• “I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when British Motorcycle Gear suggested the Zodiac jacket as a warm weather alternative to mesh. After all, mesh jackets have become the apparel of choice for hot weather, right?
But there’s something about the styling of mesh jackets that’s a turn-off for a sizable contingent of motorcycle riders, we’ve discovered. Apparently, the “boy racer” look is the problem. It wouldn’t take much to persuade me to agree with that one; although mesh clothing has pretty much revolutionized summer riding gear, much of what’s available looks a bit over the top. That’s where the Zodiac jacket comes in. It strikes a pretty good balance between sport and cruiser styling, if you ask me. And that’s not easy to do. In fact, it even has a touch of Adventure Touring thrown in too. The stripes down the sleeves hint at sport, while the zippers and black fabric say cruising. It looks great over a pair of jeans and black work boots, but it also has a connection zipper inside, so it can be attached to a favorite pair of riding pants. In fact, the Zodiac looks good enough to wear off the bike too. Try walking into Nordstrom’s wearing your Phoenix jacket and you’ll get as many stares as Paris Hilton. Well, maybe not that many… But you could easily wear the Zodiac with or without the armor and all of a sudden you’d look cool. Well, some would anyway… Like guys 20 years younger than me. With a full head of hair. And not overweight. Right. Anyway, one of the Zodiac’s nicest features is its light weight. The size XL shown here (they run about a size small, so the XL is about equivalent to a true men’s size large) weighs a scant 1270 grams (2.8 lbs.). That’s way less (Weigh less? Sorry…) than most motorcycle helmets and about equal to, say, some of the lightest helmets we’ve reviewed. The jacket is roomy enough to be comfy, but it isn’t too baggy like many mesh jackets. It sort of feels like a slightly heavier version of a windbreaker. The Zodiac’s sleeves and body are slightly tapered, which gives it a trim profile while keeping the armor in place. The “Airdura” fabric used by British Motorcycle Gear can be found in several other motorcycle jackets we’ve seen. It’s claimed to be breathable while offering decent abrasion protection. It feels slightly stiff; not as hard as an Aerostich Darien yet not as soft as, for example, the waxed cotton in a Barbour International. I’m not sure I’d say it’s breathable, but it is lightweight yet it does seem durable. The Zodiac also has CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders and a “Tempa” foam protector in the back; all are removable. Although the fabric isn’t mesh, the jacket offers medium to good ventilation, with 130 mm long (5″) metal YKK zipper vents on the upper arms and across the front ck job of opening and closing. Another fairly large pocket is located just inside the left The hem at the waist has adjusters on either side. The main entry zipper in the front of the jacket has a 50 mm wide (2″) length of the Airdura The Zodiac includes a section of stretch fabric in back at waist level with a zipper that can be attached to a pair of pants. Although British Motorcycle Gear apparently doesn’t offer a matching pair of pants, the zipper included in the jacket has a mate that can be sewn into the pants of your choice. A local tailor sewed one of these matching zippers into a pair of pants for me once and it works great. In fact, I have one jacket with 4 different zippers sewn into the back, which brings up another pet peeve — how about standardizing on a certain size and length zipper so that any jacket could zip into any pants? Just remember that it’s a good idea to try on the pants and jacket while you’re at the tailor’s shop so they can measure everything correctly for proper location. The Zodiac is available in either the black/gray combination shown here, or black with yellow stripes. The jacket is reasonably priced at $139.00. Conclusion If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight alternative to a mesh jacket, the Zodiac may be it. Smooth styling, robust metal zippers, lots of vents and decent armor are combined with a comfortable, slightly tailored fit to make a nice-looking, affordable jacket. Although ultimately it may not flow as much air as a 100% mesh jacket and it probably doesn’t offer the protection of leather, the Zodiac is much cooler than wearing sticky leathers or a 3/4-length textile jacket in hot weather and it looks better, too”. WEBBIKEWORLD.COM
. British Motorcycle Gear Protecting The Cafe Racer in all of us.
This jacket feels light but has armour where needed. Plenty of zips for airflow.
Living in North Florida, our summers are very hot and highly humid (70%+), temps reaching over 100. I purchased my Zodiac four years ago and primarily use it as my daily around town jacket. So far, it has held up very well, including weekend rides within 100 miles. It does provide a lot of airflow when moving. Zippers are great with the leather pull tabs. Enough side pocket room. Adjustable waist tabs keep things tight when they need to be or expand after a good meal :-). Elbow pads and shoulder pads can be removed to wash jacket. Cons–Reflective stripes are so-so, back protector is way too inadequate. When not moving, you’ll sweat a couple of pounds off (lighter color would be nice). While stock armor is there, I replaced it with a different brand that is CE certified level 2. If you ride daily in town, you’ll have to wash it at least once a month. Don’t use regular detergent and also to keep the water resistant, use ScotchGuard or equivalent a couple of times a month, other wise you will get really wet first rain. Overall 7 out of 10 for comfort, airflow, price, fit, quality.
Company Response: Thanks for the review Eric.. The Zodiac jacket has an option for a CE Level 2 Knox Back Piece. The piece that is in the jacket is just a foam pad to make sure the pocket is sewn large enough to fit a proper back armor piece.. Not intended to be used as armor.. More reflective piping has just been added as well…
jerry in south florida –
Wow at 100 plus with humidity I feel very comfortable as long as I am moving. The Black fabric seems to block out the sun and stop any heating up of my skin as well as all sunburn. I have been down in it and it worked great. At $139 with option for Level 2 Knox Back you get great protection for the money. It even kept me dry in a down pour, although it does not claim to be 100% waterproof.. Great buy for a hot weather rider that wants to be protected from the sun and pavement..
