Alpinestars ACR Air-Flo Jacket
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld
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This is the third in our series of reviews featuring Alpinestars
mesh motorcycle clothing.
First up was the
Alpinestars T-Stunt 2 mesh jacket, then the matching Alpinestars
ACR Air-Flo mesh pants,
and this review features the ACR Air-Flo mesh jacket.
We also have two pairs of Alpinestars jeans in the review
pipeline, the Alpinestars ERGO Painter pants and the Alpinestars
Street Cargo pants, either of which could match the mesh jackets
for cool summer wear.
The ACR Air-Flo mesh jacket is a "back to basics"
design. There's really not much new here that hasn't been done
before, but for Alpinestars fans or for those who like their
mesh with a touch of serious practicality, the ACR Air-Flo may
be just the ticket.
The jacket reminds me a lot of the original
Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh jacket, which one of the original
(and possibly the only) jacket to start the mesh craze back
about 4-5 years ago.
I still pull out the old Phoenix now and then just to ride
with it for old time's sake. I remember the first day I wore
it -- I purchased it from a local Moto Guzzi dealer (of all
places) after having unsuccessfully searched for one online
when the jacket was first released to the public. Riding home
from the dealer was a revelation, and I remember feeling like
I was riding naked because of all that air blowing through the
The popularity of the jacket took Joe Rocket by surprise,
and the entire first year's production was sold out in a matter
of weeks. Retailers who had them in stock were actually charging
a premium for them!
And here we are, with zillions of yards of mesh being worn
on the backs of motorcyclists since then. So what's new?
Well, I guess you can say "the more things change, the
more they stay the same". Which basically means that once
a design is fundamentally correct, it can be enhanced every
which way but loose and eventually you'll end up where you started,
back with the basic functional design.
I think that's the ACR Air-Flo in a nutshell. It's a straightforward
jacket design -- in an almost identical color scheme to my original
Joe Rocket Phoenix, by the way -- with a few modern tweaks that
only make it better.
First of all, the mesh is definitely thicker, in the modern
idiom of the stuff. The Phoenix had a loose mesh and a looser
fit; the designers probably thinking that looser was better
for hot weather.
But we've since learned that loose isn't necessarily best
with regards to either air flow or protection. A loose open
weave fabric could theoretically act like a net, catching and
holding a rider as he or she slides along the ground during
a crash. This could potentially cause more harm than a "simple"
slide, which is the preferred way (if there is such a thing)
to do it, all things considered.
In any case, the mesh on the ACR Air-Flo appears almost as
a solid weave, but held up to the light, it's readily apparent
at how much air can flow through. Unlike the Alpinestars T-Stunt
2 jacket, the ACR Air-Flo has no styling flourishes in the form
of solid fabric sections that can get in the way of the air
That's what makes the jacket seem Old Skool, if such a thing
can be said about a modern product like a mesh motorcycle jacket.
But without the solid and colored material sections to add some
flair, plain 'ol' mesh looks, well, plain and old.
But hey -- who cares? After all, the primary purpose
of a mesh jacket is air flow, and lots of it, right? And
the ACR Air-Flo delivers on the implications of its moniker.
The mesh continues down the arms unimpeded everywhere by any
solid fabrics, allowing the maximum amount of air to flow through
to the rider. The only items blocking the flow are the CE-approved
elbow and shoulder armor and a relatively thick/stiff and long
section of padding on the back. But the entire front of the
jacket and the arms allow air to flow directly on to the rider.
One of the features that makes the ACR Air-Flo a more "serious"
mesh jacket than, for example, the T-Stunt 2 are the dual arm
adjusting straps, two on each arm. They have a wide range of
adjustment to fit the jacket closely to the rider's forearm
and over the bicep.
This helps to hold the elbow armor in place, which is a necessity
during a get-off. All the armor in the world won't do a thing
if it's not where you expect it to be in a crash.
The jacket also has a more snug natural fit than the T-Stunt
2 and some other mesh jackets we've tried, which is also important
for the best potential protection. The only thing missing is
a better waist cinch system; the ACR Air-Flo has only a two-snap
adjuster at the waist (one adjuster on each side), but no elastic
in the waistband or the lower back that could hold the jacket
snug to the rider's body.
Curiously, the ACR Air-Flo jacket does include an internal
zipper, designed to attach to a theoretical pair of Alpinestars
pants. Unfortunately, the matching
ACR Air-Flo mesh pants
do not come with a zipper, which is a serious oversight in my
The only saving grace is that the three-quarter-length zipper
that is attached to the jacket comes with a matching half that
could be sewn on to the ACR Air-Flo (or other) pants. Many jackets
are outfitted with zippers like this, although I've never tried
to sew the matching half to a pair of pants.
I'm guessing that it would probably take a crafty sewing
machine operator to make sure everything is precisely lined
up so that the jacket fits to the pants at any sitting angle.
Maybe I'll bring the set down to my local tailor and see if
she's up to the job...
