My wife is a pillion rider. I steer, and she tells me when to slow down. We have it all worked out. When it comes to safety, I am a stickler for All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT). She has been riding wearing a Joe Rocket Ladies Alter Ego jacket for many years and, except for the reflective piping showing signs of sun exposure, the colors are still as vibrant as they were when it was new.
With summer approaching, she told me that she would like more airflow. She is more concerned about staying as cool as possible, and less worried about getting wet or cold. Being the dutiful husband that I am, I set about researching the latest Ladies line of mesh jackets.
The Joe Rocket Cleo Elite jacket stands out with a whole list of features that I appreciate for safety, and she appreciates for comfort and style. She chose the Black, though it also comes in Silver and Pink (and a limited-edition Mint/Silver).
Joe Rocket designed the Cleo Elite with as much mesh as possible, plus strategically located abrasion-resistant Dynax fabric in the upper back, ribs, and forearm areas, just in case I don’t keep the rubber side down. There is CE-rated armor at the shoulders and elbows. Even if the back pad was CE, which it is not, she would still have me remove it for lean-back comfort on my Yamaha Venture—not quite ATGATT. There are 360 degrees of reflective piping and the shoulder caps are fully reflective.
She appreciates the ample hand pockets that fit the gloves I can never get her to wear. There are six adjustment buckles, four sliders at the waist, and two-button elastic pulls on the forearms. Inside to the left is a smooth-lined Napoleon pocket that will fit a smartphone or compact camera. Joe Rocket has conveniently placed a secure key clip on the inner right side, which is still accessible if you have the rain liner zipped in.
It comes with a windproof/waterproof full sleeve liner, plus a surprisingly warm but very thin, insulated vest that has two inside, small Velcro closure pockets. I was curious about how much warmth the thin insulated vest provides, so I pushed my office A/C on high and put on the vest by itself. I could definitely feel warmth inside this vest. I don’t know what is sandwiched in its layers, but it does have an obvious heat-retaining ability.
I would consider the Joe Rocket Cleo Elite to be a two-season jacket from late Spring to early Fall, depending on where you ride. If it starts to rain, or if it gets a little chilly after sunset, then the inner liners will get you home dry and warm on top. I wouldn’t suggest purposely heading out into a rainy day, as the jacket is mesh and it will get soaked. If it does get soaked, or you have worn it many times in the heat of the summer, the washing instructions say no machine washing and no machine drying. In case you forget, they are sewn into the jacket.
My wife tried it out on a ride; she told me it fits, is comfortable, and gives her the increased airflow she wanted. She did add that when she leaned forward to point out to me the readability of my speedometer, that the shoulders stretched comfortably, with no binding thanks to stretch panels at the shoulders and waist. The panels make it just that much more comfortable for her to lean forward, but also for a rider to have arms outstretched holding the handlebars. She also mentioned that the length was correct for her torso.
I felt I needed more information about the Ladies Cleo Elite jacket to write a full review, so I put it on and went for a solo ride. Although it is designed for a body type that is different from mine, I was able to give it a thorough evaluation from a rider’s perspective. I expanded the adjustments at waist and forearms, and off I rode.
The collar is a soft roll and not at all noticeable. It was 70 degrees, and I could feel the free airflow over the torso, back, and arms. Sure enough, reaching toward my GPS was aided by the expansion panels, and I felt no binding anywhere.
The water- and wind-proof liner is not breathable, so I was curious how it would feel against my skin at 70 degrees. I pulled off the freeway and zipped in the liner. I immediately liked that the liner has a fine mesh liner of its own that keeps the non-breathable material away from my skin.
I rode 30 minutes with the windproof liner installed with the temperature at 70 degrees. I was expecting to be in a sweatbox very quickly, but I was pleasantly surprised that the fine mesh liner kept a bit of air space. As soon as I pulled off the freeway, I took out the windproof liner and felt the unimpeded flow through this mostly mesh jacket. The airflow feels great, even at 35 mph.
The only issue I could uncover about owning this jacket is where to store the liners. If my motorcycle of choice is a sportbike, the liners may have to stay behind. I wadded up both liners and tried to find a place to stuff them. The insulated vest liner will scrunch up tight enough to fit in a pocket, but the waterproof liner is nearly a jacket by itself, making it too bulky to pack anywhere in the Cleo Elite jacket.
My history with Joe Rocket products is that they last a long time, are engineered well, and are priced competitively. The Cleo Elite jacket is exactly what my wife wanted—more airflow, with the added benefit of flexible panels and multiple fit adjustments. It is definitely not a men’s jacket that has been designed to fit a feminine shape. It is stylish, with all the safety points a motorcycle jacket should have, except a CE back protector. I know this Joe Rocket Cleo Elite jacket will last her a long time and keep her in the airflow comfort she was seeking.
Joe Rocket Cleo Elite Jacket Fast Facts
- Sizes: XSmall – 2 Diva
- Colors: Black; Silver, Pink; Special Edition Mint/Silver (limited sizes)
- CE armor: Elbows and shoulders
Joe Rocket Cleo Elite Jacket Price: From $200.
Joe Rocket Cleo Elite Jacket Photo Gallery