When riding in the summer, it’s a must that a capable riding jacket for this kind of weather flows a significant amount of air to the rider. Traditionally, jacket manufacturers use mesh panels as the way to achieve this goal. Some use more than others, but when it comes to flowing air, unless you prefer riding shirtless, mesh is the best we’ve got. The problem with mesh, of course, comes when it’s greeted by asphalt.
To date, no one has come up with a better solution to mesh panels to flow more air. Striking a suitable compromise between airflow and protection, Dainese’s Super Speed Textile jacket focuses the stuff strategically around the rider’s chest, torso, inner arm and back. Everywhere else, the Super Speed uses Duratex fabric – stuff better equipped for dealing with abrasion.
At $369.95, the Super Speed is among Dainese’s premier hot-weather jackets, designed specifically for sporty riding. Apart from the mesh panels and Duratex construction, the Super Speed features Dainese’s signature metal shoulder protectors, which serves a secondary purpose of promoting a slide in a fall. Without it, the material would have a greater tendency to catch on the asphalt, potentially promoting a tumble.
Underneath the shoulder sliders and in the elbow areas lie composite armor homologated to EN 1621.1 standards. According to Dainese, this “rigid external plastic shell absorbs and distributes impact energy over the protector’s entire surface thanks to a patented reticulate structure that also offers lower thickness and weight.” Polyethylene foam makes up the internal structure of the protector. Similar to memory foam mattresses, this material conforms and adapts to the wearer’s body for greater comfort. It’s also perforated for maximum air flow.
From there, the jacket is equipped with snap adjusters in the wrist and collar areas for a more customized fit. Hook-and-loop waist straps help the wearer adjust the jacket to their figure, while a full-circumference zipper pairs well with a variety of Dainese pant options. There are also pockets for optional Dainese back and chest protectors as well. The Super Speed features two external pockets, one internal pocket, and reflective piping above the breast area.
Flowing In The Wind
If you’ve ever worn any bit of Dainese gear, you understand the level of quality they exude. The Super Speed continues the trend. Each time I’ve worn the jacket, I’m continually impressed with how comfortable the jacket is. A mesh inner lining is comfortable against the skin, while the shoulder and elbow armor rest exactly where I expect them to, with no fidgeting or readjustment required. Sleeves are the perfect length, and fall exactly at the end of my wrist. Accordion paneling on the shoulders and above the elbows allows for the sporty riding position the jacket was intended for.
Once riding, the level of airflow coming through the breast, torso, arm and back vents is substantial and appreciated on a hot day. However, because the Super Speed doesn’t place a full mesh panel across the entire chest, the area many riders would like a blast of fresh air is blocked. Considering it’s entirely possible to slide on your chest in a fall, however, Dainese’s decision to forego mesh in this area for more abrasion-resistant material makes sense. That is, until you turn the jacket around and see full mesh paneling across the back. As you’re more likely to slide on your back than your chest in a crash, I’d prefer the amount of mesh be reversed, front to back.
All three zippered pockets are deep enough to carry my wallet, phone or garage opener with room to spare, and if you choose not to equip the Super Speed with the optional chest protector, that space then becomes a very large pocket of its own.
Having not gone down in this jacket I can’t speak to its crashworthiness, however, the stitching throughout the jacket appears top-notch. I feel comfortable enough with the Super Speed that it has now become my go-to hot weather riding jacket.
Of course, no piece of gear is without its faults, and the Super Speed is no different. Personally, I’d prefer a hook-and-loop wrist closure instead of the two-position snap currently offered. This would provide greater personalization for more body types. Second, I was initially pleased to see the Super Speed comes equipped with a full-length liner. Dainese even claim it’s windproof.
In reality, however, the liner is extremely thin and does little to block chilly air on cooler rides. What’s worse, the liner clings to sweaty skin, making it difficult to wiggle your way out of the jacket once you’re done with it. By now, I’ve simply resorted to leaving the liner out and wearing my own layers underneath on colder rides. Both complaints are relatively minor on the greater scale of things, but considering the $369.95 price tag, some may not agree.
With the Super Speed jacket, Dainese has done a great job in making the best summer jacket it can while not ignoring rider protection. It also looks great. When it comes to riding in warmer climes, pairing the Super Speed with any number of Dainese pants is a no-brainer. Available in black/white/red like you see here, or a black/grey option, the Super Speed comes in European sizing ranging from 46-64. Check out the Dainese website for more information, including a sizing chart.