Top Motorcycle Jackets Under $200
For sport riders, it was always ‘gonna be the Icon Overlord .
This thing is a unicorn. It’s too good to exist at 200 dollars and yet somehow, it does.
The big win here is D3O. I get a full suite of viscoelastic armour – elbows, shoulders and back – which is almost unheard of at this price point. D3O is soft against the body but turns riding in a crash and in my opinion, it’s the best stuff on the market.
The other big win is style. The Overlord comes in a seven heavenly colourways, from blackout to whiteout and everything in between. So the graphics are good but so are the materials. TechMesh is used up each side … it’s basically mesh stretched over a semi-rigid lattice so the jacket breathes well while keeping its shape. Then we have flex panelling at the elbows and shoulders to articulate the fit, and neoprene at the collar for comfort. Down the forearms, we also get high-denier, slide-ready fabric. The Overlord also has a zip-out thermal liner on the inside. But it’s only a vest so my arms get chilly.
The vest liner hints at cost cutting, but this is only 200 bucks so Icon must have cut a few more corners, right?
Right. And I bet you can tell me what’s missing. Pockets! Absolutely zero external pockets on the Overlord, and only a couple cargo pouches plus one napoleon zipper on the inside. Icon cheaped out on the adjustment features too. No waist cinch, no Velcro on the cuff… nothing to customize this jacket to my body.
But hey, if the jacket does fit, it’s a hell of a deal. I’m 6”3, 39-inch chest, 33-inch sleeve and I went with the medium. It’s perfect around my torso, but a little short at the waist and arms. At least Icon gave me some thumb loops to keep the sleeves down. The arms are precurved by the way, and the tail is dropped to prevent indecent exposure.
Now , standard motorcyclists – street riders, commuters – well they can do better for 200 bucks.
This is the Firstgear Rush and you’ll have to excuse me for burning your retinas. Don’t worry, it comes in black and silver as well as this radioactive DayGlo.
For a budget jacket, the big win on the Rush is waterproofing. See when we open the main zipper here – one flap, two flaps, and there’s the waterproof membrane. Waterproof pocket in there, and zip open the flood gates, and I’ve got a waterproof device pocket plus a big cargo pouch on the interior.
If you need to stay dry, if your stuff needs to stay dry, the Firstgear Rush will do the job for several hours.
It’s pretty functional too. We have two zippered pockets on the exterior , which would be a totally revolutionary idea to Icon. Then there’s a zippered vent on each shoulder, plus a big exhaust out the back. My only beef with the Rush is that the waterproof liner isn’t removable so even with all the vents open, it doesn’t breathe that well.
Just kidding – I have one more beef to mention. The elbow and shoulder armour is rock-solid and CE-approved but this back pad … I mean what the hell? Firstgear might as well have used tissue paper for all the good this’ll do.
But hey, it’s a sweet jacket otherwise and at 200 bucks, I can afford to upgrade the back protector. I have Velcro adjusters on the waist and cuffs by the way, which is another ground-breaking idea that Icon should pay attention to. This medium fits like a glove and it’s super comfortable. Snug on my 39-inch chest, yet still long enough at the waist and arms for my 6”3 frame. Firstgear does the Rush in tall sizes as well, just in case you play for the NBA.
Now, mesh jackets.
To be honest, it’s not hard to find a good mesh jacket for 200 bucks. So I went a little further and picked up this Fieldsheer High Flow for 130.
Now Fieldsheer doesn’t normally impress me but this thing is tight. 600-denier Carbolex on the three major impact zones – shoulder, elbow and tail. Then it’s mesh everywhere else so this thing flows a tonne of air. I tested it out after riding in an 1800-dollar Klim Rally Air and surprise surprise - this bargain bin beauty was much better ventilated.
The features list reads like a small novel. Velcro adjusters on the cuff, two three-way volume adjusters up each arm, two zippered hand pockets, Velcro waist adjusters, inner device pocket, another cargo pouch, zipper attachment for riding pants. And then there’s the phosolite reflective piping which – for some bizarre reason on a 130-dollar jacket – Fieldsheer decided to go all out on. Starting at the neck, all the way to the sleeve on each arm. Mirrored on the back side, to the same crazy extent, plus reflective badging.
Protection is decent too. CE-approved shoulders and elbows, which aren’t softest armour in the world, but I didn’t notice it while riding so that’s always a passing grade in my books. The pocket for a back protector is empty though, and sliding resistance is ho-hum. Fieldsheer calls this Polytitanium mesh, which sounds epic but it’s actually a pretty average polyester.
I’m 6”3 with a 39-inch chest, that puts me in this medium but you can probably tell that it’s a bit small . Too slim on the chest, too short on the waist. I expect the large will be a little on the baggy side, but I’d still rather size up. Mesh gear always flows air better if there’s some breathing room. I’d recommend this silver colourway too, because the only other options are highlighter-yellow, which is dorky, and then black, which is a stupid choice for hot-weather gear.
Now – what if I ride for a very long time but I spend all my money on gas?
Then I need a cheap touring jacket and the tour masters at Tourmaster have the answer. This is the Saber 4 and it’s hella impressive for 195 bucks.
It’s a 500-denier chassis with a waterproof and breathable barrier that I can neither see nor remove. But I trust Tourmaster that it’s in there. You’ll notice reflective piping up the arms and across the chest, plus an orgy of vents. Two on the biceps, two on the collarbones and if we flip it around – an enormous exhaust vent on the back hidden underneath more reflective work. And then there’s a weird kangaroo pouch, which acts as another vent when its open or as a cargo pocket when it’s closed.
Speaking of pockets, I have two zippered chest pockets, plus two cargo pouches down below. There’s also two zippered hand pockets hidden underneath the cargo areas, which open into a totally separate storage space.
On the inside it’s textbook napoleon zipper, device pocket and cargo pouch. That’s unimaginative from Tourmaster, but I don’t expect them to reinvent the wheel for 200 dollars. I also noticed this zip-out thermal liner, which is a full sleeve rather than that vest we saw in the Overlord. But before you get too excited, know that it’s just 100g polyfill so not the warmest material in the world.
Armouring is great though – CE-approved elbows and shoulders, plus a triple density back pad that looks strangely similar to a … rocket ship. Yeah, it’s a rocket ship.
Fitment-wise, this is a ¾ length jacket that sizes on the small side. I’m 6”3, 39-inch chest, I typically wear medium jackets but this large fits like a charm. The adjustment features help too – Velcro on the cuffs, two volume adjusters down each arm, the big Velcro waist belt and some elastication at the bottom. Tourmaster even thought of the little things, like this Velcro tab to keep the collar from slapping me in the face when I ride with the jacket unzipped.
To be honest, there’s no big sacrifice with the Saber 4. Maybe it’ll fall apart in a year or something but from where I’m standing, I’ve got nothing bad to say.
And those are my favourite jackets under 200 bucks, thank you very much for watching.