by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
You have to give a lot of credit to Icon -- after
all, they busted in to a market jam-packed with motorcycle clothing
brands from A to Z and beyond and they've managed to mix it
up pretty nicely.
Icon sort of just appeared out of nowhere a couple of
years ago with a selection of very unique designs and an
in-your-face, beaucoup expensive and massive ad campaign
that has been a huge success.
Their ads snookered me, and I'm not easily snookered.
So I've been on the lookout for Icon clothing when I
found this TiMax 2
mesh jacket in a local shop and was pretty impressed at
I'll also admit that I got taken by a classic marketing hook: perceived value. That's
the psychological quirk that makes consumers think that
the higher the price, the better the product.
The all-time master of perceived value
pricing is Mercedes Benz. Think about it: in
Germany they're taxi cabs, but slap a $60k price tag on
it in the States and all of a sudden it's a status
Anyway, I went for it, despite the $300.00 price tag
on this jacket. The TiMax 2 feels substantial and I figured that for 300
bucks, it has to be the World's Most Sophisticated mesh
jacket, right? And besides, the wording on the
sleeve tag indicated that it had all sorts of special
titanium armor inside...
The bottom line is that the TiMax 2 is a very nice
mesh jacket, but in the end, it's a mesh jacket.
Is it worth 2X the price of your everyday garden variety
mesh? Let's take a look...
The first thing you notice is the big metal plates on
the shoulders and back. The plates even had that
clear plastic peel-away anti-scratch coating over them
when the jacket was new -- the same stuff that
protects the LCD screen on an iPod when it's new.
Icon claims the jacket has "genuine titanium armor
plating", and yes, they're 1) plates and 2)
titanium (according to the label). But I'm not sure
I'd call them armor though; they're more like
decorations. The "armor" underneath the plates feels
like padding to me and there's no hard armor in the
elbows, shoulders or back either, as near as I can tell.
But maybe it doesn't matter? Until someone runs
some scientific testing on how the various types of armor
and fabrics actually protect us, we're left with
guesswork and crossed fingers.
Articulated back protector on the outside.
Insulating liner (L). Mesh fabric (R).
Note zipper pocket (under hand; one on each side)
and belt loop connector near hem of jacket.
The next thing that really stands out on the TiMax 2
is the articulated padding on the back of the jacket.
These are covered with "titanium reinforced" mesh and
each panel contains some fairly stiff, non-removable
padding. I will say that these pads appear to be
of higher quality than the wimpy stuff that rides in the
back of most motorcycle jackets.
The shoulders, unfortunately, are left out of the
TiFest -- their "armor" consists of a sewn-on epaulet
with some thin padding underneath and that's it.
Hey Icon, how 'bout some shoulder armor for the 300
Thin shoulder padding sewn into epaulet.
The TiMax 2 does use CE-approved removable armor in
the elbows. This armor feels similar to the Knox
type found in many jackets. Although the TiMax 2
doesn't have cinch straps on the sleeves to keep the
armor in place, there's lots of elastic used in the
elbows and all over the jacket, which makes it more
comfortable by moving with the rider's body while also
keeping the armor in place.
The elastic is sewn all around the black titanium
mesh fabric covering the elbows and it also surrounds
the waist in a very wide elastic swath. This is
definitely more comfortable than any cinch straps I've
tried, which can get uncomfortable and even cut off
The elastic makes the jacket feel
snug without having to use any cinch straps and D-rings
that might (theoretically) snag on something as you're
sliding along on the ground after a crash.
No cinch straps but elastic around elbows keeps jacket
The last bit of padding is sewn into horizontal ribs
down the lower front. The padding here is very
soft and has only been added for styling reasons, in my
opinion. I would think that it's too soft to
actually do anything.
The collar on the TiMax 2 stands up a bit higher than
expected, but it's not a problem and is actually pretty
comfortable. It's lined with a sort of foamy type
of microfiber. I wonder where they come up with
all these fancy new materials all the time?
The collar is basically of the open variety; the
front of the jacket has only a single snap to hold it
closed, up at the top of the zipper. This is kind
of surprising, because there's no room for adjustment,
although the snap is located up near the top of the
collarbone, a spot with a smaller range of size
requirements than the neck.
The jacket has two-row stitching on nearly every
seam. The stitching, the quality of the materials
and the overall construction seems very good.
The TiMax 2 has a removable insulating liner, which
may seem rather strange when you think about it.
An insulating liner on a mesh jacket? If I had my
'druthers, it would be for a waterproof liner instead,
which would block both the rain and the wind.
But I will say that I got caught in a chill as the
sun went down on a couple of rides coming home from work
this week and I pulled the liner out of the tank bag and
zipped it back in, which does make the jacket nice and
Lots of air flows through this mesh.
