REVIEW: Tour Master Intake Air 2 Mesh Jacket

RATING 6/10 – More photos of the jacket HERE

Summary: Review comes after approximately 2 months of daily use.  Jacket cost – $152. Questionable mesh construction and odd fitments made me unsure of the value of wearing this gear. Good armor in shoulder and elbow though.

This season I started the bulk of my riding at the end of April, when I bought the Bandit. I was wearing a heavy black leather jacket, which like many avid bikers quickly realize, can become unbearable as the temps start to rise. That was the case with me, and I began looking for a mesh jacket for warmer temps. Initially, I wanted more of a 3 season jacket, something with at least spring to fall versatility, and the Intake Air 2 was touted to fit that bill. It has a 2 liner system, one for air/rain and one for cooler temps, that are supposed to allow you to use this jacket for most of the year. Here’s my experience with this system and the jacket.

After months of wearing the jacket I came to a clear realization. It’s VERY hard to have an all season jacket that serves as good protection. Not to knock Tour Master for their efforts though, as I consider this a good option for those very hot days, but the system doesn’t work for me. I’ve come to accept the fact that in the heat of summer, I have to sacrifice some protection to be able to stay comfortable enough to ride(short of spending $900 on MotoPort gear). That being said, I feel this jacket and system give up more protection than the comfort is worth. Here are my main gripes:

The 3 part jacket/liner system with Main outer shell, air/rain liner, and thermal liner is tough to size for. I eventually realized that the jacket I had was too big for me, but all indicators and charts pointed to the size I ordered. Like many of you know, motorcycle gear should be form fitting to provide the best protection in the event of an off. The problem with the Intake Air 2 is that if you plan on using the liner system, it’s next to impossible to fit into one of the sizes. This is because with the three liners in, the jacket is pretty bulky, and will feel like one size, but with only the shell on you lose a lot of the mass and the jacket then becomes very loose. Yes, there are adjustments, so it’s very likely that you can get one to fit you right- just make sure you try one on in all configurations to be sure the fit is good for you.

So you ask, if I can probably get one to fit, why wouldn’t I want this decent looking jacket with good armor and lots of adjustment that I can wear through a range of temps? Well what did it for me leads back to my argument for giving up protection. For me, my riding season isn’t simply when temps are over 70. In fact, I’d say while that portion is important, I probably only did half my riding this year in those temps. So the fact that I’d often be in cooler weather led me away from this jacket, because to me it sacrifices TOO MUCH protection for comfort in hot temps.

Why do I feel it lacks sufficient protection you ask ( damn you’re inquisitive)? I mean, after all, it has CE approved armor in the shoulders and elbows and heavier cordura in the biggest impact areas. Well that’s all good and well for the initial impact, but for the most part, I don’t imagine that I’ll be looking for protection when my accident simply involves an impact. In fact if that happens God help me. Like most motorcycle riders I hope that my gear will help me out if I decide to surf down some asphalt for a while face first and belly up.  Here’s where I feel the Intake Air 2 really falls short – The mesh construction and material.

Check out the wide holes in the mesh design. Sure, on those 95 degree days I was thanking Tour Master left and right for the readily available breeze coming through this jacket, but I could never get out of my mind how this would hold up if I was to make an unplanned exit off the bike at speed. Think of all the variations in the road and how these holes might catch against them when moving across the surface. Now apply your body weight to that. Not too sure either, huh? While I agree that most mesh isn’t as good as textile or leather in a crash, I’ve seen other companies’ mesh designs and almost every other one seemed more effective. OF course I have no research to back this up, cause God forbid someone looked at anything else in the motorcycle industry besides how many of us get killed VS how many wear helmets, but those are my thoughts.

Almost everything else I liked; the hard armor, the durable shoulders and elbows, the reflective piping, the adjustments. But I couldn’t get over the mesh. And being that this is supposed to be a jacket you use for the main part of your riding with the liners, I didn’t want this to be what I was throwing on each ride. However, PLEASE don’t go without a mesh jacket because you don’t think its not good enough. It will always be better than just you’re bare skin, and the armor could save you from a much worse injury.

