I’m already familiar with the Joe Rocket Phoenix motorcycle jacket. I had one of the original gray ones, and I can tell you that what it lacked in style it made up for functionally.
I successfully crash-tested that original jacket, so I bought a red and black version the following year.
It was unbeatable for hot weather motorcycle riding, but that only covered a small part of the riding year here in the northeast. When going out for rides that might end after dark, I usually stuffed a warmer jacket somewhere in my luggage. I know it seems like a pain in the neck, but knowing I was protected and not overheated was well worth taking two jackets.
Fast-forward about 10 years later, and here I am testing the new Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 Mesh Jacket. The first thing anyone comparing this to an earlier version will notice is that the mesh material on the new motorcycle jacket is a finer, smaller diameter weave which is much more visually appealing.
To someone unfamiliar with the previous version, you’ll simply find this new 5.0 version of the Phoenix jacket to be a well-made piece of motorcycle riding gear. The seams are well stitched and straight, the zippers work smoothly, and the adjustment straps are easy to use and effective in changing the fit of the motorcycle jacket.
Although, I (fortunately) didn’t motorcycle crash test Joe Rocket’s jacket, the armor in the elbows, shoulders and the removable spine pad are unobtrusive and seem to be placed correctly.
The graphics on the motorcycle jacket are somewhat understated, and I received several compliments on the blue, gray and black version that I was testing, as well as feedback from others that the reflective piping on the sleeves and body showed up well at night. If you are a cruiser rider and prefer to blend with your fellow riders, Joe Rocket makes an all-black edition.
This jacket has the goal of keeping the rider cool using Joe Rocket’s Free Air Mesh Ventilation. I suspected that the new 5.0 version, with its tighter weave and fabric coverage on the shoulders might be a bit warmer than my early version all-mesh Phoenix, and my suspicions were confirmed in back-to-back motorcycle testing.
You’d think that this would be a bad thing, but that wasn’t the case with the new motorcycle jacket. I was still cool enough on hot days that I didn’t feel overheated, but the low temperature range of the jacket was significantly extended.
Previous rides in the early Phoenix jacket had me digging in the tankbag of the Honda Interceptor for the other jacket once the temperature got in the low 70s in humid weather.
The additional fabric on the shoulders seemed to be just enough to keep me comfortable and I arrived home several times wearing just the 5.0 when the thermometer on the Honda VFR was reading down in the mid-60s.
When completing a motorcycle ride at dusk, the Phoenix 5.0 was the only jacket I needed. I also appreciated how the 5.0 zipped to the Phoenix 2.0 pants, which I wore regularly with the jacket, although that union usually seemed a bit tight when I was in a sportbike tuck.
Most bike rides found me enjoying airflow through the pants and my jeans while the Phoenix jacket and pants were worn together, but uncoupled.
An additional feature that Joe Rocket includes with the new Phoenix 5.0 is a zip-in waterproof liner. I zipped the waterproof liner in for a warm summer shower and was pleasantly surprised by its ability to keep me from getting waterlogged.
Although I had a small amount of water make its way down my neck at traffic lights and stop signs, the jacket was much more waterproof than I guessed it would be. I stayed warm and mostly dry, which gave me an idea–I put a light fleece on under the waterproof liner, and suddenly I had a jacket that had the ability to keep me cool, keep me dry and keep me comfortable at temperatures deep into the 50s.
The new motorcycle jacket far exceeded my expectations, and when you take into consideration the fact that most of us prefer to ride on warm, dry days that may turn a bit chilly or hold a brief shower, this new Phoenix 5.0 might just be the perfect riding jacket if you leave room in your tank bag for the small waterproof liner and a fleece.
I rode from the sunny days of spring through the heat and humidity of summer and am now riding on cool fall days watching the foliage change, all wearing the same motorcycle jacket.
I pushed what would normally be the comfort level for ventilated gear and found two new favorite products that I highly recommend, especially with Joe Rocket’s MSRP at the exceptionally reasonable price points of $160 for the Phoenix 5.0 Jacket and $140 for the Phoenix 2.0 Pants.
Try using the Joe Rocket motorcycle gear the way I did and I’ll wager that the Phoenix 5.0 becomes your most-worn riding jacket.