The Rev'It Levante textile mesh jacket is a good, solid piece of gear that means business.
It's suitable for wear in all but the most extreme weather conditions.
This was a rare opportunity to review both the men's and women's versions of the Rev'it Levante jacket, first introduced on webBikeWorld in the webBikeWorld 2013 Rev'it Spring Clothing Preview.
The Rev'it Levante jacket can be matched with the Rev'it Airwave pants (review), which are also being reviewed as part of this series.
Also, the new Rev'it HV Connector Vest (review), also introduced in the 2013 Rev'it Spring Clothing Preview, fits the Levante jacket.
The word Levante is used to describe the winds of the western Mediterranean, along the southern coast of France and Spain and the Rev'it Levante jacket is a close relative of the Rev'it Sirocco jacket (review) from 2008.
The Sirocco was a very popular jacket that mysteriously disappeared from the Rev'it lineup soon after. It is still missed by many hot-weather-riding motorcyclists.
The touring or adventure-touring mesh jacket selection is now expanded, however, with the Levante jacket as the mesh 3/4-length Sirocco replacement (but with a zip-out insulating and waterproof liner doing three-season duty) and the Rev'it Airwave jacket taking on full-bore summer heat with its unlined mesh shell.
Included in this review are Alice's comments, along with Rick's comments for the men's Levante jacket to describe any differences.
In March 2013, I acquired a Rev'it Levante textile jacket, the Rev'it Airwave trousers and a Rev'it HV Connector hi-viz vest for a webBikeWorld evaluation.
I wanted something suitable for commuting and touring, hence the textiles.
The UK list price of £189.99 price places it towards the upper end of the scale for jackets I'd be likely to buy for myself, but not completely out of the question.
I started using the jacket straight away, replacing my older Rev'it Siren jacket, whose zipper had broken after two years of daily use, but it was a while before I could wear the Levante with the lining removed. I didn't want to write the review until I'd been able to evaluate it in warmer weather conditions, because the jacket (and the weather) is a very different animal in the summer.
Little logos on the Rev'it informational hang tag show the type of riding conditions the jacket is best suited for. A touring bike graphic told me I was in the right ballpark, while on the weather panel, the symbols for hot, cold and rainy were all highlighted.
I was a little sceptical about these claims. Surely a jacket with mesh panels can't be warm and waterproof as well? And if it is, how will it hold up on a hot day?
The women's Levante jacket shown here is black and black and black all over, which is practical for touring, gives it a businesslike appearance, and, of course, goes with your bike...whatever colour it is. The Levante is available in men's and women's sizes with gender-specific fit and tailoring. It is also available in the (nearly) all-silver version shown in the photos.
If the black is a little boring for some tastes, the silver is nearly over-the-top in the opposite direction. But, it's a good choice if the majority of your riding is done in hot summer temperatures with a lot of sun.
Branding on either version is kept to a minimum, with a small "REV'IT! / ENGINEERED SKIN" slogan down the outside of the left forearm in contrasting color font and on a very small rubber tag set into the back of the collar, which is black on the silver jacket and red on the black jacket.
There's a Rev'it triangular-shaped logo between the shoulder blades, outlined in reflective silver, and 3M Scotchlite flashes with a smaller logo on each shoulder, matching those on the legs of the Rev'it Airwave trousers. The accent colour, used sparingly as edging and on various fabric tabs, is turquoise on the black women's jacket, which wouldn't be my top pick.
None of it is visible externally with the jacket done up, however, the monochrome broken only by a spot or two of red (which is my favourite colour).
The textile is a close mesh weave, described on the label as "polyester rib". It's flexible, soft, and pretty smooth to the touch. The large mesh panels have the slight plasticky feel common to mesh motorcycle gear, but are well-integrated with the rest of the material; from a distance, you wouldn't notice the two different fabrics. The collar is fleece-lined for comfort, with a thin, padded lip.
The informational hang tag gives a guide to the abrasion-resistant properties of various jacket materials, with "SuperFabric" at the top, followed by leather and Gore-Tex. The polyester rib of the Levante jacket comes a little over halfway down the list, just behind 500 denier Cordura.
The black women's Levante jacket is a European size 40 (UK 12, US 8). It's a good fit, with no tightness under the arms and plenty of room for layers underneath. There's a slight flare to accommodate hips, but none of the over-feminine styling which seems designed for nothing more demanding than perching on the pillion and looking pretty.
On me, it reaches halfway down the buttocks, with no gap between trousers and jacket. For extra protection from draughts, there's a nylon belt with plastic fasteners on either side for adjusting the waist size.
