I have previously owned three dedicated summer jackets but never been really happy with any of them. The first jacket was made by Dryrider that I purchased 10+ years ago. This was a very light weight item with minimal protection but maximum cooling. I expected to use it for a limited time until I found something better however I still have this jacket.
The second jacket I purchased was a Cortech item that was supposed to do it all. The base was a combination of mesh, textile and leather with lots of armor. To this you could zip in wind and water proof liner and thermal liner. Instead of doing it all it really did not work well for anything. Heavier than my full leather jacket it was simply too heavy and hot to wear on a summer day and with the liners in I remained cold on a winter day.
In the USA I was caught out by the 40+ heat I purchased a full mesh jacket made by River Road and this was similar to the Dryrider, a light weight item with minimum protection. I gave that jacket away later as the Dryrider was better.
This summer I decided to try get a summer jacket with better protection. I have been very happy with the BMW pants I have so I decided to investigate their jackets.
The BMW Airflow 4 Jacket is actually very expensive (in Australia) if you were looking at it full retail price. I happened to walk in to my local dealer when they had a 40% off clearance and even at a reduced price it was at the upper envelope of what I would be prepared to pay. Fortunately with eBay, Amazon, Google shopping etc you can seek out items worldwide and hopefully avoid paying full retail.
Instead of open weave the jacket has sturdy construction, full complement of BMW’s armor including full back protector and uses ventilation panels at specific locations. Sizing I would say it runs a little small and fits a little more snug but arms are good length.
I was at first a bit sceptical about the ability of the panels to flow enough air but reviews seemed good so I decided to try and indeed the jacket works fairly well on a non fairing bike. The front and rear panels flow air in and along and around your arms and body and back out the rear panels to cool you effectively without resorting to a open weave type construction. An added feature is the jacket is a pale sand colour which does not hold heat like a black item does.
I don’t want you to think I said this was good because of the brand as I actually do not like the brand itself per se as I find like Harley, BMW has too much elitism attached to it however their clothing line seems to be quite good albeit super expensive.
But it is not without fault. The arms have no liner and I find that less comfortable and when not moving you start to heat up faster than a mess jacket. If wanting higher strength than regular mesh this jacket is worth considering but if wanting maximum cooling and comfort in humid conditions then a mesh jacket is better.
Update. I find the jacket on a full fairing bike does not flow enough air.
Update 2. If you are on bike with wind protection this is not the jacket to get. I find I need a full mesh jacket on my touring bike in Japan and arms get heat rash with this jacket.
Update 3. I sold it and have returned to using mesh jacket but am looking for something that is better.