Bruno Valeri


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Product Review

Joe Rocket: Meteor 4 jacket product review

Description: Rock Tex waist-length motorcycle riding jacket.
Colours: comes in a variety of colors
MSRP: $199us / $299cdn

For some time now, I had been looking for a motorcycle touring jacket that was better suited to riding in colder weather. Since I've begun wearing a lighter mesh-type jacket for really hot weather, I was ready to give up some warm weather versatility.

I also wanted to ensure that my next motorcycle touring jacket was really what I needed and not just what I thought I wanted.

So I laid out a list of criteria and then assigned a point rating based on relative importance of each.

My general areas of concern were with:

  • safety: ie visibility, abrasion resistance, ability to manage impact energy
  • functionality in use
  • mid-to-cold weather performance
  • quality construction
  • value in terms of MSRP

With my matrix ready, I went out and evaluated quite a few touring jackets from leading manufacturers.

As soon as one jacket came up for consideration I ran it through the matrix. Eventually I was left with a short list of 4 jackets, 2 of which were from Joe Rocket. After plugging all the numbers, the Meteor 4 and the Ballistic 3 were running one and two in that order, with the Meteor 4 just a few points ahead.

I was surprised and had to take a hard look at my list, since my initial preference would have gone to the more touring-oriented Ballistic 3. But the numbers said otherwise. Hmm.


  • 100% waterproof
  • Rock Tex™ 600 outer shell
  • Rock Tex™ 1050 overlay on shoulders, elbows/forearms
  • Dual density body-molded armor at elbows and shoulders
  • Dual density back protector
  • High density inserts at collarbone
  • Internal zipper with wind guard
  • Underarm ventilation system
  • Removable insulated full sleeve liner
  • Widely adjustable waistband
  • 8" rear zipper for pant attachment
  • Reflective stripe and shoulder logos

What I found:

A lot of thought and detail went into designing the Joe Rocket Meteor 4 jacket, with much of it geared to making it a better performer in cold and wet riding conditions. For example, there are two front zippers. You first zip the inner one, close the wind/weather flaps over it and then do up the outer zipper. This goes a long way to shut out cold air. In warmer weather, you simply leave the inner zip open with the flap folded back, improving airflow.

The pockets (2 front, 1 chest) get the same treatment. There is one zipper per pocket, but there is an external as well as an internal flap to keep wind and water at bay. For a serious touring jacket, keeping the contents in your pocket dry is a definite plus. This attention to weather management might make accessing contents a smidgen slower, but the trade-off seems worth it.

Though the Joe Rocket Meteor 4 jacket is waist-length, it is cut a touch longer than typical. The back is a little longer than the front and adequately covers the lower kidney and tailbone area. In addition, this section is padded. It not only adds some protection, but also helps insulate against the cold. I find that cinching the waist down snuggly effectively prevents cold back drafts.

The shoulder and elbow armor on the Meteor 4 are a dual density body-molded type. This allows the armor to wrap around the shoulders and elbows, helping ensure that it doesn't shift. Providing further stability are nifty elastic cinchers. They can be snapped in either loose or tight setting, or left undone.

The back protector has an upside down triangular-type shape that effectively covers my shoulder blades. This extends coverage to my upper back region, as opposed to only the spine area.

For warm weather riding, the Meteor 4 has an air vent (patented by Joe Rocket) that is quite effective. The zipper opens diagonally from the upper chest down to the mid-arm. This positioning allows two things:

  1. to be exposed more outboard where there is a greater amount of airflow
  2. to direct this flow to where we generate the most heat (at the chest-underarm junction).

Again, there is attention to detail at the zipper to limit water and wind penetration. In addition, the outer lip of the vent is reinforced with a light stiffener. When opening the vent while in riding position, the stiffener forces it to bow out in a semi-oval type of pattern, forming an effective air scoop. I appreciate the thought that went into this system, as opposed to just adding a zipper that opens and closes.

The rear vent on the Meteor 4 is placed on the lower back. This allows airflow to carry heat away from the most surface area and then exhaust.

For visibility, there is reflective piping on the jacket as well as tasteful Ballistic reflective logos on the shoulders.

Adding to the temperature versatility of the Meteor 4 jacket is a full-sleeve removable thermal-type liner.

I've found quality of constuction as well as fit and finish to be excellent.

In use:
The Joe Rocket Meteor 4 jacket does just what I was looking for. I've ridden in weather ranging from 0c to 5c and felt quite comfortable.

By using my cold weather layering method, I can ride in as cold weather as I care to.

For summer use, I expect that removing the liner and opening the vents will make the Joe Rocket Meteor 4 jacket comfortable in reasonably warm weather.

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