Unusually, the Levante jacket is closed by a zipper alone, where most jackets have an extra panel covering the zip and closed with hook-and-loop or snap fasteners. This makes zipping and unzipping much faster, and I'd guess is made possible by the fact that the jacket liner, not the outer shell, provides the waterproofing.
The YKK zipper has a long rubber pull with a textured surface, very good for grabbing when wearing gloves, and it features the tiniest of tiny silver Rev'it logos.
On either side of the zipper are the black ribbon loops, about an inch in length, for the Rev'it Connector HV vest, reviewed as part of this series. If you don't own the vest, you might not even notice these. Similar loops on the inside of the jacket are ready to take a Rev'it Challenger cooling vest, which I don't own.
Rick's Comments on Sizing: The Levante jacket shown here is a size large and it fits as expected, about perfect for a U.S. men's 43-44 chest.
Two snap fasteners and a tab halfway up the forearm allow sleeve tightness to be adjusted, while the cuffs are fitted with a hook-and-loop tab. This is thick, with a matt surface, and, again, easily grippable with gloves on.
The men's version of the Levante jacket includes a hefty adjustment strap with an attached slider at the bicep.
The collar is adjustable too, with the now-standard Rev'it snap fastener system, which can slide to one of five positions. I found this a little stiff and tricky to operate when wearing the jacket. There's an eight-inch connector zip to marry the jacket with a pair of compatible trousers, like the Rev'it Airwave trousers also reviewed as part of this series.
The inner liner of the Levante jacket consists of a two-in-one waterproof membrane and lightly quilted thermal layer. The liner is attached with a tab and snap fastener to a loop in the neck of the jacket. This is separate from the hanging loop, so you can hang the jacket from this more heavyweight loop whether the liner is in or out.
Two short zips join the liner to the outer shell, and tabs with snap fasteners go through loops at the ends of the sleeves.
A couple of simple but thoughtful touches help the process of putting the liner back in. The zippers fasten downwards instead of upwards, so there's less chance of confusing the zipper that closes the liner with the ones that attach it to the outer shell.
Also, the tabs and loops in the sleeves are colour coordinated, turquoise tab going through turquoise loop and black to black (the black loops are hard to see against the black fabric, though; how about two contrasting colours?).
The liner itself is fastened with a zipper, which can then be covered by a panel closed with hook-and-loop patches. There are two inner pockets, one with a hook-and-loop closure, the other with a zip.
I have worn the liner by itself off the bike as a lightweight jacket in its own right. You won't be setting the fashion world on fire, but it's waterproof and reasonably windproof. It keeps the worst of the cold out, too, with about the same effectiveness as a medium-weight sweatshirt or light fleece.
Rick's Comments on the Liner: I have mixed feelings on the liner in the Levante jacket. It seems a bit strange to me to have what is actually a fairly heavy and thick liner with a waterproof outer shell fitted to a full mesh jacket. The liner just seems about half again as thick as it should be for the proportions and purpose of the jacket.
If you ride in heavy rain, the entire shell will be immediately soaked right through the mesh, of course, although the liner does remain dry inside.
Remove the liner and the jacket gains nearly a size, which leaves too much billowing fabric for my liking, but it has a huge amount of air flow. I'm more partial to short waist-length jackets for hot summer riding anyway. But on the other hand, the Levante should work for three-season riding and is perhaps a good choice for those living in the western U.S.
The Levante jacket has two generously-sized pockets at waist level, deep and roomy enough for bike keys, earplugs, lip balm and all those other motorcycling necessities.
These pockets are waterproof -- so much so that failing to close them in the rain will mean emptying out an inch of water when you reach your destination. The pockets close with a single strip of hook-and-loop that runs the full width of the pocket.
Beneath these, hand-warmer pockets are accessed by a narrower hook-and-loop strip. There's just one internal pocket in the rear of the outer shell; this is large and deep, closed with hook-and-loop but not really big enough to stuff in the liner.
Like most jackets, the Levante has a foam pad in the back area, which I lost no time in replacing with the CE protector from my previous jacket. The shoulders and elbows contain Knox CE armoured inserts. Soft and shaped, these sit in the correct place and aren't too loose, nor do they restrict my movement.
Rick's Comments on the Back Pad: To be honest, the back pad included with the Levante jacket is just too thin. It's surprising that fully two years after Rev'it purchased the Tryonic armor and back protector company (report) that Rev'it still isn't offering the Tryonic protectors in their products?
