Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 Jacket Review

My first Joe Rocket Alter Ego jacket lasted about eight years and 70,000 highway miles. I loved the original, while living with its shortcomings, primarily all the zip on and off work that needed to be done as the weather changed.

My timing was right for the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 3.0 mesh motorcycle jacket, with its wind- and rain-proof overjacket. The Alter Ego 3.0 has worked for me in 120-degree desert heat and in torrential monsoon rain that I shouldn’t have been riding through.

Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 Jacket reviewAt first glance, the new Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 is very similar to the 3.0 edition, which is still available. However, it is in the closer look that the enhancements stand out.

The Alter Ego 4.1 outer jacket has two tall vertical air vents—front and rear— compared to the 3.0, which has shorter vertical vents in the front and a horizontal vent in the rear. The 3.0’s rear vent is closed by a flap held in place with Velcro, so there is no way to keep the 3.0 flap open; I never understood its ventilation system. Definitely, the Alter Ego 4.1 outer jacket has superior airflow characteristics.

The Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 mesh jacket has considerably more body mesh area than the 3.0, which only has mesh on the arms and some of the front. In contrast, the Alter Ego 4.1 has a full front and back mesh and the mesh appears to be a more open weave to allow greater airflow.

It took just one desert ride to feel the full effect of Alter Ego 4.1’s all-around mesh. I immediately felt like I was just wearing a wick away T-shirt. I always wear a jacket when riding, and I have never felt so much air on my torso. I switched to the 3.0 for comparison and immediately felt the 3.0’s lack of airflow to my sides.

I brought my Bilt Cooling Waterproof evaporative vest soaking in a baggie to test the airflow under the overjacket. I opened the front and back zippers and took off at about 50 mph. I immediately noticed my back was cool. The airflow through the Alter Ego 4.1 outer jacket with the zippers open is awesome. In comparison, the 3.0 only offered cooling on my chest.

The 3.0 has a lower back foam pad in the mesh vest that I was always having to adjust when pushing against the back of my touring seat. Joe Rocket eliminated that for the Alter Ego 4.1 mesh jacket.

There is less reflective piping on the 4.1 outer than the 3.0, though the 4.1 reflects very brightly. With the mesh jackets on, the fit of the outer feels the same as the fit of the 3.0 outer jacket.

I am disappointed that the mesh jacket is solid black, as I want to be seen and don’t want to wear the Hi-Viz Neon overjacket all the time. Conversely, the CE-rated armor is in the shoulders and elbows of the mesh jacket.

CE-rated back protection is an option—we think it should be standard, even though it’s not yet common. Joe Rocket doesn’t offer a CE back protector for the jacket’s back protector pouch, so you’ll have to use a third-party protector insert, such as something from Forcefield Body Armor.

Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 Jacket rearThe fit of both mesh jackets feels the same to me. The wrist adjustment on the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 is Velcro around the wrist, compared to the 3.0’s zipper down the wrist and relying on the elastic of the wrist area for fit. Both have snaps at the elbows to tighten up any slack arm material, and the waists both have Velcro adjusters for the same purpose. I didn’t notice the collar on mesh or outer jacket of the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1, and that is a good thing.

The 4.1 and 3.0 over jackets, although different in aesthetic design, have the same very useful glasses pocket on the inner chest and the two zippered side pockets appear to be the same size. Both have a fully protected zippered slot/pouch that is designed to hold a second faceshield that unobtrusively wraps around your side. The two side zipper pockets appear to be the same size, though the zipper pulls seem easier to grasp on the 4.1 mesh and outer.

Joe Rocket appears to have used the same inner warmth vest on the 4.1 without any design changes.

Thanks to superior airflow, I am sold on the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 jacket as an upgrade, and I’m looking forward to comfort this summer.

Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 Jacket Fast Facts

  • Colors: Black/Black; Red/Black; Black/Hi-Viz Neon; Black/Gun Metal
  • Sizes: Small to 2XLarge (all color combos); 3XLarge, and Tall Medium to 2XLarge available in Black/Black Only
  • Joe Rocket Alter Ego 4.1 Jacket Price: Starting at $250 MSRP

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