Hot Weather Motorcycle Gear: The Coolest Helmet, Gloves, Jackets and Shoes Available

Gear -



From errands around town to meetings to social outings, this has been my go-to helmet, gloves, jacket and shoes since the beginning of summer and, with LA temps now in the high 90s, I finally got a chance to see how it held up to some hot weather. How does you hot weather motorcycle gear compare?

Bell Moto-9 Carbon – $549.95

The first time I put on a Bell Moto-9, I was headed to Gorman to ride off road. I had always dreaded wearing a dirt helmet on the highway and that day was to be no different until I got about half way up the 405 and realized it was handling the speed better than some of my regular full face helmets. It’s been my hot weather helmet ever since. The Bell Moto-9 Carbon is one of the lightest, most advanced and most progressive MX helmets to-date; with it’s carbon/fiberglass/Kevlar composite shell, 16(!) huge vents (in addition to the open eye port), Emergency Removal System, and six shell sizes. This is the only MX helmet I’ve worn so far that actually feels like a quality helmet inside as well as out. I wear the carbon black version, but the painted ones look awesome too.

Dragon NFX Goggles – $83.65

Now, I’m not going to try and tell you these are really worth two or three times the price of budget goggles you can find on The Clymb or something. However, the field of vision on these is the absolute best available, the four-layer foam padding really does a great job at providing an awesome seal around the eyeport while the hypoallergenic fleece lining wicks away sweat while remaining soft. The armored venting keeps the breeze flowing and, while I haven’t tested it much yet, from what I hear the lenses are as close to bulletproof as it gets. I love the my gold ion lens because it lets me see out while not letting others see in. So what’s the extra money for? They look freakin’ awesome.

Dainese Air-3 Textile Jacket – $239.95

Upon reading Tim’s review of the Dainese Air-Frame Textile Jacket, I realized these two jackets are essentially identical, at least in the perceived strengths and weaknesses. Yes, the lack of a giant “Dainese” across the chest is nice, but the white panels on the side create essentially the same look. The mesh panels are essentially the same shape and in the same location, the slightly lower price coming from the lack of a removable liner. Overall, this jacket does the job of keeping you cool pretty well, but it created some wind whip at speed. As with all the jackets in the Dainese lineup, it includes CE armor at the shoulders and elbows, with a pocket to add one in the back. Which brings me to….

Dainese Shotgun Textile Jacket

This jacket is a year or two old, but came up in the comments section of Tim’s Air-Frame Textile review. This is the summer mesh jacket I end up wearing most of the time. Adey and I actually both own them and wear them around all summer, we just end up switching to something more current for photos so we can use the pics in reviews. I got mine during a 40 percent off sale at the D Store in Orange County, and I recommend doing some internet sleuthing to try and find one of your own. It has a slightly heavier duty feel than the Air-Frame or Air-3, while flowing almost as much air, all with understated looks and without any glaring logos. The mesh pattern on the front is a little funky looking, but doesn’t look nearly as weird in person. This is my favorite thus far.

Rev’IT Sand Pro Gloves – $119.99

Rev’IT originally sent me these with the Rev’IT Defender suit I wore on my Westcoast Roadtrip. They felt a little under-armored for any real adventuring, but they are absolutely perfect for keeping my hands cool and (relatively) protected while riding around town. Obviously, these aren’t leather race gloves with PU inserts, but the knuckle padding is both one of the smartest and coolest looking things I’ve seen in a long time, adapting comfortably to the movements of your hand while still providing excellent impact protection. These gloves look and breathe awesome and are what I recommend to everyone looking for anything short of race quality gloves.

Dainese Technical Sneakers – $179.95

A good part of my life involves running errands around town on a bike and, when choosing between my leather boots and vans, I get very grumpy. Riding sneakers are a wonderful idea, in theory, but often fall short of what we need safety wise and, unfortunately, these fall into that category. I love a lot about these shoes. I love lacing system, I love the comfort, I love the ankle guard, and I absolutely love the look. I don’t love how much I can twist the sole, don’t love the extra padding they included to make them feel safer while really just turning the shoes into foot-sweaters when off the bike, and don’t love the lack of lateral support. They aren’t terrible and there is still a time and a place for them, but there is still plenty of room in this market for improvement. These just don’t provide the stability or protection that riding a motorcycle requires.

What do you think? Have you ever considered wearing a dual sport helmet on the street? What’s your favorite summer gear item? What bottoms do you wear (I still haven’t found any that fit me)? Also, I apologize to any of your children who I’ve scared as I’ve ridden by, though I can’t say I mind looking like Master Chief.

  • Khali

    I use an Icon Variant helmet, and it ventilates really well. As the touring screen on my V-Strom takes a lot of wind off, in the hottest situations at low speeds I have to open the shield just a finger to let the interior refresh. That wouldnt be necessary on most bikes which have lower screens.

    Oh, and the REAL Master Chief look is an Icon Variant Battlescar green, with golden shield.

    • sean macdonald

      True, but I think the Variant is terrible at freeway speeds. Kills my neck from all the buffeting and blowing around. If it performed near as well as this Bell, it would absolutely have replaced it on this list.

