The Best Mesh Motorcycle Jackets Under $300

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summer-jackets

Suffering in the summer heat but don’t want to break the bank on a jacket you’ll only be able to wear for a couple more months? Here’s eight of the nicest looking, safest, most effectively cooling mesh jackets you can buy right now.

Why mesh?
“Aren’t you hot in that?” A passerby inevitably asks anytime you wear motorcycle gear during the summer. “Yes, but bike’s come with great A/C, so long as you’re moving,” we like to respond. Equipped with large perforated or mesh panels, summer jackets maximize your body’s evaporative cooling effect. Believe it or not, they actually cool you more effectively than going without too, left unprotected, the wind will blow the sweat off your skin too fast to effectively cool you. These jackets keep you as cool as possible while providing real crash protection.

Alpinestars Viper Air Jacket ($200)

Here’s a bargain. For a nickel under $200, you get all the style and quality Alpinestars is known for in a jacket with huge mesh panels across its front and rear. The BioArmor in the elbows and shoulders is twice as safe as the CE standard requires, while remaining slim, pliable and comfy. Add a $30 BioArmor back protector for complete protection.

All the mesh panels are double-layer for increased abrasion resistance, while crucial areas like the shoulders and sleeves are made from super-strong 600 Denier fabric. A thin, detachable windproof liner is perfect for riding home at night after a hot day. RideApart’s cruiser editor Tim swears by his Viper Air.

Dainese Air-Flux Textile Jacket ($200)

And here’s an equally good bargain from Dainese. Bet you didn’t think you’d find that brand’s sophisticated color palette and flatteringly slim fit at such an affordable price, did you? Ventilation is handled by large mesh panels across the torso, back and sleeves, while safety is taken care of by elbow and shoulder protectors that expand across a large area of your body, including your forearms. A pocket is designed to accept a Wave G1 or G2 back protector. Buy this one if you don’t want to look like a dorky, logo-whoring biker the second you walk away from said bike.

Dainese Women’s Shotgun Jacket ($255)

Of the fairer sex and want a summer motorcycle jacket that actually flatters your figure? The main body of the Shotgun is constructed in an abrasion resistant fabric that has some elasticity built into to provide a comfortable, form fitting fit. That flows some air, but the large mesh panels on the sides do an even better job. There’s CE armor in the elbows and shoulders, plus a pocket for one of those Wave back protectors. Adjustments on the neck, wrist and waist round out the package.

Icon Hooligan Street Jersey ($150)

Bright colors, modern graphics and removable sleeves make the Icon Hooligan a uniquely appeal product. This one uses a looser cut than most of the other jackets here, if that’s your thing, while a construction that’s all-mesh really helps keep things cool. There’s CE-certified Field Armor in the elbows and shoulders, a foam back pad and a real back protector can be swapped in to replace that.

Rev’It! Levante Jacket ($300)

Need a jacket that’s as capable of keeping your warm and dry as it is cool? Waterproof and thermal liners are removable and stowable in a back pocket on the Levante, allowing you to adapt to weather conditions on the fly. A pocket is tailored to fit Rev’It’s safe, flexible, comfy SeeSoft back protector, which is certified to the highest CE2 standard. A great option for summer road trips.

Alpinestars Verona Air Jacket ($180)

Super low-key looks combined with actual motorcycle functionality. The Verona isn’t technically a mesh jacket, but its 450D shell does flow a good amount of air. It’ll also provide good abrasion protection at city speeds and incorporates BioArmor in the shoulders and elbows, along with a pocket for an Alpinestars back protector. Stealthy, streetwear looks do come with a compromise however — we’d keep this one in town.

Spidi Net 7 Mesh Jacket ($280)

The style of race leathers in a high quality mesh jacket. The Net 7 also incorporates a removable windproof liner for chilly mornings and evenings and the usual CE armor in the elbows and shoulders, plus that back protector pocket.

