Joe Rocket Phoenix Jacket
It used to be that when I conjured up an image of a mesh garment it was a fetching black number draped over the form of mi espousa and personal vixen in a fantasy suite at the rancho du hottie. Alas, these days such reverie is quite likely to be terminated by a well-aimed elbow in the ribs in a none too subtle reminder that it is my turn to get out of bed and attend to the howls of the grommet in the next room. The jacket arms are long enough to accommodate my 36" sleeve length, a really nice feature. The jacket moves well with the torso and fits without bunching while in a forward riding position. Material and build quality are very good and the entire package is well designed and flawlessly executed.
So how does it work? Pretty darned well. We've had one of the hottest summers on record up here in the intermountain west and riding around in a leather jacket, even with all of the vents open, is an ordeal. While cruising even at low in-town speeds forced convection does the trick. But the jacket is also amazingly cool to wear while not moving. The darker colored panels enhance thermal convection just like the black robes worn by Bedouins - a conversation feature that is sure to distract any traffic cop you might encounter during field testing.
Nits: remarkably few. Even close-cropped fingernails will snag on the mesh inside the sleeves while you are putting the jacket on. Unlike leather, which fits like a second skin with a little age, this jacket fits just like it's always going to fit right out of the box and feels a little bulky even given it's extremely light weight. My jacket came with a small wrinkle in the fabric that won't go away. And you'd need a wrist bigger around than my leg to employ all of the adjustability in the sleeve cuffs. Most importantly I've heard through the grapevine that the Phoenix crashes well (Hmmm... maybe they could have named this a little better) but I would not want to slide very far while wearing one of these. At any rate it's a one crash jacket. It's better protection than a tee shirt for warm weather riding, and you are not nearly as likely to pass out from heat stroke as you are in a full on leather jacket, but it is a garment for specialized conditions.
The Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 Jacket is available in black, blue, green, grey, red and yellow. At a suggested retail of $139.99 in the US and $199.99 in Canada it's a screaming deal. You won't have any trouble finding it for less than this nearly everywhere. Availability in some colors and sizes is currently limited as they are selling like hotcakes. You need one of these. For more information visit www.joerocket.com.