Mesh Motorcycle Jacket & Pants
Roadgear AirTek Mesh Jacket - AirTek Mesh Pants
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Can there ever be too many choices for warm weather
clothing? I'm not sure if the "perfect" mesh combo exists just yet,
but the evolution of the technology to produce these materials will surely
give us more options.
The mesh motorcycle clothing phenomenon is relatively new,
but the basic mesh jacket has evolved beyond the novelty stage and is now
readily available, so what's next? What new mesh products will the
manufacturers develop to help distinguish themselves from the competition?
The shorter length mesh jacket has proven to be very popular. It's
design is based on the traditional leather Sportbike jacket, and they've
been offered at prices low enough to attract many takers.
mesh pants don't seem to be as common for some reason. Some
manufacturers of mesh jackets don't even offer matching pants, and others
offer pants with uninspired features and styling.
Mesh clothing has both revolutionized and revitalized the warm weather
motorcycle clothing market. Mesh has become my favorite summer outfit
and in the hot and sticky climate I live in, it's extended my riding season
by providing comfort on days when I wouldn't think of riding in leather.
But if I had a wish, it would be for a high-quality, cool-looking mesh
jacket and pants outfit that's equivalent in both style and protection to a
set of leathers. Add a full-length zipper attachment between the
jacket and pants and a full set of armor and I'd be very happy.
would think that there is also a market for a mesh jacket and pants outfit
designed with the touring rider in mind. The 3/4-length "enduro"
styled jackets are very popular with touring and adventure bike owners, so
why a mesh jacket in that style isn't yet available is a mystery.
The Roadgear "AirTek" mesh jacket and pants is a step in
that direction. The design and the fit of this matched set bridges the
gap between snug-fitting sportbike wear and the 3/4-length touring jacket
and pants combinations.
The AirTek jacket is stylish without being too "boy
racer", it's comfortable for touring, and its zip-in nylon liner also makes
it suitable for use when the weather turns cool. The matching AirTek
pants are made almost entirely of mesh fabric. They look and feel like
a mesh version of a comfortable pair of relaxed fit cargo jeans, complete
with slash-cut front pockets, belt loops and even a coin pocket. And
yes, they also have those big cargo holds attached to each leg.
The Roadgear brand has been with us for many years and is well-known and
accepted in the motorcycling community. Mansoor Shafi,
Roadgear's founder and owner, has made huge numbers of friends over the
years through his interactions with his many customers and his regular
attendance at more motorcycle rallies and events than I can count. His
products are tested and proven in the real world and it shows in the
Roadgear's product line now includes accessories, luggage, gloves and
leather, in addition to the familiar Roadgear selection of clothing.
The Roadgear website has recently been updated, and the new AirTek line of
clothing is a featured addition. The AirTek jacket and pants have
several unique features that distinguish them from the competition.
The Roadgear AirTek Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
The primary purpose of mesh motorcycle clothing is to offer a minimum
level of protection for the rider while also providing good air flow in
hot weather. Heavy motorcycle riding leathers and windproof textiles offer very poor air
flow, which meant that motorcyclists were riding without protective gear in
The first generation of mesh motorcycle jackets were characterized by a very open weave that looked
like they'd make good fish nets. It became apparent that a completely
open weave isn't really necessary for good air flow -- after all, air
squeeze through some very small holes.
An open weave has a greater chance of getting caught on something during
a slide. So the second generation of mesh fabrics used a tighter weave, which provided the
theoretical benefit of better performance during a fall and slide.
The ideal protective clothing would allow
the fallen rider to slide and come to a reasonable stop without tumbling,
because tumbling can cause broken bones. But reduce the friction too
much and the rider may slide too far without slowing down, which can be just
Mesh motorcycle clothing has been great news for riders who want at least
a minimum amount of protection when riding in hot weather. But when you think about it, a completely open weave really
isn't necessary to allow air to flow through, especially at speed.
The AirTek jacket feels more substantial than other examples of mesh
motorcycle clothing we've seen. I'm not sure if substance equates to higher levels of protection, but
with the lack any scientific proof, subjectivity is all we have. The
jacket weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) with the liner, and 1.5 kg (3.5 lbs.)
The AirTex jacket uses a tightly woven but breathable mesh fabric called "MaxTex" that
on close inspection looks like tiny chain mail in a herringbone pattern.
The knit gives the fabric a 3-dimensional look; the woven links appear to be raised
off a flat backing. If the jacket is held up to a light source, the
mesh appears opaque when looking from the outside in, but open when viewed
from the inside out.
