A solid, well ventilated warm and hot weather riding jacket that provides excellent impact and abrasion protection. Some minor flaws in some materials and design do hit the build quality score of the jacket, however they are simple enough to fix with a little ingenuity, and would more than likely be covered under warranty if pursued.
Materials & Build Quality
Value For Money
Light weight despite protection features
Excellent airflow around the midriff and waist
REV’IT’s SeeFlex and SeeSoft armor on elbows and shoulders, respectively
Zipper is REV’IT’s own and does not budge from where you zip up to
Neck clasp is solid
Decent pockets internal and external
Plastics used for retention systems may not be of the highest quality
Upper chest does not get much airflow
Sport fit, so on larger bodied riders, a little tight
Every riding enthusiast appreciates versatile motorcycle gear. When I reviewed the Alpinestars Andes V3 Drystar Adventure Tourer jacket through the month of April, 2021, at the time the weather was, for Calgary, Alberta, seasonal. Varying between 5 C and 20 C (41 to 68 F), it was perfect weather that the jacket was designed for. It withstood a couple of light rain showers when I was riding home, as well as protected me from some of the strong and cold winds that come down off the Rocky Mountains to sweep across the city.
However, once May 2021 arrived properly, it brought with it a lot of warm winds and unseasonably warm days. I was starting to arrive home from my rides absolutely drenched head to toe in sweat, despite having full ventilation open on the Andes V3. Being an ardent follower of “all the gear, all the time,” I won’t ride without a jacket, and at the time, I knew I had to find a mesh jacket for the upcoming summer season.
After searching far and wide, a lot of commentary was found on forums and in reviews that REV’IT mesh jackets were designed by the Dutch, and therefore fit well on big and tall people. Citizens of the Netherlands are, on the average, some of the tallest people in the EU, and as such, I decided to give their Arc Air jacket a go.
REV’IT was started in 1995 by founder Ivan Vos in the Netherlands. The idea came to him when he was working as a manager at a motorcycle gear importing company, and was seeing only two types of gear come through, the first being badly engineered and designed gear that met only the minimum safety specifications, and gear designed and engineered to be world-class, but also carried a high price tag.
Thus, REV’IT was born to be one of the now many companies that fill in the well-designed-and-well-engineered-but-affordable motorcycle gear market. Through innovations such as the “Engineered Skin” concept of moving stitching from impact and abrasion zones to lower risk areas, and the development of the SeeSoft and SeeFlex non-Newtonian foam armor, REV’IT quickly emerged through the 2000s as a market leader.
In 2008, REV’IT stepped up to participate in MotoGP and World SBK level racing, providing gear for multiple riders, and reaping the rewards of the significant research and development needed to gain FIM approval for racing riders to wear those pieces of gear. This is passed down to the common rider through new materials, new designs, and newly engineered protective equipment.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of motorcycle gloves, jacket, or pants, REV’IT is one of the main brands providing top-level powersport protective equipment, and is pushing to continually develop gear to be comfortable, protective, and affordable.
About webBikeWorld’s Review Policy
This product was purchased by myself for this review, to add to my personal gear. Note that we do not allow brands to influence review scores or content. Please see our review policies for more information.
We here at webBikeWorld believe that you can’t just try something out once and give an honest opinion of it. Any product we test is actually used by our testers, and for the months of May & June 2021, this was my primary riding jacket, with almost daily rides.
The REV’IT Arc Air Mesh jacket is designed from the outset to be exactly what it says it is on the label: a warm and hot weather mesh jacket. In many a previous year, the words “mesh jacket” were cause for concern, as many of the first truly mesh textile jackets were made out of nylon, which could melt under high friction. Sliding along on pavement only to have your jacket melt onto your skin is definitely something that needed to be addressed.
REV’IT solved the issue by developing what they label as PWR|Mesh, which is a 3D weave of polyester around a solid core material, most often nylon. Nylon provides the structural rigidity needed, while the 3D weave of polyester provides abrasion and heat resistance. It is no wonder, then, that fully two-thirds of the main torso of the Arc Air jacket is built from this material.
The other material that the Arc Air uses is a polyester fabric with mild stretch that rates at 600 Denier. This material forms the upper chest padded area, the shoulders, and the main chassis for the arms, providing highly abrasion resistant material on slide and impact zones, with the rest of the jacket using the PWR|Mesh to allow maximum airflow.
In terms of impact protection, the Arc Air uses SeeSmart (SeeFlex and SeeSoft) armor in both the shoulders and elbows. A non-Newtonian foam, it is generally lightweight and conforms very well to the body. A sudden impact, however, causes the foam to harden in an instant to solid armor, and for the Arc Air, is rated at CE level 1.
The elbows and shoulders are double reinforced, with the polyester 600D material in two layers, with the SeeSmart armor in between. The internal liner of the jacket is a loose, open mesh, with a pocket for a back protector provided.
