Regardless if one attributes the oft-used quote “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” to British fellwalker Alfred Wainwright or a Norwegian proverb, limiting one’s motorcycle joy to fair weather only is a travesty.
Choosing appropriate riding gear takes patience, research and a total understanding of where you plan to ride and where you find yourself riding frequently. Racking up 50,000 or so miles a year on various bikes, my mix includes frequent jaunts through the nearby Santa Cruz mountains and a daily 60-mile round trip commute to the office. Top that off with a blazing-hot summer and there’s a need for a breathable jacket with the protection needed to get there and back swiftly and safely.
The AETHER Draft Mesh Motorcycle Jacket topped my list nearly 2,000 miles ago. During my interview with the company founders I quickly understood their business objectives, aligning with their design ethos of smart, understated and functional. The three of us belong to Generation X, and prefer a work-life balance while striving to work smarter after striving too much in our youth to work harder.
My home base in Mountain View, California affords me a central starting point for riding joy in several directions, with a Mediterranean climate and decent pavement promising motorcycle bliss. I’ve grown accustomed to riding in the winter rain and fog, and my Midwest origins allow me to appreciate the heat, which is considerably less humid where I’ve called home in California for 16 years.
Thankfully there were no incidents to check the jacket’s abrasion resistance, as I work hard to stay upright. The leather sleeve panels provide an extra layer of protection, with CE certified D30 armor in the elbows, shoulders and back. The jacket immediately felt comfortable, with no need for a break-in period to soften the fit like most leather jackets.
I experienced temperatures topping 106 degrees Fahrenheit on a few occasions. Wind flow was as expected through the mesh, and while my head felt the heat inside my helmet, my torso was noticeably cooler compared to riding with a zipper-vented leather jacket. Is black the ideal color for a hot weather jacket though?
It has been a challenge finding suitable jackets in the past, where a slightly oversized garment meant some billowing in the torso or not enough length in the sleeves. Overall fit for the Draft Mesh size Large was spot-on for my long arms, wide shoulders, 6’1” frame and 195 pounds.
I initially thought my hot weather riding window would be limited this summer, but as temperatures continue to hover in the 80s and 90s, my go-to jacket continues to be the AETHER Draft Mesh. And when the temperature drops a bit, there’s a water-resistant and windproof outer shell, seam sealed with snap tabs connecting it to the Draft Mesh jacket that I’ve used in the early morning or when I’ve been caught out at night. Reflective tape at the back and sleeves gives me a little safety peace of mind, while zippered hand openings allow access to the pockets in the mesh jacket.
- The svelte pattern mean no billowing in the wind
- Appropriate sleeve length and back waist coverage
- Soft leather collar
- Easy zipper tab pull
- D30 protection
- Water-resistant and windproof outer shell, seam sealed with snap tabs connecting it to the Draft Mesh jacket for cooler or wetter weather
- Is black the best color for a hot weather jacket?
- Pocket zipper angles are somewhat severe
Color: Jet Black
Sizes: XS, S, M, L (tested), XL, XXLVisit AETHER Apparel