It would be nice to find a scientific analysis comparing mesh fabrics
with leather and other textiles, but we're not aware of any studies that
have been commissioned. Some motorcyclists find it difficult to
believe that see-through mesh fabric can offer any protection during a fall.
If you're one of them, perhaps you'll be convinced by the opacity of the
AirTek's mesh material.
Even though the AirTek's mesh is more tightly woven than other types, the
jacket still provides a large volume of air flow. The chest and back areas are primarily composed of the MaxTex fabric, while the back of the arms and the shoulders covered in
non-mesh, windproof textile. We've had a run of 32-degree C (90
Fahrenheit) days recently with high humidity, but the AirTek's mesh seems to
be located in just the right places to offer a cooling breeze when riding. The non-mesh fabric around the back of the arms, which
covers the elbows and shoulders, doesn't seem to affect the jacket's ability
to keep the rider cool.
The front of the jacket has two slash pockets with zippers and nice, big
rubberized zipper pulls. The pockets open to about 175 mm
(~6-3/4", all inch measurements approximate) and 205 mm (8") deep.
pockets are lined with nylon, and the zipper travels upwards to close the
pocket, hiding in a little rubberized "zipper garage", which is a nice
detail. Quality YKK zippers are used throughout, and the pocket
zippers are covered by fabric in a contrasting color to the silver mesh.
The back of the jacket has a hidden pocket down around the kidney area
that's about 170 mm (6-3/4") wide by 170 mm deep. It's covered by a
textile flap that has three snaps which are also used to cinch the waist.
This pocket is designed for carrying the attached nylon jacket liner, but it
also can be used to carry a pair of gloves or other items. Our advice
is to avoid carrying anything hard in any motorcycle jacket or pants which
might cause injury during a fall.
All of the fabric sections that make up the jacket are sewn using
single-needle stitching, and our example had no hanging threads or misaligned
stitches, which give the jacket a quality appearance not often found in mesh
Inside the left jacket breast area is a pocket that opens with a zipper
to about 130 mm wide (5") by 150 mm (6") deep. This should be adequate
for holding a wallet or ID. The right internal breast pocket appears
to be designed to house a thin mobile phone; it opens to about 50 mm (2")
wide, 140 mm deep (5-1/2") and it's expandable to about 50 mm (2"). It
has a flap that secures via a "hook and loop" fastener.
The collar is covered in a very soft velvet-like material and is
comfortable next to the skin. There's an additional 140 mm long
(5-1/2") lined flap just behind the top of the neck in front, which helps
keep a draft from the rider's neck. The neck closes with a single
snap; there's no provision for adjustment, but it seems to have enough room
for even the thickest sized neck.
The jacket's cuffs also close via a
snap, with three positions for adjustment. When closed, the cuffs have
a minimum of extra material, which allows them to fit inside the gauntlet of
most motorcycle gloves. The outside of all of the snaps are covered
with a rubberized material to help prevent scratches.
The inside of the jacket includes a permanently attached perforated
nylon-type full length lining. Each AirTek comes with a windproof
liner that attaches using a single zipper that travels up one side, across
the back of the neck and down the other.
The liner has two snaps at
the bottom of each arm, and it's fairly easy to remove or insert. The
outside of the liner seems to be treated with some type of rubberized
coating, but Roadgear makes no claims on its website as to its water
resistance or lack thereof. The liner is effective at blocking the
wind, making the jacket useful in a wide range of temperatures.
The AirTek jacket includes CE-approved firm padding in the elbows and
shoulders and a full-length softer foam padding in the back.
The styling of the jacket is contemporary and not overdone. The
AirTek jacket sizing seems to run slightly large, and the jacket also has a
loose fit, similar to that found in a 3/4-length Enduro-style jacket.
This may be desirable for touring riders, but based on our example, you may
want to consider one size smaller than normal. Riders carrying a few
extra pounds and who have experienced trouble finding motorcycle clothing
that isn't too snug may find that the AirTek line is perfect.
