If you're looking for a relatively lightweight alternative to a mesh jacket, the Zodiac may be it. Smooth styling, robust metal zippers, lots of vents and decent armor are combined with a comfortable, slightly tailored fit to make a nice-looking, affordable jacket. Although ultimately it may not flow as much air as a 100% mesh jacket and it probably doesn't offer the protection of leather, the Zodiac is much cooler than wearing sticky leathers or a 3/4-length textile jacket in hot weather and it looks better, too.
Lightweight jacket with chameleon styling works with anything from cruisers to Adventure Tourers. Includes six zippered vents, nice array of armor and a comfy but stylish fit. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when British Motorcycle Gear suggested the Zodiac jacket as a warm weather alternative to mesh.
After all, mesh jackets have become the apparel of choice for hot weather, right? But there’s something about the styling of mesh jackets that’s a turn-off for a sizeable contingent of motorcycle riders, we’ve discovered. Apparently, the “boy racer” look is the problem.
It wouldn’t take much to persuade me to agree with that one; although mesh clothing has pretty much revolutionized summer riding gear, much of what’s available looks a bit over the top.
That’s where the Zodiac jacket comes in. It strikes a pretty good balance between sport and cruiser styling, if you ask me. And that’s not easy to do. In fact, it even has a touch of Adventure Touring thrown in too. The stripes down the sleeves hint at sport, while the zippers and black fabric say cruising.
It looks great over a pair of jeans and black work boots, but it also has a connection zipper inside, so it can be attached to a favorite pair of riding pants. In fact, the Zodiac looks good enough to wear off the bike too. Try walking into Nordstrom’s wearing your Phoenix jacket and you’ll get as many stares as Paris Hilton.
Well, maybe not that many… But you could easily wear the Zodiac with or without the armor and all of a sudden you’d look cool. Well, some would anyway… Like guys 20 years younger than me. With a full head of hair. And not overweight.
The British Motorcycle Gear Zodiac also has CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders and a “Tempa” foam protector in the back; all are removable.
Although the fabric isn’t mesh, the jacket offers medium to good ventilation, with 130mm long (5″) metal YKK zipper vents on the upper arms and across the front of the chest.
The vents are backed by a mesh liner, which also lines the inside of the jacket and provides a barrier between the rider’s skin and the outer fabric layer.
Two more 150mm (6″) vertical vents are arranged on either side of the back of the jacket, behind the arms and below the shoulder blades. The 6 vent total provides good flow-through ventilation.
Two slash hand pockets also close with metal zippers and all of the zippers have large zipper pulls, making a quick job of opening and closing. Another fairly large pocket is located just inside the left breast placket.
The sleeve cuffs are secured with 130mm (5″) zippers and there’s also a Velcro fastener at the bottom of the cuff for good measure.
The hem at the waist has adjusters on either side. The main entry zipper in the front of the jacket has a 50mm wide (2″) length of the Airdura fabric as a backing.
The neck includes a lapel with a metal snap and two matching snaps to allow some adjustment and the lapel can be folded back over itself and snapped behind, on the left side of the collar, if desired.
This leaves the neck opened slightly, to allow more air to flow in.
The Zodiac jacket has been updated since this review was posted in June of 2007.
The Zodiac includes a section of stretch fabric in back at waist level with a zipper that can be attached to a pair of pants. Although British Motorcycle Gear apparently doesn’t offer a matching pair of pants, the zipper included in the jacket has a mate that can be sewn into the pants of your choice. A local tailor sewed one of these matching zippers into a pair of pants for me once and it works great.
In fact, I have one jacket with 4 different zippers sewn into the back, which brings up another pet peeve — how about standardizing on a certain size and length zipper so that any jacket could zip into any pants?
Just remember that it’s a good idea to try on the pants and jacket while you’re at the tailor’s shop so they can measure everything correctly for proper location.
The Zodiac is available in either the black/gray combination shown here, or black with yellow stripes. The jacket is reasonably priced at $139.00.
If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight alternative to a mesh jacket, the Zodiac may be it.
Smooth styling, robust metal zippers, lots of vents and decent armor are combined with a comfortable, slightly tailored fit to make a nice-looking, affordable jacket.
Although ultimately it may not flow as much air as a 100% mesh jacket and it probably doesn’t offer the protection of leather, the Zodiac is much cooler than wearing sticky leathers or a 3/4-length textile jacket in hot weather and it looks better, too.
From “J.D.” (1/09): “Last year I told you that I bought the Zodiac jacket at the IMS in DC. I was the guy confused about the BMG logo vs the Belstaff logo.
Anyhow I was at the show again this year and the guys there at the BMG store remembered me. T hey are a great bunch of people that work there and very knowledgeable about their product…as was I from reading so many webBikeWorld reviews 😉
I was telling them how happy I was with the jacket and it was then I realized I never gave you my comments on the jacket.
The jacket is very stylish and looks great on my black Triumph Speed Triple. I am amazed how cool this jacket really is!
I rode all summer from 70 to 105 degrees and as long as I was moving I was kept cool and felt safe having some sort of protection.
This is a really a good jacket for summer, but don’t let everyone know because I like being the only guy in a great looking/ cool jacket around all those goofy looking mesh ones. Keep up the great work on the site!”