Joe Rocket Cleo Elite Mesh Jacket | Gear Review

Joe Rocket Cleo Elite mesh jacket

Summer is coming. In our little corner of the world, sticking to the coast is the best way to avoid the heat, but sometimes (like if you want to ride anywhere else) it’s unavoidable. When it’s 3:00 pm and you feel like a Boston Market rotisserie chicken, slowly roasting in your own juices with heat from all directions — sun, pavement, engine, exhaust — it’s easy to daydream about how much cooler you’d be in a T-shirt. But we all know that’s a bad idea, and the next best thing is a lightweight mesh jacket like the Cleo Elite from Joe Rocket (there’s a men’s version as well called the Phoenix Ion).

The Cleo Elite flows massive amounts of air thanks to its mostly mesh construction, with Dynax nylon fabric reinforcements at the elbows, shoulders, sides and upper back. Uniquely, the CE level 1 elbow and shoulder armor is accessed externally via zippers; the foam back pad can be swapped out more conventionally from its inner pocket. Fit is sporty — what Joe Rocket calls “attack stance” — with a low, neoprene-lined mandarin collar and adjustment straps at the waist/hips and forearms. A removable two-stage liner includes a waterproof full-sleeve layer and an insulated vest, and there are a few pockets: external handwarmers plus one hook-and-loop internal pocket intended for sunglasses or a phone.

I’m tall and slender and find Joe Rocket apparel, including the Cleo Elite, fits me well; the torso and sleeves are actually long enough, unlike some other brands I’ve tried. Airflow is outstanding and, especially in the Silver or Mint/Silver colors, actually feels better than wearing a T-shirt, because not only is nearly your entire torso ventilated, your skin is not getting baked directly by the sun. Despite the waterproof liner, it wouldn’t be my first choice for touring, but for lower-speed rides around town in the heat of summer, the Cleo Elite is a nice option. It is available in Black, Silver (shown) and Pink in women’s sizes Small to 2 Diva, and in Mint/Silver in Small to 1 Diva, starting at $199.99.

For more information, see your dealer or visit joerocket.com.

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