Icon, Cortech & Joe Rocket Mesh Motorcycle Jacket Comparo

Icon, Cortech & Joe Rocket Mesh Motorcycle Jacket Comparo / Reviews – Three Ways to Cool

It’s the heat of summertime and when it comes to keeping cool while staying safe, nothing gets the job done more effectively than a mesh textile jacket.

However, there are different approaches to sport-oriented mesh jackets, as evidenced by the Cortech GX Sport Air 3, Icon Citadel Mesh, and Joe Rocket Resistor.

For the hottest conditions, the Cortech GX Sport Air 3 is the jacket of choice. Fully mesh through the Armor-Link III torso and arms, the GX Sport Air 3 also has a highly perforated inner liner, so there is little to stop cooling airflow from reaching your body. It works.

Icon and Joe Rocket flow less air by design—temperature aren’t always triple-digits — and they accomplish their goal in distinctive ways.

The Icon Citadel is all about a large mesh area across your chest, with a bit of mesh at your biceps and underarms. In the rear, air exhausts though a large mesh expanse in the back, with a finer mesh used in the liner than Cortech. It’s perfect on warmer days, though it doesn’t have the unrestricted flow of a full mesh design.

Joe Rocket manages the air in a different way than the Citadel. The Resistor’s chest area is primarily non-mesh, so the air is directed through the underarms, and a bit through the shoulders. It is almost a direct pass-through under the arms because the central portion of the back is non-mesh.

When choosing between the Icon and Joe Rocket, it really depends on what part of your body is most sensitive to heat build-up. Some of us like cooler arms, while others prefer the flow across the chest. It is definitely a personal preference decision, and both have similar cooling performance.

Depending on your locale, adaptability of the jackets can be an issue. The Joe Rocket Resistor and Icon Citadel have insulated vests, with the Icon vest being a bit thicker. The Resistor vest uses one zipper and is on or off in seconds. Two zippers and some snap-loop connectors get the job done on the Citadel, and take maybe a minute or so—both are fast.

Given that the Citadel takes most air through the chest and the vest blocks that, it is clearly the warmer of the two, as the Resistor still takes on plenty of air through the arm area.

Cortech has the most involved weather adaptability. It has two liners, both of which have full arm coverage — a good thing for the full mesh GX Sport Air 3 design. One zip-in liner is waterproof, wind-resistant, and light- weight, with its own mesh liner to keep it from becoming clammy.

Inside that layer, a fairly thin quilted liner can be attached with a zipper, for both warmth and waterproofing, making this at least a three-season jacket. As a bonus, the two liners can be used individually, making the Cortech GX Sport Air 3 fully adapt- able to conditions.

Sport riding doesn’t require the ability to carry a lot of cargo on your person, though basics like a wallet and phone, and perhaps house keys and a garage door opener should be accommodated easily. All three jackets have two similar external hand pockets, as you would expect, as well as an interior left-side zippered chest pocket. For many people, that will be enough, and that’s all the Joe Rocket Resistor offers.

Cortech leads the way in this department, thanks to two lower left interior pockets—one phone- and one wallet-sized—with f laps that close via hook-and-loop, and a handy tab for opening and closing. On the right, the Cortech Sport Air 3 also has a larger, looser pocket, with flapless hook-and loop closure—not as secure.

Icon has a large left-side pocket that snaps shut, though without a flap. Larger items will stay put. There are also two tiny pockets on the inside left, down near the bottom. They don’t have secure closures — you just slip something in there, though we aren’t sure what. You could put an Apple iPod Shuffle in one and a couple of bucks for tolls, perhaps.

Safety is always a major concern, and each company has its own ideas. For fans of D3O impact protection, the Icon Citadel has it in the back, shoulders and elbows. We have to say, we like the soft feel of D3O protection, and are fascinated by its ability to harden on impact.

CE-approved protection is used by Joe Rocket in the shoulders and elbows of the Resistor. External zippers for the four protectors make it easy for you to upgrade (or remove) the armor whenever you like — we like the convenience and the look. The back protector is not CE-approved, though you can install one easily enough if you feel the need.

Cortech also has CE-spec elbow and shoulder protection, though you will have to dig around inside the jacket to change it or remove it — a pain for the elbows, certainly. The back protector has articulation around the kidneys, but is smaller than the others. Again, that is easily upgradeable if it’s a concern for you.

As far as fit goes, that is always a personal body shape issue. Icon has no adjustments for the Citadel, so what you see is what you get. Both Cortech’s GX Sport Air 3 and Joe Rocket Resistor jackets have hook-and-loop waist belts that are easy to manipulate.

The same two companies also have three-position arm snaps to tighten the sleeves to taste. All three jackets are ergonomically sound with curved sleeves and a cut that suits sport riding.

We don’t want cookie-cutter motorcycles, and we expect the same sort of variety when it comes to jackets. The mesh jackets from Cortech, Icon, and Joe Rocket attack the same problem from different perspectives, making it easy to select the approach that best suits your needs.

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Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.

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