Ten Summer Motorcycle Jackets

Gear Driven


The Cortech GX Air Series 2 jacket has an Armor-Link III mesh shell with a two-stage waterproof and insulated liner.

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Price and availability confirmed at time of publication. Subject to change, please visit the product website for the latest prices and availability.  

Featuring breathable liners and increased airflow, here are ten summer motorcycle jacket reviews from the editors at Motorcycle Classics:

1. The Cortech GX Air Series 2 motorcycle riding jacket has an Armor-Link III mesh shell with a two-stage waterproof and insulated liner. It features pre-curved and rotated sleeves for a nice riding position, Phoslite reflective piping, adjustable sleeve take-up straps at the forearm and bicep, removable CE armor and adjustable waist belts. It’s the most expensive jacket here, but also one of the most useful in changing weather conditions. Price: $299.99. 

2. The Tour Master Sonora Air motorcycle riding jacket is the only three-quarter-length mesh jacket we know of. Made of an Armor-Link mesh material, it features a two-stage waterproof and insulated liner much like the Cortech jacket above. It has Phoslite reflective piping and adjustable sleeve take-up straps at the forearm and bicep, removable CE armor and adjustable waist belts. It’s similar to the Cortech, yet wears and looks more touring oriented and delivers the same great comfort in a variety of weather conditions. Price: $199.99.  

3. The Olympia Bonneville motorcycle riding jacket is made of 500-denier Cordura with ballistic mesh panels to offer airflow and excellent abrasion resistance. It features a removable, breathable windproof and waterproof liner, removable CE armor in elbows, shoulders and back, a mesh lining, 3M Scotchlite trim for added visibility, and is adjustable for fit at the elbows and waist. Price: $219.99.  

4. The Z1R GP Air motorcycle riding jacket has a nylon mesh shell with a perforated nylon lining, but skips the waterproof liner of many of the jackets here. It has adjustable straps at the waist and the elbows, removable CE armor in the elbows and shoulders, and though the neck comes up pretty high and can be tight, it is lined with a soft, comfortable material. Price: $129.95. 

5. The Joe Rocket UFO 2.0 motorcycle riding jacket has a mesh shell with CE armor in the shoulders and elbows, a removable spine pad and waterproof liner, and adjustable straps on the upper and lower arms, plus belts at the waist, for a custom fit. Though a bit louder-looking than the rest of the jackets here, we like the sponsor patches, and they do help to make the jacket and rider a bit more visible. Price: $179.99 to $197.99.  

6. The Vanson Vent Max IV Series motorcycle riding jacket is made of 1000-denier Cordura nylon mesh. It also has CE armor and leather-reinforced shoulder and elbow areas. It features a trick adjustable waistband that prevents bunching and ajustable straps on the arms. Price: $229 to $249.

7. The REV’IT! Air motorcycle riding jacket combines lightweight, abrasion-resistant materials with mesh panels for both safety and summer breathability. Featuring Knox CE armor at the shoulders and elbows and a perforated EVA foam pad in the back, along with reflection on the shoulders and chest, and adjustments on the arms and hips for fit, this is a nice, lightweight, well-made jacket. It’s also more casual looking than a lot of the pieces here. Price: $189.99.

8. The Icon Hooligan Stealth motorcycle riding jacket is one of the least flashy pieces the company makes, and we love the black-on-black logos. It features removable CE armor in the elbows, shoulders and back, and the entire jacket is made of nylon mesh for optimal breathability. It also comes with a removable insulated liner and a lined collar for comfort. Price: $165.

9. The Triumph Raptor Vented #2 motorcycle riding jacket has a nylon shell and perforated mesh panels, CE armor in the elbows and shoulders, and a dual-density back protector. It has a removable windproof and water-resistant liner, and reflective front and rear piping along with width adjusters at the waist. Price: $152.99.

10. The Alpinestars T-Breeze Air-Flo motorcycle riding jacket has a 600-denier polyester shell with waterproof heavy mesh panels in the arms, front and back. The embroidered patch logos and reflective striping keep you visible at night, and it also features a foam back pad along with removable CE elbow and shoulder armor. Price: $199.95.

Into the (warm) wind
It’s amazing that 10 motorcycle riding jackets with the same basic goal could be so different. The Tour Master and Cortech jackets are similar in that they both sport fully mesh construction with the addition of two liners each (a thermal liner and a waterproof/windproof liner). Both seem to have a broader aim in what kind of weather they’re meant for (i.e., not just the hot, dry summer temps), and though we’ve so far only had a chance to test them when it’s hot and dry, they’re both quite adept at keeping you cool when it’s 95 F out. If they’ll do that and, with their liners in, be any good when things cool off, then we’re sold. You can’t go wrong with either one, and if your travels often involve changing weather situations, these would both be great pieces of gear. They also both feel secure and safe, even with the liners out.

The Triumph, Olympia and Rev’It! jackets are quite alike as well, as they’re all nylon jackets with mesh inserts in the arms, chest and back. The Triumph feels the most heavy-duty of the three. It has the closest-fitting cut, whereas the Olympia has a roomier feel, but both of these jackets feel secure, and both allow a surprising amount of air to flow through their mesh panels, keeping you cool. The Rev’It! feels lighter in both weight and build than the Triumph or Olympia, and though it’s a lovely jacket overall, air just doesn’t move through it like it does with the Triumph and the Olympia. The light color does help, though (cooler than black, yet many of these jackets are available in a variety of colors), and it’s possibly one of the most stylish jackets here.

The Alpinestars T-Breeze Air-Flo jacket is a lighter, full-mesh jacket, but the padding in it is heavy-duty. It’s cooler than the jackets above, and yet it feels like it would provide just as much protection.

The Vanson feels very purposeful and is cut much like a racing jacket. Its full-mesh design moves tons of air. Like the Alpinestars jacket, it’s a great, secure-feeling summer jacket choice.

The last grouping includes the Joe Rocket, Icon and Z1R jackets. These very light jackets are great in the heat, but don’t give you that same feeling of security as the ones above. With its liner out, the Joe Rocket felt a bit scratchy on the inside, but it breathes extremely well. The Icon also allows a lot of air through and has become one of our favorites. It’s the one editor Hall chose for his last 1,000-mile trip. The Z1R is comfortable and cool, but the the armor in it doesn’t feel as heavy-duty and secure as we’d like.

In the end, all of the summer motorcycle jackets here will keep you cooler in the heat than your standard leather jacket, and many offer weather protection, too. Though many prefer the protection of leather (and we can’t argue), if you don’t own a mesh jacket, try one. It can make mid-summer riding fun again.