Kushitani Mesh Gear

Keep Cool and Safe

story by Calvin Kim, Created Jul. 01, 2002
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Motorcyclists are much more tolerant of cold weather. Comfort accessories such as electric vests and gloves are becoming commonplace even in fair weather climates. Even without such accessories, it's easy enough to add a fleece sweater to keep warm. However, most motorcyclists just grin and bear it when the mercury starts rising. Sure, you can douse your t-shirt in water and let evaporation do its thing, but that's not very convenient if all you're trying to do is run some errands around town.

The worst is lane splitting in the city. Especially when the ambient temperature is anywhere over 75 degrees. Combine that with little air movement, and a hot bike. Then add in the radiated heat from all the cars, busses and trucks and the heat generated from moving said hot bike around cars, and you start getting warm under the collar in a major way. In times like these, any sort of airflow is better then nothing. Typically most riders will attest to the lower speeds experienced during heavy duty city traffic and therefore will somehow rationalize away the need to wear protective gear. Speak to a rider who's had an accident in the city, however, and they'll be quick to point out that the ground hurts no matter how fast you're going.

 
 
 

The key here is to get air flowing over your body, thereby letting your sweat do its job. With the Kushitani Mesh Riders Jacket, you can do just that. Obviously not as rough and tumble oriented as a full leather or textile jacket, the Mesh Jacket is plenty capable of handling most of what a typical day in the city would offer. Would I wear one on a spirited back road ride? Probably not, but I would have no qualms wearing it during day-to-day errands around my fair city.

Under high-speed (above 60 miles per hour) use, the jacket would experience flapping or buffeting conditions in the sleeve between the shoulder and elbow joint and in the lower torso and chest area. Although not detrimental to the operation of the jacket, I did find the sound and feeling (the jacket was typically worn with short sleeve, or light long sleeve cotton shirts) distracting. Adjustable straps, such as the ones found on the KS-2000 jacket, would limit such buffeting. If the straps could be placed within the sleeve, the clean look of the jacket could be retained.

Although equipped with CE approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and back, it was the back armor that felt the most out of place. Under the hot sun, heat would readily collect underneath the foam and actually cause some warming of the body. Some grooves milled on the face that rests on the wearer's back would allow more air flow to travel over its surface and would, at least on paper, increase comfort levels. Of course, the wearer could simply forego the armor with the resultant reduction of abrasion resistance.

Even with these two shortcomings, the Mesh Riders Jacket has become my favorite jacket for all my around town riding. Not only does the jacket keep me cool, it also gives me better protection then wearing a non-motorcycle specific jacket and most certainly better protection than just a long sleeve shirt.

Jacket Construction:
Nylon and Polyester mesh outer shell.
Full Cordura nylon on outer sleeves.
Nylon mesh inner lining
Velcro adjustable waist closures,
neck closure and wrist closure.
Size tested was LL.
Size of tester: 6'00", 150lbs, 42" chest.
MSRP: $240.00

Motorcycle Online Rating: ****

Kushitani Mesh Gloves

How long have I been pining for a glove to equal my long-lost Bates Summer gloves of many moons ago? How many curses have I expended over the last couple of years as I struggled to achieve a peaceful settlement between race-length gauntlets with enough Velcro fastenings to support both Barbi twins, with various jacket sleeves? Arrghhhhh... then the Kushitani people

around the corner invited us to lunch. When I spied these lightweight summer gloves in their offices, I swooned instantly and had to have them. After about one ride home they are broken-in, supple and snug enough for safe-cracking. Of thinnish calf leather, they're not for racing obviously, but on warm days the perforated fingers and back mean they're beautifully cool and comfortable. Palms and bottoms of fingers are suede, which gives good grip, and double layered in heavy wear areas. There's also a second layer on non-perfortated leather, with knuckle pads, sewn over the back of the hand in that cape sort of style Kushitani uses in its race gloves. Fingers are inner-stitched and pre-curved. An accordion section atop the wrist, and one Velcro strip keeps them solidly in place. I don't think anybody else makes such a nice warm-weather street glove--and keep plunging Yen--only $35 per paw.

Motorcycle Online Rating: *****

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