As a small person (165cm, 58kg), it really is hard to find clothes that fit well. I mean, I have to buy cycling jerseys that are XXS or a XXXS if it were American cut. Add a preference for rather fitting apparel, and available options narrow by another 80%. And that’s just clothing in general, if we look at the hyper-focused jacket/motorcycle/textile/vented sub-category, I probably have 5 options in the world.
So, when I tried a Zentex size 42 and found it fit perfectly, I jumped for joy, only to realise that
1. Dainese had discontinued the Zentex
2. Dainese will be stopping size 42 for future models
See how hard it is to find a black textile vented mesh motorcycle jacket from Italy for a small person who likes fitting clothes?
Fit – Super. Because it’s so hard to find
The ventilation is great, and by great I mean good enough for me to wear everyday to commute to and from work in 27.0C (81 F) 80% RH weather. That’s similar to the Amazon.
Responsible for this ventilation are 4 panels of boomerang mesh at the chest and inner arm sections. Of course, while waiting at the lights, you will still start to sweat – after all you ARE between cars pumping out hot exhaust fumes – but when the lights change and you start moving, wind flows through the mesh and cools you right down.
The ventilating mesh continues at the back with another 2 large sections that stretch from the shoulder blades to the kidney area, and allows wind that’s entered from the front to grab a bit of heat from your hot but hopefully not sweaty body and exit through the rear. It’s like giving the rider behind you a warm free gift.
Ventilation – No sweat. Effective cooling in tropical weather similar to the Amazon forest
If Dainese protection is good enough for Valentine Rossi , its good enough for me to pootle to work at 55 km/h. It has CE-rated armour at both the shoulders and elbows. What this means is that the protection has passed stringent EU consumer standards.
You can also buy an optional G1 back protector and insert it from inside the jacket. This is where I think a fitting jacket makes a difference, as it pulls in the back protector, making it rest snugly against your back. On a looser jacket, it would be hanging off your back and swaying inside the pad pocket with movement.
When I compare the Zentex with the Taichi (jacket, not exercise) I used to wear – the Zentex wins hands down in the protection department. The Taichi shoulder and elbow guards are made of density foam and not rigid like the Dainese. The back protector is also made of foam and pretty soft. The exterior material is heavy duty nylon, which Dainese call Piston Textile. This sturdy stuff, when combined with the rigid armour, lets the jacket keep road rash off you when your body says hello to the tarmac.
Protection – Good enough for Rossi and better than the Taiwanese
Saving the most important point for last, and also related to fit, is that something always happens when I put on the jacket. In my mind, it’s as if I transform from a slightly short Asian motorcycle loving blogger to this.
I think it must be because the jacket is
2. Italian (though Romanian made)
3. Slightly tight (Thank God i’m lean)
So for all the ventilation and protection, at the end of the day, it really does come down to that ‘I ride a bike’ feel when you throw a leg over and twist the key. #shallowme.
Here’s a shot of how a fitting jacket makes you look good on and off the bike. Not like the guy is anybody special, it’s the jacket. Really.
Compare this to how you end up looking if your jacket was slightly loose, non-black and not Italian.
Transformation capabilities – makes you feel like Steve Mcqueen and look like George Clooney.
So there you have it, my 100% objective review of the Dainese Zentex Textile Jacket.
I’ll be using it tomorrow for sure.