Zephyr Summer Riding Jackets

British bikers are generally pretty good when it’s cold – layers are added, our resolve stiffens and we ride on. We’re not as good when it gets hot, often opting for simply unzipping riding jackets, ditching them altogether and just riding in armour, or, worse still, riding with no protection at all. We’ve all seen folk riding in just a t-shirt.

Now that’s not some weird northern-hemisphere thing, us being pre-programmed to only deal with wind and rain, it’s just that there hasn’t been any kit out there that really served the purpose. Yes, there are plenty of vented jackets – and jackets with vents in – but none we could see that offered enough impact and abrasion protection for the wearer to feel safe, and would still be cool enough for summer riding.

We’d been asked to fill that void a few times by our customers, so we set about finding a solution, and really it turned into more of an evolution of something we were already doing.

We’d started to see lots of riders wearing just a Venture, Urbane or Defender armoured shirt when the temperature started to rise. That certainly ticked the impact protection and airflow boxes, but didn’t offer much in the way of abrasion-resistance, or the day-to-day versatility we really look to work into all of our garments. So, in simple terms, we took those already-strong elements and added to them.

What we really wanted to achieve was the reassurance and confidence you get from an armoured shirt – the way it holds the protectors close to the body and keeps them there – with added abrasion resistance, and in a soft, flexible and lightweight jacket that would be cool enough to wear day-long. That’s really the crux of it – the Zephyr had to be cool enough to wear, or it would end up getting left at home or stuffed in a pannier, where it wouldn’t be of any use.

So Arrownet mesh stretches nearly the full length of the Zephyr‘s front and back panels, and down each arm. It’s  reassuringly tough, but still light, comfy and allows maximum airflow. We also lined it with fine soft-cotton, so it’s comfortable against the skin.

High tenacity nylon covers the shoulders, upper back and the outside of the arms – the areas most vulnerable in a slide or fall. Chosen for its significant strength, durability and abrasion resistance, the material is also breathable and stretchy, for added comfort and ease of movement, both on and off the bike.

Our Lite+ protectors are built into the shoulders and elbows, and we’ve worked in a CE-approved back protector too. There’s even the option to fit a chest protector!

And because we’re based next to the Lake District, which has pretty much the most unpredictable climate in the UK – the saying round here goes: ‘If you don’t like the weather, just wait ten minutes’ – we added a waterproof overjacket, that fits into the concealed zipped back pocket on the men’s Zephyr and slides neatly onto the leather belt of the ladies version.

Roll on summer.