You buy a leather motorcycle jacket for two reasons—protection and image. Dainese has a well-earned reputation in both departments, and the Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf does not disappoint. This perforated version of the Rapida Lady Leather Jacket means I can wear the jacket on all but the hottest summer days.
Even before putting the Rapida on, I could tell it is a serious riding jacket. It has the satisfying weight of gear that I will feel secure in on a fast ride. There is a bit of a stiffness to the durable cowhide when I slide into the jacket, lessened by the calculated use of elasticized fabric to ensure flexibility.
Long vertical stretch panels run from the top of the shoulders down the sides of the jacket. There are also panels on the inner arms and across the chest—all strategic areas for allowing the rider to move as naturally as possible on the motorcycle.
The Dainese Rapida Lady Perf jacket has a close fit without being body-huggingly snug. The flattering design falls right at the hips, with a slightly longer tail. I like the coverage in back, especially because the current style of riding jeans is mostly low-rise. This works well whether sport riding or in a more upright stance, as do the slightly pre-curved sleeves, which follow your arms reaching for the grips. It all adds up to a comfortable fit that doesn’t intrude on your ride.
The tidy fit of the Rapida is aerodynamic with nothing flapping in the wind—trim and purposeful—and it can be customized at the lower waist with Velcro tabs. I have to unsnap the cuffs when taking the jacket off, but the upside to this spare sleeve design is it’s not hard to tuck the sleeves into a minimal glove gauntlet to avoid sunburned wrists.
My one comfort complaint with the Rapida Lady Perf is the collar. While I appreciate the jacket’s substantial leather, it’s irritating on my neck despite the short Mandarin design.
When it comes to protection, the Rapida is reassuringly technical. In addition to the abrasion protection afforded by the sturdy leather, the Rapida has important internal impact protection at the shoulder and elbow. Dainese’s proprietary soft Pro-Armor is CE-certified protection that bends with the body and is truly comfortable. This adds peace of mind to the physically armored feeling I have when zipped into the Rapida.
There is also a zippered pocket where you can insert optional back protection. We view back protection as essential, so I installed Dainese’s D1 Wave G.1 Short back protector ($86 MSRP), which is CE Level 1.
As per the jacket’s name, the Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf is designed to flow air. The leather front panels and the back of the jacket are perforated (“Perf”), as is the interior lining. The latter is treated to combat odor and bacterial growth—particularly helpful when worn against bare skin. I got stuck in slow-moving traffic on the freeway on a 94-degree day. While I couldn’t specifically feel the air flowing through the jacket at 25 mph, I was not sweating or clammy, just warm. And lest you think the protection will inhibit air movement and make the jacket hot, both the installed and optional armor flow air due to their construction.
External aluminum plates at the shoulders are more than just a MotoGP-inspired style cue. Just as the GP riders minimize injuries by sliding instead of tumbling, those slipperier-than-plastic aluminum plates are designed to encourage sliding vs. tumbling. Even at more weekend warrior speeds, I’m happy for a little extra insurance.
Speaking of which, don’t forget to take advantage of the zipper that allows you to connect your jacket to your riding pants. If you’re heading out on a fast ride, you don’t want to find yourself sliding down the road with the jacket riding up. For after-hours riding, the Rapida has nicely reflective Dainese logos running down the outer, lower arm.
Serious sport jackets don’t devote a lot of space to pockets. The more you carry, the higher the chance those items will inadvertently injure you if you fall. The Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf has two zippered hand pockets and one internal square zippered pocket. As that internal square pocket is right on the other side of a hand pocket, you need to be strategic about where you place your essentials to avoid a lumpy mismatch. I put my keys and ear protection case in the outer left-hand pocket, and my Wojo wallet into the interior pocket that backs up against it. The right-hand pocket takes care of my iPhone SE. It works.
As with all Dainese riding gear, the Rapida is not simply a top-drawer functional riding jacket—it is also stylish. From the subtle black-on-matte-black stripes on the arms to the more obvious color-split collar, the jacket has that Italian fashion sense that makes me feel cool. Don’t miss the tiny detail that only reveals itself when the jacket is not zipped fully—a vertical tricolor Italian bar pin at the top of the zipper placket.
The Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf is a classic motorcycle jacket with the sport riding protection you expect, once you add a back protector, in a comfortable perforated package that works in all but the most extreme temperatures.
Photography by Don Williams
Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf Fast Facts
- Sizes: 0 – 16 (US); 38 – 52 (Euro)
- Color: Black-Matt/Black-Matt/White
Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Perf Price: $530 MSRP ($615, as tested)
Dainese Rapida Lady Leather Jacket Review (Perf) Photo Gallery