Saying “big and tall motorcycle gear” is about as helpful as saying “drinkable liquid.” While it definitely points a thirsty traveler in the right direction, it does little to guide them through the variations in viscosity, nutritional value, and taste bud satisfaction that they can expect when taking a swig.
While riders looking for a tall motorcycle jacket could easily enough find themselves being grouped together in the general category of fellas needing big and tall jackets; the latter does not necessarily fulfill the needs of the former. A rider shopping for a long motorcycle jacket and a rider looking to buy a 3, 4, or 5XL motorcycle jacket are more than likely looking for something that is notably different.
This guide for big and tall motorcycle gear is all about providing key insights into the aspects of fitment for motorcyclists whose measurements don’t always fall neatly in line with a brand’s sizing charts. Based on years of experience working with brands and customers alike, our gear gurus have gone through a list of common issues that we have continually seen frustrate fellow riders (and ourselves!). The content below covers everything from what to consider when shopping for big and tall motorcycle jackets to how to properly navigate the nuances of sizing changes when considering the jump into a pair of tall motorcycle pants.
The goal here is to showcase the differences between all of these and shine some light on why it is important to pay attention to each. To do so, we have broken things down into three general body types that find themselves looking for big and tall motorcycle gear:
Big and tall motorcycle gear types
- Tall and skinny
- Tall and athletic
- Big and burly
Tall and skinny riders
|Height||6 feet, 6 inches|
|True Waist||41.5 inches|
Anatomically are you a bit more Kevin Durant than Dani Pedrosa? You’re tall, lean, and your email blows up when it’s time to set up the office rec league basketball team (because, you obviously played in the pros). While your frame comes with the added benefit of unobstructed views of the stage at just about any rock concert, it also comes with a handful of hindrances when finding properly fitting motorcycle gear.
Issues for tall and skinny motorcyclists
- Issue 1: Lack of length in the sleeves, inseams, and torso
- Issue 2: Oversizing to compensate for Issue #1
Motorcycle gear solutions for tall and skinny riders
The biggest issue facing fitment for tall and skinny motorcyclists is that of sleeves and inseams that are simply too short. Aside from being uncomfortable (nobody wants a mis-measured inseam), lacking proper coverage exposes riders to the elements and pavement alike, neither of which is a good thing. While this is a relatively easy issue to fix, it often leads to ancillary problems (see issue 2).
In order to make up for the coverage lost in Issue #1, many tall and skinny riders are forced to size up. Because most motorcycle jackets and pants are sized based on chest and waist measurements respectively, this approach fixes the first issue, but does so at the cost of excess volume throughout. The main problem with that (aside from looking like MC Hammer circa 1990) is that the effectiveness of many protective features on a motorcycle jacket is reduced, as the armor is less likely to remain in place upon impact.
The best course of action for riders with sizing issues in this category is to go with a quality brand that offers Tall / Long options. Simple, right? Well, kind of. There are far more options on the market that do not offer this option than do, so finding a long motorcycle jacket and/or pants can take some digging. To simplify things, we have outfitted Carl in some of our favorites for various styles of riding. Each of the selections of gear below have been specifically designed for tall, thin motorcyclists and have proven their mettle in both sizing and performance.
The best tall and skinny touring / commuting gear:
When it comes to a tall motorcycle jacket for multi-season touring and commuting, the Transition 4 from Tourmaster is a time-tested champion. In selecting the Tall version of this jacket, riders can expect an added two inches of length in both the sleeve and torso, without increasing the circumference around the chest and waist.
As the bottom half of Carl’s touring / commuter riding gear, the Caliber overpants provide the same seasonal versatility as the Transition 4 jacket, while also allowing for a two-inch extension of the inseam in the Tall option. At the same time, the Caliber pants come with an eight-inch connection zipper that allows them to seamlessly transition from a stand-alone option for riders in search of tall motorcycle pants into the bottom half of an all-weather riding suit.
The best tall and skinny sport / commuter gear:
With an added two inches at the sleeves and three inches at the torso, the Tall version of the Phoenix Ion jacket is great for riders searching for a sportier, warm-weather motorcycle jacket. Additional functionality comes in the way of a removable waterproof liner that resides under the mesh outer shell, as well as a waterproof membrane that can be employed as a defense against both rain and wind alike.