Wow, that turned long, very quickly. Here’s the wrap up (which I imagine most people will skip to) If you’ve used this jacket, please let me know your take.

Pros:
OK Price – between $135-$155
CE pre curved armor in elbows and shoulders
Flows LOTS of air
Rain/wind and thermal liner included
Adjustments on arms and waist

Cons:
(Inconsolable Gripe) Wide weave mesh construction doesn’t seem like it would hold up at all in an off
Mesh not very durable (began to fray at some points within the 2 months use)
Sizing hard to get correct; great degree of variance due to liners
Velcro on waist and wrist has small contact patch

Coming up soon – More reviews! (Yay snow.. )

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14 Comments

Filed under Reviews

14 responses to “REVIEW: Tour Master Intake Air 2 Mesh Jacket

  1. Greg

    Just wondering if you have any recommendations on a good quality mesh jacket. I’ve been looking at the Olympia Viper but it is only available in black.

    • Svi

      The Olympia Viper jacket is also available in black with high-vis yellow, and black with silver. I have the black with high-vis yellow, it’s a very high quality piece of clothing for the price, and very versatile. Not a long history with it yet so can’t speak to how durable it will be, but Olympia seems to have a good rep in this area.

  2. Scott Dyer

    My wife and I have worn the Tourmaster Intake jackets now for 20K+ miles in pretty much all kinds of weather one might experience other than severe winter. We researched the various textile jackets prior to buying and feel that the Intake series provide a good all around option. I whole heartedly agree with the writer that no system works in all conditions perfectly but we feel this is a very good compromise. It certainly beats the heck out of jackets and other systems I started with in the 1960s on my early British bikes!

    We have worn the jackets in temperatures ranging from 38 to 103 degrees F. On the hottest of days, we found we were actually COOLER with the jackets on! – except at a dead stop for an extended period of time. Other riders we have talked to who wear textile mesh jackets have been in agreement. Having the rain liner for those unexpected showers is great. In Texas and Louisiana the weather can change fast so we tend to carry “just in case” clothing in the saddle bags. Rain pants, for example, are stored year round on the bike, as we commonly do day rides of 150-350 miles, and have occasionally put in long day rides of 450+ miles. (Yes, really.) As the saying goes in Texas, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around a few hours.

    For winter riding we layer with thermal underwear designed for snow skiing, such as “HOT CHILIS” or UnderArmour. These are very thin, but provide an amazing amount of warmth and, ironically, don’t feel hot when you retreat indoors for a hot cup of Jo. If necessary, we augment that with additional layers. In extreme cold and wind, such as the night ride we had going home in 38 degrees last spring, we used the HOT CHILIS, with an additional layer of insulated underwear over that – and THEN the full Intake system, i.e., the jacket and both liners. We were still cold but reasonably comfortable for the approximately two hours we spent in those conditions. Yes, one could argue that with all that clothing, one feels “stuffed” into the clothing. True. But, since there is not one system I have encountered that works under all conditions, we have settled on layering.

    As to durability, we feel the jackets have proven themselves not only in daily use, but in two falls as well. Both falls were off road on caliche, a rough and jagged impure limestone. While the falls were certainly not at appreciable speed, nevertheless, these rocks are quite abrasive and sharp edges. We had no jacket tears whatsoever either time although I can’t say the same for our helmets, windshield and parts of the bike.

    There are many jackets and jacket systems to choose from. Like the writer above, I would encourage where possible to try gear on before purchasing. Buy too tight and you limit layering and the ability to use year round. Buy too loose and the built in armour designed to protect you may shift too much. I like the fact that the Tourmaster Intake has adjustments on the sleeves to account for buying just a little large.

    I have met, at rallies, bikers who have used the Intake system (or similar) that have ridden to the end of the Dalton road in Alaska. They plan for layering as well and find it saves carrying two completely different jackets.

  3. Thanks for the well thought out comment scott.

    I may be a bit harsh on the intake jacket, but comparing it to some competitors mesh construction it just didn’t convince me that it would match up, and I couldnt get past that. Glad to hear you were both ok in your offs!

  4. leather jackets can really make you look good, they also make you feel warm and comfortable ,-.

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