The arms have adjustable cinch straps to keep the extra fabric from
flapping in the breeze and to help keep the elbow padding in place, but the
padding remains relatively loose even with the arm cinched to its maximum on
our example. The jacket does not have any provision for attachment to
The AirTek jacket is available in a Red/Silver or Black/Silver
combination in sizes 38-52 and S, M and L women's sizes. There's lots
of Scotchlite reflective piping, and the jacket shows up well when
illuminated at night. Roadgear also offers a 3-year warranty on this
Roadgear AirTek Mesh Motorcycle Pants
We're not sure why mesh motorcycle pants don't seem to be worn as frequently as mesh
jackets. It may be because there simply haven't been very many good
Some manufacturers have taken versions of their textile or
Cordura pants and adapted them for use with a mesh jacket, but there just doesn't
seem to be much enthusiasm for making a truly great pair of all-mesh pants. Roadgear's AirTek pants are one of the few 100% mesh designs available;
hopefully, this will start a trend.
If you own a comfortable pair of relaxed-fit jeans or cargo pants for the street,
you'll probably feel at home in the these. The cut and style of the
AirTek pants was apparently modeled directly from street wear, right down to the small details like
a change pocket that lives above the right-hand slash cut pocket.
Slide out the knee and hip padding and no one would know that these pants
were made for motorcycling.
The loose fit is comfortable, but like the AirTek jacket, it seems to
have been developed for touring rather than scratching the back roads on a sportbike. The AirTek pants also
use the MaxTex mesh fabric, which gives them a comfortable feel that's
reminiscent of something like a cross between cotton and polyester.
The wide belt loops on the AirTek pants will hold a 1-1/2" (37 mm) belt, and the waist closes
with a button similar to that found on a pair of jeans. The two
slash-cut front pockets are about 140 mm wide and deep (5-1/2"), and the
right pocket also carries the typical jean-style change pocket.
The backside of the pants have two straight cut jean-style pockets; each about
140 mm wide (5-1/2") and 150 mm deep (5-7/8") at the center.
These pockets even have the typical "V" shaped stitching sewn onto the outside,
which reinforces the idea that the AirTek pants were meant to duplicate both
the look and the comfort of street wear. There are also two small pieces of removable
soft padding on either side of the hips.
One cargo pocket is located on the outside of each thigh. The cargo
pockets are huge, measuring about
150 mm wide (6") by 220 mm deep (8-3/4"), and they have expandable
sides that allow them to open to about 75 mm (3") at the top. Each pocket has a flap
secured by two snaps which are coated with
a rubberized material.
The AirTek pants are sold in exact waist sizes, from 28-34 for women and
30 to 42 for men. The leg length, regardless of the
waist size, is 36" (91.5 cm). The legs are designed to be hemmed
to length by the owner. This is actually a useful feature, because the
owner can custom-tailor the legs to fit exactly to their individual
specifications. The downside is that the owner will have to pay to
have the pants cut and hemmed to length. Remember that riding pants
are usually about 50 mm (2") or so longer than street pants to account for
the riding position.
Depending upon the rider's inseam length, the standard 36" inseam on the
AirTek pants can result in an incorrect position for the knee armor, because
the armor is located in a fixed position. The knee padding on our 36" waist AirTek pants
starts at a distance of 30 cm (1 ft.) from the crotch and extends down about
another 30 cm. I have a 30" (76.2 cm) inseam, which means that the
padding starts below my knee and covers my shin.
A single inseam length probably decreases the overhead for the
manufacturer and retailer, and that's fine, but it would be nice to have some
provision for adjusting the padding to fit a wide variety of leg lengths.
This could probably be relatively easy to do by using a series of hook and loop
fasteners inside the pant leg that would allow the owner to adjust the
location of the padding.
We're big believers in using soft backed hard armor, but to be honest,
the AirTek pants would probably more successful without the padding.
If padding or armor isn't robust enough to offer much protection, and if it
doesn't stay in place during a fall, it's value is debatable.
We think the pants would also be just as successful with a tighter cut,
although heavier riders will probably disagree. The bottom line is
that the pants offer plenty of room, and if you've found that most
motorcycle clothing is too tight no matter what the size, you'll probably
really enjoy wearing these.
The AirTek mesh jacket and pants are well-made and have contemporary styling.
The build quality and the quality of the materials is very high. Both
the jacket and the pants offer very good air flow, and the pants are one of
the few all-mesh designs available.
The fit of both the jacket and
pants is more relaxed than normally found in this type of motorcycle
clothing, but this may be a benefit to riders who don't have the body shape
for tighter fitting sportbike designs. Touring riders who spend lots
of time in the saddle may also find that the relaxed fit is perfectly
Review: Roadgear AirTek Mesh Jacket - AirTek Mesh Pants
Retail Price: Jacket $169.90; Pants $139.90.
Black/Silver, Black Pants
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