I typically ride with the jacket unzipped and it keeps me cool in the 100% humidity and 90 degree + temperatures of eastern Tennessee, while offering great protection!!
Bill in South Africa –
When I saw the write up on web bike world I had to try the Zodiac Jacket. Anything that light and protective would be great in South Africa mesh lets in to much heat and you get dehydrated and saftey is always a concern. The dollar being a little week at the moment I figured I would spring for the extra postage from the USA. I have not taken this thing off in months. It has kept me comfortable in all kinds of heat and humidity and I even crash tested it with no apparent issues to me or the garment. It also seems to be quite waterproof.
Thanks for a great product BMG I will be ordering more of your line in the future.
P.S. Thanks for supporting Riders.org it is a great cause…
Steve in Georgia, USA –
The Zodiac is now my favorite riding jacket for moderate to warm temperatures. Especially like the full comfortable cut and extra vents. Great product.
DH in Texas –
I bought my Zodiac jacket in Spring of 2004 and have over 40,000 miles with it- most without a windshield. It is still in good shape and is my favorite riding jacket for warm/cool weather. With thermals and sweater under it, I can ride in temps down to mid/low 50 degrees. It is not waterproof, but it is excellent at it’s intended use.
I bought this jacket Directly from BMG at one of the 2011 Motorcycle Shows. 1 year later I still love it. The only problem is that the edges of the collar and cuffs are very stiff and rough. I wish that they were a bit softer for more comfort.
that being said, I still wear this jacket everytime I get on the bike.
And yes, I would buy another one if something happened to this one!
Nick in Pa –
I fussed over buying a summer jacket for almost a year. All the typical mesh summer jackets are super ugly and covered in branded logos. Not my thing. This jacket is perfect. Looks great, high quality, and very light. Comfortable as soon as you put it on.
Also – great customer service at BMG!
Amy Reno.NV. –
Reps were @ St, Vibes Few yrs. ago. I’m 5′ 10". Euro clothes fit me! Best booth!! This jacket has stiff collar.I wear bandana to relieve that. Well ventalated.Sleeves r long so r my arms.I wear polar fleece under for cooler days. I chose Yellow.I want to be Hi-Viz! Now I need pants for my LongLegs 36" length /30w. Bmg come to Reno 2012 St Vibes again!please..
David in Penticton –
Okanagan heat is beat with this jacket when moving because of the arm, chest and back openings. A lighter colour would help when not moving, as the black does retain the sun’s heat. It’s very light and I like the fact the material is more durable than regular mesh. I added the extra back protection. The fit is perfect.
Patrick Croasdale –
I purchased the earlier version of this jacket way back in 2002 and rode with it almost all the time until 2010. The yellow on the sleeves had started to fade, I crash tested it once and some of the leather zipper pulls started to come off. So I decided to buy a new one. Unfortunatly I couldn’t find it anywhere and was forced to buy something else. But here I am, and here it is so off with the new and on with the new’er! I am so glad to have found this jacket again. I would go as far as to say this is the best all around jacket I have ever owned…again!
Don’t buy any other jacket. The quality of this jacket is unmatched!! Looks like it’s too hot for summer but it’s not! Awesome looking enough for crotch rocket riders to cruisers. Looks masculine not like a pretty boy type jacket. Buy one.. NOW!!!
I had been looking for a new summer jacket for awhile and wanted something better than mesh. I had a hard time believing that this black jacket would be cool enough for me. I talked to Paul at BMG who was more than helpful and knowledgeable on this jacket. This jacket performs as described although it is not waterproof but rather water resistant. A mesh jacket lets hot air in and actually dehydrates you. This jacket is cooler than mesh plus better protection. I highly recommend it!
Roy Ethridge –
I received my new Zodiac jacket a few days before leaving for a trip to the mountains of North Ga and TN. For late July I had to prepare for lots of sun, 100+ degrees and even heavy afternoon thunderstorms. I wanted to pack lightly but the Zodiac was untested by me so I added an old mesh jacket and liner. I must admit that on the first afternoon nothing felt exactly cool and when my battery would start up the beemer we both had to wait for a while before restarting.
Over the next few days I was able to switch between the mesh and the Zodiac. When the temp was under 90 I was comfortable with either jacket however the Zodiac will be my only choice for my next ride since it allowed for plenty of air flow with all the vents open but could be instantly adjusted when the rains came or the temp dropped.
The added reason I will select the Zodiac is that it was as comfortable off the bike while playing tourist at the winery or dining in the cafe.
Great product, service and value.
I received my jacket a couple of days ago and I have to say it is all I had hoped for. I have never had a better warm weather jacket with as much protection. I live in the Mojave desert and as you can imagine it gets hot here although the humidity is low. The mesh jackets let to much air in and you end up roasting like sitting in a convection oven. This Zodiac vent system lets you control the amount of intake air and works much better than a mesh. One final thing, I ride a S2R monster and even at elevated speed the jacket does not "Flap". Nicely done..
I bought this jacket after reading the review at Webbikeworld. It is everything I could want in hot to moderate weather for this type of jacket. Fit is good , very comfortable and light weight. When weather gets a tad bit colder I just wear more underneath it. Only negative is the metal snaps and other pieces on the jacket…they have gotten rusty…but that’s primarily due to the fact I live at the beach.
I can definitely recommend this jacket to anyone wanting a good light jacket that is multi-practical!
I purchased a Zodiak in the spring and wore it throughout the Denver summer, where daytime temperatures often hover around 90 degrees F. Fully vented, I was just fine. The bonus is that now that fall has arrived, I’ve found that slipping on a fleece pullover underneath and zipping everything tight, I’m fine down to about 50 degrees F. I’d challenge anyone to come up with another jacket with that kind of range. Well done, BMG.