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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Jacket Review: Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2, the Perfect Mesh Jacket for Summer!

Stylish road and rain protection at a great price

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
6/18/2013

When the weather is hot and the road is calling, throwing on a riding jacket might feel like the last thing you want to do. But now, with the advent of mesh riding jackets, there's no reason not to. Take it from me—I just returned from two months in Scottsdale, Ariz., where I wore the Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 mesh jacket on multiple 90-degree-plus days. Not only was I comfortable, I felt like I was wearing my own personal air conditioner!

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review
Wearing the Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 made me feel like I had my own personal air conditioner, as the mesh allowed fresh air to flow through the fabric while pushing body heat out. In this photo I’m also wearing Kevlar jeans from Slider, knee armor from Competition Accessories, and Catwalk Leopard gloves from Icon 1000. We'll be reviewing all those items on WRN in the coming months.

While I’m not here to educate non-jacket-wearing riders about the value of wearing a jacket on a motorcycle, it’s hard not to include that mantra in this review. After all, on hot days, wearing a mesh jacket is actually cooler than not wearing a jacket at all. I’ll explain more about that later. 

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Sizing
Sizing for the Cleo 2.2 seems accurate, as the medium (my normal size) fit me well. The jacket is offered in a wide range of sizes, from XS to 2 Diva.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Armor
These three straps across the back of the jacket allow you to customize the fit. In this photo you can also see the outline of the high-density back pad, which can be removed and replaced with a CE-approved back pad. The removable armor in the jacket's shoulders and elbows is comfortable and non-restricting.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Lining
The inside of the jacket is lined with a silky mesh that’s soft against the skin. The waist zipper, seen here, attaches to any riding pant, including Joe Rocket’s Cleo Pant—handy for preventing the jacket from riding up and exposing your back.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Adjustable
A cinch strap on each forearm has three adjustable snaps to ensure the sleeve stays snug to your arm and the elbow armor stays in place—a nice feature, although more sophisticated jackets offer two or even three cinch straps. The wrist cuff zipper, also visible here, includes a Velcro fastener for an adjustable fit.

The Cleo 2.2 offers a good deal of adjustability, especially for a jacket in its price range. In addition to the three straps across the back, the sleeve cinch, and the wrist closure, there's a zipper on either side of the waist. I like how the Cleo fits to my shape, accentuating my curves instead of making me look like a square sack. Kudos to Joe Rocket for taking the time to get the lines for the female body shape correct, not to mention allowing the jacket to fit a variety of sizes.  

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Front
The Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 sports a FreeAir mesh outer shell. RockTex, a brand of heavy-duty textile, is used on high-impact areas (those seen in black here), including the elbows, shoulders, ribs, and hips.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Liner
The jacket's full-sleeved zip-out waterproof liner can be worn independently as an off-the-bike windbreaker or rain slicker. The vinyl liner is boxy and a bit stiff, but it does what it’s supposed to—keep water out. When zipped into the jacket, the liner will prevent summer showers from drenching you. Keep in mind, however, that the Cleo is not a full waterproof jacket, as the seams, neck area, and other openings are not designed to keep water out completely.

It’s worth noting that the Cleo 2.2 is not a 100-percent mesh jacket. For it to be “protective,” the jacket must incorporate some impact-resistant fabric—material that won't tear or shred when it scrapes across pavement. Those panels, seen in black in the photos, are located on areas of the body that typically take the hit, such as elbows and shoulders. Joe Rocket put a lot thought into the design and function of this jacket, incorporating serious protection with a classy sense of style.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Styling
The graphics on the Cleo 2.2, appearing only on the right arm, are a “freshened up” version of those from the original Cleo jacket. Not visible in this photograph is the slight, understated sparkle of the graphic, as if gold glitter has been sprinkled on the swirly red lines.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Pockets
The one interior pocket is roomy enough for a smartphone and a few more items. The two “handwarmer” pockets on the jacket's front are deeper than their openings suggest, with each offering enough room for a large glove.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Fabric
The fabric along the jacket's neckline is soft on the skin.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Earplugs
No more tangled cords! If you slip an MP3 player in the pocket's interior jacket, the earbud cords be be threaded through this small rubber opening near the jacket's neckline.

Now onto the cooling features of the Cleo 2.2. When riding a motorcycle with your skin exposed—that is, without a jacket—your body moisture evaporates quickly. Before you know it, you’re overheated and drowsy because your body is experiencing dehydration, not to mention all the other ill effects of extreme sun exposure. A mesh jacket helps your body retain moisture longer, and when you have moisture in your skin, it helps keep your body temperature level and cool.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Mesh Jacket
Mesh is an ideal material for a warm-weather riding jacket, as the fabric's tiny holes act as entry points for cool air and little portals through which body heat can escape. Because the material is constantly bringing in cool air and expelling body heat, wearing a mesh jacket while riding can actually leave you cooler than wearing no jacket at all.

If you type "women’s mesh motorcycle jacket" into Google, you’ll find that the Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 is priced on the higher end of mesh jackets available for women. However, remember that this is not a pure mesh jacket. Those costing less likely do not have the Cleo's impact-resistant textile panels, waterproof liner, or pre-installed armor—items I place a high value on and that make the Cleo worth the extra $20 to $40. When you go up from the Cleo in price, you start to get into the textile jackets that come with more sophisticated features, such as zipper pulls, vents, more pockets, and more adjustability.

Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Blue White
Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Pink Purple
Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 Jacket Review Black
In addition to the red/black color I'm wearing, the Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 comes in blue/white (left), pink/purple (center), black (right), and white/black (not pictured).

For all that this jacket offers, it’s a bargain starting at $179.99 (Diva sizes are priced at $194.99). The well-constructed Joe Rocket Cleo 2.2 will get you through the hottest of summer days while giving you the confidence that comes with wearing a protective jacket.

Visit JoeRocket.com to learn more and find a dealer near you. 

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