Warlock Mesh Jacket From Viking Cycle — A Review by JG Nelson
As our motorcycles become more specialized, compartmentalized and genre-specific, so too do the accessories available to help us ride safer and more comfortably. This is especially true in the apparel world, where we can, for example, choose a dedicated jacket for the ride du jour. Out for adventure, sport, cruising, touring, bike night or pure dirt? There’s a style, material and function just for that.
The introduction some years ago of mesh outerwear was a Big Deal for those of us who value protection every time we ride. While I have a pure mesh jacket for those really hot day trips, a multi-season alternative is more practical when the clouds roll in or the evening turns to night.
That’s why I was stoked to try Viking Cycle’s Warlock, available from Motorcycle House. This mesh-paneled, armored textile jacket promises function at an attractive price. We all know the hit that high-end apparel can give our wallet, so it’s refreshing to find a more realistic alternative. And let’s get this out there straight away; this is a good-looking piece. Available in five variations of three colors—black, black/red and black/yellow. The red and yellow can also be had with silver accents for a bit more flash. I tested the black with safety yellow panels in front, back and upper arms. This is my first piece of hi-vis apparel and I think it’s a good balance of color and style.
The Warlock is made with Rock Tex 600 polyester outer layer. This material was developed to provide abrasion resistance at the expense of breathability. There’s mesh venting throughout the jacket but the liner is a light, solid fabric material which partially impedes the air flow, so this jacket will function better as a warm weather friend rather than desert hot. The liner will help keep light rain away but a good soaking will find its way through, though the pockets generally stayed dry in my garden hose test.
Speaking of pockets, this thing has them in spades! I found four outside and three inside (zippered) plus four small open pockets along the inner lapels. The two uppermost are cleverly equipped with pass-throughs which allow your earbuds to be routed to exit at the neck roll. One of the front hand pockets has a handy cable to clip your keys on to. While there’s lots of handy storage here, when the pockets are filled they will block some of the already limited air flow.
The jacket is armored with removable C.E.-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows, along with foam padding in the chest and back. Unlike some designs, the armor didn’t cramp movement of my arms or torso. There’s a quilted zip-in liner (with yet another pocket) which should provide wind, water and some cold protection.
The coated polyester material feels a bit clammy on bare skin. An eight-inch pant zipper is incorporated in the lower back. While the zippers on the Warlock work fine, they don’t have the heft and feel of the highest quality ones found on more expensive jackets.
I went by the sizing chart and found it spot-on. At 5’11” and 200 pounds an extra-large fits me perfectly with or without the liner installed. The fit is helped by quick and easy adjustments at the wrists, arms and waist. The velcro wrist strap produces a bulky lump when snugged up but doesn’t get in the way. I found the jacket comfortable on and off the bike with easy movement and no binding anywhere. The sleeves are shaped well and just the right length for my “normal” arms and there’s a little extra length built into the back.
I like this piece, and I’ll use it all season on my touring and sport bikes, at least when the temperatures are below my personal melting point, say, 90 degrees. Above that and a pure mesh jacket will provide much more relief. It’s an honest, simple yet thoughtful design which will get the job done while looking good and still give some cooling air flow, and when the sun sets the liner will get you home. The Viking Warlock Mesh is available online at Motorcycle House and retails for $129.99 [Editor’s Note: Looks like at the moment it’s on sale for $79 but some sizes are unavailable] men’s sizes S – 3XL. Shipping is free and fast.