ICON has delivered a versatile, if a little heavy, on-bike jacket solution.
I sometimes love ICON gear and sometimes hate it. They have a select few items that are casual in appearance; they don’t scream “I’m a Bro Biker, look at me,” when you walk into the gas station for a Big Gulp. But notice that I use the phrase “a select few,” as not all of the company’s gear is subtle. Frankly, a lot of their items are loud as hell. Big graphics, bright colors and with an overall sportbike-Bro feel. The ICON Hoodie is a mix of both.
It’s only loud due to the graphics, but honestly I don’t mind the design. It feels like wearing a NASCAR stock car fender on your sleeve. But if you don’t love it, simply opt for the Overlord Stealth non-hoodie jacket or the leather Hood Jacket. Despite my feelings on the graphics, I still really dig this hoodie. It's cheap in price and the features are admittedly limited, but the feeling, fitment and quality are up to par for wearing this almost every day I ride...in the summer of course.
It’s mostly the ICON 1000 lineup that’s less Bro-ish, but this Team Merc jacket doesn't fit in the 1000 lineup. ICON does offer a couple different hoodies: There’s the Stavanger and Hoodlux hoodies, but damn it, they aren’t designed for riding, “best to be enjoyed off the bike,” we were told (although I’d love it if they were, cough, cough, ICON). There’s also the leather hoodies, which are expensive at $600, but are legit motorcycle jackets.
The Team Merc Jacket
The ICON Team Merc hoodie is right in that perfect sweet spot middle in terms of price, versatility, weather, fit and protection. It’s as if the design just said, "Let’s make something for everything." Not everyone, mind you, but almost every riding you’ll be doing. If I’m unsure of what to expect for the day, I’ll grab this. And that’s exactly what I did for the Can-Am Sypder launch, I wasn’t sure of the temperature as we were heading higher into elevation, and I didn’t know if we’d expect light rain. So it worked perfectly.
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Okay, this was a big talking point when introduced earlier this year as everyone had some stupid thing to say about wearing a hoodie on a motorcycle. First off, it does NOT get in the way. I’ve only had the hood pull on my jacket maybe once or twice in cross winds. Never has the hood blocked my vision when checking behind me, or pulled on my neck. It remains down and still due to the form-fitting design and heavy material. It’s not a loose hood, but instead a very tight and small hood that gets closer to your head and body than a normal sweater.
For warm riding, there are only two simple zipped underarm panels to let air flow through the jacket. When you aren’t wearing gauntlet gloves, you get a nice cycle of air through your chest and it works well. It’s better than I thought it would be, considering that it only has the two small pockets.
Good at Everything
I’m spoiled living in SoCal. It’s almost always sunny, and when it’s not, you’ll know days in advance. As for the rest of the country, however, it’s typically not this way. When I grew up in North Carolina, I always carried an extra shirt or jacket when riding in the summer as a rain storm could pop up any minute. The thing I like about the ICON hoodie is the versatility. It has a heavy soft-shell outside with nylon reinforcement panels and perforated material inside. So it’s not as hot as leather, but not as open as a mesh jacket.
The inner lining is great for sweating and hotter weather. Two liners under the armpits are the only ventilation, which work good at speed, but it would be great to have two more.
With this jacket, I don’t need to carry extra rain gear since it offers some of the best water protection for a jacket that’s not made for wet weather. Yes, an ADV jacket or something from say Aerostitch would work better in an ice storm or hurricane, but for items not in that category, this jacket is possibly the best in terms of water resistance.
It does not seal up tight around the waist, but does feature a nylon internal string for pulling it tighter. It’s also missing any double wall protection around the zipper, but again, for light rain it worked well.
For the money, D30 armor is surprising to see in this piece as it’s one of my favorite armor offerings and said to be one of the best in the market. The jacket also features extra nylon reinforcement in critical areas. We have a crash report in this hoodie coming soon (although, it wasn’t me).
The major complaint is fitment. It’s ICON’s relaxed fit—the bulky material is not only heavy, but also causes it to ride up around your waist. The jacket features a small nylon strap on the inside of the bottom of the jacket to help secure, but it’s not perfect. That’s mostly a visual issue as it doesn’t ride up enough to expose your bare skin, but just looks bulky and bunched up in your stomach and lower back.
The neck and sleeves feature tough added padding for firm fitments and extra protection against the elements. It tugs on my neck when fully zipped. The sleeves are too short as well, which is hands down my biggest complaint. The sleeves do feature thumb straps to keep the loose fitting material in place, but I like riding jackets with extra long sleeves.
I’m 6’2, 210 pounds, and have a terrible time finding anything that fits perfectly. I don’t believe I’ve ever put on a motorcycle jacket that I thought fit great. So these complaints may not match with your sizing.
For a jacket with armor, it’s pretty dang inexpensive. It doesn’t feel cheap, despite the relaxed, baggy fit. It’s a high quality piece of material for $170.
- Price - cheap for a jacket with D30 armor
- Good for all conditions - not as great as items designed for wet weather, but possibly the best out of those not designed for rain. Water beads off quickly.
- Material is strong
- Comfortable armor and fitment in the shoulders
- Thin, mesh interior makes it comfortable even when sweating.
- Two small underarm vents work wonders, which is surprising when you learn those are the only vents on the jacket.
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- Fitment - mostly the sleeves are too short
- Heavy - physically just a heavy jacket for what it is, with or without the armor
- Feels baggy at the bottom - it's admittedly the ICON Relaxed fit, but still feels loose in the stomach
- No extras, very minimal - call this is plus or minus.
- Sublimated Chassis
- Underarm Zippers for Ventilation
- Headphone Pass Through
- YKK Zippers
- Three Position Elbow Protector Pocket
- Fixed Liner