Warren
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Examining my DriRider brand mesh summer jacket I noticed it was a bit tired looking. I thought this must be over ten years old then when I counted back realised actually it was 20 years old!

I went to Naps motorcycle accessories shop Yokohama where I tried on a number of items. Both my summer and 3 season jackets are well worn but I will start by replacing the current season’s item. My choices were varied and I pondered do I go with a new design or same again. Normally I would choose new or different but given the DriRider did the job for last 20 years then logic suggests get same.

The RS Taichi Crossover Jacket is very similar to design of old DriRider. There is a Yamaha branded version (known as Y’s Gear in Japan) which is a lighter colour so I opt for that as I find light colours in other gear I own do not soak up heat as much when the temperatures get really high.

The construction is light weight and that is something I wonder about with all these mesh jackets. Are they able to protect you. Obviously not as well as leather. I had a very good summer leather jacket once but ended up giving it away to a friend as I found it did not suit a tropical summer. I still have a BMW summer jacket which is built like a tank but that is bit snug on me and doesn’t cool much (update, I sold that).

The idea we slide down the road like Moto-GP stars making abrasive resistance most important is not what I have witnessed and experienced. Rather riders fall and tumble quickly off road into gutter or guardrail. Good armor and having it in place when I took a tumble hitting black ice on my second ride in Japan is what saved me from injury.

But there is no denying these summer jackets are very light construction. Japanese rider gear as I have noted before is not made as well as European brands and nothing has a CE rating so I may still seek a better jacket in future. I’m not sure what that could be. Based on my experience coming from the sub tropics mesh is most effective for a summer ride where it is hot and humid. If it was dry heat then other styles would work. I even used my three season jacket in Oman where it was in the 40’s. In that dry oven condition better not to be blasted with air and instead have jacket puff up with a insulating cushion of air.

This mesh jacket has level 1 type armor but as usual the back pad is flimsy. The cut of the jacket keeps the elbow armor in place unlike more loose jackets and that is something I was seeking. The zipper is better quality item than my old jacket but no secondary fastening at the base and no chest padding or lower tail padding. The pockets are also mesh so it flows a lot of air but less convenient to hold things. An inner pocket is placed low but there is no inner chest pocket.

There is a zip in windbreaker or rain jacket which I can get separately for little extra. Not sure the rain jacket would do much, but the wind breaker which folds up to tiny size might be handy. For SE Asia I changed to using my old Alpinestars WP10 jacket which might seem odd choice but I ride those countries in the winter when is is cool in mornings then hot in afternoon and find a regular jacket is better balance than mesh.

On the road.

I’m on tour with the jacket now, my 7th day and its 32-36 degrees and high humidity every day. Mornings are already sticky, no need for a liner. As expected it flows considerable air same as my old jacket did. As long as I am moving and keep hydrated it is not unbearable.

The collar is comfortable. The DriRider had a loop attachment there to keep it closed with the zipper lowered. However with the entire front having nothing to obstruct air there is less need to do that with this jacket and keeping the zipper up reduces the chance of it being pulled backwards in wind exposing the rear of your neck to sun.

The cuffs do not open much. This limits air into sleeves but that also limits them riding up my arms exposing upper wrist to sunburn with shorty summer gloves (as my dryrider did). Inside the arms there is a smooth touch perforated liner which helps avoid heat rash but still is a bit clingy. This is also found in the body of the jacket.

Considering this is not a base model from RS Tachi I think the construction could be improved with extra layers of something like super fabric in couple of impact sections and some chest armor (its an option apparently). I tried a few other heavier construction jackets but they were going to be too hot in the extreme humid days same as my existing BMW jacket.

And that is the trade off. This type of jacket is really just for use in tropics conditions. Steamy hot summer rides that with heavier gear you simply would never leave home. Ok for a ride in Philippines and passable for here peak summer. Both those places are low road speeds. When I can travel overseas again post Covid I will be looking to update much of my gear to European quality and this summer jacket may be included in that.

Update:

I am 12 months into ownership and am even less satisfied than I was initially. I upgraded the back protector and added chest pads but this then made the jacket feel a little snug on me.

It also seems too snug in the arms and does not flow air up the sleeves, My old Alpinestars Andes jacket actually might be cooler once moving because the cuffs scoop up a huge amount of air that flows in and the jacket puffs up rather than clings to me as this one does.

I’m already looking at other jackets.

One Comment

  1. Brendon Lim

    Good to see you posting!

    Take care then!

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