The best tall and skinny sport / racing gear:
As our pick for tall leather motorcycle jackets, the Racing D1 is one of the best in the world at bringing Italian moto-sexy to the mix for riders with longer arms and torsos. When selecting one of the Tall options, riders will get an additional inch in both the sleeve and torso. However, while the chest measurement remains the same, with this jacket it is important to note that a jump up to a Tall size also comes with an increase of 0.75 inches at the waist.
The Alien Leather pants are our selection for tall and skinny riders looking to outfit their lower half with a pair of leather riding pants. Premium in every regard, the Alien pants pack all of the race-level performance / protection (minus the sliders), and allow for the addition of 1.4 inches of inseam with the Tall version. Much like the Racing D1 jacket, however, it is important to note that a jump between Regular and Tall also comes with a change in waist measurement. In this case, that change is minus 1.5 inches. Yeah, they get taller, and they get skinnier.
Tall and athletic riders
|Height||6 feet, 4 inches|
|True Waist||38.5 inches|
While most people see the title of “Big and Tall” as an “or” proposition, you fit the description literally. Whether it is from felling trees alongside your big blue ox or your duties defending the Lannister Queen, you have built a powerful frame that takes up space on both the X and Y axis. You are big and you are tall -- and you want motorcycle gear that accommodates accordingly.
Issues for tall and athletic motorcyclists
- Issue 1: Constricting fitments in the shoulders, armpits, and sleeves
- Issue 2: Reduced torso coverage
- Issue 3: Voluminous waist
Motorcycle gear solutions for tall and athletic riders:
For riders who register as both big and tall, finding the right motorcycle gear causes its own set of problems. Big means a lot of things to a lot of people. Unfortunately, when it comes to things like big and tall motorcycle gear, rarely does it mean “damnnnnn, that dude is built like a WWE superstar!”
The main problem for riders in this category is that manufacturers tend to fix the problem of larger chests, arms, and shoulders by assuming a proportionate (if not disproportionate) increase to the waist. Playing by the laws of averages, it makes sense. Big chest + big shoulders + big waist = big belly is the most probable equation. However, if you are reading this section, you are most likely a tall, powerful, athletic juggernaut who has accumulated robust mass through years of picking heavy things up and putting them back down. You are not the average, and you are highly improbable. As such, you shouldn’t settle for a fitment that is either.
Tall and athletic sport / city motorcycle gear:
Icon gets it. Plain and simple. They are our go-to brand when suggesting motorcycle jackets for big guys in this category. With the Overlord Textile jacket specifically, Icon has afforded an athletic frame with extra room in the shoulders, chest, and back without requiring special sizing. Additionally, this jacket also features a slight taper to the waist, which is a rarity for something that goes all the way up to a 4xl motorcycle jacket.
To match the Overlord jacket, we outfitted Ryan with a pair of Icon’s Hooligan Denim pants. Low-key in their design and built with a relaxed American athletic fit, these heavy-duty riding jeans provide a solid waist to thigh room ratio for those riders who refuse to skip leg-day.
Tall and athletic touring motorcycle gear:
Slim arms. Small back. Short torso. Those are the hallmarks of many European motorcycle jackets. However, the Outback 2 has been designed with a more American fit scheme and is a great choice for large and athletic riders who want to get a touring jacket from a world-class European brand, but who are unable to squeeze into the dimensions of many European garments. As a testament to the REV’IT! Outback 2’s commitment to larger motorcyclists, this jacket goes all the way up to a 6XL!
For riders looking to round out their top-tier touring ensemble with a pair of big and tall motorcycle pants, the Outback comes through yet again. With all-weather functionality, the ability to connect directly to REV’IT! jackets, a relaxed fit in the thighs and an additional two inches of inseam in the Tall versions, these pants come loaded for the legs of a bear!
