By November 19, 2005

Fieldsheer Magnesium mesh jacket review

EDIT 07/18/2006

Now that this article is indexed by Google and I’ve seen a few visitors to this page because of its ranking, I want to state that I have stopped wearing my Fieldsheer jacket and wouldn’t recommend a mesh jacket to anyone.

The material used in mesh jackets can melt at high speeds generated by friction (read: sliding on the road) and may melt to your skin. Please do yourself a favor and buy a textile or better yet, perforated leather jacket. The discomfort you may experience in the heat is nothing compared to the combination of road rash and burns from a mesh jacket gone bad.

On to the original post:

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Protective jackets and pants come in three basic materials, in ascending order: mesh, textile, and leather, with leather being the most protective. Leather should probably be in its own category, with variations in thickness, the skin used, perforated/solid construction, etc all making subtle but important differences. But for the purpose of this write up, it’s important to know that mesh is the least protective, then textile, then leather. Generally speaking, however, the inverse ranking is true for comfort in warm conditions.

I get hot very easily, and overheating was one of my biggest concerns when I bought my motorcycle. Thanks to my friend Bond, I was able to inspect his Teknic Chicane perforated leather jacket. I bought one for myself in solid black at a discount. I love that jacket, and it fits me quite well despite my longer-than-average arms. I still find it uncomfortable to wear in any temperature higher than 75 degrees, even though it’s perforated to allow air to flow through the jacket. When I’m stuck at a stop light it’s particularly bad; partially because the jacket is all black, and partially because that’s the nature of leather. It’s fawking hot.

So I started scouting this October for a mesh jacket. This is, of course, the weird time of the year to buy mesh jackets. Mesh jackets are worn during the hottest periods of the summer. Thanks to the cooler temperatures, however, all of the mesh jackets from the 05 style year were on sale. I was able to pick up a Fieldsheer Magnesium mesh jacket from Kneedraggers.com for $76 shipped. A brick and mortar store here in Richmond had the same jacket for $120 before tax.

The Magnesium features body armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back. There are velcro straps around the wrists and neck. There is an adjustable velcro-secured loop around each side to help make the jacket fit more snugly about the waist. Each arm features buttons right below the elbow, with three snaps available for those of you with stickfigure arms or big ass Popeye guns.

The entire jacket is mesh: little ringlets of (hopefully) tough as nails fabric.

The mesh allows wind to flow through the jacket quite easily. I’ve worn the jacket around a dozen or so times, and you can definitely feel the air coming through. Since I don’t have any weatherproof gear yet, the Magnesium is also my foul weather jacket. This is a horrible idea, since a wet jacket + wind = sad panda, but I figure the mesh would dry faster than wet leather. Plus it would be a lot lighter as well :).

One of the problems with the jacket is that unlike my Teknic, the Magnesium is in “letter” sizes (S, M, L, XL) instead of numerical sizes. Because of my arms, I need a size large, although my belly girth is better suited for a medium. Of course, my herculean boulder shoulders also require a large. So fitting into any letter-sized top is a nightmare. I wound up buying a large.

As you can tell from the back, there’s a lot of loose material around my midsection. From the first picture in the write up, but also in this shot, you can tell that the back/shoulder section fits well enough. The shoulder seams appear to be further out than they actually are: the Magnesium features really heavy armor in the shoulders and it throws off the lines of the jacket a bit.

The problem with a loose-fitting jacket is that in the event of a crash, the jacket may move around. This is bad for a few reasons. First and foremost, if the jacket moves around it might leave my precious baby-smooth skin exposed to the asphalt. Secondly, if the jacket is loose, the armor inside the jacket might move around and not protect my elbows, back, and shoulders adequately.

So, while the jacket seems well made and is quite comfortable, I regret not buying a medium, at least to try. If I had to do it over again, I would buy both a medium and a large and eat the return shipping cost.

I’m not going to rate this jacket, as I feel that the most important part of its value, its crash-worthiness, isn’t something I can rate. However, I will do a run-down on what I like and don’t like, otherwise.

You are the wind beneath my wings

  • Lightweight in comparison to a leather jacket.
  • Excellent airflow for the best ventilation you can get while still wearing protective gear.
  • Armor in such a low-cost jacket is a big plus.

Hot air

  • Letter-sizing scheme puts freaks like me in less-than-optimal fit situations.
  • Velcro wrist straps feel cheap and I wouldn’t expect them to hold together during a crash. This isn’t too big an issue for me since I wear full gauntlet gloves that protect my wrists.

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

1 Comment on "Fieldsheer Magnesium mesh jacket review"

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  1. ca11away says:

    Awesome jacket. So, did you start a LJ to bolster your copywriting or modeling skills? :P

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