There’s never a good time to ride your motorcycle wearing just a T-shirt.
Yep, we admit it, riding your motorcycle in the summer can be hot, sticky, and downright uncomfortable in a heavy leather jacket but the choice shouldn’t be a super-hot jacket or a super-lame T-shirt, there’s a perfect middle ground that offers great protection and loads of air-flow.
Mesh motorcycle jackets are constructed from textile mesh-type material that’s almost porous in nature, allowing plenty of air to make its way through and keep you cool.
You can also get perforated leather jackets which don’t quite offer as much airflow as a mesh jacket but the perforations do keep you cooler than if you were wearing a normal leather jacket.
Also, they’re a lot more flexible, which is precisely what you need in hot conditions.
Features you should look for in a mesh motorcycle jacket include:
- Majority mesh fabric: Under the arms, across the chest and back. The more mesh panels, the better the ventilation.
- Suitable protection: Adequate shoulder and elbow protection. Always choose a jacket which is CE certified.
- A removable liner: meaning your jacket has a more usable range – you can stay warm when the sun drops.
Many riders prefer textile jackets because they’re more flexible than leather alternatives and a summer mesh motorcycle jacket is an even better choice if you want a super lightweight motorcycle jacket with the maximum wind in your (armpit) hair feeling.
CE approved armour
If a jacket comes with armour, it needs to be CE certified. There are two main types of armour, hard and soft. The hard armour tends to be cheaper as it’s easier to produce armour that withstands a set impact force if it’s solid. However soft armour is more comfortable.
If you prefer plenty of flexibility, choose a jacket with some armour such as D3O. If you’ve ever experimented with custard in science classes, you may remember that if you hit the surface of custard with a sudden force, it acts like a solid and disperses the impact over its surface. Once the impact has stopped, it returns to its liquid form. If you drop something slowly into the custard, it sinks in.
In the same way, D30 protectors are soft and mailable until they receive an impact where they firm up an absorb the impact. They are a great alternative to other more solid protectors.
The best mesh motorcycle jacket
We’ve created a list of some of the best mesh motorcycle jacket picks we could find. Each jacket has a unique design and there are styles and budgets to suit any rider’s taste. The jackets below meet out criteria above, so you know you’re picking a quality jacket for summer riding.
Manufactured from 600D Korean Cordura for extra durability, the jacket includes CE approved shoulder, elbow, and back protectors. With a removable waterproof lining for added comfortability, you can remain cool as the temperature rises. This summer jacket is designed in a simplistic black, which makes it stylish enough on or off the bike. It has three internal pockets, adjustable cuffs, arms and waist straps along with a connection zip to Texspeed trousers.
Available in an eye-catching silver, this jacket is tailored well with additional adjustment straps on the cuffs, waist and upper arms. Constructed from mesh and 600D polyester for ultimate comfort and breathability, you will remain fresh throughout your road trip. Protection comes in the form of Knox Flexiform CE protectors at the shoulders and elbows with the option to add a Seesoft CE level 2 back protector. Added ventilation panels on the chest back and sleeves allow for full airflow to the upper body. With a Concealed jeans loop, you can attach trousers for a full suit.
Made from a multi-fabric shell and incorporating mesh panels at the front, back and under the arms for maximum cooling ability, the Calabasas jacket has CE certified Bio Air shoulder and elbow armour for rider protection. It features pockets for additional chest and back protection, while the waist has a connecting zip to attach Alpinestars jeans.
Fitted with mesh panels throughout the chest, arms, and back, the AirFrame keeps you cool when you need it most. Constructed from QuickDry fabric and a breathable and perforated inner, this jacket is also hygienic. The motorcycle jacket is a simple black design with a striking white added under the arms and reflective detailing below the shoulders and across the chest. With its removable elbow and shoulder pads included, you have the choice to add a back protector to its concealed pocket.
Macna has designed a cool varsity-style jacket that we love at Biker Rated. Constructed from a mixed mesh and goatskin outer layer which is fully perforated for maximum airflow, the jacket includes Safetech CE shoulder and elbow protection and a pocket for the addition of a back protector. Complete with reflective detailing for safety in the dark around the collar, cuffs, and waist, it fits nicely with its knitted waist and sleeves for exceptional comfort.
The closest you’ll get to being Steve
At £550, there’s no denying this Belstaff jacket is expensive but it’s made with quality materials and from the same brand that McQueen himself wore. Made from heavy-duty soy-waxed cotton, it features removable D3O shoulder and elbow armour, a Miporex waterproof membrane, four stormproof outer pockets. It already looks vintage but it’s the sort of jacket that will get better with age.
Women’s Mesh Motorcycle Jackets
We counted 40 different mesh motorcycle jackets for women and they’re available in loads of styles. We picked the jacket below as it ticked all the boxes and is priced really well. It’s also available in 4 different colour variations, so if this mildly pink one isn’t for you, then you can click the link and find a colour that suits you best.
Made from sturdy 600D polyester material and featuring Knox CE approved armour in the shoulders and elbows, the Airwave 2 can also accommodate a soft internal back protector. It features adjustable tabs on the arms and an adjustable collar and cuffs to get a customised fit. The vented mesh runs down the front and across the shoulders. There are two internal and two external pockets and a zip attachment to connect it to your trousers.
Ventilated Leather Motorcycle Jacket
If you want a leather jacket but you also want something with maximum airflow then check out this Blake Air mesh jacket from Rev’it.
Featuring the best of both worlds, it’s either the most ventilated leather jacket you’ve ever seen or the toughest summer mesh motorcycle jacket – depending on which way you look at it. It’s bound to have loads of flexibility but it also offers solid protection too, thanks to the leather construction and CE level 2 armour.
Amalgamating mesh and leather, this jacket is practical and stylish. With MotoGP developed external dual composite shoulder protectors and internal Seeflex CE Level 2 shoulder and elbow protection, this jacket has your safety covered. The Monaco performance cowhide leather with 3D air mesh and polyester knit design is both strong, durable, and comfortable. With built-in ventilation at the chest, back and sleeves, you won’t become overheated. If you decide to add a back protector, your movement will not be overly restricted thanks to its adjustable waist straps and action pleats in the back which aid movement.
Mesh motorcycle jacket FAQs
Does anyone sell a waterproof ventilated jacket?
Yes, the Alpinestars mesh jacket above also features a removable Drystar lining meaning it’s a high airflow summer jacket but doubles as a waterproof jacket at the same time. However, if you want an all-year-round jacket best not to rely on this one as the mesh outer layer has next to no weather protection.
Is it illegal to ride a motorbike in a T-shirt?
No, but some people think it should be. You are free to ride in a T-shirt (and shorts, and flip flops) in the UK but other bikers will frown at you and not many people will have any sympathy for you if you end up skating down the road.