Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Motorcycle Jacket Review

I’ve worn hundreds of motorcycle jackets during my tenure at Ultimate Motorcycling, and every once in a while I truly fall in love with a jacket.

The Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket leather jacket has a style that speaks to me, comfort that makes me want to wear it, and a durability that has gives me no sense of when it will wear out.

Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Motorcycle Jacket for saleHaving a legitimate reason to wear a classic leather jacket is one of the fun things about riding a motorcycle. The Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket jacket has a timeless style that makes it one of my go-to jackets that rarely spends much time on its hanger.

Along with the black drum-dyed cowhide, it has quilted shoulder padding and white racing stripes down the arms (on the Black/White version I tested). For me, this look is unbeatable.

I can wear the Vintage Rocket jacket on any cruiser, go touring with it, or ride anything short of supersport or off-roadable motorcycle. Scratch that—I could wear it on a modern scrambler and enjoy some time in the dirt, too. Oh, and the branding is appealingly subtle—just right for an old-school style jacket.

Despite the name Vintage Rocket, Joe Rocket has given the jacket modern features. There is a quilted full sleeve liner that is easily removed and installed—mostly via a zipper. The quilted liner has two large pockets that close with hook-and-loop, though they aren’t repeated on the jacket when the liner is taken out. A roomy zippered Napoleon pocket is on the inside, and accessible whether the liner is in or not—that’s where I store my iPhone 7.

Outside, there are four YKK-zippered pockets, though I was never enticed to use the smallish breast pockets. Instead, I put my wallet and reading glasses in the hand pockets. The hand pockets and main closure have leather pulls attached to the standard brass pull—they look cool and make it easier to zip and unzip the pockets. I would, however, like to see the pulls on the wrist closure zippers.

Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Motorcycle Jacket ReviewThe leather, which runs from 1.0 to 1.2 millimeters thick, is supple right off the rack. There is no need to break this jacket in—it is comfortable enough for a cross-country ride from the word go.

As sold, the Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket jacket has no armor. It’s optional for the shoulders and elbows, with the interior pockets ready to accept it. Installation takes a few minutes, but it’s a one-time thing. Spend the extra $50 to get Joe Rocket’s CE shoulder and elbow armor.

As usual, there is a dual density spine pad; don’t mistake that for protection. Toss it out and replace it with legitimate CE-rated back protection. I put a Forcefield Body Armour Pro Lite K CE Level 2 soft back protector in and it didn’t detract from comfort at all—again, consider this upgrade mandatory.

Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Motorcycle Jacket styleI typically wear a large jacket, and the Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket jacket in Large was just right for me. There’s no binding, the arms are the right length, and the snap-close collar uses a neoprene roll—I never think about it on the bike, or off. Again, this jacket has the comfort for touring, along with a great look off the bike.

I suppose there is something irrational about getting smitten with any piece of motorcycle apparel. I wear so many different kinds, and most are impressively functional and stylish enough. However, the Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket jacket pulls me back to the roots of motorcycling, when you started the motor with a kick and a manual advance of the spark. I’m glad I don’t have to do that in the 21st century, yet I like looking like I can fire up a bike that way if I need to.

Action photography by Kelly Callan and Brian J. Nelson

Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Jacket Fast Facts

  • Sizes: S-3XL
  • Colors: Black/Black; Black/White
  • Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Jacket Price: From $330 MSRP

Joe Rocket Vintage Rocket Motorcycle Jacket Review | Photo Gallery