Alpinestars Ice Leather Jacket Review

Cool as Ice

story by Pete Brissette, Photograph by Alfonse Palaima, Created Dec. 01, 2008
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Perhaps no other riding gear manufacturer has a higher profile and higher level of desirability than Alpinestars. With the gear world at the feet of the likes of Casey Stoner, Troy Corser, Nicky Hayden, Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, so on and so forth, it must come down to a consideration of quality as well as broad choice. These and other pros reach for an AStars product when they open their gear lockers. If it’s good enough for Stoner, than it’s good enough for me!

Despite Alpinestars marketing the Ice leather jacket as being “influenced by the urban theme”, I couldn’t think of jacket that better strikes a balance between subdued, classic styling and general badassness. In its black-gray color scheme, the Ice can be worn in just about any bike scene. From choppers to Vespas, the Ice fits the bill. Alpinestars has managed to make a real looker without going the route of the pretentious faux urban-jungle warrior so prevalent in today’s gear offerings.

The Alpinestars Ice leather jacket is a great styling compromise between the classic-but-subtle all-around look and a more modern appeal.

Made from 1.2-1.4mm full-grain leather, the Ice’s protection gauntlet is further enhanced by removable CE-certified armor in the elbow and shoulder areas. A simple removable foam backpad makes a suitable placeholder for an available accessory back protector.

Though the leather is thick enough to provide an average level of crash protection for a basic street jacket, it isn’t especially heavy and was supple right out of the box. Additionally, the heat typically associated with a leather riding jacket is somewhat abated by narrow perforated panels starting in the underarm area and running to the hem of the jacket.

The rear vent (just above the logo) is so inconspicuous that it’s difficult to notice, yet is quite effective, especially when the two front vents are open.
The pair of horizontally-zippered front vents are neatly hidden in the upper chest where the gray meets the black leather.
Pete found the cuff snaps a little overbearing at times. A rider with a longer reach may not take issue with the snaps.

Much more effective at cooling the wearer are a pair of inconspicuous horizontally-zippered vents in the upper chest area. Wind flow is enhanced when an equally subtle zippered vent in the back is opened. Zip all three shut, and you’re hard-pressed to tell the jacket has any vents.

Two large vertically-zippered pockets provide enough storage for keys, mobile phone, wallet, etc. and are deep enough to prevent you from looking like, well, like you just shoved a phone, wallet or keys in there. A deep, vertically-zippered internal pocket provides even more storage. A pair of two-position snap adjusters at the hem helps personalize fit.

A narrow band of accordion leather between the back of the upper arm and shoulder blade area eases articulation, preventing that too-tight feeling when you reach toward your bike’s bars. A zip-in quilted vest adds some extra warmth when needed.

Though Alpinestars calls the cut of the Ice “relaxed,” I found the size medium to be on par with the fit of most other brands’ medium. I don’t recall whether or not I knew it was a roomy fit by design when I chose it, but I’m glad it is. I prefer some space to wear a hoodie or sweatshirt underneath my leather jackets. The Ice allows this without appearing ill-fitting.

I know the cuff snap closures on this, and most jackets, are there to prevent the sleeve’s short zipper from pulling apart. But due to the size of the cuff snaps used on the Ice they occasionally irritated my wrist and/or hand, and often fought for space, so-to-speak, with the cuff of any short glove I wore. Slip on a pair of gauntlet gloves and the snap becomes less of an issue. In any event, this is a rather insignificant drawback on an otherwise excellent piece of riding kit.

Many jackets will come and go in my collection. The Aplinestars Ice leather jacket, on the other hand, with its subtle styling that fits anywhere from bike saddle to bistro, will be a permanent part of my panoply.

The Ice is part of Alpinestars’ Black Label collection, comes in black-gray as seen here, is available in S to 3XL, and retails for $349.95. http://www.alpinestars.com/

Pete works on his modeling skills, honing that relaxed-in-any-situation Sears catalog pose.

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