Ixon Cool Air Jacket: Motorcycle Gear Review

Does Ixon’s budget mesh jacket offer great bang for your buck?

Words: Priyadarshan Bawikar
Photography: VIkrant Date 

I’ve always maintained that mesh jackets are the perfect motorcycle jackets for Indian conditions. Nearly 80 per cent of the conditions we ride in are too hot for regular textile jackets, and don’t even get me started on leather. Mesh seems to offer that great balance of protection and comfort, which usually goes a long way in ensuring riders actually gear up regularly (hopefully every single time). For Rs 10,000 (at Performance Racing Store in Mumbai), the Ixon Cool Air sits perfectly in that entry-level mesh jacket spot, at least with regards to imported gear brands. Does it then do enough at this price point to tempt riders away from the more affordable local brands?

Also Read: Forma Akira Back Protector: Motorcycle Gear Review

What is it?

Ixon’s Cool Air jacket is made of large mesh panels on the chest, shoulders and arms. The areas that are likely to meet the tarmac in the event of a crash are made from Ixon’s own Noxiguard 600 Denier high-density polyester weave, which the company claims has some proprietary chemical coating making it even more abrasion resistant. Thankfully, we haven’t really had a chance to test out the French gear maker’s claims. Surprisingly, although PRS’ website claims Level 1 protection for the elbows and shoulders, with just a pocket for a back protector, our jackets came with Level 2 high density foam armour all around -- even for the back.

While this selection of armour does add great value, the jacket doesn’t offer any extra liners such as rain or winter, making this purely a warm-weather jacket. In fact, there’s simply no way to attach such liners nor is there any way to plug in chest armour. There is a little elastic loop at the back to secure the jacket to your pants, but I can’t help but feel that this loop could easily wear out its elasticity. In terms of pockets, you get two external zippered pockets, one internal mesh pocket near your belly, and one internal waterproof chest pocket.

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PRS stocks the Ixon Cool Air jacket in two colours: a full stealth black and this grey/yellow that you see here. Personally, we really like this grey as it looks quite classy and the fluorescent yellow highlights add just enough flourish to stand out. All the external zippers have fluorescent yellow rubberised pull tabs with Ixon branding, which looks rather sweet. That said, I somehow doubt the soft rubber material will last too long under heavy use. While you will find similar colour schemes in some Indian jackets at a much lower price, the lack of any arm adjustors on this Ixon gives it a very clean aesthetic.

Fit and comfort

This jacket comes in ‘European’ sizing, so there’s a good chance you might need to size down from what you usually wear in Indian-made motorcycle gear. At 5’9” and 105kg, I usually wear a size XXL in Indian brands, and XXXL in Japanese brands such as RS Taichi. With the Ixon Cool Air, I’m pretty comfortable in size XL. But clearly this size is meant to fit a taller person, so the arms are longer than they need to be in my case. And without any arm adjustors, the elbow armour seems to move around quite a bit for me. The only way I could stop the armour from moving around too much was to wear full gauntlet gloves over the jacket, which held the sleeves in place. This should not be an issue if you are slightly on the lankier side.

You do get press button adjustors for the waist, which gives you two settings to cinch the jacket down over your pants. And there are two-setting push buttons to adjust the cuff as well, but we wish Ixon would’ve gone with Velcro here for finer adjustability. The tall collar has one push button to lock it down in place. Once on and adjusted, the jacket is actually quite comfortable, and personally, I’ve done 12-14 hour riding days without any problem. The inner materials are quite soft against your skin too, so you’ll be fine wearing just a T-shirt inside. And on hot days, the airflow through the jacket is just excellent once you’re on the move.

Is it good value?

Now this is a slightly tricky question. The Cool Air is a really good, comfortable summer jacket, looks classy, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Plus, you also get the peace of mind of wearing a piece of kit from a reputed, international motorcycle gear maker. But there’s a slight problem. You can get a rather similar jacket from Rynox for almost Rs 4,000 less. Moreover, it offers CE Level 2 armour all around, along with better adjustability for the armour as well as separate rain and cold weather liners. Heck, it also comes in a pretty similar colour scheme. So do you go Indian or French?  If you value purely function, then you really might like to consider the Rynox. But if style and a great finish matters, then the Ixon Cool Air 2 would be the way to go.

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