Joe Rocket Ballistic
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Men's Motorcycle Clothing
2007 Motorcycle Product of the Year!
Summary: This year's perfect 3/4-length jacket
for temperatures ranging from approximately 45 to 80 F (7 to 27 C).
Light weight, very comfortable, fits like a glove, looks great, claimed
waterproof, decent armor, good venting, loaded with innovate features...and the price is right.
It's that time of the year again, unfortunately. The
crisp fall weather here in the Mid-Atlantic means it's time to break out the
latest and greatest 3/4-length jacket and give it a spin.
And what better way to kick off winter than with one of the originals?
The Joe Rocket
Ballistic jacket has been around since, well, let's see...this is version
7.0, if that tells you something.
Go back in time to circa 1998, before webBikeWorld was
even born, and I remember trolling through the motorcycle discussion
boards, looking for rider pros and cons
on the 3/4-length jackets that were available at the time.
People tend to think
that the way it is is the way it was, but there just weren't as many choices
back then. The fabrics and technology of only a decade ago now seem rather
quaint and crude
compared to today's high-tech SuperStuff.
And here's to 10 years hence, when we'll surely be saying
The Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket
I winnowed my choices in 1998 down to two: the original Joe Rocket
Ballistic jacket and the
Darien (wBW review). The 'Stich won out because it was cool to own at
the time and its superior venting was a key factor.
If I recall, the
Rocket Ballistic and many of the other 3/4-length jackets used various types of coated fabrics that
were claimed windproof and/or waterproof, but which limited the amount of air flow,
which is important in any riding condition.
Well, my Darien is long gone, but Aerostich is still pumping 'em
out, and they look exactly the same. It's a good jacket, no doubt, as many
thousands of riders will testify, and there's something to be said for a
product made onshore, from a company that offers lifetime support.
You may recall that one of the powerful arguments for
purchasing from Aerostich is that the company will fix the jackets if they
got damaged in an accident.
That's all well and good, but if I crash -- and survive -- I will be very pleased to
reward myself with an entire new outfit, thank you, and I'll hang the
damaged goods up in the study to remind myself of what might have been. And since a Joe
Rocket Ballistic 7.0 can be had for half the price of a Darien ($249.99 vs.
$497.00), I'd be ahead of the game, and looking sharper at that.
Not to knock the Darien though; there's no question that
some of the Aerostich
innovations have, after all this time, yet to be emulated by the competition.
Like the Rocket Ballistic 7.0, which has a very Darien-looking vent across
While we're on the topic, one thing has always puzzled me,
now that I think about it. When will the other
manufacturers copy the underarm vents of the Darien? Those vents are one of
the best features of the Darien jacket, they work beautifully and they make so much sense.
And, they give
Aerostich a competitive advantage. How about it, manufacturers?
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Details
One of the things I like about the Joe Rocket brand is their
willingness to improve on existing designs. I support the strategy of
taking a basic design and continually improving it, year after year, rather
than throwing out the old and starting over, which always seems to make me
feel like I have been fooled by the company into buying yesterday's news.
So here we are, in 2007, and the Ballistic jacket is still
with us in version 7.0. I'm not sure where I was during versions 2.0 through 6.0, but
the company finally got my attention for the 7.0 with their recent marketing
The first thing I noticed was the styling -- I think the jacket looks great,
especially with the BMW-like reflective stripes on the side.
The red shoulders and contrasting black in front give it a
grown-up sort of Euro-Enduro look, and the wedge-shaped pattern with lighter
colored sides will make any owner look like they've dropped 10 pounds, which
is not a bad thing at all for most of us.
Joe Rocket also is going to great lengths to explain (their
the jacket is 100% waterproof; their adverts even show a pressure washer
and a link to a video of the "water test". Although our extended drought hasn't allowed us to verify the waterproof
claim, it's an important selling point to some.
video of the water test is the Joe Rocket Meteor jacket, which uses the
same chest vent system as the Ballistic. The video is a .mov file
attached to the first post in the thread; see more in the Update below.
The Ballistic 7.0 jacket has several new and innovative features,
Laser Cut Fabric - The individual sections of fabric that make up the
jacket are cut very precisely with a laser, and I think this helps to give the
jacket an excellent tailored shape and fit. The 7.0 fits me like it was
custom-made and it never binds or interferes with serious roadwork. The 630 Hitena
fabric used in the outer shell has a soft
hand, and combined with the shaped fit, makes this probably the most comfortable
3/4-length jacket I've ever tried.
Light Weight - One of the first things I
noticed about the Ballistic 7.0 is its light weight. I'm assuming
this is another benefit of modern fabric technology, which has given us textiles with the same abrasion protection,
water resistance and air flow using lighter, more flexible and softer fibers.
The Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 in size large weighs 4.5 lbs. with the liner.
