As temperatures go up, it can be tempting to leave that jacket behind or skip wearing over-pants or gloves, but anyone who’s ever fallen off a motorcycle knows that’s a dicey proposition: Good gear is the only thing that will save your skin in case of an accident. Here are a few products designed to help keep you cool and covered on your bike this summer.
1. A good ventilated summer jacket can make or break a weekend trip or Sunday ride, and our latest new hot-weather jacket is the Corazzo Ventata. “Ventata,” in case you’re wondering, is Italian for wind. Made from nylon mesh, the outer layer flows air to keep you cool when the temperatures rise. The Ventata has CE-rated Knox Armor in the shoulders, elbows and back, along with reflective 3M Scotchlite stripes on the front and rear of the jacket. The comfortable collar and stretchy cuffs keep the wind at bay, and inside there’s a zip-out rain liner. Remove the liner and fold it, and the zippered pocket in the liner becomes its own pouch. Put the pouch in a pocket or tank bag and you’ll be set to zip it back in to slow down the wind and keep warm if temperatures drop or rain threatens. The jacket features two front hand pockets and adjustable waist straps to help customize the fit. Available in silver and black, sizes XS to 3XL. Price: $229.
2. Though many of us grew up riding our motorcycles in plain old blue jeans, they don’t provide much abrasion resistance if something goes wrong. While there are a variety of motorcycle jeans on the market now, we still like a good pair of mesh pants for hot-weather riding. These Phoenix Ion pants from Joe Rocket feature a FreeAir mesh shell, with abrasion-resistant (and reflective) Innolite panels at the knees along with Dynax panels at the seat and hips for added protection. They feature CE-rated hip protectors, along with CE-rated knee protectors that are height adjustable for a perfect fit. The adjustable waistband allows for a custom fit, and there are expansion panels at the hips, knees and tailbone to increase rider comfort and mobility. They’re easy to get in and out of, thanks to a comfort mesh lining and a long zipper that runs up the inside of each leg. There’s also an 8-inch zipper for jacket attachment, if desired. Worn over a pair of cotton or mesh shorts, these pants keep you cool and safe at the same time. Available in black or silver (shown), sizes small to 5XL (4XL and 5XL in black only). Price: Starting at $159.99.
3. Mesh summer gloves are handy to have around when the temperatures climb. These CoolHand II gloves from ScorpionExo are a short-cuff glove made with a ventilated nylon mesh top for maximum airflow. They feature a padded knuckle protector across the top, and the pre-curved palms and fingers are made of leather and feature three small temper foam pads, two in the palm and one on the inside of the front knuckle. NightViz piping runs across the top of the glove for added nighttime visibility, and a hook-and-loop closure at the cuff secures the glove at the inside of the wrist. Available in black, silver and neon (shown), sizes small to 3XL. Price: $34.95.
4. The fine folks at Aerostich have quite the story behind what they call “The World’s Best Unknown Riding Goggles,” the Bugz Goggles. Back in the mid-1980s, an all-new type of motorcycle goggle was created. While most motorcyclists are familiar with ski-type goggles or the old-timey metal-framed aviation-style goggles, these are something entirely different, utilizing dual lenses to adapt to different face shapes. They’re called “Bugz” because you look a bit like you have bug eyes when you wear them, buy hey, they work. Light, comfortable and draft-free (with the adjustable side vents closed), they feature a tough polycarbonate outer lens, backed with a fog-fighting inner lens. Available with clear or smoke lenses. Price: $52.
5. Made from 100 percent cotton, the Kool Off Tie is technology at its, well, coolest. Evaporative cooling is nothing new, and that’s the science behind the Kool Off Tie. Motorcyclists have for years tied a wet bandana around their neck to help keep them cool. It works great, but not for long. The Kool Off Tie, however, is filled with water-absorbing polymer crystals that hold 350 to 400 times their weight in water and release it slowly. Soak it for 20-30 minutes and it’s claimed to stay cool for 18-24 hours. Pulling our tie from the bag, the crystals were clumped and not evenly distributed inside the tie. The instructions say to shake the tie to spread the beads evenly, then soak it in water, so that’s what we did. After just five minutes of soaking it had visibly ballooned, and after 30 minutes we took it out of the water and let it sit. It was still wet and cool 24 hours later. Assorted patterns and colors. Price: $6.
6. Though a full-face helmet is always the best bet when it comes to maximum safety, there are times when we prefer an open-face 3/4 helmet, and the Torc T-50 is one of our favorites. Editor Hall has a plain white one he’s been wearing for years and it has only gotten more comfortable with age and use. Eager to see what the new Gold Superflake color scheme looked like in person, we ordered one, and boy does it sparkle. The liner is made from a material called ultra suede, which is soft to the touch and looks similar to suede, but it wicks moisture and wears well over time. The T-50 is an intermediate oval shape. It features removable, washable cheek pads and chrome trim, and it also comes with a black three-snap sun visor. There are five snaps on the helmet if you want to add a larger bubble visor. At the back is a snap loop for use with a goggle strap. DOT approved. Sizes XS to 2XL. Price: $99.99.
7. Is this the perfect base layer? While not technically a piece of riding gear, our latest Motorcycle Classics T-shirt is great for showing your motorcycle friends you’re a fan of the “Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em” mentality. Made of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester, the new shirts are much softer and stretchier than before, leading to a much more comfortable fit. Sizes small to 2XL. Price: $15. MC