Very good quality open weave mesh jacket with hefty-feeling armor and excellent air flow.
Mesh motorcycle clothing has evolved dramatically since it first arrived on the scene about 10 years ago.
The first mesh jackets were made with an open weave textile fabric and they usually had a loose fit.
Recently however, the manufacturers seem to be favoring a tight weave with swatches of solid fabric covering the abrasion points on the arms, shoulders and even the sides and chest.
While this allows more styling options and possibly better protection, using large sections of solid fabric is certainly going to block the air flow, which is the primary reason motorcyclists purchase this type of garment.
A significant number of webBikeWorlders have pointed this out recently, with many of them mourning the passing of the "original" style of open weave mesh.
Many of you have asked if this type of jacket is still being produced and if so, where to find it.
Well, good news, mesh fans: I just happened to be cruising the aisles of the local AGV Sport dealer and discovered the Aero Sport 2 jacket, and it's a winner.
It's not that we've been ignoring AGV Sport products; we just never got around to reviewing any of their gear, which is especially puzzling since the U.S. distribution offices are located just a short and pleasant ride from where I'm now sitting.
You may recall that we mentioned this in our review of the AGV Stealth helmet recently, which is also what prompted us to take a closer look at some of their gear.
So what makes the Aero Sport 2 so special? Not only does it use what we can now call "Old School" open weave mesh, it's also a hybrid jacket, which many of you have been asking about.
The Aero Sport 2 includes very cool-looking shiny leather on the arms, which should provide good abrasion resistance in that critical area.
Have no fear -- the leather is perforated, and the combination of the open weave mesh and perforated leather give the Aero Sport 2 what we think is probably the best air flow of any mesh jacket we've tried.
Besides the shiny Nappa leather used on the arms (0.9 mm on the sleeves and 1.0 mm on the wear points), the Aero Sport 2 jacket has another feature that's immediately noticeable: the quality of the stitching, which we think is much better than most or all of the mesh jackets we've seen.
It's pretty rare to see this type of attention paid to stitching, especially in a mesh jacket. I'll admit that most owners probably wouldn't notice the difference.
But hey -- that's what we're here for, right? Reviewing a zillion and one jackets does stuff like that to you...
I'd guess that most clothing manufacturers view their mesh clothing line as a low-cost alternative to "the real thing", so they figure they'll spend as little as possible when making the stuff.
But AGV Sport has done a really nice job on this one -- the stitching is about as good as it gets in any type of motorcycle jacket.
Just for grins, we compared the Aero Sport 2 to the Joe Rocket Phoenix 4.0 jacket we reviewed last year and the stitching on the AGV Sport Aero Sport 2 jacket is much more refined.
It has rolled and hidden edges just about everywhere, including the perimeter of the padding sections on the sides of the arms and elsewhere.
The stitching even has rolled edges where it meets the reflective piping down the sleeves and also where mesh meets mesh in the front of the jacket and around the sections holding the padding in the back.
Again, this may not be something that's immediately noticed by most owners, but I think that most would agree that it gives the Aero Sport 2 jacket a higher quality persona, which isn't easy to do on a mesh jacket.
Overall, the styling of the Aero Sport 2 doesn't break any new ground.
But it does look good and "sporty", and the use of different colored sections of mesh fabric, especially the darker gray cutouts on the sides of the stomach, give it the wedge look that helps defeat expanding waistlines. In the mirror, anyway...!
The Aero Sport 2 comes with the AGV Sport "HydraBlock" windproof and (claimed) waterproof liner.
It's also sort of a hybrid; it uses zippers in the front for attachment, but the sleeves snap to a couple of lengths of elastic that are sewn into the sleeve cuffs.
The round lengths of elastic in the sleeve cuffs are a potential weak point, and we've seen them come loose on a couple of other brands of jackets, but I think as long as reasonable care is taken when removing or reinstalling the liner, they should be fine.
Of course, the weather being what it is lately -- hot -- I haven't actually used the liner.
Prospective owners should realize that a lightweight liner like the one found in the Aero Sport 2 mesh jacket will probably do a great job at blocking the wind and will be useful for the evening ride home, to keep out the cool air.
But if it really does start to pour, the rain will soak the outside of the jacket and about the best you can hope for is that the liner will keep some or most of the wet stuff from intruding before you get home.
Unfortunately, the Aero Sport 2 jacket does not have a rear pocket which could be used to store the liner, but it's thin enough and light enough that it could probably be stowed under just about any motorcycle seat and certainly inside a small tank bag.
The jacket does have two external hand pockets in the front, and each opens with a pretty hefty zipper.
Although the AGV Sport website claims that the zippers are made by YKK, the zippers on this jacket are labeled "TTL", which is a Korean zipper manufacturer.
The zipper pulls are large enough to grab when wearing gloves; the only downside is the big silver zipper pulls that hang out of the pocket slit.
Fortunately, the pockets close with the zippers pulled in the "up" position, which should keep the metal tab of the zipper pull from scratching the paint on the fuel tank.