In terms of size adjustments, the main feature is two small velcro waist tugs that let you make sure the bottom of the jacket is firmly in place. There are bicep clips that allow you to make the jacket fit as tight as you need it to, but other than that, there are no other real size adjustments. An 8-inch zip is included to connect the jacket to riding pants, as well as two elastic belt loops allowing for a “tie-down” to your belt in case you are wearing riding jeans.
REV’IT Arc Air Mesh Fit & Comfort
As I stated earlier in the introduction, I am by no means a small guy. I am 6’1” and 280 lbs, with some quarantine pounds packed around the midriff, as well as a broad chest and shoulders from genetics. The “I’m big” issue was what made me look into REV’IT into the first place, as many Dutch are also quite sizeable human beings.
My Arc Air Mesh jacket is size 3XL, the largest option for this particular piece of gear. The jacket is also shaped into what could be called a relaxed sport fit, but is nowhere near as spacious as many adventure and/or touring jackets can be. This is both design, to keep the material tight to your body to protect during a slide, as well as a bit of unfortunate belly size gain through 2020 on my part.
The jacket has enough spacing to fit someone even as thick front-to-back as myself, as long as you abide by REV’IT’s sizing guide.
In general, the jacket fits surprisingly well. There is a gentle squeeze across my shoulders for the first minute or so of wearing the jacket, but after that minute, my body is used to it and I don’t notice it. There is no tightness across the chest, even with my 50 inch size, which makes the jacket quite comfortable. The arms are perfectly sized, and I find that I don’t need to make any adjustments with the bicep clip, leaving it at position 1 as it came from the factory.
The only place I felt that the jacket was a bit tight was, unfortunately, on my quarantine belly. Even then, however, it fits well without the need to suck in said belly, and once I’m on the bike and riding, I don’t even notice it being tight. I do use the belt loops to attach to my belt, because even at 3XL, I found the jacket to be about half an inch short to my hip area.
Once the jacket is zipped up and the neck closure buttoned, the waist straps cinch the base of the jacket tight to you. They are not meant to be fully structural, just adjustments to make sure the jacket doesn’t ride up during a slide if one does occur. It is also in this area that I experienced my first real issue with the jacket.
Right hand-side plastic buckle, which broke during testing phase.
After about two weeks of riding with the jacket, I was stopped at a stop light when I felt something go “pop” on the jacket. Looking around, I saw that the right hand side plastic buckle that the velcro feeds through had snapped in half, with one half hanging in the strap, the other half on the pavement. This could be a one in a million manufacturing failure, or it could be a weak point in the jacket, I honestly do not know as the left side buckle has remained strong.
Sometimes the simplest of fixes will get you through a season so you can warranty the jacket after the hot weather disappears!
Thankfully, when that failure did happen, I was on my way home from picking up a few bits from the hardware store, including a couple of small 2-inch carabiners to secure my tail bag zip with. It turns out that a 2-inch carabiner makes a good temporary replacement buckle for a motorcycle jacket! I did speak with REV’IT, and they have said that it would be covered under warranty, so I plan to ride out the summer with the carabiner, and when it gets cold enough to go back to my touring jacket, I will be sending the Arc Air in for a warranty repair on the buckle.
REV’IT Arc Air Mesh Ventilation
The entire purpose of the Arc Air Mesh jacket is to flow air, and a lot of it. That said, there are specific areas that have different levels of air flow, and are worthy of being discussed.
The chest and upper back areas are a combination of the 600D polyester and the 3D polyester mesh, with some foam padding for comfort. This foam padding does reduce the amount of ventilation that passes through, although it still flows a significant amount of air.
The majority of the thoracic region on both the front and back is the high air flow mesh, and once you get moving on the bike, it can honestly feel like you’re not wearing a jacket at all with how much air moves through. The only thing grounding you to the fact you are wearing a jacket is that the sides of the thorax, all the way up to the underarms, is 600D polyester as it is a major slide zone.
Along the sleeves, from the underarm, down the inside side of the sleeve to just before the wrist closure, is full mesh. This allows a lot of air to flow up your arms, across your underarm area, and then out the back of the jacket, helping wick away heat and sweat. The front, back, and outer of the sleeves are full polyester, with double reinforcement at the shoulders and elbows for impact and slide protection.
The arms are precurved, and a comfortable accordion zone sits above each elbow, which didn’t hamper my movements in any way whatsoever. These accordion zones are also of 600D polyester, but with added elastic fibers to that they serve as both a structural element, and protection.
There are only three pockets on the entirety of the Arc Air. There are the two zippered external pockets, which easily hold a cell phone, a wallet, and things of that size. There is one internal pocket built into the mesh liner, which closes with a central tab velcro that is meant to be used as a quick stash pocket for flat things.
It should be noted that as these pockets are all in airflow zones, they have no waterproofing whatsoever apart from the natural water repellent nature of polyester. Also, the inside pocket, during a heatwave, will get soaked in sweat.