Tall and athletic track / race gear:
From the dimensions of the full-tuck position to the physics of wind resistance, motorcycle racing tends to be a smaller man’s game, and race suits have traditionally been built accordingly. This has been especially true with European race suits. The great thing about the Spidi Track Wind Pro Suit is that it is one of the few options that brings together sexy Italian moto-style with a sizing structure for big dudes. With special attention paid to expanded shoulders and thighs, the Track Wind Pro Race Suit retains a go-fast sleekness while simultaneously accommodating up to a size 64 rider!
Big and burly riders
|Height||5 feet, 11 inches|
|True Waist||49 inches|
Like a finely crafted whiskey barrel, riders in this category are sturdy and tough. Packing a lot of mass into an average height, big and burly motorcycle riders have their own set of sizing difficulties when searching for gear that fits them properly. As noted throughout this big and tall motorcycle gear sizing guide, merely throwing on a 4xl motorcycle jacket with a pair of big and tall biker jeans and calling it a day leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the nuances of comfort, performance, and motorcycle style.
Issues for big and burly motorcyclists
- Issue 1: Extra baggy chest, shoulders, and sleeves when sizing up to fit waist
- Issue 2: Excess length in torso and sleeves when sizing up to fit waist
Motorcycle gear solutions for big and burly riders:
For big and burly riders such as Joe, the most notable difficulties in sizing come in the form of excess material, all in the wrong places. The effect for this body type is the converse to that of the tall and athletic rider, in that, to properly size for the waist, the big and burly rider ends up with a chest measurement that is entirely out of whack. While the jacket fits through the widest measurement, it leaves the chest, shoulders, and arms swimming in excess material. At the same time, and to make matters worse, the increase in volume also comes with an increase in sleeve and torso length that exacerbates the problem for riders of average height. The same sizing issues hold true for pants.
In the end, both of these issues are not a good look, and more importantly, they mitigate the comfort and protective features of most jackets due to the added space between the rider and the features themselves.
Big and burly sport / cruiser gear:
With an American relaxed fit, the Motorhead 2 Jacket is great for the big and burly body type because (aside from looking bad ass), it provides a bit of stretch to allow for increased mass, rather than merely throwing more material at the dimensions. With the stretch, it accommodates a larger waist, while retaining a smaller chest, shoulder, and arm volume. With a TrackSpec leather outer shell that is backed by a removable SatinCore full liner and D3O armor at the shoulders, elbows, and back, the Motorhead 2 is a champion of the big and burly rider’s gear closet.
Big and burly sport-touring gear:
The Euro relaxed fit of the Tornado 2 Jacket comes in up to a 4XL and is cut to accommodate a more robust frame. From the PWR75D / PWR1000D combination outer shell, to the removable thermal and waterproof liners,The Tornado 2 provides all of the Euro-touring amenities without the Euro-slim fit.
Offering +/- two-inch inseams in Tall and Short options, the Tornado 2 pants work to fix the problem of the extra length that comes with sizing up to fit a larger waist. Built to match the style and functionality of the jacket, the Tornado 2 Pants come with SeeFlex CE2 armor at the knees, SeeSmart CE1 armor at the hips, and have been ergonomically designed to remain comfortable for long hauls in the saddle.
Big and burly touring gear:
When it comes to touring gear for big guys, few brands do it better than Olympia. Purpose-built and aimed at the larger-framed American markets, jackets like the Expedition perform at an extremely high level, while also being tailored for riders with larger measurements. Most notably, when looking at the Expedition jacket that Joe is wearing, special attention has been paid to providing ample room (these size up to 4XL), while also not over-extending on the torso length.
Additional Information on big and tall sizing
So, that’s that. Our look into the sizing world for Big & Tall motorcycle gear. We have tried to take a vast topic and distill it down to a few key pointers to get you started on the right path. That being said, we are all individuals and as such, vary in our own measurements, uses, and stylistic preferences. And that’s a good thing! The world would be pretty damn boring if we weren’t. In the end, our goal is to help you find the best motorcycle gear for your specific needs, and we are happy to help in any way that we can to ensure that is the case.
For more context, and to see some of these tips, tricks, and gear in motion, check out the Big & Tall Sizing Guide video where you can see Spurg showcase each of these concepts with the help of some fellow Zillans from around the office! You can also give our Gear Geeks a shout if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the sizing of your big and tall motorcycle jackets, jeans, riding pants, heated gear and more.