Lo and behold, I now have two new sets of leathers. You already got a peak at the new Joe Rocket leathers, in my ZX-6R Review. However, these new - just in time for Christmas- Alpinestars leathers arrived on the 23rd, after my latest round of racetrack tests. The Joe Rockets came with a nice cardboard box and a heavy-duty hanger. However, in addition to a heavy-duty hanger, the Alpinestars came with four different cardboard boxes and inside those boxes resided their top of the line "Supertech" roadrace boots, "
GP Pro" gloves, "Tech Race" back protector and "SX-1" roadracing suit. Wow, this is enough to satisfy any normal kid on Christmas morning. Of course, I'm not "normal", so Alpinestars went yet another extra mile and custom fit the suit (I think I lied about my waist measurement,) including a fancy custom label and part number just for moi. You must be saying "That's enough!" by now, but of course you'd be WRONG! Oh no.... I wouldn't let those Italians off so easily, I also made them custom letter the suit to properly reflect my status as a Motojournalistic God. What you see here, is the finest set of moto duds I've ever donned.
Alpinestars SX-1 Racing Leathers
Like all Alpinestars leathers, the SX1 Suit possesses an Italian flair mixed with space age design and nerdy tech features. Also like most Italian suits, the SX-1 runs a bit on the small side for each size range. I'm 6'2", 208Lbs and find that the Euro 56 (US 46) sized suit is just right, everywhere except my belly and chest. Looks like a 10Lb weight loss, a few sit-ups and a man-boob reduction are in my immediate future.
The SX1 leathers feature:
Intended Use: Performance Riding/Racing
Available in Sizes: 48-60 EU
Patented external injection-molded PU protection on the shoulders
Ventilation at the collar
Aerodynamic back hump
1.2-1.4mm premium full-grain Italian leather for excellent abrasion resistance
90° anatomical race fit
Removable Coolmax® liner
Multiple stitched main-seam construction for maximum tear resistance
Ergonomically placed stretch Kevlar® panels for optimal flexibility
PU replaceable GP knee sliders
Secure snap connection system on back for new Tech Race Back Protector (optional accessory)
The SX-1's 1.2 - 1.4mm thick Italian leather has a fine and even grain, with excellent tanning and dye saturation. I particularly like the fact that the suit is quite light for a full-protection "race" suit. I also like the true 90° race cut, which makes standing upright look somewhat awkward, but makes sitting in a proper tuck position an effortless joy. Trying to stretch "normal" leathers into a proper race tuck can wear a rider out in a hurry. As you can see from the photos, when standing, the SX-1 fits snuggly with taut leather over the stomach and chest, but baggy leather over the lower back, buttocks and around the knees. However, as soon as I "assume the position," the stomach and chest relax, the back, butt and knees pull to a "just right" fit and everything comes perfectly into harmony. This is a cool cut to have, but I don't recommend it for commuting or street rides where you will be expected to stand/walk around for any length of time. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the looks and quality of my new Alpinestars leathers. Stay tuned to find out how they work on the racetrack. The Alpinestars SX-1 suit is currently selling in the $1,000 range through online retailers.
Tech Race Back Protector
Not much is known about the mysterious Tech Race Back Protector All I can get from Alpinestars, is: Cross Torsion Linkage (patented) shock absorber system Flexible central linkage adapts and moves with the body Expanded polymer foam for impact speed reduction Dual density foam for low impact loads Comfortable and soft fabric liner CE prEN 1621-2 certified blade and waist extensions Perforations to keep you cool and comfortable Snap connection system for use in SX-1 & Race Replica Suits
The Tech Race comes in S, M, and L sizes and the L seems long enough for people up to 6'5". I'm 6'2" and it covers from the middle of my butt to the bottom of my neck. It is reasonably flexible, with a nice hard row of articulated vertebra protectors running the length of the protector. Overall, the Tech Race seems to be of average weight, with a medium thickness that will fit under most suits, but is a little tight under close fitting suits like my new SX-1.Supertech Boots
The Supertech boot is designed to protect a rider's ankles and heels in high-speed crashes. It seems that riders have a tendency to do one of two things, when they dis-mount at 140+mph. 1.) They step-off and promptly roll their ankle under. -or- 2.) They gracefully flip-over the top of the bike and smash the back of their heels down with bone shattering force. The Lorica, Plastic, Nylon & Rubber Supertechs have a unique inner-bootie that includes an armored and padded heel cup, as well as a hinged ankle with side supports to prevent ankle rolling.
The bootie cinches at the back with a quick and easy to use cord and eyelet system. After the rider's foot is in the booty, it is quite easy to slide the whole shebang into the boot shell, which then zips, Velcro's and ratchets closed around the foot and ankle.
It looks and sounds like a long and arduous process, but the whole process takes under a minute to accomplish and once they are on, the boots are perfectly comfortable and not at all clumsy. Best of all is the feeling of security you get, once your feet are safely ensconced inside the high-tech wonders. Furthermore, if you wear the red boots, hot chicks might mistake you for Santa and ask to sit on your lap. The Alpinestars Supertech Boots are not cheap, and are currently retailing in the $290 range from most online stores.
GP Pro Gloves
People often think I'm just "stuck up", when they see my pinkies sticking out at odd angles from the rest of my hand. However, the truth is that I've broken and/or crushed the tips of both my pinkies, thanks to various gravel trap tours and having them get jammed into and crushed against all sorts of unforgiving objects, as I endured the ground-sky-ground-sky tumble that often accompanies a high speed racing crash.
Alpinestars has figured out that if you link the pinky to the ring finger, it is less likely to "roll" or hang up on things, while the rest of your hand is safely balled into a fist. Thus, they've blessed the GP Pro Gloves with webbing to connect your pinkies with your ring fingers. I haven't tried it (yet), but I assume this will help to reduce the number of broken digits on the modern racing grid. Lest you think they have a pinkie fixation, Alpinestars has also endowed the GP Pros with super-strong kangaroo skin palms, a Schoeller Keprotec Kevlar lining, impact padding and external seams on sensitive areas.
The gloves are good looking in that high tech "racer" sort of way, however they are a tad stiff and somewhat awkward to put on.
Once on, there is no denying that your hands are well protected, as your fist is roughly twice the size of what you're normally used to seeing. The pinkie-linking feels funny at first, but you quickly get used to it and I don't suspect that it will be much of a problem for most racers. The GP Pro Gloves are currently retailing around $180 from most online stores.
You could do a lot worse than showing up to your next professional race or weekend track day in a full set of new Alpinestars gear. Just be warned that you'll have to fight the ladies off with a stick, cause they'll be convinced that you're Santa Claus.
I hope to put this new suit to the test in about two months, when we conduct the 2005 Motorcycle.Com Middleweight Supersport Shootout. Till then, have a joyous holiday season and may all your dreams come true. -Sean