This makes it about 19% lighter than the Roadgear
XCaliber jacket (wBW review) at 5.25 lbs. and 22% lighter than the
jacket (wBW review) at 5.5 lbs., as an example. The light weight,
comfort and flexibility of the 7.0 make it feel like it's not even there when I'm
riding, which is just the way it should be.
Waterproof (Claimed) Zippers - The jacket has Rev'it-like bonded, stitch-free
zippers on the hand pockets, across the large rear lower pocket in the back and
in the upper rear vent. The rear lower pocket and vent also have a Hitena
flap that covers the zippers and metal snaps to keep the flaps secure. The two vertical chest vents and
the vents on either sleeve are also covered with a fabric flap and have
a secondary (claimed) waterproof
Venting - The flap that covers the rear
horizontal vent can be tucked up and secured with hook-and-loop to
expose the vent and allow maximum air flow. The flaps covering the
zippers on the upper arm vents can also be folded back and secured with
hook-and-loop to form air scoops.
The two vertical chest vents are covered with a waterproof-type zipper on the
outside; underneath is another waterproof-type zipper which opens the liner on the inside. Each
vent has a separate section of fabric inside with a snap, and these sections can be pulled across
the chest and snapped together, which serves to keep the vents open if desired (see photo below). Very
Wind Blocking Waist Skirt - The Ballistic 7.0 has another interesting and unique
feature hidden inside, below the waist. The attached inner (claimed) waterproof
liner has an elastic-equipped wind blocking waist skirt that can be pulled around the front of the
rider's waist and attached with two metal snaps (see photo below). The elastic in
the skirt hem keeps it
flexible and the skirt helps prevent air flow from underneath the jacket, which
can be a problem on other 3/4-length jackets.
This is definitely one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" features and it
really works. And the skirt secures to the inside of the jacket with
matching snaps on either side when not in use.
Neck - The neck is lined with a very soft
and comfortable fleece-like
material extending down into the neck farther than most other 3/4-length
jackets, which usually only use a soft lining around the top of the collar.
The collar does not have any stiffeners, which also makes the entire upper neck
nice and soft and comfy and helps prevent helmet interference.
Front Zipper - The zipper in front has large Nylon teeth and a metal
runner. A flap covers the zipper and the front of the jacket secures with
the same big King Star metal snaps that are used on the
Made2Race Rally Cross Evo jacket (wBW review).
Let's take a look at some photos, and then I'll wrap it up
with a description of the jacket's miscellaneous features and my conclusion:
Lightbox - Click photo to view.
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket - Rear Vent, Opened and Secured
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket - Wind-blocking Waist Skirt
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket - Chest Vents Secured Open
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket - Upper Arm Vents Secured Open.
By the way, the gray-colored stripes on the sides of the jacket are made
from reflective material.
The jacket has CE-approved protectors in the
shoulders and elbows, and because the jacket fits so well, the protectors
feel like they'll stay in place if needed. There's a
much-better-than-average back padding in a removable pocket inside the
jacket, and Joe Rocket has an optional CE-approved back protector that will
The arms have an elastic cinch strap to keep the loose
material from flapping in the breeze. A potential downside of the
tailored fit is that the arms are slightly narrower than most of the too-big
jackets out there; remember that a snug fit is better -- it keeps the
material from blowing around and tiring the rider and it helps keep the
armor and protection in place if needed.
Joe Rocket is known for its "surprise and delight" features,
and if the innovative vents and wind-blocking skirt weren't enough, the
Ballistic 7.0 also includes a motorcycle helmet visor pocket on the inside
of the right placket.
The pocket is covered with a zipper, and a spare visor can
be slipped inside, curved around from front to back on the inside of the
jacket. And speaking of pockets, don't forget that big pocket down in
back, which comes in handy for storing a bottle of water or a sammich.
The Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 jacket is available in an
expanded range of sizes, from S to XXXXXL (5XL); S Tall to XXXL Tall; and S
to XXXL regular.
And finally, the jacket includes an 8" zipper attachment for
Joe Rocket pants and two big hook-and-loop waist
adjusters and an elastic cord at the hem at the very bottom of the jacket to
cinch it up even more, if desired.
Nits to Pick
OK, unless something radical happens in the next 7 weeks, it sounds like the
Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 jacket is on its way to fame as a webBikeWorld pick
for "Motorcycle Product of the Year" (see our
Is it perfect? Almost... I've used the jacket in
temperatures ranging from 45 degrees F to nearly 80. Once it gets
below 55 or so, I wear a cotton T-shirt, a Duofold long-sleeve crew neck (I
basically put a Duofold on in the fall and don't take it off until Spring --
I love 'em!), a cotton turtleneck and the
windproof vest (wBW review).
When it gets below 50, the Ballistic jacket does feel a bit
thin around the upper arms. A windproof shirt, like the
Biker's Comfort in Action windproof
pullover (wBW review), is needed.
