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Just because the weather is hot and summer is in full swing doesn’t mean you can skip wearing your motorcycle gear. Your winter leather jacket won’t offer the airflow necessary to keep you cool, which puts you at risk of overheating. Not wearing a jacket at all exposes your skin to UV rays and sunburn while also putting you at risk of injury. What you need is a mesh summer jacket.
These jackets are lightweight, breathable, and protective. You’ll appreciate the large amount of airflow they have while also having pockets for armor shells and your personal items. Some even come with removable liners to give you a quality three-season jacket for more use throughout the year. This guide will help you find the perfect mesh jacket for your summer motorcycle adventures.
Alpinestars T-Faster Air Textile Street Motorcycle Jacket
A modern and sleek motorcycle jacket developed out of thick mesh panels on the back, chest, and sleeves for cooling performance.
- Large stretch panels
- CE certified armor on shoulders and elbows
- Small zipper
- Black is the only color option
Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket
This stylish motorcycle jacket is developed out of a blend of poly and mesh fabrics that is reinforced with thick padding in the shoulders, elbows, and ribs.
- Large spine protector
- A lot of venting throughout
- Zippers aren’t top quality
- Inside pocket is small
REV'IT! Airwave 3 Jacket
Slip this breathable mesh jacket on and stay cool and comfortable while riding in the summer. It has several adjustment points and is fully lined.
- CE armor shells in the shoulders and elbows
- Laminated reflective detailing
- No back protector
- Sizing runs small
Benefits of Mesh Motorcycle Jackets
- Ventilated. When it's warm outside, mesh biker jackets are ideal because they are lightweight and provide airflow when you're riding. They could have perforated panels, zippered vents, or large mesh ventilation panels.
- Protective. These jackets will have pockets for protective armor shells that provide shock absorption in the event of an impact. These are located at the shoulders, elbows, and back. Sometimes they’re also on the chest.
- Affordable. Mesh motorcycle jackets are often more affordable than other types of jackets. The construction material is more affordable than leather. This makes them perfect for beginners or those on a tight budget.
Top Brands of Mesh Motorcycle Jackets
Alpinestars got its start in 1963 in the small Northern Italy town of Asolo. The company launched when motocross began gaining popularity across Europe. Alpinestars produces numerous road racing products, such as boots, gloves, and jackets. One top product is the Alpinestars Wake Air Jacket, with its multi-fabric shell construction and airflow panels throughout.
Based in California, Joe Rocket got its start in 1992. The company designs protective products with FreeAirTM mesh technology for the extreme summer heat. Its jackets and other gear also feature the company’s SureFitTM adjustment system for impact protection. One top mesh jacket is the Joe Rocket Velocity Mesh Jacket with its FreeAir mesh shell and waterproof liner.
Mesh Motorcycle Jacket Pricing
- Under $100: Mesh jackets in this price range are usually very lightweight and manufactured by lesser-known brands. They provide some protection but typically don’t include CE armor shells or other innovative features.
- $100-$200: You can find good-quality mesh jackets at this price point. They are comfortable, lightweight, and protective. They may also feature more pockets, zippers for a pants attachment, armor shells, and other additions.
- $200 and up: These jackets feature the latest innovations, CE armor shells, and top-quality construction materials. These jackets are worth the investment as they’ll last for years to come.
It’s vital that you get a mesh bike jacket that fits properly. If it’s too tight, you won’t be able to properly articulate your body, including your arms, which can affect your control of the motorcycle. If the jacket is too large, the armor may slide around and won’t adequately protect you in a crash. The extra material can flap around and be distracting. Plus, you want to be comfortable when you’re riding.
Some jackets provide more airflow than others. For example, the chest and back should have large mesh panels for breathability. Also, look for extras such as sleeve zippers, which you can open for added airflow. Check the collar to see if it is mesh for comfort and ventilation. Quality jackets have vents on the back to encourage air to flow through the jacket. This will keep you cooler than only having vents on the front.
Most mesh motorcycle jackets are made of polyester or nylon. However, some are made with more durable materials, such as Karbonite, which is reportedly as much as 750 percent stronger than other types of mesh. Certain materials are also more resistant to abrasions and tears than other fabrics, which increases a jacket's durability and protection ability.
Armor or Abrasion Protection
Most mesh jackets feature at a minimum elbow and shoulder armor, which provides impact protection in the event of a crash. High-quality jackets will feature CE-certified armor for maximum protection. Many jackets also include chest and back protectors. Note that some jackets are sold with armor, and some only have pockets for the armor, which you must purchase separately. Look for armor that has venting holes to prevent heat from building up under them.
- Adjustability. Look for jackets that allow you to customize the fit around the sleeves and waist. Some feature elastic sleeves, while others have Velcro straps you can use for a tighter or looser fit. Some jackets even feature a zipper at the bottom so that you can attach it to riding pants.
- Reflective Stripes. It's important to be visible to other vehicles, especially at night. That's why many of the best mesh motorcycle jackets feature reflective piping. These stripes are not very noticeable during the daytime, but once dusk hits, they can make a big difference when it comes to your visibility.
- Removable Liner. While mesh riding jackets are intended for warmer weather, there may be days when there's a slight chill in the air. Some mesh jackets feature removable liners that you can use when it's a little cold outside. If the day warms up and you're still on your bike, you can simply remove it, so you don’t get too hot.
Best Mesh Motorcycle Jackets Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- In addition to a jacket, wear a pair of motorcycle gloves and helmet to better protect yourself in case you’re involved in an accident.
- Consider the type of motorcycle that you ride when buying a jacket. There are cruiser, sport, touring, café, and adventure jackets. Each type of jacket is designed with the bike’s riding position in mind.
- Look for a jacket with plenty of pockets. Internal pockets are good for keeping your valuables safe. External pockets are good for quick access.
- Regularly clean your jacket. This helps to maintain the material and ensure a longer useful life for your jacket.
Q: Do all mesh motorcycle jackets come with a liner?
Check with the manufacturer or look at the jacket before purchasing to make sure it comes with one. A liner is placed inside a jacket to keep you warmer in colder months. You can always buy a separate one to put inside the jacket if you need to.
Q: How do I wash a mesh motorcycle jacket?
Unlike leather, you may be able to put a mesh jacket in the washing machine. Double-check the tag just to be sure. Remove the pads and the inner liner before you toss it into the machine with cold water. If you can’t machine wash your jacket, you’ll need to hand wash or spot clean it.
Q: What size mesh motorcycle jacket do I need?
Consult the manufacturer's sizing chart before making a purchase. Motorcycle jackets tend to run snug, so you may want to order a larger size. Also, think about whether you need to wear layers underneath the jacket.
For a sleek and breathable mesh motorcycle jacket, consider the Alpinestars T-Faster Air Textile Street Motorcycle Jacket.
An affordable alternative is the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Mesh Motorcycle Riding Jacket. It features a large spine protector with adequate ventilation throughout.
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