LEATT MOTO 4.5 LITE JACKET REVIEW
Review by Sourpatch | Photos by Drew Rohde
Leatt’s Moto 4.5 Lite Jacket is a convertible outer layer that has made the winter riding season even more fun! While many riders may prefer hitting the trails when the temperatures are perfect and all you need is your favorite jersey and riding pants, some of us prefer the colder, wetter months when the dirt is the best. Thankfully, for those cold days spent eating chocolate cake there are lots of quality options to keep riders dry, warm and comfortable on the trail. We’ve been wearing our Leatt 4.5 Lite Jacket for two years now and love it just as much as the day we first put it on.
Leatt’s 4.5 Lite Moto Jacket has a minimalistic appearance and is a lightweight jacket that blends breathable, water resistant materials with soft-shell comfort. The breathability of the jacket is furthered by two intake vents that double as pockets and two zippered exhaust vents. If things get too hot for the vents, the pre-curved sleeves can be zipped-off and removed, turning the jacket into a vest. I love unzipping the sleeves and stuffing them into the rear jacket pocket and being back on the trail in a matter of minutes. Leatt made sure to amplify the durability of the 4.5 Lite Jacket by using multi-row reinforced stitching in addition to using a brush guard fabric over the elbow and shoulder areas. With durability still in mind, heavy-duty, top-quality YKK zippers were used throughout the piece.
The 4.5 Lite Moto Jacket has a tailored fit and finish, designed to be use with or without body armor. With that in mind, the neck collar was also designed to be used with or without a neck brace. If using a neck brace, it can be held in place with a pair of elastic bungies placed on the left and right side of the collar. While the intake vents double as pockets, there is only 1 real and rather large pocket located on the back of the jacket. The 4.5 Lite jacket comes in three colors and is available in sizes Small through 3XL.
Leatt’s 4.5 Lite Moto Jacket is one of the first moto specific jackets I’ve owned in my 15 years of riding. I’ve always opted for sweatshirts or windbreakers when the temps get colder. Then again, most of my years were spent riding in Southern California deserts where it hardly dropped below 60 during the winter. Here in Central Oregon, it’s a slightly different story with riding temps often in the 30’s and low 40’s. Then factor in our penchant for riding tight singletrack through pine trees or high desert shrubbery, it only made sense to get an appropriate riding jacket.
I opted for the 4.5 Lite jacket because of its minimalistic appearance yet promise of warmth. At 6’1”, 165lbs, the fit of the size large is spot on with the sleeves being a proper length as well. The jacket does a great job of staying in place on all sorts of trails and doesn’t bunch up the layers below. There hasn’t been a time that I can recall having to pull the jacket body or sleeves back into place. The jacket itself is very stout but the 4-way stretch material keeps it comfortable on and off the bike without impairing mobility.
I’ve ridden in temperatures from mid-30’s to the 50’s with this jacket and found that with varying layers underneath, this jacket will keep me warm, I’d even say hot. Thankfully, Leatt equipped the 4.5 jacket with plenty of ventilation in addition to the removeable sleeves. On almost every ride I wear the jacket, I remove the sleeves first, which seemed to be the best heat management option. Few times would I open the intake vents, mainly because I would keep my phone and keys in those pockets and feared potentially losing them. The exhaust vents never got used as the zippered were near impossible to reach with body armor. Along with not being able to reach the exhaust vents, removing the sleeves solo is tough task and requires help or jacket removal when body armor is worn. Or maybe I need to start doing yoga to improve my flexibility. The large Velcro-secured pocket on the back of the jacket is perfectly sized for sleeve stowage and I’ve put more than a few other useful things in there too.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Leatt did a great job with the 4.5 Lite’s material spec, specifically regarding its durability and toughness. A few of our favorite singletracks are rife with shrubbery, juniper trees and low hanging branches. I’ve come into contact with a few of these trailside menaces at a wide variety of speeds, and while some of the hits have hurt, the jacket itself shows no signs of contact. A few of the scrapes and hits even had me thinking to myself that the jacket is done for but nope, zero battle wounds thus far.
The Leatt 4.5 Lite Moto Jacket is the best bang for the buck compared to other motorcycle jackets at a similar or lesser price point. The competition may have some but not all features for saving a few bucks but spending the little extra on the Leatt 4.5 Lite Jacket to get everything is almost a no brainer. The 4.5 Lite Jacket keeps the body warm and if things start getting too hot (which they likely will), the ventilation and ability to remove the sleeves in the middle of a ride are key features. The fit is excellent, and the jacket has proven to be exceptionally durable in the two seasons of riding so far. I only have two gripes with this jacket. One, the lack of designated pockets on the front of the jacket that don’t double as vents. Second, removing/reinstalling the sleeves and accessing the exhaust vents are nearly impossible to do alone while wearing a chest protector. That said, the Leatt 4.5 Lite jacket is still a very solid jacket at an affordable price.
Colors: Black, Orange, Black/Red
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