All The Gear, All The Time. Good motto, good advice. Even when it’s 100 degrees. Which is why this mesh jacket exists. I’ve been wearing mesh clothing for the last four years, and am thoroughly enthused about it. Whether one plans on riding in the dry heat of the western deserts or the humid heat of the East Coast, a three-quarter-length mesh motorcycle jacket like this Tourmaster Sonora Air is good to have hanging in the closet.
If you don’t like the Hi-Visibility Yellow color I chose, never fear, it also comes in less eye-shocking silver and black. But with preoccupied automobile drivers cocooned in their air-conditioned cages in the summer, I thought it best to be as visually obnoxious as possible. When I got home with the jacket, hung it in the motoport and Sue saw it from the kitchen window, she asked, “What is that?!” As I said, highly visible. To enhance nighttime visibility, highly reflective Phoslite trim is sewn into the jacket; good stuff.
The actual mesh material of the jacket is something called Armor-Link, which is combined with 600-denier Carbolex fabric. According to the little pack of info that comes with the jacket, the combo has an abrasion resistance 10 times that of cotton. At the elbows and shoulders, those places most liable to rub along the asphalt in case of a spill, the CE-approved armor is covered with 1,680-denier polyester. There is also a lightweight triple-density back protector.
The inner lining material of the jacket is polyester, with three pockets, including the well-named “mobile media pocket.” Outside the jacket are zip-up handwarmer pockets and chest pockets, which are big enough for maps, and another little inside zip-up good for keeping your wallet.
The jacket zips up the front, with a mandarin-style collar. Keeping the jacket snug are a pair of hook-and-loop belts that can be tightened at the waist. The wrists snug down with hook-and-loop straps on the cuffs, and on the arms themselves are snaps that can take up loose material that might flap in the wind.
With the Aqua-Therm liner in place, the jacket is good for temperatures down into the 60s, perhaps higher behind a fairing, and that can be extended with a couple of undergarments. It’s a two-piece liner, the outer one being rain-proof and the inner for insulation. Since California is in its third year of drought, I did not get a chance to test the waterproofing, but did use both the liners when a four-day trip that began at 100 degrees took a dive to 65. The liners can be worn without the jacket as light raingear. The waterproof portion has outside handwarmer pockets, while the warm liner has three inner pockets for keeping your cell phone dry after it starts to rain and you transfer stuff from the outside pockets.
The whole kit, in my 2XL size, weighs less than 6 pounds, with the liners about a quarter of that. Price is $199.99. Sizes run from XS-4XL, and M-3XL in Tall.
For more information: Contact Helmet House, (800) 421-7247; or visit www.tourmaster.com