The pockets have an opening of approximately 180 mm long (7") and they are about 150 mm (6") deep.
The Aero Sport 2 also has a single inside chest pocket on the left side, perfectly sized to fit a wallet (although anything placed in there will block some of the air from flowing through); the zipper opens about 130 mm wide and the pocket is roughly 100 mm deep.
The sleeve cuffs use the same robust grade if silver zipper used in the jacket body. It appears that the zipper teeth are nylon or some type of plastic and the zipper pulls are metal, but the silver finish makes this difficult to confirm.
The zipper pulls also hang from the sleeve cuff, which is slightly unusual but will probably be welcomed by those who aren't fond of the hook-and-loop fastener normally used on sleeve cuffs.
I do wish the jacket had a short cover though with a sliver of hook-and-loop that could be used to hide the zipper pull and prevent it from flopping around.
I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I wasn't wearing my Roadgear Carbon Maxx short gloves, which have been my current favorites for hot-weather riding. Throw on a pair of gloves with a gauntlet and this problem disappears -- pun intended.
By the way, the zippers on the sleeve cuffs include a fabric dart underneath to help prevent water ingress. Oh, and there's another very nice touch -- the cuffs are lined to about 60 mm up the sleeve with a very soft material that feels like micro-fleece.
You'd probably never notice this unless someone pointed it out, but it's just another one of what I think are the pretty cool hidden features of this jacket that make it stand out from the competition.
The same soft material lines the collar and is even extended down in a sort of pie-shaped section sewn into either placket right at the top of the jacket on either side of the collar. The collar has a round tuft shaped all the way around, which also helps prevent chafing.
The AGV Sport Aero Sport 2 jacket includes a decent filling of protective padding. This is a fine line with mesh jackets -- too much padding will block the air flow, but too little and you may as well be wearing denim.
In addition to the sections of mild padding which are probably more for show than go, the jacket uses some fairly robust (and removable) CE-approved (claimed) elbow and shoulder padding and a decent-sized removable back pad.
The jacket also has a an aero hump in the back that I suppose can add some bounce protection, and the lower back includes padding that is sewn in to the "tail".
The perforated leather sleeves are boosted by double-stitched 1.0 mm leather sections in back of the lower arm.
The jacket also has cinch straps located on the upper and lower parts of the arm, but the sleeves are bulkier than I prefer, and even with the cinch straps at their tightest adjustment (there are only two positions), the sleeves are too loose for my admittedly wimpy arms.
This allows the elbow armor to float around more than I'd like.
The sleeves are also just a touch longer than I expected. The jacket shown here is a size large, and the body fits perfectly -- just a touch on the snug side for my 43" chest and 36" waist.
I normally take a 34" sleeve in a street jacket, but the sleeves on the Aero Sport 2 are maybe about 1" longer than I'd like, even with the extra length taken into account for the arm bending necessary when riding.
So the combination of the slightly loose sleeve fit and extra length makes the sleeves feel a little out of proportion for me.
Not enough to be bothersome, just note that this jacket provides a different fit than, say, the Rev'it "Air" mesh jacket, which fits me perfectly.
I prefer my clothing to fit very snug but with room for movement at the joints.
Too-loose clothing can grab during a fall and slide and there's a chance that the armor or padding will move and will not provide the level of protection necessary to prevent injury.
And since the primary purpose of wearing a dedicated motorcycle jacket is to protect the rider, it's important to make sure all of the protective features will work in a crash.
The Aero Sport 2 jacket also has a decent amount of reflective piping in the front and rear. We took a couple of photos using the flash to illustrate this; see the wBW Lightbox above.
The "AGVSport" logos you can see in the photos are cut from a type of 3-D vinyl, but they are not reflective. And by the way, is it only me, or does the "A" in the circle remind you of Hester Prynne's scarlet letter?
The jacket also includes an 8" (approximately 200 mm) internal zipper that allows it to be attached to compatible AGV Sport pants.
Features, stitching, styling and the rest are fine, but what about air flow?
We think that webBikeWorlders are on to something here -- based on our experience with the AGV Sport Aero Sport 2 jacket, open weave mesh definitely provides more air flow than the jackets using a tighter weave.
This jacket flows plenty of air all around, yet it includes some decently thick padding and the leather used on the arms is both stylish and potentially more abrasion resistant than thin solid or mesh fabrics.
The Aero Sport 2 is a surprise winner in this year's mesh wars. Mesh jackets are all about air flow, and this one has it in spades.
Add in the sharp styling, quality materials and construction and the very reasonable pricing (for a hybrid mesh and leather jacket) and you have one heckuva deal...and by the way, the price is the same for the entire size range.
The only nit I can pick is the slightly loose arms, but motorcyclists less wimpy than I probably won't notice this at all.
|wBW Review: AGV Sport Aero Sport 2 Mesh Jacket|
|Manufacturer: AGV Sport||List Price (2008): $184.95|
|Colors: Black, red or blue.||Made In: Vietnam|
|Sizes: XS-3XL||Review Date: September 2008|