Dainese Air Tourer S-ST Jacket ($250)

An unbelievable amount of style and function packed into an affordable price point. Abrasion resistant fabric also stretches a little for a form fitting, sport fit, while ENORMOUS mesh panels flow a ton of air. A ton of protection from the incorporated armor, plus that pocket for a Wave insert back protector. The lining has been treated with silver ion to kill bacteria and keep it smelling fresh, no matter how sweaty you get. Stylish colors round out a great looking package.

  • motoguru.

    I have a Rev’it! Airwave. For those gear whore’s like me that don’t need the versatility of the Levante, it’s a great addition to the collection. It’s my first foray into the hi-viz market (just a lil bit on the forearm) as well.

    • roma258

      Love that jacket!

    • Martin

      Yes, indeed. My daily Summer jacket for city riding is the Air (the predecessor to the Airwave, and basically the same jacket). They made these in XS for us half-men. Too bad the Airwave only goes down to a S. Anyway, great jacket after an upgrade to the back protector.

  • NextTurn

    I am surprised the Scorpion Hat Trick (or now the Hat Trick 2) didn’t make the list. They have the same waterproof and thermal liners as the Rev’it! Levante at a lower price. I have the original on order for under $200 including shipping. It should be here tomorrow.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Scorpion isn’t a clothing brand we have much experience with.

      A simple spec list does not necessarily make a good product. Stuff from Alpinestars, Dainse, Icon, Rev’It and similar will do the job it says it’ll do, hold up over time and fit well. If it doesn’t, they’ll back up their claims with warranties and good customer service. That’s why we recommend those brands.

      • NextTurn

        I only came across this brand of jacket due to reviews on RevZilla referencing it as a 3 season jacket. Since i live in a warmer climate, i am hoping to use it year round. I would be interested to see you guys try this jacket in a bike review to see what you think of it.

        As someone that is just getting back into riding, I greatly appreciate the articles on RideApart.

        • Clint Keener

          There really isn’t such thing as a 3 season jacket.

          My mesh jacket is good from hot to the high 60′s. Leather for temps down to the mid 50′s. Winter jacket for below that.

          • NextTurn

            I have a high tolerance for cold and no tolerance for heat. In my younger and dumber years, I would ride around Denver during the winter in a helmet and a hoodie. I am still the guy with the windows down at 45 degrees with a grin on my face. My wife is the exact opposite.

            • Gonfern

              I bought a Scorpion niptuck jacket for my girlfriend. Being a Dainese and Rev’it leather only elitist, I was skeptical of its quality but she liked the styling. Figured getting her to wear that while riding pillion was better than nothing. Im very surprised with Scorpion’s quality. It is every bit as good as anything ive seen from alpinestars, dainese or rev’it. Came with great sastech armor, super light and great adjustiblility and airflow. Not ready to give up my 2 piece Rev’it suit, but definitely worth a look IMO.

              • 80-watt Hamster

                I have a first generation Hat Trick hanging in my closet at the moment. It’s a pretty good piece for the price, but it’s not up to the quality standard of the Alpinestars Scout that replaced it (not surprising, considering the Scout’s nearly double the MSRP). The primary selling point for the Hat Trick is flexibility; 50-90F ain’t too shabby. More water resistant than I expected, as well. Short rides through heavy downpours left my torso completely dry. It’s been retired for a few reasons: As my first jacket, I bought it too large, but that’s my own fault. It only really fits with both liners in plus a hoodie; I swim in it with just the shell. A couple of low-speed crashes have left some abrasion panels somewhat hashed. I don’t have a solid estimate of how many miles it’s endured (maybe 12-15,000 over four years?), but the Velcro pads started coming off prematurely, IMO.

                • NextTurn

                  Thanks! That’s good to know. Mine came in today, and it fits very well. I am hoping it will allow me some more versatility over my Joe Rocket hand-me-down from a friend, but they both seem like really good jackets.

