The one thing I’ve learned wearing Alpinestars’ GP Plus Leather Suit is trackside photographers have no problem picking me out of a crowded field of leather-clad motorcyclists. Whether I’m at a press launch with a bunch of other journos all outfitted with newish leathers, or at a trackday thick with fellow sportbike junkies in sometimes outlandish attire, the asymmetrical styling of the GP Plus suit is more obvious and attention-grabbing than a naked Margot Robbie (we should probably test that statement for accuracy…).
New for 2017 and sandwiched between the slightly more streetable Motegi leathers ($999.95) and the slightly more track-worthy GP Pro leathers ($1,349.95), the GP Plus suit ($1,199.95) bridges the small gap between the two. A quick comparison reveals that where the Motegi suit is fitted more for street use, the GP Plus is a more committed fit for aggressive track duty, and while the Motegi has External Dynamic Friction Shield (DFS) shoulder sliders, the GP Plus boasts that as well as DFS knee sliders, but not the elbow sliders found on the GP Pro suit. The GP Plus also has calf expansion gussets whereas the Motegi does not.
From the first outing wearing the suit at the KTM Super Duke R launch at the Losail Circuit in Qatar back in December of 2016, the GP Plus was never an impediment – meaning no break-in was required. I put the GP Plus suit on, jumped aboard the SDR at an unfamiliar track and never gave it another thought. Comfortable from the get go. There’s something to be said about it not being a big deal that a new suit fit my average-size frame so well, but I’ve had worse experiences with suits not fitting near as comfortably. In fact, the only better experience I’ve had is with my last custom-made suit.
The suit’s track-focused fitment helps, and so does all those stretch panels; accordion stretch panels on the back and elbows, poly-fabric stretch panels on crotch, underarms, calf and back of the knees. High-density perforations around the chest, arms and legs help moderate temperatures, while the collar is lined with a neoprene material to prevent chafing.
All three suits, Motegi, GP Plus, and GP Pro are constructed from 1.3mm cowhide, and come with removable, washable mesh liners, and internal CE-certified protectors in the shoulders, elbows and knees. The big difference between the GP Plus and GP Pro suits is going to be the Pro’s ability to incorporate Alpinestars’ Tech-Air vest and back protector.
Weighing 11.3 pounds including all internal crash protectors and knee sliders, the GP Plus suit tips the scales around one-half to three-quarters of a pound more than the last two similar one-piece track leather suits I’ve reviewed; Dainese Veloster Perforated One-Piece Leather Suit, Rev’It Stingray Leathers. Not enough of a weight difference to really notice, but the additional airflow from the perforation on the Veloster leathers can certainly be felt compared to the more minimal perforation of the GP Plus suit.
We here at MO try our darndest not to crash, which makes reporting on the protective nature of motorcycle crash protection a knotty affair. But sometimes it does happen, like when former MO editor Troy Siahaan unknowingly volunteered to be a crash test dummy a couple years ago while wearing a set of Alpinestars GP Pro leathers (MO Crash Tested: Alpinestars GP-Pro Leather Suit Review).
Otherwise, a MotoGP crash study from a few years ago ranked every brand of leather suit manufacturers participating in all three classes. According to the study’s findings Alpinestars performed well, scoring highest overall. Below are a few highlights of the study while the full posting is here, and the complete public study here.
- 25 different leather manufacturers represented 124 riders across all three classes.
- Dainese is the most well represented brand overall, with 22 riders wearing its products. Alpinestars comes next with 18 riders, and Spidi is third with 14 riders.
- Of the total 7275 points available, Alpinestars scored the most points of any leather manufacturer with 2056. Dainese is next at 1711, with Spidi third at 1411.
For the little bit more money ($150) the GP Pro suit costs over this GP Plus suit, the additional features, and because it is compatible with the Tech-Air system (a costly upgrade, but maybe worth saving for), I may to choose the GP Pro over the GP Plus. But if it’s style you’re after, the GP Pro doesn’t come in the cool asymmetrical designs of the GP Plus, and that’s actually what attracted me to the GP Plus in the first place.
The GP Plus is available in sizes 46-60, and three color schemes, two asymmetrical, Black/White/Red Fluo/Yellow Fluo (pictured above) or Black/White/Yellow Fluo, and one symmetrical style Black/White/Red. Learn more about the GP Plus, Motegi, GP Pro suits and others, as well as the Track Vest 2, Tech-Air, SMX Boots, and GP Plus R gloves at alpinestars.com.