The guy above probably think he’s cool but in my opinion, there’s never a good time to ride your motorcycle wearing just a T-shirt – but, each to their own.
Yes, I 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. However the most important part is: they offer very similar levels of protection when compared to a traditional motorcycle jacket.
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 Approval for Mesh Motorcycle Jackets
There are a couple of standards that your motorcycle clothing can be tested to. Either EN17092 or EN13595.
It’s important to understand that you don’t have to wear kit that is tested to this standard. You can ride in a T-shirt for example and that doesn’t have CE approval.
However if you buy motorcycle clothing from a retailer it is classed as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and therefore requires CE approval.
For motorcycle jackets (and trousers, jeans and leather suits) the standard is the same. Either EN13595 (this is the old standard) and the levels are Level 1 or 2. Or it’s tested to the new standard EN17092. The new standard has ratings from AAA (the best) to C. Any ‘A’ rating means it has been tested to an impact and abrasion standard. If it is B-rated it provides the same level of abrasion protection as an A rated garment but without impact protection and anything C rated designates it has been designed to hold impact protection. The minimum you want is an A rated garment.
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. D3O are experts in body armour and their new range, called Ghost, is incredibly flexible yet offers excellent protection. You can read more about the D30 Ghost protection here.
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 our 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. Classy Dainese design is typical of the Italian brand. With its removable CE Pro elbow and shoulder pads included, you have the choice to add a back protector and chest protectors to its concealed pockets.
Macna’s Orcano summer jacket is a modern polyester 600D construction with mesh panels for increased airflow. The CE level 1 R.I.S.C. shoulder and elbow armour offer a high level of protection, and there’s the option to add R.I.S.C. chest and back protectors. The bright orange detail is eye-catching plus the reflective element on the arms aid riders in low visibility. Complete with arm and waist adjusters and additional belt loops for riding jeans.
A premium rugged touring jacket
At £520, there’s no denying this is a pricey jacket. However, this Klim jacket cuts no corners. It is a leather and textile hybrid jacket. It features zip-down ventilation panels, D3O shoulder and elbow armour. There are 5 pockets, including a stash pocket to hold important items like your passport or wallet, for easy access. There are built-in stretch panels to aid comfort and fit and there’s a built-in zip to connect to trousers. This is a quality bit of kit.
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.
This lightweight mesh and polyester 600D jacket is built for comfort in hot temperatures thanks to the added vent panels in the chest back and sleeves. Featuring Knox Lite CE shoulder and elbow armour, plus a pocket for an optional RV type CE level 2 back protector. The jacket comes with adjustable hip, upper arm and cuff straps for a personalised fit. Complete with inner and outer pockets and double jeans loop.
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.
With a combination of mesh and leather, this jacket is excellent in the summer months while the detachable thermal liner is perfect for cooler mornings. With Seesmart CE level 1 shoulder and elbow armour included, you also have the option to add further back and chest protection. External TPU shoulder sliders, connection zip and belt loop for attaching Rev’it riding jeans, and slim, race-style fit complete the look.
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.