          • BryonCLewis

            My get flamed for having a Joe Rocket jacket, but I enjoy the Joe Rocket Super Ego. It’s a leather jacket which I use all the way down into the 30′s (might wear a longsleeve underneath) and then when it gets above 75 and the vents are doing enough The whole middle of the jacket unzips into a mesh. I used to use different jackets but I would always have some issues. Here in the morning it could be 49 and then in the afternoon 78. With this jacket as long as I have storage for the middle panel I be comfortable all day and all riding season.

        • Phil Mills

          I have a Hat Trick jacket in the much nicer to look at, logo-deleting “phantom” color scheme. I’ve got about four years of riding on it and it’s doing AOK by my standards. I do not own another jacket. I ride twelve months out of the year.

          I live in Colorado and ride an FJR; this means it gets COLD in the winter, HOT in the summer, but my ride has a pretty protected pocket (and heated grips), so take that into account.

          Mixing and matching the thermal and wind/water liners, I’m honestly good down to about 28F for my 5-mile ride to the office (fleece neck gaiter and thick gloves, plus some liners under the pants) or around 95-100F in the summer (not for an incredibly long time – 85-90F is about where I’d draw a limit for taking a trip, and even then I’m emptying a Camelback down the front of the jacket every half-hour…).

          The wind/water liner is pretty effective – the shell will soak through and get pretty heavy, but I’m dry as a bone underneath (I tuck a pair of FroggTogg pants with granpa-waistline under it, occasionally use a matching shell waiting in the bags if it gets really nasty).

          You can do a lot worse for the money. A LOT worse.

          • E Brown

            Yep, I’ve also got a Phantom Hat Trick and I’ve been pretty pleased with it. When temps dip, the thermal liner and a long-sleeved shirt do fine into the 30s, and with no liner it flows air well enough to keep me comfortable in the high 80s/low 90s. I had a low-side spill on my CBR600RR and can’t even tell – pretty good for sub-$200, imo.

          • NextTurn

            Thanks for the reply. I have a NT700V that I am riding now, but the FJR is the bike that my wife and i want to end up with after a few years on the Honda. After taking a few rides with both jackets, the Hat Trick will probably be my cool to cold weather jacket as the shoulder areas don’t breathe as well as the Joe Rocket I have. Both of them seem to be good jackets. So, I am pretty happy with what I have.

  • DucMan

    I have a Dainese Shotgun Men’s Jacket and it is great. The “stretchy” fabric makes for a great form-fitting jacket that does NOT flap in the breeze. I have really become sold on Dainese gear, quality gear at surprisingly affordable prices with a low key, only the cognoscenti “get it”, style.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I have one too that i absolutely love. It fits me better than any other moto jacket I own.

      • Geert Willem van der Horst

        Same here! Great fit! Great jacket!

  • good dog

    Another vote for the Rev’it Airwave. A year ago I wouldn’t have touched it with the proverbial ten foot pole because of the logo graphics in your face styling. This year’s toned down look keeps me riding in stealth mode.

    http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/revit-airwave-jacket

  • sospeedy

    What is the jacket the rider on the Burgman scooter is wearing in the lead off photo? Love the Dainese stuff, and judging by the metal shoulder sliders i don’t think this is a sub-$300 jacket… But I want to know if it is ’cause i want to buy one; it looks cool!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      That’s me in the Dainese SP-R jacket. It’s rad, but it seems to be sold out everywhere.

      • Piglet2010

        You can get one now directly from Dainese (see link I posted above), but only in size 50 gray – all other sizes and colors are on back-order.

      • Gonfern

        All of Dainese’s stuff has been sold out. I pre-ordered a pair of their new druids gloves back in january, after waiting around until june i finally gave up on them, cancelled my order and got the A* GP. Not sure what the deal is over at Dainese, but everything is out of stock this year.

