The Nitro Octane jacket has all the features that I would look for in a light weight riding jacket: lots of venting, armor, reflective material for visibility and a layer of protection in case I get caught in a summer rainstorm. The jacket is well made and there really isn’t anything that screams that costs less than 80 bucks. Not everybody wants, or needs an Aerostich for riding. I recommend the Nitro Octane Jacket for an inexpensive summer riding jacket, but you do get what you pay for.
Even though the Nitro Octane is not a mesh jacket I would put it into the same category as a mesh riding jacket. I wouldn’t expect the outer shell to provide much of any abrasion resistance, but there isn’t any advertised either. The CE rated armor on the shoulders, elbows and back are flat foam pads that are very flexible. I found this kind of odd compared to the more rigid and shaped Knox armor in my Corazzo Jacket. But the armor in the Nitro jacket was less of an annoyance and tended to say in place better than the Corazzo once every thing the jacket was adjusted, I feel that the armor in the Corazzo would protect me more in the case of an accident.
The Nitro Octane jacket is a finished product throughout, but it feels like it is designed to be used with the fleece liner. I felt like I was swimming in the size medium jacket, but I know the small jacket would be too small if I wore anything but a t-shirt underneath it. After adjusting the snaps on the elbows to their narrowest position, it was starting to feel a bit more comfortable in it. Cinching the straps around the waist got rid of the feeling that I was wearing a potato sack even more.
For any other time than the summer I think that the Meridian Fleece Jacket is needed. On the cooler nights that I have been riding in; zipping all of the vents closed air passed easily through the main zipper. There is no flap to speak of to keep any air from coming through it. As with the wind, while wearing the jacket in the rain, water started to come through the main zipper and a little bit through the other zippers as well. If the rain were anything but light I think that I would be soaked.
The Nitro Octane jacket has the ability to be zipped together with matching paints. What do you do with the zipper hanging off of the jacket when not wearing the pants? Constantly move it out of the way so you are not sitting on it. On a leather seat like on the Vespa GTV it started to leave marks only after a couple of miles. Since I don’t plan on getting the pants, I will soon take a scissors to that feature of the jacket.
If I had my druthers I would be riding in sunglasses and a t-shirt in the middle of the summer. But as we all know it is not yourself that you should be worried about; it is all the other drivers. So I wear a helmet, gloves, and a jacket every time I ride, the Nitro Octane jacket will continue to be part of my riding gear until the weather changes.