Cruiser Jacket Review
One of my go-to cruiser jackets is the River Road Mesa, part of River Road’s Classic motorcycle jacket line. This adaptable heavy leather jacket is suitable for everything but the most extreme hot and cold riding days, thanks to a subtle-but-effective collection of features.
On hot days, the liner comes out easily-nothing revolutionary there. However, two long, nearly vertical chest vents can be zipped open to let air in, while two large exhaust vents in the rear keep the air flowing. Additionally, there are breather holes in the armpits that add to the airflow. Zippers from the wrist can be loosened, allowing air to stream up your arms, while a button keeps the wrist portion from flopping in the wind. Again, this is not the same as a perforated leather jacket, but the River Road Mesa still works well for most summer riding.
In the winter, the efficient liner goes back in and keeps your body warm down to freezing. Close all the vents, but the underarm holes are still there to prevent sweating, as they subtly vent the jacket. Most appreciated on the coldest days is the integrated Thermal Neck Wrap. On warm rides it is held in place with the liner via a hook-and-loop system. When things cool down, you can take it off the liner and wrap it around your neck-it makes a huge difference. I especially appreciated it on a chilly Rocky Mountain excursion in the fall.
The fit of the jacket is exceptional and, thanks to effectively placed stretch panels (lower back and behind your shoulders), relatively personalized. A hook-and-loop belt with buckle looks good, and allows you to cinch the waist to taste. Undoubtedly, the River Road Mesa has a premium look, with masculine leather and enduring antique-style brass hardware.
Storage is relatively limited. You have the two outer lower front pockets (neither are huge), a zipper-closure interior pocket (for your cell phone) and a button-close interior pocket (for your wallet). All the compartments are easily accessed.
With its classic style, the River Road Mesa looks good on both cruisers and retro motorcycles, and offers just the right balance of bad-boy leather looks and sophisticated styling.
Photography by Riles & Nelson