A Mini Buyer's Guide To Mesh Jackets

Around Cruiser the operative phrase for summer riding is "stay cool," and in that regard a mesh jacket can help considerably. The quality of this type of jacket has increased significantly since it first appeared on the scene, so we decided to check out some new models. First, look for a jacket that fits comfortably but not too loose. We can't recommend enough choosing a garment that has shoulder and elbow armor, too. Many jackets also include removable wind, rain or thermal liners that add some versatility.

Alpinestars T-Omega Air-Flow Jacket $200
Look cool, be cool. The T-Omega's got style and is even MP3-player-ready with a pocket on the upper chest to handle earphone cords. The medium-weight polyester outer shell has mesh across the chest and down the arms as well as across the back. CE-approved elbow and shoulder armor and a foam back pad protect you from impact. There's also a wind liner and an outer sleeve pocket perfect for ID badges and toll-road change.
Fieldsheer High Temp Mesh Jacket $190
The High Temp has just about everything you can ask for in a mesh jacket. Heavy-duty nylon is mated with a tough "polytitanium" mesh along the front, the inside of the arms and the lower back. There's also a full insulated liner that can be worn separately. Pockets abound with four outside, two inside and two in the liner. Extra protection is provided by foam-backed plastic armor in the shoulders and elbows, with a high-density foam back pad.
Icon Arc Mesh $230
Love leather but hate sweat? The Arc Mesh is your jacket-leather on the shoulders and forearms, mesh everywhere else. For extra comfort there are gussets behind the shoulders, an expansion panel below the neck and zippered expansion sections at the waist. For impact, CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor and a dual-density foam back pad are at the ready. There are also two zippered waist pockets with another one inside. The collar features a soft brushed- nylon finish.
Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Jacket $150-$170
These folks may not have been the first to make a mesh motorcycle jacket, but they've been the most successful. The newest Phoenix boasts a polyester mesh shell with heavy-duty nylon atop the shoulders, forearms and sides of the torso, and a waterproof liner that can be worn separately. CE-approved armor protects the shoulders and elbows, while a foam pad covers the spine and soft foam covers the lower lumbar area. A microfiber-lined sunglasses pocket resides within.
NJK Stealth Mesh Motorcycle Jacket $130
It may be better known for its custom roadracing leathers, but NJK offers a full-on mesh jacket, too-the Stealth Mesh Motorcycle Jacket. The all-mesh shell gets ballistic nylon on the shoulders. The waterproof liner has a double front-flap closing with Velcro over a zipper. All the CE-approved armor is constructed of plastic and foam, including the spine protector. The "Safety Glow" reflective piping on the front and back is bright even in daylight.njkleathers.com
Scorpion Sports Cool Rod $150-$165
For a cool ride, the Cool Rod is ready. The front of the torso and arms and entire back of the jacket are nylon mesh, with ballistic nylon over the shoulders and elbows and extra-strong stitching on critical seams. Even the CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor is perforated for additional venting. The back is covered by a medium-density foam pad. You also get two front pockets, an inside wallet pocket and a wind liner.
Tour Master Intake Air Series 2 Jacket $170
Tour Master has thought of everything: The Intake has a waterproof liner that can be worn alone and a separate thermal liner. The all-mesh shell gets heavy-duty nylon and heavyweight ballistic nylon for the shoulders and outer forearms. Protection is provided by CE-approved plastic-over-foam armor on the shoulders and elbows, plus a triple-density foam back protector. And all those pockets: two outer and four inner on the shell, two for the waterproof liner and three in the thermal liner.