It’s June and the temperatures are now starting to hot up. That can only mean one thing: Summer’s here and riding season is in full swing. For some, riding in hot weather means shedding the protective gear in order to stay cool. You don’t need us to remind you what a bad idea this is, as one of our favorite adages when it comes to riding in hot climes is “I’d rather sweat than bleed.” For this buyer’s guide, we’ve put together 10 jackets and pants that’ll both keep you cool on a hot ride and also protect your hide should you have the unfortunate fate of falling down. The list is organized in ascending order based on price.
Hot off the presses is Pilot’s new summer jacket, the Slate. Targeted towards riders on a budget, the Slate comes in at a very reasonable $99. Pilot achieved this price point by eliminating features like a waterproof liner and offering only one colorway (you can have any color you want as long as it’s black). What the Slate does have is CE-rated armor in the elbows and shoulders, “Dark” 3M Scotchlite piping in the shoulders and back area for increased nighttime visibility, 210-denier Micro Mesh for plenty of airflow, 600-denier overlay panels in the shoulders and elbows with triple- and double-stitched seams for increased strength, a neoprene collar for a comfortable fit around the neck, adjustable arm and waist tabs, and a standard back pad that can be upgraded to an optional CE-rated back protector.
If you’re willing to lose the waterproof liner and don’t care about color options, the Slate deserves consideration. More info at www.PilotMotosport.com.
The Pilot Slate jacket in the previous slot isn’t available with matching pants, so we’re throwing out the Solare pants from AGV Sport as one of many possible options. Constructed from 600-denier polyester, the mesh panels on the front and rear of the upper leg provide maximum airflow for on hot rides. Impact protection comes in the way of 8mm thick memory foam in the hips and lower back, while CE-approved knee armor takes care of that joint. There’s also reflective piping for better night visibility, two front hand-warmer pockets, adjustable Velcro waist tabs and two inseam lengths: Standard (32-inch) and Short (30-inch). Visit the Motonation website for more details.
The Cortech VRX Air is a versatile yet affordable summer jacket featuring Armor-Link mesh to provide plenty of airflow. Abrasion protection is met with 600-denier Carbolex material in the shoulders and elbows, while CE-approved armor in those areas helps reduce damage in a fall. Reflective piping means other motorists are better able to see you at night, and in the case of a summer rain shower, the zip-in waterproof liner will keep your upper body dry. Cortech doesn’t have a VRX pant to match, but the jacket does come with an attachment zipper at the waist to pair with pants in the Cortech line or elsewhere. Visit Cortech.net for more info.
We haven’t forgotten the female riders, and neither has Joe Rocket with this, the Cleo 2.2 mesh jacket and matching pants. Designed specifically for a woman’s body, the Cleo utilizes what Joe Rocket calls “FreeAir” mesh ventilation at the torso, arms and back, covering over 80% of the jacket with airflow, says JR. RockTex material is used at the ribs, hips and shoulders, while CE-approved elbow and shoulder protection protect those areas. A 9-point adjustment system at the waist, forearms, hips and cuffs helps provide a tailored fit, and a removable waterproof full-sleeve liner will keep you dry in case of rain. Available in five different colorways, Joe Rocket is where to go for more information.
Icon used to be considered the apparel brand for the stunting crowd, but if you’ve cast aside the Icon brand, maybe you should reconsider. The Anthem mesh jacket is an impressive hot-weather riding jacket. A mesh chassis provides breathability in key areas, while ballistic nylon paneling provides reinforcement against abrasion. Impact protectors in the elbow, shoulder and back are of the D3O variety, and a full-length SatinCore liner provides warmth on cooler rides. A neoprene collar is soft against the skin, and for those who like to listen to tunes while they ride, the Anthem also features a headphone pass through. The jacket also has a matching Anthem overpant with mesh chassis, D3O knee protectors and leather along the inner leg area to protect against hot exhaust pipes. Visit www.RideIcon.com for more details.
Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, the Rev’It Airwave jacket and pant combo are a popular summer pairing from the Dutch company. Constructed from 600-denier polyester, huge mesh panels down the chest, arms and back allow significant airflow. Protection is provided with CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows. The jacket comes with a soft back protector, but a CE-approved version is an option. There’s a zippered connection for the Airwave pant as well as a snap to connect the jacket to riding jeans. Sleeve and waist adjusters help tailor the fit. Rev’It offers five different color options for the jacket, and two pant selections. The Rev’It USA website is where to go for more details.
The flex series from Tourmaster is a do-it-all jacket for nearly any riding condition. It achieves this through the clever use of zippered panels. In one instant the Flex jacket can transform from a water-resistant cool-weather jacket to a summer mesh jacket just by removing a few panels. Of course, CE-approved armor protects the elbows and shoulders, and 600-denier Carbolex provides a barrier against road rash. Microfiber lines the collar and cuffs, while a full quilted liner helps keep you warm should the weather turn cool on your ride. The Flex pant features similar zippered panel technology, allowing it to be worn in nearly all weather conditions. Thigh-length zippers make getting in and out of the pants a breeze (pun intended). CE armor protects the knees and are adjustable to three different positions. Soft armor is also placed at the hips. An 8-inch zipper attaches the jacket and pant. Visit Tourmaster.com for more info.
An offering geared more towards adventure riders, the Adventure mesh jacket from Firstgear provides ¾-length coverage and is constructed from breathable 250-denier polyester, with 600-denier across the shoulders and from the elbows to the wrists. The removable windproof, water-resistant liner makes the jacket highly versatile and easily packs away in the rear tail pocket when the temperatures climb. Like the rest of the jackets here, CE armor in the shoulder and elbows is a standard feature. Unlike the other jackets, however, the Adventure features a bevy of pockets to stow any number of items you might need on your ride. Firstgear doesn’t have a specific Adventure pant to accompany the jacket, but the HT Air Overpant ($249.95) is Firstgear’s summer pant offering, featuring a zip-in removable waterproof liner. It’s also available in Regular, Tall or Short inseam options. Visit www.firstgear-usa.com for more information.
Having had first-hand experience with the Dainese Super Speed Textile jacket, it comes with a personal endorsement from this author. A lightweight jacket, the Super Speed has a slim fit and is tailored for more sporty applications. Constructed from Duratex fabric, the mesh panels feature prominently across the clavicle and arm areas and down the rider’s sides, providing significant airflow. Composite shoulder and elbow protection fit nicely, and the jacket features Dainese’s signature shoulder caps. A thin windproof liner is included. There isn’t a specific Super Speed pant, but Dainese recommends the New Drake Air Tex ($259.95) to match. Visit Dainese.com for more details.
There’s no denying the superior protection leather offers over textiles, and if you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of airflow for this protection, the Alpinestars GP Plus R perforated leather jacket is calling your name. Constructed from 1.3mm leather, it features perforations throughout the chest, arms and back to promote airflow. Race-derived, CE-approved elbow and shoulder protectors shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, while dual-density shoulder sliders are incorporated into the design. Accordion leather stretch panels in impact areas and microfiber panels in non-impact zones help promote greater range of movement. Soft mesh collars and cuffs make for a comfortable fit against the skin, and if you’re a rider who carries many small items, the myriad of pockets – including a waterproof interior pocket – will help keep things safely stored away.
Alpinestars doesn’t list a specific matching pant for the GP Plus R, but the jacket does feature a waist connection zipper to fit with any number of pants in the A-Stars catalog. Visit the Alpinestars website for more details.
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