By the way, as of this writing, we're also in the process
of evaluating the new Tourmaster Synergy heated vest (and gloves), the
Jett battery heated vest (wBW review) and a yet-to-be-announced
innovative battery heated clothing line from Europe.
The Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 should be a perfect match with
a snug-fitting heated vest or liner; not many other layers are necessary, giving the rider as much freedom
of movement in the winter as in the summer.
So here's the single nit I have to pick: The only
feature I really miss is having an outside vertical wallet pocket on the
left upper chest. The jacket does have a wallet pocket inside the
placket, but I have to undo everything up top to reach my wallet at the gas
pump. If the jacket had a pocket on the outside instead, it would be
perfect. I know, I know -- pretty nit-picky, right?
The Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 jacket is my new favorite 3/4-length jacket for
the 50- to 75-degree range of temperatures. I still bring out what I
consider to be the ultimate cold-weather 3/4-length jacket -- the
Cayenne (wBW review) -- when the weather gets really nasty.
its multiple windproof, waterproof (claimed, not verified) and insulating liners and it's
bug-in-a-rug sealing, there's no better. But the Ballistic 7.0 should
serve as a very worthy and good-looking all-around jacket for a majority of
UPDATE: Regarding the water test, we did not
evaluate the claim that the jacket is waterproof. Joe Rocket
told us that the jacket was tested with one set of zippers fully closed, and
the other side had the secondary zipper totally open. "We brought the
pressure washer really close to get some extreme force behind the rain
hitting the zippers. At one point the force began to unzip the zipper
slider as we were so close (though one would have to be riding in a
hurricane to get this force, which I do not recommend)!!"
They also sent this information: "Also, a part of the
this system that no one would know unless they cut apart the jacket is the
drain tubes. Just in case rain manages to get past the first zippers
on the outer shell somehow, the secondary vent zippers are offset to the
side. The rain that snuck by is then stopped by this fabric.
To prevent any moisture from pooling up in there (should
someone leave the front zippers open and collect a lot of rain) a drain tube
is attached. This drain tube empties out at the bottom of the jacket
on either side of the main zip. You can see some grommets on the
inside. All trapped rainwater will drain onto the riders rain pants."
Review: Joe Rocket Ballistic 7.0 Jacket
Rocket (We got ours at
Retail Price: $249.99 to $269.99
|Colors and Sizes: S to 5XL
-Black/Black/Black. S Tall to 3XL Tall - Black/Black/Black. S to 3XL
- Gunmetal/Gray/Black and Red/Gunmetal/Black.
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "B.K." (8/10): Response to "P" Below: "My
jacket also leaked and was purchased from New Enough as well. I
contacted Joe Rocket in Canada and they sent FedEx to pick the jacket up and
said they will fix it or most likely replace it and because they didn't have
any left they would give me a new model. Talk about UNSURPASSED
CUSTOMER SERVICE. This will allow me to ALWAYS buy and support Joe
From "S.C." (9/09): "The Joe Rocket Ballistic jacket is
fantastic! I just spent the last two days riding in a hail/rain storm
through the Rockies, Nelson to Calgary. It kept the water out but the
surface material stayed wet for a long time after the storm. I didn't
have the liner zipped in so I was a bit cold at 100km/h in the rain.
My favorite part is the left chest wallet pocket. It's between the
zipper and the snapped part. Great for not having to unzip the jacket
to get your wallet out, but the rain flap snaps over the pocket to keep it
From "P" (8/08): "I feel I must add my comment to your
review of this jacket. I bought it after reading your review but I’m
sorry to say I was less than satisfied with the jacket.
Firstly as already mentioned, the collar fastening is rather
tight with no adjustment. There is no inside pocket to keep documents
in (a small complaint but most other bike jackets have one).
But worst of all is that despite the report of the jacket
being waterproof against a power jet wash, mine leaked from new at the
biceps on both arms. I fiddled with zips and everything to make sure
they were secure but sure enough during the next bit of rain it leaked again
at the upper arms.
Perhaps my jacket was defective as the claims made about
it’s waterproofness are totally opposite to my experience.
I bought it from New Enough and they gave me a voucher for
the full amount when I sent it back so full marks to them. I’ve ordered a
Firstgear Jaunt jacket from them (again after reading your review) so I’ll
see how that goes."
From "M.M.": "I found your article on the Joe Rocket
Ballistic 7.0 Jacket good enough to buy one. With the temperature here
getting up into the hi 40s, lower 50s, I decided it was a good day to try
out my new purchase.
I find it to be very light with great wind protection
although with my neck gaiter on, I couldn't snap the collar. No matter
because the gaiter kept everything out! Even though it has a large
rear compartment/pocket, I would have preferred a couple of larger pockets
on the front of the coat and more inside; but I guess the face shield pocket
will suffice. Lastly, it would have been nice if the main zipper were
2 way. It's nice to be able to unzip the last couple of inches for
All in all, a great coat and I don't regret the purchase.
Keep up the great work."