Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who Would Wear A Jacket In The Heat?

OSi Cool Mesh Jacket Review

When I first got my V-Star 1100 and started riding I was using a regular, non-motorcycling, leather jacket. Summer came fast in Texas and I wanted to ride with some protection on, especially being a new rider. I decided I needed to find a mesh jacket soon. Not long after that, I received an e-mail, (I had subscribed), from Value Accessories with a nice looking mesh jacket for sale in it. What really caught my eye were the color choices. They had a titanium color that would match the color of my Mistress, (my bike), and my Vega XT Half Helmet.

OSi Sports manufactures this jacket overseas and is sold through several retailers. I liked their slogan found on their website, "Designed by Riders for Rider Safety and Comfort." The Value Accessories sale price was extremely nice and they had my size in stock, so I ordered one. I choose the least expensive shipping so it would be several days before it arrived. I continued the hot commute back and forth to work sweating all the way.

The jacket arrived as promised, was undamaged, and my debit card had long been debited. I opened the package like a little kid at Christmas time and tried it on. It fit perfectly. Designed for the motorcycle rider, the sleeves were longer than on a regular jacket. I stretched my arms out reaching for some make believe handlebars and the sleeve lengths were just right. I also notice that this jacket had Velcro arm adjustment tabs on the wrists. A lot of jackets I had looked at lacked this feature.

The Cool Mesh Jacket had waist adjustment straps on both sides. The waist adjustment straps use Velcro also. Combined with the side expansion panels it was very easy to customize the fit at the waist. The rear of the jacket also has six-inch gusseted zippers with expansion panels as well. I unzipped them.

The OSi jacket comes with protection for the rider. It has built in dense foam armor at the elbows, shoulders and back. I am not sure how much protection that would give me, but it beats the alternative. The back and shoulder pads are removable and I have never taken them out. It feels nice knowing I had some protection at these critical points. The newer model version jackets available now have no pads in the back. The neck also has a Velcro closure for when you have the jacket zipped up all the way. There is also a zipper at the bottom to attach to OSi pants if you get some.

Something I was not expecting was that this jacket had a full-sleeve thermal liner that is waterproof. I unzipped it out to store in my closet for winter. While removing the liner I also noticed two additional surprises. The fist was a medium sized pocket inside the jacket located at the bottom of the jacket in the fanny pack area. The best surprise was a hidden pocket just inside the zipper on the left side. I unzipped it open and felt inside. Hmmm, just about the right size. I reached in my right front pocket and pulled out my Kel-Tec P3-AT in the Uncle Mikes pocket holster and slipped it in the jacket pocket. I’m no criminal; I do have my Texas Concealed Handgun License. It fit nicely in the jacket pocket and you cannot tell it is there.

The jacket has two layers. On the outside is a mesh outer shell with reflective piping. I like jackets that have reflective material on them. It increases the odds that the driver of another vehicle will see you at night. The Cool Mesh Jacket also has a mesh inner liner. The only issue I’ve ever had with this jacket is the outer mesh jacket material is real easy to snag. I stored the jacket in my saddlebag during the day at work. Being as careful as I could it still would snag on something every now and again. I finally resided in not being careful with it so I would not be so concerned over how well it looked.

Riding with the Cool Mesh Jacket on is almost like riding with no jacket on at all. Once you get moving it feels like you have turned on the air conditioner in a caged vehicle. Riding in the Texas summer heat it felt much better than riding in the leather jacket I was using which had no airflow. In fact there was no comparison at all. Do yourself a favor. If you ride in the heat without protection because you think a jacket is too hot, get yourself a mesh jacket. You can really feel the air coming through all the little holes in these Cool Mesh Jackets.

This fall when the temperatures started getting cooler I zipped back in the waterproof thermal liner. It changed the OSi jacket into a completely different jacket altogether. It is like having two jackets in one. It really kept the cold air out. The Cool Mesh Jacket functioned so good I used it well into winter until I could afford a real leather motorcycle jacket with a quilted liner. The OSi Cool Mesh Jacket is an extremely versatile jacket. Torch gives the OSi Cool Mesh Jacket a M.M.M. Rating of 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Ride on,
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