Flaunting conspicuity – First Gear mesh riding jacket


Conspicuity. What the heck is that?? you ask. It’s a term motorcyclists use when describing ways to make a rider “conspicuous.” Many times accidents involving motorcycles happen because other motorists just don’t see us. There are many ways to make yourself be seen, including extra lights, flashing brake lights, and lately, this color, the “hi-viz yellow” that has turned up on highway signs, clothing, vehicles, and other objects (and people) that need to be seen.

I won this jacket a few weeks ago at a fund-raiser for a fallen rider. I wanted to give it to my riding partner, but he didn’t want another jacket. Normally, I hate yellow, but I chose the hi-viz  color (it has a lot of blue in it) because I have been noticing lately how the more muted colors of motorcycles and riders seem to fade right into the background, especially on overcast days like today. No wonder it is difficult for cage drivers to see us since they barely pay attention anyway.

This jacket is by First Gear, which I was very happy about when I won it. I have been wearing First Gear “Air” overpants (mesh) for two years now, and they are just great. They are cool to ride in, which is saying something in Arizona, USA, where it regularly gets above 110° F. in the summer. I usually just wear shorts under the overpants, and I am comfortable. The Air pants have not faded in the constant blazing sunlight, another amazing fact since all my other gear fades after about one year. Another great feature is the side zippers that zip all the way up to the hip which make them easy to get on and off over boots. I mention the pants because another benefit is that the jacket zips to the pants. Since I’ve been wearing gear from different manufacturers, the zippers on the jacket and pants are never compatible. Until now. To me, that is reasonably important. It stops your pants from being ripped off you in a bad crash, and when it’s cold, it stops the wind from going up under the back of your jacket (the dreaded “icy back”), especially when you have a bag strapped to the back of the bike, like on a long trip.

I wore my new jacket for the first time today. Here is what it looks like:

Front:

Back:

I like the looped cord on the zipper of the pockets:

I am not as excited about the snap closure on the cuffs of the sleeves, but only because my wrists are so small that velcro closures are the only thing that works for me. But the more I rode today, the better I liked this particular design:

Open:

Closed:

I think the snaps will work for me, as long as it keeps bees and other stinging insects from flying up the sleeves  while I am riding. That happened to me once with another jacket, and I did get stung.

During today’s ride I encountered temperatures from the high 50s F. to the 80s F. I started out with the liner in the jacket, my Gerbings heated jacket liner inside. It all fit, which pleased me greatly. When I am out on the road on a trip, I can go from freezing weather in the mountain passes to heat in the lower elevations in a very short time. Today I shed layers as the temperature warmed, and eventually ended up with just the jacket and an Under Armour shirt (another favorite brand). This jacket will work well on long trips.

Here is the liner, which proved to be windproof:

All in all, I was pleased with the functionality as well as the color of this jacket, and I think I will enjoy it for many thousands of miles.

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2 thoughts on “Flaunting conspicuity – First Gear mesh riding jacket

  1. I’m glad you won a nice bit of conspicuity for your riding. If everyone wore one of those, I might not run over another rider. Wait, did I say ‘another’? He he. What I meant was ‘any’. Yeah, I might not run over ‘any’ rider.

    I’ve got to disagree with your partner. You can never have too many jackets.

    Hey, those Air overpants are not the ones being recalled right now because your underpants show through, right? Whew! Good.

    • LOL! I’d still wear them, but that’s why I have to wear shorts. The pants are not meant to be worn without some regular clothes under them, although I have been tempted to go with just a thong underneath on some of those super-hot days. Ugh. Not looking forward to summer AT ALL.

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