Rev'it also introduced the unique and very nice SeeSoft Level 2 back protector in the webBikeWorld 2013 Rev'it Spring Clothing Preview, but the protectors are an option; it would be nice to see them added as standard equipment. The inclusion of either of these back protectors would definitely help to elevate Rev'it jackets from the competition.
The Levante jacket does come with Knox elbow and shoulder protectors (Level 1).
I was a little sceptical about the all-weather claims made for the Levante jacket by its labelling. Surely a jacket with mesh panels can't be warm and waterproof as well? And if it is, how will it hold up on a hot day?
I had a chance to test the first two items on the list in short order. The Levante jacket arrived the week before Easter, yet it was still bitterly cold with occasional flurries of snow. On Good Friday, I wore the jacket on a 200-mile trip from my home in south London to Kippax in Yorkshire.
Snow banks lay at the side of the road, and on a few occasions I passed through light snow showers. I can't claim to have been toasty warm, but I was certainly as warm, if not warmer, as I would have been in my previous Rev'It jacket, which did not feature a mesh outer.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm breakfasting in a Weymouth cafe, watching with dismay as cloud rolls rapidly inland to hide nearby Portland from view. The journey home was undertaken in fog, wind and torrential rain, yet my upper torso remained dry. With the inner liner zipped up, nothing gets through. Neglecting to fasten it, however, as I was to discover later, leads to damp patches on the tummy.
I had to wait until the start of June for a warm, sunny day that had me cautiously shedding the thermal lining like a cynical dragonfly. An all-black jacket might not be the ideal choice for hotter weather, but as soon as I was moving those mesh patches on front, back and sleeves impressed me with the air flow they admitted.
The cooling power was on a level with the summer-only mesh jackets I have owned -- the ones that remain in the wardrobe for approximately 350 days of the year. The next day, it rained and I zipped the lining back in. It was good while it lasted...
Rick's "On the Road" Comments: The Levante jacket flows massive amounts of air when the liner is removed. I've been wearing it without the liner because the weather here is hot and humid. The jacket flows as much or more air than several other mesh jackets I can think of.
I do think with the liner removed, the jacket gains a bit too much room inside and I haven't used the liner but it might come in handy some day.
Multi-functionality usually brings a few disadvantages along with the advantages, and the Levante is no exception.
With a normal jacket, I would have removed the lining until autumn by this point. With this one, I find myself keeping it in more often than not, only removing it when it's really warm. There are plenty of in-between days that feel too hot for the thermal liner, yet too cold for mesh.
In particular, I tend to cool down fast when wearing the outer jacket at motorway speeds. The combination of thermal and waterproof layers is handy most of the time, but can be a nuisance. Summer showers mean humid conditions, when a thermal liner is uncomfortably warm but some waterproofing is required. You may find yourself deciding which you'd prefer to dampen your clothes, rain or sweat.
Finally, let's talk unexpected cloudbursts. If you have to remove your jacket to add the waterproof layer, you're going to get a lot wetter in the interim than if you only needed to slip an outer waterproof shell on over the top. It is possible, just about, to cram the liner on top of the Levante jacket, but then the thermal lining will get wet, and probably dirty, from contact with the outer jacket -- not an ideal solution.
|The wBW Opinionator: Rev'it Levante Mesh Jacket|
This is the closest thing to an all-season jacket I've worn; about as cool as an all-mesh jacket on the hottest days, and easily as warm as an average jacket on cold days, as well as being properly waterproof with CE-approved, well-fitting armour.
It certainly performs fantastically for its sub-£200 price point. Other than for day trips or shorter on really scorching days, I can see myself wearing the Levante jacket and leaving the full mesh behind. I'm certainly confident that it can take anything my upcoming fortnight's touring holiday will throw at it.
wBW Product Review: REV'IT! Levante Jacket
|Manufacturer: Rev'it||List Price: $299.99 (U.S. men's and women's version). £189.99 (UK women's version).|
|Colors: Silver or black.||Made In: China|
|Sizes: Men's: S to 4XL. Women's: 34-46 (Euro).||Star Rating (1-5):|
|Review Date: July 2013|
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "M.E." (July 2013): "I bought a silver Airwave jacket for a trip through Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah last month. With temperatures hitting 40 C and more, that jacket made the trip bearable. I'd tried on quite a few air jackets at the dealers before choosing the Airwave, but its quality of construction and finally colour swung it for me. Recommended."
Editor's Note: The Airwave jacket is about equivalent to the Levante jacket when the liner is removed from the latter.