up.


Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about biker vests, why do bikers wear vests, the significance of leather vests, and more. A biker should always ensure that they’re wearing a biker vest when riding their bike. A biker vest will provide protection from potential injuries. Moreover, it’ll also help you identify with the culture while adding a layer of style to your outfit. It is rare for a rider to not wear a vest, as it is one of the requirements of being a member of the outlaw society.

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