    • Piglet2010

      Looks to be a Dainese G. Super Speed Tex ($350): http://www.dainese.com/us_en/motorbike/g-super-speed-tex.html?cat=12

      • http://www.iantan.org/ Ian Tan

        Yes, it’s the Dainese Super Speed Textile. I bought it the very day my local dealer in Singapore put it on the rack! It’s a beautiful jacket and very comfortable even in the 33 deg C heat here. Only issue is the white portions get dirty-looking really fast just with normal riding after a few weeks.

  • Fresh Mint

    Good article except for one thing.
    Icon is low quality garbage.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Icon stuff is rapidly becoming some of the nicest out there.

      • Piglet2010

        My experience is limited to one pair of Icon gloves that I had to re-sew on the wrist closures after less than a full season of commuting. But I would be willing to give them another chance if they are improving.

        Of course, for those of us who would rather keep gear and repair it rather than discard and replace, it is hard to beat Aerostich, since they will repair their products when feasible (understand that MotoPort will do the same). I recently had my Roadcrafter Light repaired and altered, and Aerostich went well above normal customer service expectations.

    • sdyank

      Hey Fresh,

      Do you care to elaborate on your opinion? I have a few pieces of gear from them that I love and wouldn’t part with and a few more on my “wish list”. If you have any specific complaints, I’d be glad to hear them before I drop more money on this brand. Thanks in advance!

      • Fresh Mint

        My experience is similar to piglets – Unless they’ve made serious changes over the past year (in which case I don’t know how’d you be able to definitively speak up for their quality in just 1 year) they’re not even close to mediocre in my book. You’re much better off with joe rocket or aerostitch if you’re on a budget.

        I had a pair of their(ICON) leather gloves this year which after 1 season of riding had at least 3 of the fingers on each hand ripping apart exposing my finger tips. On top of that the stitching holding other parts of fabric on the palms and wrists also began to fail.

        Don’t get me wrong, some of there stuff looks “cool” (I guess) but if you’re looking for quality gear that will last you more than just a year or so. You’re throwing your money away.

        In contrast. I’ve had an alpinestars leather jacket for nearly 4 years (and I’ve been down on it twice at the race track). I’ve had some small stitching issues the first year of ownership and they fixed the issue without asking a single question…and in addition I’ve had some small issues with the zippers (them failing to lock, or being unreliable) and despite being years outside their warranty alpinestars just recently repaired all the zippers on my jacket for next to nothing when other companies would have just told me to go spend another 400-500$ on a replacement product.

        In my opinion, if you’re a new rider who plans on sticking with the sport. Spend the cash, and go A* or Dainese.

        You’ll thank me later.

        • sdyank

          Hey Fresh,

          Thanks for your reply. I’ll certainly take your experience into account.

          Cheers!

        • NextTurn

          Well, I hope this is not the case with their helmets… I just got an Icon Alliance Dark helmet last week. So far, I love it. It is fairly quiet, good airflow, fog resistant shield, and it is ECE 22.05 rated.

          …oh, and $150. I am actually looking to get my wife one to replace her HJC.

          • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

            Fresh Mint’s experience is counter to our own. While Icon does meet low price points with some of its products, and there are some materials compromises made at the lower end of its pricing, we’ve been very happy with the quality, longevity and value offered by most of Icon’s gear.

            The Alliance Dark is a great helmet. I wear an Alliance myself quite often.

        • Piglet2010

          Well, Aerostich gear is only budget if you consider the long-term cost and not the up-front cost, e.g. a Roadcrafter with a full armor/pad set will run about $1K, but you can wear it for 20 years or more. And it is hard to imagine anyone else having better customer/warranty service.

          Joe Rocket gear in my experience is decently assembled, but some of the materials such as the hook-and-loop fasteners and zippers wear quite rapidly, so I would not expect more than a couple of riding seasons out of it. I have mostly picked up their gear on closeout sales which makes it acceptable value, especially for a new or returning rider who has not yet figured out what they want feature-wise in their gear.

