The RST Pro Series Ventilator-X mesh jacket and trousers promise to offer relief from the heat in peak summer, without risking riding in tee-shirt and shorts. We gave a set to Bennetts Rewards member and instructor at 1on1 Rider Training in Bedford, Jon Mansfield, who’s worn it for at least 5,000 miles during training and general pleasure trips on every kind of road, riding his 1990 Kawasaki ZZR-1100 and the training centre’s MT-07, XJ-6, ER6, Groms and scooters…
Covered in mesh panels and perforated fabric, the RST Ventilator-X jacket and trousers really are designed with air circulation in mind.
I have my usual size XL and it fits great. Both the jacket and trousers feel well made and despite a lot of use there’s no sign of any of the stitching coming away or any other undue wear; it looks pretty much as good as new.
The trousers are a little long in the leg for me, but that’s always the case as I’m short and fat. They ride up over my boots easily though, so I’m not worried.
The jacket and trousers both have good accordion stretch panels, which help with the fit.
It’s great to find the highest rated CE Level 2 back protector included with the jacket, especially given that I’ve seen this for as low as £162. There’s Level 1 armour at the shoulders and elbows, while the trousers have Level 1 at the knees, along with pockets for hip armour if you want to buy some – it costs from £14.99 if you get it from RST.
The armour feels great – it sits in just the right place and doesn’t tend to move around.
Impact protection is well covered, but do keep in mind that from an abrasion, burst and tear-strength point of view, the overall garment is rated as A – the lowest standard under EN17092 – that means that, despite reinforced areas at key impact points, it’s not going to offer the protection of higher rated kit at higher speeds. Ultimately, there does have to be a compromise, but the comfort this has given me during the summer has been second to none, and there’s the safety aspect of not overheating to be considered too.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the law, click here.
Inside you’ll find one Velcro and one zipped pocket. There’s no ‘Nelson’ pocket at the chest by the main zip, but you do get two vertically-fastened pockets on the front of the jacket. Like the trouser pockets, these aren’t particularly big, but I can get my wallet, phone and keys in.
Obviously larger pockets would have reduced the airflow, so I’m not complaining…
The jacket has two zips to do up – one for the removable lining and one for the jacket itself.
The trousers feature a zip and a popper, plus the right-hand belt strap pulls the main opening securely closed.
Remember that everything made by RST is compatible, so you could zip the mesh jacket together with a pair of the brand’s leather trousers if you wanted.
Straps with poppers allow the biceps and forearms to be tightened, while the waist has a pair of Velcro straps to draw it in.
The cuffs have Velcro adjusters that will fit thinner gloves underneath, but you’ll struggle with thick winter ones. Still, that isn’t what this is designed for and I wear my gloves over the top anyway.
There’s no adjustment at the collar but it fits me well and I tend to wear a neck tube.
The trousers have Velcro ‘belts’ at either side for a good range of adjustment, and there’s a bit of adjustment in the bottoms of the legs, so can be pulled any tighter around boots.
With the liner removed, the RST Ventilator-X is like a protective armoured tea-bag; wind rushes straight through it. It’s brilliant when it’s hot and 2020, for all its many faults, had a hot summer, so when I was training it was superb, even standing about – most bike kit relies on the rush of wind from riding to push air through the vents, but even a slight breeze keeps me cool in this.
At 30mph+ it’s absolutely glorious – it feels pretty much like wearing a tee-shirt but without the horrible risk involved.
The removable lining is only waist length, so even with the trousers zipped on you can still get a draft up your back; beyond October you’ll want something warmer, or at least an over-suit to keep the wind off.
Above about 20°C you’ll have the liner out at all times, but if you ride all year this can’t be your only kit. For eight months of the year though, it’s fine.
While the liner is nice and soft, it is a little harsh around the neck, so you’ll want a neck tube. With the liner out, the mesh inner feels great against the skin.
If you’re an all-weather rider, you won’t be impressed with the waterproofing. The outer – unsurprisingly – fills with water very quickly and as the liner’s so short the rain easily blows up the front.
It’ll get you out of trouble in a shower, but you need an over-suit for anything else really – which I always carry with me so it’s not been an issue.
The liner has proved irrelevant to me really – I usually leave it at home and just carry my over-suit in case the weather turns… it helps keep me warm too if necessary.
I’m lucky enough to have kit dedicated to winter, so using the RST Ventilator-X as my summer gear has proven it to be absolutely brilliant.
This is so much safer than riding around in a tee-shirt and shorts because even if you’re just nipping to the shops, it’s really important to be protected.
If you ride all year you need to consider the cost of having this and some other kit, but this isn’t overly expensive. I’ve had cheaper mesh kit in the past and it certainly wasn’t as well made as this. Needless to say it’s not as protective as some other non-mesh gear, but I honestly wouldn’t be without it. Superb.