Icon Citadel Mesh Jacket & Pants Review

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Icon Citadel Mesh Jacket & Pants

Editor Score: 80.5%
Aesthetics 8.5/10
Protection 8.0/10
Value 8.25/10
Comfort/Fit 6.0/10
Quality/Design 8.5/10
Weight 8.25/10
Options/Selection 8.0/10
Innovation 8.0/10
Weather Suitability 9.25/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 7.75/10
Overall Score80.5/100

When we decided to take a selection of sport tourers for an extended ride, we knew that we’d be riding through some scorching California weather. So, we decided that we should investigate the cooling capacity of some of the latest mesh riding gear to help keep our internal temperatures down.

I selected Icon Citadel Mesh Jacket and Pants to keep the atmosphere flowing past my skin because it looked like it offered a good combination of free-breathing and abrasion protection. All of the major impact points receive, according to Icon, “high denier nylon” to keep the asphalt from sinking its teeth into your delicate dermis, and the critical seams are also double-stitched for extra durability.

Your body’s corners are protected from impact by D3O elbow, shoulder, and knee pads. The dorsal protection comes courtesy a Viper Stealth D3O Back Pad. Folks who think armor is uncomfortable should take a look at the D3O pads which are extremely flexible and light yet offer good impact absorption. Nighttime conspicuity is assisted by the 3M reflective striping on the chest, back, arms, and legs.

The mesh covers a large percentage of the jacket’s back and passes an impressive amount of air.

The mesh covers a large percentage of the jacket’s back and passes an impressive amount of air.

However, it’s the venting you’ll appreciate from the Citadel Mesh gear when you’re crossing a southwestern valley or the Florida panhandle. With ample mesh venting on the inner arms and outer upper arms, the pre-curved sleeves catch any wind that makes it past your windshield. Although the lower torso is covered with sturdy nylon, the upper chest features a large vent constructed of stout nylon mesh with large holes. Pulling away from a stoplight on a naked bike can give you a brief chill on even the hottest days as the air dries your sweat. The back mesh vent is significantly larger and, even with the back protector in place, the cooling air gets to your skin.

The holes in the back protector assist in its breathing. The pad itself is so flexible it almost feels like it isn’t there while riding.

The holes in the back protector assist in its breathing. The pad itself is so flexible it almost feels like it isn’t there while riding.

While the jacket had lighter mesh under the arms, saving the heavier mesh for the chest and back, the pants utilize the beefy mesh on the upper thighs and backs of calves. The rest is covered with the heavy nylon fabric. Stretch panels are provided above the knees for comfort. The pants have an adjustable belt which will allow the rider to tighten or loosen the pants’ waist, depending on the amount of pie encountered on a ride. Additionally, the jacket and pants are able to be hooked together by snapped loops. While these can be a little fussy compared to a zipper, the loops on the bottom of the jacket allow it to be secured to riding jeans or other gear by snapping the loop around the rider’s belt.

 The snapping loops make the jacket more versatile by allowing it to attach to any belt – and, hence, any pants – the rider wears.

The snapping loops make the jacket more versatile by allowing it to attach to any belt – and, hence, any pants – the rider wears.

The Citadel Mesh jacket’s style is on the sporty side with a gunmetal gray base highlighted by red or neon high-viz yellow. Black and gray color options are also available. The jacket runs large in fit, however. Even though I followed Icon’s published sizing charts and measured exactly as specified, ordering a Large, both the jacket and pants were too big for me – not just around the middle but also across my shoulders. Since I tend to wear a L, depending on the cut of the gear, it surprises me that I’d need a M to get a proper fit in the Citadel.

The pants were the same way, although I was able to cinch the belt down to keep from getting droopy drawers off the bike. Before anyone says that the pants are meant to be loose since they are overpants, I did wear jeans under them. Also, the looseness of the pants has the potential to reduce the protection of the armor, as it would likely shift after the initial impact. I would’ve exchanged the gear for a smaller size if I had time prior to our tour.

The adjustable belt is a nice touch.

The adjustable belt is a nice touch.

The Citadel jacket has a lot going for it in addition to its venting. While the zip-out Thermolite liner won’t provide too much warmth – there’s simply too much venting on the jacket – it has four handy pockets (one zipped) that add to the already ample storage provided by the jacket’s three pockets. An adjustable elastic drawstring fine tunes the jacket bottom.

You can store a ton of stuff in the jacket’s pockets.

You can store a ton of stuff in the jacket’s pockets.

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Aside from the large sizing issue, the Icon Citadel Mesh Jacket and Pants offer a good value for riders who spend their time in hot weather. The jacket retails from $300-$330 in sizes XS-4XL. The pants are priced from $240-$255 in waist sizes 28”-44” and inseam lengths from 32”-34”. The pants are available in black or gray. The Icon Citadel Mesh Jacket and Pants are available at the Icon website or your local Icon dealer.

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  • TonyCarlos

    Backpacks? Must be a generational thing.

    • Evans Brasfield

      That’s not just a backpack. That’s 25 lb. of camera gear. Those sport touring bikes ain’t gonna photograph themselves!

      • TonyCarlos

        But you’re astride a 600 pound pack mule. Why strap the cargo to yourself?

        • Evans Brasfield

          Saddlebags aren’t workable as camera bags – particularly side-opening ones. (Occasionally, I’ll put my 300mm and its soft case in one.) There’s no easy access to gear for quick shooting on the side of the road. It would require taking everything out of the saddlebag. Additionally, strapping your camera bag to a bike isn’t much better. In order to get to the gear quickly, the entire bag needs to be unstrapped. If the bike I’m using has a trunk, I’ll stick my gear in there with a piece of foam under it.

          Then there’s the vibration and shaking that the camera and lenses are subjected to when strapped to the bike versus the damping that my body provides. Yeah, it’s tiring, and I usually have a sore neck and shoulders at the end of a long day. Still, I’ve done it this way for years. I recently acquired a used Pelican Case that I’m looking in to outfitting with different densities of foam to damp the vibration so that I can make into a mountable camera case, but I haven’t had the time to do it, yet.

          • TonyCarlos

            Now we know. Thanks for the education.