It was an open weave, fully perforated, fully armored nylon textile jacket called the "Phoenix". The Phoenix jacket was made to offer hot weather protection in case of a crash, with its built in armor and abrasion resistant "Poly Mesh" shell. The jacket is great for those hot summer days when most riders would opt to wear only a T-shirt and jeans. As we all know, in a crash T-shirts offer almost no protection whatsoever for the upper body.
The need for this type of hot weather riding apparel was readily apparent and it's amazing that it took so long for motorcycle clothing manufacturers to catch on. The Joe Rocket "Phoenix" jacket was a huge hit and soon, all the major manufacturers were offering similar units. By the end of last summer, the "free air" style of jacket seemed to be on everyone's back.
However, these jackets all have one glaring downfall. Simply riding in temperatures below 70° can get uncomfortable in a hurry, as the jacket's active airflow properties serve to "air-condition" your body weather you need it or not. This problem is grossly exaggerated, if you're ever caught in a shower or rainstorm. The combination of aggressive airflow and standing moisture can quickly cause your body temperature to plummet to dangerous levels (Sean Alexander was caught in a fall rainstorm, while riding an Aprilia Tuono in a Joe Rocket Phoenix. After little more than an hour of riding in the cool damp air, he had developed a life threatening case of pneumonia. - no kidding). Even if you don't get sick, the sudden temperature drop or occasional rain can make for a miserable riding experience.
This brings us to the next brainstorm from Joe Rocket. They created a lightweight / waterproof / breathable liner that zips into their current (2003 or later) Phoenix 2.0 jackets. The body of the Joe Rocket Dry Tech® jacket liner is fleece backed, and makes the Phoenix comfortable to well below 60°. (I've worn mine down to 55° with no complaints) Also, you don't even need to upgrade to the new Phoenix 2.0 jackets. The Joe Rocket Dry Tech® can be worn underneath any free air style jacket. I've worn mine under an original Phoenix (1.0?) jacket and have not had any problem doing so. However, the new liner does come with built-in zippers so you can attach it to the Phoenix 2.0 jacket, which likewise has a provision to be mated with the new liner. The Dry Tech® also has a snap on the collar near the top of the zipper, to ensure your throat area stays dry and warm. The need for this type of hot weather riding apparel was readily apparent and it's amazing that it took so long for motorcycle clothing manufacturers to catch on.
The jacket liner has a waterproof Velcro flap that covers the zipper to insure the seam is waterproof. In addition, the liner has elasticized cuffs on each sleeve, with yet another snap near the wrist, to tie it into a Phoenix 2.0's sleeves. Yet another great feature is the fact that this jacket liner has almost no bulk to it. You can fold it up to the size of a pair of socks and simply stash it in your tank bag or under your seat, which I regularly do.
How good is this liner? It makes an already great product even better. I've unfurled the liner and worn it under my Phoenix, on several occasions, when the temperature has dropped on the way home from a summer ride. Now, I no longer have to decide which jacket to take based on the air temperature in the summer months. While the liner may ad a slight amount of bulk to your tank bag, it's well worth having just for peace of mind. That's not even the best thing about the liner. Ladies and gentlemen, this liner can be purchased in the neighborhood of $25-$29. All in all, it's well worth owning one. Especially, if you already own a free flow or perforated riding jacket.
My Phoenix jacket can now be worn into the mid fifties, as well as into or out of a rainstorm with little or compromise in comfort, all the while retaining lightweight armored protection for the rider. While these jackets certainly aren't a substitute for a fully armored Cordura or leather-riding suit, and aren't intended to be used for track days or seriously high-speed sport riding, they do offer decent protection for the daily rider who would otherwise go unprotected in a T-Shirt. For riders who enjoy a hot day on the road and who don't want to get soaked to the bone or freeze in the event of a summer shower, a modern mesh riding jacked coupled with the Joe Rocket liner seems like the ideal solution.
This liner is a "Must Have" item for anyone who has a free-air type jacket, and is well worth its minimal cost and bulk. 5 stars!