      • Fresh Mint

        Let me also add that while the Icon gloves failed just from regular street riding. I have a pair of alpinestars gloves that have been down with me and the jacket on the track (again, twice) and are still going strong (with the exception of some color fading from the leather, but this is understandable specially for white leather)

    • appliance5000

      I have the Icon Reign boots and they’ve been great. That’s my anecdotal 2 cents.

      • motoguru.

        Ditto.

  • Guest

    I own the Air-Flux Dainese and love it. I bought the jacket for one of the reasons you mentioned, lack of logos. The velcro top strap got in the way so I put another piece of velcro on the inside and now it’s doesn’t flap all over the place. I’d love if companies moved away from the loud branding on their clothes, it’s enough that I already gave them money, now I have to walk around with a billboard stitched to me?

    • NextTurn

      I agree. I don’t mind having a discreet logo in a bottom corner or even on a shoulder, but having a company logo screaming across my back is not my favorite thing. That being said, if it protects me and makes other vehicles notice me then it is serving my needs. I just wish I didn’t have to be a billboard for them.

      This is the same reason I debadge cars and like gear that is “phantom” or logo-less. I just wish the logo-less ones still had good looking patterns that are noticeable.

  • runnermatt

    When I checked the weather before leaving the house this morning it said it was 55 degrees F outside. If it is below 60 it means I put the insulating liner in my First Gear Jaunt jacket. Even though the waterproof liner is built in I can feel the air flowing through the chest of the jacket, which makes 70 degree rides comfortable cool. Upper 90′s though leaves me sweating even at 60 mph and the vents open.

  • dirtcheap

    Ugh why no love for Taichi?…RS Taichi has a 130 dollar jacket with gp armor at elbows and shoulders, its better quality than anything here except Dainese but half the price of Dainese. Add a 30 dollar knoxx back protector and it smokes all the jackets you just listed and it even accepts chest protection. http://stores.sportbiketrackgear.com/Detail.bok?no=15462

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      My god that thing is hideous. You wear that in public?

      • dirtcheap

        All the time. Replaced a crappy Icon jacket that was falling apart after one season. The only decent looking jackets in your “list” are the verona and air-flux.

  • Ayabe

    I’m very happy with my Dianese Spedio D-Dry, it has the removable waterproof liner. It’s a little over the $300 cutoff point at $330.

    It flows a lot of air and keeps me plenty cool even in the FL heat and humidity while still feeling very protected(I added a back protector). It also has the zipper on the back so you can link it up with their pants – which is awesome.

    The only downside is that I think it probably won’t work when the temps start to drop, too much airflow, brrr.

  • Viron Greene

    Wes, I’m a firm believer in ATGATT and wear stuff that I’ve
    researched and poked and prodded before buying.
    I haven’t seen any testing in magazines, e-zines or blogs of any mesh
    gear. Has anyone of credible stature
    tested and published any data on how mesh holds up to abrasion? I’m currently using a Aerostitch Darien
    jacket and pants set (very good), Drive by Polo Motorrad (awesome, bought while
    working in Germany) and a Olympia jacket and pant set. All of these are great touring sets, but I
    would love to add a QUALITY mesh set for hot riding. I love everyone’s opinions of their gear, but
    has anyone crashed it yet?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      If you can find it, pickup the UK’s “Ride” magazine. They do independent safety testing of things like abrasion resistance in a solid, scientific manner.

      Anecdotally, I know people who have crashed in mesh jackets. As you’d expect, the el cheapo crap like First Gear doesn’t do so hot, while an expensive jacket from Dainese is…an expensive jacket from Dainese, with all the safety you’d expect.

      The way I figure it, any of the above are going to do a pretty good job of protecting you in a crash, but the item itself probably won’t live to fight another day.

  • MrMotoWise

    “Believe it or not, they actually cool you more effectively than going without too, left unprotected, the wind will blow the sweat off your skin too fast to effectively cool you.”

