BMW has a long history of offering hi-viz apparel in varying configurations. Enter the BMW NeonShell jacket for 2015, an amalgamation of all the company has learned about neon.

BMW-neonshell-jacket-reviewI slipped on the new NeonShell jacket, which is cut in the short style and the bottom hem rides just below the waist. The design and cut offer good range of movement and comfort.

The NeonShell is more than BMW allows by labeling it a $529 urban jacket. There are no vents, and there is a storm flap over the main zipper — at a glance, this rules out hot weather. There is a single, removable liner that combines windproof and breathable fabric with a layer of polyester insulation. This lining gives the added benefit of having some loft thus yielding a nice warm base, all in one.

At 55 degrees, the liner is welcome and, with the thin poly base layer I wore underneath, would probably serve into the low 50s. Add BMW’s HeatUp electric vest, and a heavier layer, and you’ve got a respectable winter garment.

As the thermometer rises into the high 60s it is time to retire the liner. Even without vents there is ample air movement up the sleeves, which have three snap positions to allow managing of the air flow. In the medium position, I found myself comfortable to about 80 and, by unzipping the main zipper a few inches, I was okay until 90, at which time I was just about sizzling.

The NeonShell proves to offer a temperature range somewhere around the high 40s to high 80s, which was considerably beyond my expectations. It certainly lives up to the urban hype and then some. If your ride takes you out, of the city and won’t get too hot then the NeonShell can handle the job.

The jacket has two snap breast pockets and two zippered slash outer pockets as well as a waterproof pocket and a zippered Napoleon pocket inside. There is a shoulder pocket (affixed with BMW’s roundel) on the left side and a zipper at the lower back to attach to most BMW trousers. There are removable protectors at the NeonShell’s shoulders, elbows, and back, and they are included. It’s easy to get the liner in and out, and this jacket is the complete package, without too many frills.

The BMW NeonShell jacket is a combination of neon outer sleeves and panels together with a mostly gray body and inner sleeves. The gray fabric is water-repellent wax finish 35% cotton and 65% Cordura blend. This fabric, by the way, has a unique appearance and feel and is quite different from pure Cordura and others, used on many jackets and trousers. It has a nice softness, is very attractive and also available in women’s sizes.BMW-neon-shell-jacket-test

After lengthy trips in the rain or washing, owners should refresh the impregnation with BMW’s waterproofing agent, not unlike the original waxed cotton older riders may know.

The neon-yellow material is 54% polyester and 46% polyamide while the C.A.R.E. Climate membrane is 100% hydrophilic polyurethane.

I have friends that swear by hi-viz apparel and helmets. Up until now this never resonated with me, but upon wearing the smart-looking BMW NeonShell jacket just once it has grown on me and I’ve worn it many times since, just because I really like the way it looks and feels. My increased visibility is a nice bonus.