Our apologies to our friends on the east coast who actually do experience a winter, but here in Southern California, where the MO gang call home, the weather lately has been nothing short of perfect. Hot, even. Save for a couple rain showers here and there, El Nino has hardly made a dent in increasing our water levels and it’s come nowhere close to causing homeowners to cash in their flood insurance. In the long run this doesn’t help California’s drought problem, but in the short term at least we can go ride. And with the moderately high temps during the day cooling down dramatically once the sun goes down, a three-season jacket is the thing to have.
The Alpinestars GP-R Perforated leather jacket is one such item. Constructed from multiple 1.3mm leather panels with reinforced stitching in high impact areas, the GP-R has a heft and weight to it that feels reassuring once you don the jacket. From a protection standpoint, armor and padding are in all the expected areas. Alpinestars’ race-derived CE-approved bio-armor protectors are inserted under the jacket and into the shoulder and elbow areas. This keeps the armor securely in place without fear of them shifting in the event of a crash. As has been customary for Alpinestars sporty jackets, dual-density sliders are incorporated into both shoulder areas. These serve to both absorb some impact in a fall and also help promote the rider slide (not tumble) in a fall. Tumbling could cause further injuries.
From there the GP-R’s protection goes soft – as in soft padding. You can find such padding in both the chest and back areas, though Alpinestars does have optional hard armor available for purchase separately. In addition, the GP-R can accommodate the Alpinestars Bionic Back Protector and features three snaps – High, Medium, or Low – with which to position it.
Wearing the GP-R one definitely feels the jacket’s sporty cut, but it doesn’t lean heavily towards the sporty side. There’s no aero hump on the back, but the shoulder and elbow armor feel as if they were placed in perfect position for my frame. They stay put, too – moving my arms and elbows around does nothing to negatively offset the positioning of the armor, and the accordion panels offer a wide range of movement. The pre-curved sleeves also limit the sleeves from bunching up when in the riding position.
For my 5-foot, 8-inch, 150-pound frame, the US40 size may be off the rack, but it feels as if Alpinestars’ tailors in Asolo somehow used me as a reference for sizing. With the jacket fully zipped, fit feels snug but with a little room left to wear a sweatshirt or windbreaker underneath. Velcro waist straps make it easy to customize the fit and a full-circumference zipper allows the GP-R to be worn with a variety of accommodating riding pants. There’s a total of three pockets inside, including one zippered waterproof pocket, and another two exterior pockets, both closed with YKK zips. Neoprene lines the collar and soft poly-fabric lines both wrists, giving all three areas soft surfaces to contact a rider while wearing the jacket.
Apart from its comfortable fit, the GP-R’s ventilation is average. Considering the jacket’s perforations, an acceptable amount of air flows through it, but it’s dedicated ventilation inlets along each shoulder are far too small to allow significant airflow to enter. If you’re like me and often wear a backpack while riding, the straps effectively close the inlets, blocking any air from coming through them.
The GP-R also features a mesh liner to help with airflow, however it’s permanent and non-removeable. That’s nice when the weather is in the right conditions, since there’s no worrying about snaps or Velcro from a removeable liner bunching up near the wrists, but it also means you’re limited in your options should you want to layer down as the temps come up. It’s the GP-R’s average ventilation and airflow that make it optimum for Spring or Fall weather. A base layer or two will make it wearable in a pinch in Winter conditions, but otherwise look at something else during Summer riding.
From a protection standpoint, I have no doubt the GP-R will protect me as well as any other jacket out there. Its construction looks solid, and the fixed shoulder and elbow armor is reassuring should the unfortunate take place. Luckily for me, this isn’t a MO Crash Tested article…
If you’re the type looking for a solid two-to-three season sporty riding jacket, the $479.95 Alpinestars GP-R Perforated Leather Jacket is worth a look. Available in Euro sizes 46 – 60 (subtract 10 for US sizing), in Black/White, Black/White/Yellow, and Black/White/Red seen here, more information is available at Alpinestars.com.
|Alpinestars GP-R Perforated Leather Jacket|