      • Khali

        Didnt know that…have used it once with my old bike at 140kmh (~85mph?) and didnt notice anything. On my v-strom, although the screen removes most of the wind, it sends a buffeting blow of fresh air directly to the helmets peak. Quite annoying.

        That Bell looks great, not ECE marked tough, so i cant use it :(

  • Tyler H

    I just posted in another article about the Dainese Technical Sneakers – I bought a pair a while back. As stated there, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re comfy, and look good, but they don’t provide enough protection. If you want a riding shoe, move up to the Dainese Dyno shoe.

  • Paul a2

    The Sand2 gloves have worked really well for me, right amount of ventilation though I still don’t think they are as protective as my full leather gloves. I have been curious about trying an MX helmet in the summer since the peak would be great way to deal with the early morning/late afternoon sun however I have been concerned about noise levels and buffeting. I ride with a Shoei Qwest which has proven to be stable and quiet but would like to try something that manages the sun better.

  • CruisingTroll

    Based on REAL hot weather, not that imitation SoCal hot weather.

    Sidi Coibus Gloves – some of the best hot weather gloves I’ve found. My other contenders are no longer available.

    Motoport Kevlar Mesh – Cooler than the mesh gear I’ve had from Joe Rocket and Olympia.

    Alpinestars SMX-3 Air Boots – Perforated sport riding boots, good, but no longer available.

    The problem with so much good gear is the damn manufacturers have changed/discontinued it when it comes time to replace something that has worn out.

    • sean macdonald

      Hah, fair enough. But, us so cal people are also huge sissies, so our mild weather feels as hot to us as your actually hot weather feels to your real human beings. It all balances out.

    • Von

      100-115F is nothing to sniff at. Easy gets that hot here in and around San Diego in Summer. Where do you live that it’s hotter?

      • CruisingTroll

        Las Vegas. WAY Hotter than San Diego.

        Sean is much closer to correct than Von. (To illustrate: It was quite amusing after my mother had been living in Hawaii for about ten years and she came back to Las Vegas in March and she was SO COLD!!)

        San Diego’s average high temperature in August, it’s “hottest” month, is 78. Las Vegas’s average high is above that from April to October. In August, the AVERAGE high is 102. El Cajon runs hotter than SD, but San Bernadino is even closer to LV climate wise, yet it still runs cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than LV.

        And yes, I know, there are poor, sun addled fools ( :p ) who live out in the Mojave Desert down there. The 150,000 or so folks who do that are a definite minority compared to the 10,000,000 folks who live in the Los Angeles-San Diego megalopilis. Bartsow, Victorville, Palm Springs, Indio, El Centro, then you’re talking some serious heat. But that’s rarely what folks mean when they talk about “Southern California”.

        • Von

          you win. vegas is more horrible than san diego. haha. i’ll take that loss any day.

        • Rev

          150 K? There is twice that in the Antelope Valley alone.

  • MightyBobo

    I can wear this setup almost every month of Spring/Summer/Early fall, in the Baltimore area:

    Rev’It Tornado Jacket – Love the venting in this jacket

    Rev’it Tornado Pants – Same as above, although the BMW boxer tends to block my airflow to my legs, sadly.

    Alpinestars SMX Plus Vented Boots – going from the Alpinestars Scout Waterproof boots, this was a revelation. My feet were so thankful…

    My gloves are my next upgrade needed, really. I have some black leather gloves with venting between the fingers, but they can get quite warm…

  • Daniel

    Loved my Dainese Shotgun jacket…I recently gave it to my dad and upgraded the Super Speed Textile and I’m not disappointed.

  • Jesse

    Regarding DS lids on street bikes: I wore an Arai XD when they came out, and exclusively until I had to retire it from age. Love DS helmets (with a removable peak, which is why I didnt go with a Variant when I had to replace it) as a commuter option.

    I have a pair of A-star ‘technical sneakers’ which I wore a few times, and was less that pleased by the utter lack of protection. Pretty much on par with my 10 year old Chucks, but with a pretty sweet pacing system. I don’t recommend them.

    I’ve never found a mesh jacket that I feel safe in, but I’ve also not tried that Dianese Shotgun. I might have to see if I can score one on the cheap someplace.

    Good review (and timely, as it is 93 and muggy in Boston today).

  • Piglet2010

    “Have you ever considered wearing a dual sport helmet on the street?”

    I wear a Fly Trekker lid on the street at times, particularly when riding my TW200.
    Good: Dirt cheap (pun intended), highly visible color, ECE R22-05 rated.
    Bad: Wind lift from the peak (acceptable at TW200 top speed), liner opposite of plush, and some distortion in the visor.

  • Piglet2010

    “What bottoms do you wear?”

    Joe Rocket Phoenix 3.0 in silver. Not the most protective, but highly vented and in a light enough color not to absorb too much sunlight.

  • Cheeseville Husker

    I use TCX X-street Waterproof shoes. Look like these but have good ankle and heel protection. They also have a good solid shank. These have proven comfy even on hot days despite being WP.