Alpinestars Missile Ignition Suit Review
An entry-level airbag suit that doesn't feel entry-level at all
Full disclosure before we begin: I’m a former Alpinestars employee. But don’t take that to mean I’m a fan of all its products. There are definitely some duds. A perplexing one was the first-generation Missile Tech-Air suit. At a thousand bucks, it was a novel idea as a relatively affordable entry-level airbag-compatible suit. The thing going against it was fit (at least for me) – I didn’t like the fit at all. At 5-foot, 8-inches, 150 pounds, with a 30-inch inseam and 31-inch waist, I’m about as average as they come in regards to body size and type. Still, the Missile was uncomfortable. The proportions were wrong and it was tight in the hips and knees, making it difficult to move my lower body the way I wanted.
Alpinestars Missile Ignition Leather Suit
Apparently, several others had issues with the Missile also because, as part of Alpinestars’ updated 2020 collection of leather racing suits, the Missile gets a heavy update and a new name – the Missile Ignition. Three other suits are also new or updated for 2020: The (now former) top-of-the-line GP Tech V3, the Motegi V3, and the new flagship, the Racing Absolute, billed as a production version of the suits GP riders wear. I didn’t get to wear any of those suits though. For this review, I sampled the Missile Ignition for a full trackday at Buttonwillow Raceway in conjunction with Trackdaz.
At $1099.95, the Missile Ignition might be the least expensive Tech-Air Race compatible leather suit in Alpinestars’ Tech-Air lineup, but for many folks that’s no small lump of cash. Especially since the Tech-Air airbag vest is sold separately. Thankfully, I’m happy to report the Missile Ignition is one hell of a suit whether you have the Tech-Air vest in or out (I never go on track without one anymore). What it all comes down to is comfort. Some people complain about upper body fitment being tight with the airbag vest in place. I’ve never experienced this myself. My problem when it comes to off-the-rack suits is the distance from hip to knee is always a skosh too short, requiring me to push the knee armor down once I get in the riding position. In turn, I’m always moving my knee puck as high as it will go on the velcro to put it in proper position. Otherwise, I’m lucky enough to fit in nearly every off-the-rack suit in a size Euro 50.
I know. Having to push my knee armor down is hardly a big deal. However, when it comes to fit and comfort, the Missile Ignition darn near rivals my custom suits! The hip-to-knee length is much improved, with a tweak to the velcro meaning I can place my knee puck in the center of the velcro and have it touch down on the ground perfectly. All the impact zones are covered in 1.3mm cowhide, with accordion panels in stretch zones, and a liberal dosage of high resistance stretch fabric placed in non-impact areas. Pre-curved sleeves and legs are designed for the race position, and the speed hump in the back has been tweaked slightly to better accommodate helmet shapes in a tuck. The Missile Ignition also has an elbow slider, so you can get your Marquez on, and if you’re saving up for the Tech-Air vest, there are dedicated pockets to house Alpinestars’ Nucleon chest and back inserts (sold separately).
The full line of new suits from Alpinestars’ 2020 collection drops August 26. If the rest of the line is as comfortable as the Missile Ignition, then you owe it to yourself to give them a look if any serious track time is in your future.
If we're doing leathers reviews, I'd be curious to hear how Icon's Hypersport Suit fares from the saddle.
For a second there, I thought the bottom picture was of Jorge.... but it was just Trizzle.