All the zippers on the jacket are “meaty,” in that they engage solidly, have a reassuring, chunky feel when they are zipped up, and are stitched in extremely well. The main front zipper also holds where you zip it up to, so even if the collar is not done up, the zip will not work its way open on you.
REV’IT Arc Air Mesh Visibility
One of the few areas where I feel REV’IT has dropped the ball on this jacket is reflectivity. On the entirety of the jacket, only the REV’IT logo on the upper back has any reflectivity/visibility enhancement. There are no reflectors on the arms or the front, nor at the waistline.
During the two nighttime rides I took wearing the jacket, I was so concerned about this that I pulled my high visibility vest out of storage, from when I worked as a landscaper, and wore that over the jacket.
I will admit that this is a personal preference thing, and some subjectivity in my ATGATT and safety oriented mindset does play into it. During night time rides, I want to be visible. Not just a tiny logo reflection that will probably have the driver of a car move closer to see what it is out of curiosity, but a full torso sized reflection to make that driver realize “oh, there’s a motorcyclist there!”
REV’IT Arc Air Mesh Real World Testing
The REV’IT Arc Air Mesh jacket has been my primary riding jacket from the day it arrived. Only twice in the testing period from mid-May to late June did the temperature drop low enough to warrant going with the Alpinestars Andes V3 jacket instead. Calgary is also, at the time of this writing, in the midst of an extended heat wave that is seeing far higher than seasonal temperatures in the mid to high 30s and nearly to 40 C (95 to 104 F).
I have experienced multiple weather types while riding with the jacket, from sunny and calm, to imminent rain and gusting winds. All the while, I have been pairing the jacket with a Klim Aggressor -1.0 Cooling Shirt, which combines well with a mesh jacket to wick away sweat and heat and accelerate the evaporation process, which is what actively cools the body.
Between 15 to 30 C (about 60 to 85 F), the jacket works as advertised. Air flow is almost immediate when you move off, and a lot of heat is carried away very quickly via the thoracic mesh. The upper torso wicks away heat too, but at a slightly reduced rate so you don’t cool down so quickly as to have temperature shock. The inner arm mesh from the armpits to the wrists is superb, and creates almost a vortex effect as it passes under the armpit and out the back, literally sucking heat away from one of the biggest heat sinks of the body.
The solid material around the shoulder area that traps in heat when it is, by dictionary terminology, “stupidly hot.”
Things start to get a little less comfortable above 30 C/86 F. Heat, by nature, rises. As well, black absorbs heat, and three of the four colorways you can get the Arc Air jacket in are with black as the primary color. What I found happening is that with the neck snap done up, my collar and shoulders were starting to get very warm, even when travelling at 80 to 100 KPH (50 to 62 MPH), due to the abrasion and impact protection features in those areas..
I would attribute this to the fact that the neck does fit well around the neck, not chokingly tight, but also not flapping around so loose that it would cause the jacket to balloon up. To resolve this heat, I undid the neck snap and unzipped about three inches at the next stop light, and the instant I started to move and air was able to sneak up and into those areas, it was forced out the back of the jacket and carried away.
As well, the pockets do block a lot of airflow, and I found that I sometimes had to tug the jacket away from my body at stop lights to let a little heat seep out from my lower abdomen. When moving, enough air pushes in around the pockets to get some cooling in there.
Final Thoughts: A Well Designed Jacket With Only A Couple Of Issues
The REV’IT Arc Air Mesh jacket is a very well engineered bit of kit. It has high airflow across a good portion of the torso, and has full length ventilation along the insides of the arms, something that many mesh jackets forgo in favor of adding abrasion resistance or having zipped vents at the forearms. The fit is good, and does not impede any necessary movement for controlling a motorcycle.
There are a couple of areas that bring it down from being one of the best of the best, however. The velcro buckle snapping in half was surprising, however, the warranty will repair the buckle or replace the jacket, whichever is easier. What is a little less excusable, and not covered by any warranty, is the fact that the collarbone, top of the shoulders, and neck area really have no way to displace any heat that gets trapped in there through design.
The only way to dissipate that heat is to undo the neck clasp and unzip the front of the jacket slightly. While this is fairly common for many riders to do in hot weather, it is a good thing that REV’IT jacket zippers are so good that they stay where you set them. I have seen the results of riders unzipping their jackets minorly, only to have the wind rip those jackets open like parachutes because of low quality zippers.
Apart from the buckle breaking and the heat entrapment issue in, to be honest, way higher than seasonal temperatures, I have no problem considering the REV’IT Arc Air Mesh jacket as a solid performer, with excellent comfort and a light weight coupled with strong protection. It moves a lot of air, works excellently with a cooling shirt or other base layer, and feels solidly built.
My overall score for the jacket is 4 out of 5 stars, or 80%.