When I first tried on the TiMax 2 in the shop, it
felt thicker or bulkier than other mesh jackets, due to
a combination of all the padding and the quilted liner.
I was concerned that the jacket wouldn't flow as much
air as I wanted on those really hot days.
But I've been very surprised -- the TiMax 2 flows
lots of air. Maybe it's the titanium mesh or maybe
it's the technology of what now must be the third or
fourth generation of motorcycle mesh jackets, but the
fabric has a tight weave yet it flows lots of air.
I noticed when I purchased the jacket that it was
missing a waist attachment zipper that would allow it to
connect to a pair of mesh or leather pants. I was
concerned about this until I realized that Icon has
cleverly sewn in three loops inside the back of the
I'm assuming -- because I haven't seen any
information to the contrary -- that these are designed
for a standard street belt; the belt loops can be
snapped over a belt worn with a pair of jeans.
None of us remember seeing anything like this before
and we think it's actually a good idea. It might
be nice to have, say, 5 loops rather than 3, but in any
case, they seem to work better than nothing.
So I'm assuming also that the TiMax 2 is designed to
be worn over a pair of jeans (like the
Joe Rocket Steel or Sliders Kevlar jeans we reviewed
not too long ago) and not with matching leather or mesh
pants. Go to the Icon website and if you have
enough bandwidth to get past the very heavy use of Flash
animation, you'll see that most of the models appear to
be wearing jeans.
In fact, click on the "Pants"
category on the Icon website and all you'll find is 6
pairs of what look like jeans or textile pants. So
that's why we're assuming that the loops in the TiMax 2
are meant to be used as belt loops.
Three hundred dollars seems like a lot of money to pay for a mesh jacket,
but the Icon TiMax 2 does have some nice features that make it stand out
from the competition.
If your riding outfit consists of a pair of
jeans and a mesh jacket, this is probably the one to have. It seems
more robust than any of the other mesh jackets I've seen so far this year,
but hang on, because we have two more jackets and a pair of mesh pants from
Alpinestars that are in the works.
Review: Icon TiMax 2 Mesh Jacket
Retail Price: $300.00
|Colors: White, Red, Yellow, Black,
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From "M" (9/09): "Hello! I am also one that
purchased the Icon TiMax 2 mesh jacket and I absolutely love it. I
have owned a few jackets and none seemed to be what I was wanting for the
hot weather. The other 3 jackets I own, 2 of them are Joe Rocket and
one Fox, are nice jackets but they don't seem to let much air through.
Also, the back does get hot on long rides in warm weather because of padding
and little airflow.
The Icon TiMax jacket has air flow all over. Wither the back padding
the way it it, it allows air flow to keep my back cool. As far as the
armor, I feel totally protected. The only thing I might prefer would
be maybe a more protective back armor. The padding seems great and
very scuff resistant, but doesn't provide a lot of back support in case of a
fall. I would highly recommend this jacket though."
From "A.F." (8/08): "With gas prices as high as they
are, I see more and more people riding motorcycles and scooters. I
live in the Phoenix, Arizona area so while I'm fortunate for year-round
riding weather, the summers here in the desert can be unbelievably hot...
torture even. So most riders I see don't wear the proper protective
gear, I think, mostly because of the heat. It can be appalling.
All the time I see riders just wearing a tank top, shorts,
and sometimes flip-flops. I am an advocator of proper protection so I
always suffer through the discomfort of wearing a jacket (along with the
helmet, ear plugs, pants, etc.) even when it gets over 115+ deg F. So
when I saw the Icon TiMax 2Mesh jacket I loved the styling of it but was
unsure of how cool it could be.
Well, I finally got one and I absolutely love it! I
have a couple of other hot-weather jackets, and while they work well as
protection and to keep me relatively cool, they don't work nearly as well as
the Icon TiMax 2 Mesh jacket. Why?
Your article mentions one of the reasons, the mesh, while it
looks like a tight weave, really moves a lot more air than I would have
thought. The second reason is the articulated back armor. I feel
that this feature should get more attention.
The panel pieces overlap and have a loose knit mesh
in-between. Because of this design, they act like a vent and the air
flow through the jacket is exceptional, especially all the way through to
the back of the jacket.
My other jackets have the regular back pad insert that,
while they give great protection, they make me feel like I'm wearing a heat
pad on my back because no air gets through and they are basically acting
like an insulator. Now, I don't know how well they protect you
compared to a CE approved back pad (the titanium weave and the padding seem
pretty exceptional), but if you're worried about crash protection as well as
preventing against heat stroke, this jacket should be on your shopping list.
I am surprised that more companies haven't copied the
design. It is definitely "cool".
I love your website. Keep up with the great articles."