Does a Biker's Vest Tell a Story

The other day I was in a motorcycle forum when I came across this question, why do bikers wear a vest? I found it very interesting the variety of comments that were made. 

One person commented “We are cowboys except we ride iron horses”.

Another person wrote that “They offer little protection, but you can put patches on them”.  

Extra storage seemed to be very popular too. It seems like there are as many different reasons as there are people wearing them, but I believe a motorcycle vest is your story as a motorcycle rider. 

Motorcycle Clubs and Organizations

For some they grew up admiring their father, or uncle, or someone close to them who rides.  They can remember the first time they saw that person wearing their motorcycle vest, and all the patches they put on it. They remember the curiosity they felt in wanting to know about every patch. For others they are the first of their kind falling in love with the fine line between the risks and the joys of the open road. But they all want the freedom and adventure you can only experience on a motorcycle.

A vest is the perfect accessory to tell your story. It can be worn alone when it’s warm out to protect the torso from bugs and road rash, or over a coat as an extra barrier against the cold. No matter how you wear it, most people who ride put patches and pins on, showing who they are a member of, or where they’ve been, or their unique personalities.

Many motorcycle riders have come from a military background, a lot of those have seen combat.  That gives them a different perspective on life.  They often share a bond with others who have similar experiences that You can never understand unless you’ve been there. As a result, these military members and veterans will take to motorcycling, forming or joining organizations or clubs with others who share similar experiences. Some are open to all riders, while others you have to earn your place.

Most of these organizations and clubs have designed a patch, or patches that stand for the identity of the group. These patches show the club colors, logo, and depending on the type of group, a territory of where the member is representing. 

To the non-rider or new rider, a good analogy is think of your favorite sports team, the players have a uniform they wear, the fans wear the colors and logo’s as a sign of support, and the team represents a territory.  Similarly, motorcycle club members wear a type of uniform commonly referred to as a cut with supporters wearing club colors and sometimes logos depending on the rules of the club.

Motorcycle Travel Enthusiasts

Maybe you use your bike for trips and traveling to different parts of the U.S. as a lot of people do.  These biker’s typically collect pins, or patches of the places you’ve been displaying them on your vest.  These pins and patches allow people to ask about your travels and you can begin a conversation. Before you know it, you and your new friend are telling story after story.

What if you use your vest for extra storage?

Well, most people usually choose a vest with concealed carry pockets, because they have an elastic holster to keep a handgun from flopping around. They are also large enough to put your gloves and glasses in.

The 1st Amendment and Bikers

Over the last two and a half decades the staff at Eagle Leather has spoken with over one hundred thousand motorcycle enthusiasts and sewn on patches that exceed that number many times over.

One of the most popular types of patches are the “Saying Patches”. These patches allow a biker to express themselves without saying a word, and in turn either attract the people you want or repel the people you don’t. Basically, it’s a statement of what they stand for and believe in. Some are even willing to put their lives on the line for it. 

Your Vest and Protection

It’s common to hear from the riders we speak to on a daily basis questions about the protection of a motorcycle vest. There are many ways a vest can protect you. It can be Hi-Viz and reflective which offers protection in the dark by allowing you to be seen. It can have back and chest armor which protects your torso from the bike and impacts with the road. It can be perforated or mesh which protects you from the heat. It can also be worn over or under a coat as another layer trapping the heat when it’s cold out, or you are dealing with wind-chill.

The Most Versatile Piece of Motorcycle Clothing

The biker vest is the perfect piece of motorcycle clothing to show your individuality. It can be worn if it is hot or cold, above or under the jacket, or to show the places you’ve been.  You can use it to represent your club or organization, and your individuality.

So, why do you wear a vest?  We’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

If you are thinking about a new vest, shop our 60+ vest styles for men, or the over 35 vest styles for women.


  • Jersey Jeff

    I recently got a vest to patch up because I got a patch when I rode out to Sturgis. So I figured I’d buy patches that state where I’m from and where I been. Plus, I figured that I’d create some patches to add some of my own heritage and personality to the vest.

  • Warren

    On multi state rides I keep a vest in my kit and when it becomes excessively warm and sunny (usually outside of western Wa) will swap from my old water buffalo jacket. I’ve collected odd patches for years I have meant to have Eagle L sew on but always seem never too get down to it. I still have my uncles patched vest from his riding days, so it just seems right to patch mine.

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