The sleeve cuffs on the ACR Air-Flo jacket do not have zippers.
They close only with a section of Velcro, but the fabric is
sewn with a dart, which allows the sleeve end to fit over a
pair of gloves. The REV'IT!
Hurricane mesh gloves or their newer
Solar mesh gloves work well with the Alpinestars mesh jacket
because those gloves are designed to be worn under, rather than
over the cuff.
The ACR Air-Flo jacket has another somewhat curious design
quirk; the collar has no snap or connector whatsoever. A big,
honkin' YKK plastic-type zipper is the only thing holding the
front of the jacket together. The lack of a zipper on the cuffs,
no snap on the collar and only the zipper up front is an ultimate
expression of simplicity (one way of looking at it) and, in
this case, I'll buy it. After all, who wants complex with temperatures
-- and humidity -- in the 90's?
The jacket liner is slightly different than others we've
seen; it's a finely-woven mesh, not like the open "holey"
type mesh liner usually found in motorcycle jackets. It's very
comfortable next to the skin and let's face it -- most riders
will probably be wearing nothing but a T-shirt underneath, so
a comfy liner is important. The liner does seem slightly bulky
in the sleeves though, and it bunches up a bit down around the
forearm, which can be slightly annoying, especially if the rider
is working up a sweat because it lessens the cooling effect.
Pockets? There's a nice wallet pocket with a zipper
just inside the right-hand placket in front. A couple of patch
pockets with Velcro closures are provided in the zip-out windproof
(and claimed water-resistant) liner and matched again on the
permanent jacket liner mentioned in the paragraph above. This
is a nice touch by Alpinestars which I'll assume is standard
on all their jackets, because we found the same pockets on the
T-Stunt 2 jacket.
Finally, there are two zippered slash hand pockets on the
outside of the ACR Air-Flo, just where you'd expect them to
be and, get this -- the zippers on these pockets work very smoothly,
allowing one-handed operation. Hurray for that!
I like the Alpinestars ACR Air-Flo mesh
jacket for its simplicity, it's heavy-duty mesh and, paradoxically,
for its emphasis on function rather than style. I'm never too
sure about what type of protection mesh clothing will really
afford in a get-off, and thankfully I haven't had the opportunity
to run a real-time evaluation. But if I had to go for a slide
in a mesh jacket, I'd just as soon do it in the ACR Air-Flo
jacket than just about any other.
Product Review: Alpinestars
ACR Air-Flo Mesh Jacket
Red, Blue, Black. Sizes: S to XXXXL
||Made In: China
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From "R.C." (4/09): "I
bought an Alpinestar ACR jacket for the hot summer days and
I have to say it has performed extremely well, including in
a destructive (un-planned) test carried out last summer.
I had taken advantage of the matching zipper supplied with
the jacket by having it sewn onto some armored denim jeans and
was wearing the kit when I went down on my left hand side at
about 30 mph. The arm of the jacket is severely damaged, the
lower strap which holds the elbow padding in place has almost
worn right through, but the armor stayed in place and I did
not suffer any bruising of grazing to my elbow or arm.
The shoulder section on the same side is also completely
destroyed down to the padding, but again it did its job very
well and I was completely free of injuries or even visible marks
on my upper body and arms after the accident.
My only disagreement with the manufacturer’s claims relates
to the statement that the jacket is designed to be a “year round
item”. There is no way I would support temperatures below 25ºC
wearing such a lightweight jacket, even with the liner fitted.
Needless to say I will be replacing my ACR jacket for an
identical one this summer."
From "M.G.": "Just thought
I'd let you guys know my take on Alpinestars's ACR Air-Flo Mesh
jacket. I bought it as my first motorcycle jacket after doing
some research on the differences between leather, textile, and
mesh. I've owned it for about 6 months now and have worn it
from temperatures ranging between 40 and 105 F, in sunny and
The mesh works wonders in the heat. I've had to double-check
that it was zipped due to how much air can flow through it.
The liner is extremely effective as well. My day in the rain
with it proved that it actually is waterproof. However, the
jacket is hardly suitable for the cold. In the aforementioned
40 degree ride, I had a sweatshirt underneath with the liner
in and my teeth were still chattering.
Unfortunately, I've crash-tested this jacket as well. I went
down at about 10mph. My right shoulder hit first, which in turn
threw me onto my back. The padding did its job. Neither my shoulder
nor my back suffered any injury. And the jacket shows no signs
My biggest complaint would be the long-term quality. As my
primary jacket, it's used rather frequently. Material is coming
off at the wrist Velcro enclosures due to the repeated tightening
In addition, the area on the chest right by the bicep Velcro
closure is suffering the same ailment. This causes me to cut
off the fuzz in those areas every other week or so. Thus far,
its integrity hasn't been compromised enough for me to stop
wearing the jacket, but it is notable.
The overall quality is high, something I've come to expect
from Alpinestars. It will probably last me at least another
year of almost daily usage. As a mesh jacket for protection,
it's excellent. As a winter jacket, you better wear lots of