    I’d be amazed if that is actually true. Could you point me to some source or explanation of how the cooling effect of evaporation somehow reverses after a certain rate of evaporation?

    • JVictor75

      While I can’t point you to any actual studies that prove this point, anecdotal evidence abounds.

      Example: The Bedouin people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedouin) aren’t running around most of the Middle East in tank tops and board shorts, nor are traditional cowboys or people that make their living by being outside in the sun a good portion of the day.

      The Bedouins use many thin layers of cotton clothing: the innermost layer is used to soak up the sweat the body produces, and the outer layers are there to protect the sweat from burning off in the sun or getting clogged with sand and dust. The cotton breathes well enough that when the wind blows, air moves thru the outer drier garment and past the inner sweaty garment instantly providing a cooling effect.

      If all you are wearing is that inner garment, it get’s soaked with sweat fairly easily. But all that sweat burns off fairly quickly as well and the body has lost the ability to thermoregulate..

      Wear a really good mesh jacket in traffic on a motorcycle in the summer. Yes, you’ll sweat your butt off when you’re not moving. But when you ARE moving, you’ll notice an enhanced cooling effect simply because your sweat hasn’t burnt off. This is basically the same idea as wearing a cooling vest.

      Wind and Sun will burn off sweat before it has a chance to do it’s job, simply put.

      • MrMotoWise

        Dude, I’ve lived in Riyadh and traveled extensively through the middle east. Layered clothing works for keeping cool, but not for the reasons you’re guessing at. In fact if sunburn is not an issue, it’s better to wear almost nothing – Namib desert Africans and tribal South Americans are an example of that.

        Simply put, sweat evaporating more quickly in fact cools better, not worse. That’s why 100 degrees in a dry climate feels a lot better than 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity.

        I’m not saying that anyone should go without hot weather protection, and mesh may be the best way to do that. I’m afraid that stating they actually cool better than going without, though, is just a marketing lie.

        • JVictor75

          Sorry man, I didn’t mean to cause any offense out of my ignorance. Seems that’s been my gig around here lately (stepping on my crank and pissing people off when I definitely don’t mean to.)

          All I was trying to convey is that it seems to me (as I said, based on anecdotal evidence provided by my own trips to the Middle East and living in the southwestern United States) that wearing a good ventilated jacket while out riding would actually prevent heat injury by allowing the sweat to work as an evaporative cooler and avoiding the effects of too much direct sunlight.

          That’s the entire idea behind how cooling vests work, and it’s also a pretty good indicator of why wearing good ventilated jackets work. Go soak a t-shirt in water, put it on and go for a ride (no jacket). The shirt works to cool you off for a short time and then all the water evaporates into the atmosphere because of the direct exposure to the suns effects. Now, soak the shirt again, this time wearing either a ventilated jacket or a larger, looser fitting shirt over top (Football jerseys work great for an example.) The water present in the t-shirt doesn’t evaporate as quickly this time and while you’re moving it provides a longer lasting cooling effect.

          All of this cooling effect is negated by wearing a jacket or outer garment made of non-porous material (like body armor or a non-vented leather jacket, for example). High humidity also negates this effect somewhat, but only while stationary.

    • Randy S

      Here’s your link. It’s not quite as simple as the article above makes it seem, but the bottom line is that you don’t want constant hot air blasting your body when the ambient temp is ≥ 93F.

      http://www.ironbutt.com/ibmagazine/ironbutt_1002_62-66_Hot.pdf

  • Guest

    What’s the Dainese jacket the guy’s wearing at the top of this article?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Dainese SP-R. It’s sold out everywhere.

  • LS650

    I bought a Dainese mesh jacket a couple of years ago. It only gets used a few weeks a year, but it sure is a lot more comfortable than my leather jacket on a hot day, and I have to think it will give me more protection than the short sleeve Tshirts I see a lot of guys wearing as soon as the thermometer hits room temperature.