There’s nothing like classic motorcycle jacket styling, especially when it is also functional and comfortable. The Joe Rocket Sprint TT leather jacket is an authentic throwback that looks good on a wide variety of motorcycles, from cruisers to sport bikes to touring rigs.
The first thing to know about the Joe Rocket Sprint TT jacket is that, in true retro style, it has no CE-approved armor—not even in the shoulders or elbows. That’s great when you’re wearing the jacket for a night on the town where motorcycle riding isn’t involved. People will notice the styling, particularly the tuck-and-roll stitching over the padding on the shoulders and elbows, and the branding is exceedingly subtle. The relaxed fit makes the jacket excellent for casual wear.
When it comes time to ride, however, we strongly recommend proper protection. Joe Rocket offers optional CE-rated elbow and shoulder armor, and we installed them before riding—they run $25 per pair. Crucially, we slipped an Alpinestars KR-Cell back protector ($45) into the pocket provided. That gave us CE Level 1 protection for our back, elbows, and shoulders—now the jacket is ready to take on the road.
The Joe Rocket Sprint TT jacket loses almost none of its comfort when adding the armor. The shoulder and elbow armor pieces are fully undetectable, and the back protector generally goes unnoticed. When you happen to feel it, you get a sensation of reassuring protection rather than an irritant.
The cowhide is the standard 1.0 to 1.2mm, depending on where it is on the jacket. There’s no break-in time required, as it is supple right off the rack. It has a naturally worn-in look right away, so you don’t look like you are out on your first ride ever. Sizing is as expected in the arms and torso. Those who like to fine-tune the fit will appreciate the pair of three-position buckle adjusters on each side of the jacket at the waist.
There is no venting or perforation on the Sprint TT jacket—save for zippers on the forearms—so it is warm in the summer sun. However, it’s fine on all but the hottest days. There is a quilted vest liner that can be quickly zipped in for the cooler days, and that is good enough for unfaired city rides when the thermometer hits the 50s. Everyone feels heat and cold differently, but the Sprint TT should work for most riders over a wide range of temperatures. It certainly works for long touring rides, as long as things don’t get frigid or scorching.
Zippers are a big part of the jacket’s fashion and functional statements, as none of them are camouflaged behind flaps. That’s fine, as they are all high-quality YKK zippers with a brass look. The central chest zipper and the hand pockets have leather pulls on the zipper tab with a rivet added to assist grip—nice. There are two horizontal zippers for the small storage compartments on the chest, though I wouldn’t carry anything substantial in them, as it disrupts the jacket’s smooth look.
There are also zippers on the forearms that can be unzipped to provide a bit of ventilation. The wrist button closures have two positions, which comes in handy when switching between summer and gauntlet gloves. The neck is mandarin style, with a single button flap. Thanks to a neoprene trim, your neck stays comfortable when the flap is buttoned up on cooler days.
Storage is ample on a jacket of this style. In addition to the hand pockets, there is an interior zipped Napoleon pocket—my favorite spot to carry my iPhone. Inside, there are also two generous pockets in the mesh liner that are reprised in the quilted liner. A hook-and-loop closure in the center of each pocket helps secure the contents, though not as much as a zipper or hook-and-loop across the entire opening.
After months of wear, the Joe Rocket Sprint TT jacket has worn-in nicely, and fully ingratiated itself with me. I like the rugged retro-classic image it projects, and the leather offers welcome protection from abrasion in case of a fall, while the added-on armor provides critical impact defense. There is a reason you see this jacket pop up in a variety of photoshoots.
Action photography by Kelly Callan
Joe Rocket Sprint TT Jacket Fast Facts
- Sizes: SM-2XL
- Colors: Black; Brown
- Armor: Optional
Joe Rocket Sprint TT Jacket Price: $320 MSRP ($415 as tested)