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A good jacket is essential for a motorcycle rider for weather protection, comfort, and safety, and of course, it should make the rider look good in it. The priorities are safety and weather protection.
Traditionally, seasoned motorcycle riders depended on leather jackets for their ruggedness and resistance to abrasion. The main drawbacks of a leather jacket are it is too heavy and warm for a hot climate.
Mesh jackets and textile jackets are alternatives to traditional leather jackets. The developments made in the production of mesh and textile jackets (quality and strength) have improved their level of protection and safety.
So, which is better? Mesh vs textile jacket is the topic of today’s article.
The pros of a mesh jacket are it has numerous tiny pores that allow air to keep your body cool, but on the con side, it will not be much help in the event of a crash. Textile jackets are warm, have better abrasion resistance than mesh jackets, and can withstand sliding over the road during accidents at moderate speeds, and the con of textile jackets is they cannot keep you as cool in the summer.
We’ll discuss more below.
Mesh vs Textile Motorcycle Jackets
Mesh and textile jackets are gaining popularity. Many motorcycle riders go for them since they are affordable and have multiple options.
However, the common question that bugs a motorcycle rider is ‘which motorcycle jacket is better, mesh or textile’? Keep reading to find an answer to figure out what will work best for you.
Mesh Motorcycle Jacket
Even though we call this jacket a mesh jacket, in reality, it consists of a chassis made from a durable, abrasion-resistant, breathable material like 600 D Cordura or 600 Denier Oxford Fabric and mesh panels in the front, back, and inside of the arms.
The total area of the jacket covered by mesh panels differs from brand to brand.
A mesh panel has tiny holes on its surface. If you hold a mesh panel against the sun or other sources of light, you can actually view the holes.
A mesh jacket allows the airflow into your body not only to take away the sweat but also to cool you down. A constant flow of air into your body will reduce sweating.
Mesh jackets typically have adjusters at the waist, collar, sides, cuff, and sleeves, and can be used to make the fit more comfortable according to the individual choice.
An average-quality mesh jacket often comes with CE-grade removable armors for the protection of shoulders, elbows, and spine.
Some mesh jackets come with removable windproof and waterproof liners to withstand a bit of cold and rain. However, adding more protection makes the jacket heavy and may make it uncomfortable for summer riding.
Mesh jackets are lightweight and less cumbersome. These qualities can help make your ride more comfortable during hot and warm weather.
Compared to a textile jacket, mesh jackets are comfortable for hot weather weather, but, this added coolness and lightness may come at the cost of losing some protection.
Mesh jackets typically cost you less than a textile jacket.
Mesh jackets are usually not suitable for cold weather, rain, and snow.
Mesh jackets give you the least protection in a crash and usually cannot sustain a slide on the road.
Mesh jackets suit more to a moderate and safe motorcycle rider, but if you are a speed rider and want to take risks this may not suit you.
The primary objective of a mesh jacket is to keep more areas porous and this gives less room for style and variety. There are sufficient variations of mesh jackets to choose from, but, the choices are fewer compared to a textile jacket.
Textile Motorcycle Jackets
Textile jackets are made from tough fabrics (a mix of polyester and nylon) that have abrasion resistance and can protect you from cold and moderate rain. An average textile jacket comes with CE-grade removable armors for shoulders, elbows, and spine, and removable waterproof and thermal liners.
Textile jackets give more protection and safety and they are good for cold weather; but, they are heavy and not as comfortable in the summer.
Textile jackets will not tear due to abrasion as easily as mesh jackets.
Many textile jackets come with typically zipped air-flow pockets that can be unzipped to have some airflow.
If you are living in a place that has moderate summer, a bit of rain, and cold winter, a textile jacket (some call this four seasons jacket since it works in rain also) may suit you.
Textile jackets can withstand moderate or slow-speed falls, crashes, and slides.
Textile jackets may make you sweat during summer, but they give you excellent protection from the cold during winter and can withstand moderate rain.
A textile jacket gives you better protection in the event of a crash and is better equipped to protect your body from rubbing on the road.
The choices of textile jackets in materials used and style far exceed the mesh jackets and versatility is a major advantage of textile jackets. Textile jackets generally have better durability.
A textile jacket is nice and warm during winter, but that same quality may make it a bad choice for hot weather.
The weight of a textile jacket makes this problem worse.
A textile jacket has better abrasion resistance compared to a mesh jacket, but this may not be sufficient in the event of a very serious accident.
Mesh vs. Textile Jackets at a Glance
Suitability for Hot Weather (Air Flow)
Mesh jackets have mesh panels with numerous tiny holes and allow good air circulation. Keeps you cool in hot weather.
Textile jackets do not have mesh panels and are not as good for hot weather. However, many have small mesh panels that can be unzipped to allow some airflow.
Protection Against Cold
Mesh jackets cannot offer as much protection against cold due to their mesh panels. However, a mesh jacket with a thermal liner can withstand a bit of cold weather.
Textile jackets give better protection against moderate cold weather, but, you will need added thermal liners and sweaters for riding in severe cold.
Protection Against Water (Rain or Snow)
Mesh jackets are not waterproof and cannot protect the rider from rain or snow.
Textile jackets can protect the rider in moderate rain but they will not be of much use in a heavy downpour.
Safety in a Crash
An average mesh jacket comes with removable armor for the shoulder, elbows, and spine and helps you withstand a simple fall at a slow speed. However, the jacket may become useless in a more serious accident.
Textile jackets are made from tough fabrics (a mix of polyester and nylon), have fairly good abrasion resistance, and have armors for shoulders, elbows, and spine. The textile jacket can better withstand a crash at an average speed.
A simple textile jacket is more expensive than a mesh jacket since the material used for a textile jacket are superior and offer better protection and safety. The cost of a textile jacket increases with additions like armor, liners, air breather pockets, etc.
We have discussed mesh v/s textile jackets in this article. But, which one is better for you? The answer to this question depends on your personal choice, your riding style, and more importantly the weather conditions in the area you live.
If you have to ride your motorcycle in rain and cold weather for most of the year, a mesh jacket may not be the correct choice. Also, if you are a fast rider, and inclined to take more risks, a textile jacket will typically offer you more protection than a mesh jacket.
So, make your selection wisely and be safe.