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Alpinestars Fall 2012 Collection Unveiled
Continual development leads to improved designs and materials
Alpinestars is an acknowledged leader in producing top-quality riding apparel, with roots tracing back to motocross icon Roger Decoster nearly 40 years ago.
To stay at the top of its game, A-stars boasts continual updates and additions to its lines via extensive R&D operations. “Product development – It’s our heart and soul,” notes Alpinestars’ Jeremy Appleton, who was in SoCal this week to present the company’s wide-ranging new products. More than 20 items have been introduced or updated, and all will be available just a couple of weeks from now. Here are the highlights.
Atem Leather Suit
Several MotoGP and World Superbike luminaries wear A-stars leather suits, making these products most visible to consumers. Slotting in just below the existing top-line Race Replica suit (and the $5K Tech Air) is this new line that meets or exceeds tough new CE standards (EN 13595-1).
Constructed from 1.3mm leather, the Atem features external Dynamic Friction Shield (DFS) protectors on the shoulders and knees plus internal armor in all the normal impact zones. Appleton says the Atem’s padding limits transferred energy to less than 20 kilo-newtons in testing, well below the CE’s 35 K-N maximum. An adjustable wrist and ankle closure system addresses the tough-to-meet CE “cone test” for leg and arm restraint.
Appleton stresses that a snug fit is crucial to ensuring protection, but many riders purchase suits that are too big for their bodies. The Atem accommodates various body sizes with several strategically located stretch panels, including full-sleeve panels on the interior of the arms plus a new panel running the width of the chest.
Perforated sections of leather combined with a ventilated aero hump help keep a rider cool. “Direct Graphic Application” delivers visual impact without the addition of sewn-on graphics that add weight and are less flexible. Collars and cuffs feature neoprene edges to prevent chafing. The Atem retails for $1499.95.
Alpinestars GP Pro suit has an MSRP $400 less than the Atem and comes in a new red, white and blue colorway that is a great match for BMW’s S1000RR or Honda’s HRC-themed CBR1000RR. The GP Pro shares many of the Atem’s features but lacks the DFS shoulder and knee protectors, neoprene cuffs and the chest-area stretch panel.
Tech ST Gore-Tex Jacket and Pants
This all-weather touring gear demonstrates Alpinestars’ attention to detail in building a versatile street system. It features three-layer textile and leather construction and a premium Gore-Tex Pro membrane that is 100% waterproof yet breathable. Leather panels in the shoulder and elbow areas augment abrasion resistance in a crash, while CE-certified soft polymer protectors underneath absorb impacts. As on the Atem, a lot of effort has been put into keeping the padding in its proper place during a crash. To this end are pre-contoured sleeves and a double Velcro sleeve-fastening system.
The Tech ST is claimed to have “year-round climate control” with its removable thermal liner and A-stars’ Climate Control System, the latter using air intakes in the chest/shoulder areas and zippered exhaust ports at the rear. Appleton says the jacket retains its waterproofness even with the vents opened. The Tech ST jacket is complemented by a matching set of pants sold separately.
The only downside to the Tech ST system we can see is its lofty prices. The jacket retails for $899.95, while the pants list at $799.95.
Gunner Waterproof Jacket
The Gunner is an all-weather textile jacket that resides in a more affordable realm. Just $229.95 gets you a waterproof and breathable lining (though not Gore-Tex or A-stars’ own Drystar material) and a removable liner. Zipped front air-intake vents and a rear exhaust vent provides cooling on warm rides,
Appleton says the Gunner remains waterproof even with the vents open thanks to a 3-inch overlap in materials. The Velcro-adjustable collar features neoprene edges for comfort. Protection is offered to shoulders and elbows by CE-certified Bio-Armor
Apparel specifically designed for women is a relative rarity, so A-stars is addressing that market with its new Vika collection that includes a jacket, pants, boots and gloves. Many women often put fashion ahead of function, but the Vika line results in an equation in which those two contrasting ideas can coexist.
The jacket and pants use a soft leather shell for abrasion resistance, while several Kevlar stretch panels ensure a form-hugging fit. Unlike some fashionable apparel from other sources, the Vika line includes CE-approved armor at the elbows and shoulders (and, with the pants, knees) that is perforated for breathability.
After you’ve bought the jacket and pants, $429.95 each, you can continue your Vika shopping in the glove and boot aisles. The semi-shorty leather-and-goatskin glove ($89.95) has a sleek design and is cut for a female’s hand shape. It features external stitching and a seamless cuff design for optimum comfort, while thermo-formed foam padding provides impact protection. The Vika boots (price and availability TBD) are constructed from waterproof leather and suede that is augmented by an internal waterproof membrane. Medial zippers aid ingress, and their pull tabs are thoughtfully coated to protect your bike.
A-stars offers a huge range of gloves to protect a rider’s most critical feedback zones. Most impressive is the “completely reengineered” GP Pro designed for maximum fortification for digits. New developments include a greater amount of finger flexibility and a new wrist strap that reduces potential pinch points. Kangaroo leather is used in the palm area and insides of fingers for enhanced comfort and greater feedback. These are serious gloves tested by some of the world’s fastest racers. As such, a pair retails for a spendy $239.95.
The GP Plus glove is nearly as protective as the GP Pro but retails for $60 less. Goatskin is used on the palms instead of expensive kangaroo, but there is no shortage of impressive features, such as double-stitched external seams, a Kevlar lining, Keprotec internal reinforcements and A-stars’ patented finger bridge between the third and fourth fingers.
If you’re not a racetrack junkie but still want excellent protection from a street glove, check out the Tech Road. It has the same knuckle protectors and finger bridge of the GPs, but it also includes a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner, a thumb-mounted wipe strip for visors and a stylus on the index finger for using touchscreen electronics. Their multi-layer construction and Thinsulate lining result in the brand’s best insulation against cold. MSRP is $219.95.
Alpinestars also showed us several other gloves in its street line, many with Gore-Tex for waterproofness. The Overland ($119.95) uses A-stars’ Drystar membrane, still 100% waterproof but slightly less breathable than Gore-Tex. At the low end of the price scale is the new Arbiter that retails for $59.95. It’s a shorty style built from leather and stretch air mesh. They look minimalistic but include decent protection from carbon fiber knuckles and thermo-formed padding.
Alpinestars has a new partnership with the Monster Engery juggernaut, resulting in four jacket models that proudly display your affinity for the Monster brand. Four Monster-themed gloves are also in the lineup.
For a look at Alpinestars full collection, visit http://www.alpinestars.com/moto/
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