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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.