Photos by Jennifer Dail
There is no delicate way to put this: I sweat a lot.
Maybe it’s all the water I drink, or my body just does better in cooler temperatures. My sleepwear year-round is only a pair of boxers, even in the winter when we set our thermostat at 58 degrees. This is perhaps crossing into the area of “TMI,” but I wanted to give you an idea of who is testing a jacket that is supposed to keep riders cooler in summer months. Because I needed one.
Prior to getting the Fly Racing Coolpro Mesh Jacket, my go-to outerwear was a 1.33mm buffalo leather jacket. It’s comfortable up to about 80 degrees with the liner removed and all the vents open. However, I live where it regularly gets into the upper 80s and 90s in the prime riding months. Enter the Coolpro jacket with a removable Hydraguard waterproof, windproof, and breathable liner.
The first thing I did when the Coolpro arrived was a comparison test. It was in the mid-70s and partly cloudy, which is to say I was already comfortable in my leather jacket without the liner. When I returned home and swapped my leather for the Coolpro (also without the liner), I noticed a difference immediately, specifically when I walked out the door and could feel a light breeze. That sensation carried into the ride, when I felt the wind moving through me as opposed to hitting me solid in the chest with my leather jacket.
But the best test of the temperature range came a couple weeks later when I attended a rider-training class 45 miles away. I left my house that morning in the dark with the temperature just above 60. I donned a tank top, a long-sleeve tee, and the Coolpro with the liner in, and I was perfectly comfortable on the interstate. The sun was up by the time I arrived, and the temps were rapidly rising. The liner was the first thing to come off. It’s attached to the shell by two zippers and seven snaps and removes/reattaches quickly.
As the temps climbed into the mid-90s, I also removed the long-sleeve tee. Even still, in a class that was focused on slow-speed maneuvers, my air-cooled Heritage Softail was putting out a fair amount of heat that wasn’t being dispersed by much movement, and … well, I sweat a lot.
However, in those conditions, I would’ve been sweating even if I were riding buck naked (try not to picture it). More importantly, I wasn’t nearly as hot as I would’ve been in my leather jacket. So the Coolpro is a no-brainer for summer riding, but being able to test the lower temperature comfort level also gave me more options for fall and spring riding, when temps where I live regularly fluctuate 30-plus degrees over the course of a day.
As to safety features, the Coolpro comes with removable CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor, as well as a polyethylene foam back and spine protector. The shell has 1680-denier ballistic nylon for the high impact areas of the shoulders and elbows; abrasion-resistant mesh on the chest, back, and inner arms; and 600D polyester everywhere else. It’s a little disconcerting being able to see through the jacket mesh when the liner isn’t in, but I trust that the designers knew what they were doing and didn’t sacrifice too much safety for the sake of a comfortable ride. Because it is a much more comfortable ride.
Other features include reflective panels and logos for added visibility, arm volume adjusters and side expansion panels for a proper fit, a belt loop snap and 8-inch attachment zipper, a microfleece collar, and a YKK main zipper.
My only complaint is the lack of pockets. Compared with most riding jackets, the Coolpro jacket only has two exterior pockets and one interior pocket that can only be accessed when the liner is removed. My desire to have more pockets could be assuaged by any number of bike accessories, but I like having some things on my immediate person.
I selected the standard Black Coolpro, but it also comes in a two-tone Grey, Black with Red accents, and Black with Yellow accents. All styles sell for $179.95 in sizes S-3XL.
It may be a little late in the season for the Fly Racing Coolpro Mesh Jacket depending on where you live, but if you have a loved one who struggles with gift ideas, just inconspicuously leave your November copy of American Rider open to this review somewhere it will be found as a not-so-subtle hint. You may have to wait to wear it, but you’ll love having it for that first sunny spring day.