MO Tested: Alpinestars Caliber Jacket Review

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

Well-constructed, durable jacket for moderate climates

I’ve been searching for the perfect brown leather jacket for years. For some reason, this color appeals to me more than the classic black or multi-colored gear. However, to my eye, brown is a color that is difficult to get right. I’ve seen too many items with a burgundy tint that really doesn’t appeal to me. When I discovered the Alpinestars Caliber jacket, I knew I’d found the jacket I was looking for.

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Alpinestars Caliber Jacket

Constructed with nice attention to detail and featuring a classic European sporting fit, the Alpinestars Caliber jacket should age beautifully and provide years of good-looking protection.

Editor Score: 84.5%

+ Highs

  • Beautiful brown-toned leather that should look even better as it ages
  • Stretch panels in all the right places
  • Pairs perfectly with a Tech Air 5 vest

– Sighs

  • No back protector included
  • Venting not enough for temperatures above 90° F
  • Brown is darker than it appears on the Alpinestars website

Shop for the Alpinestars Caliber Jacket here

My requirements for this jacket were pretty simple: sporty styling that could be worn without looking like a racer boy off the bike, good protection in the elbows and shoulders, room for an airbag vest (which has become an essential part of my riding gear), and a tasteful brown that looks like it will age well. As is typical of Alpinestars gear, the main chassis of the jacket is constructed from 1.0 – 1.2 mm premium leather. While this makes the initial fit a little stiff, it loosens up after just a couple of rides, and I’m sure that in a few months of regular use the creases that mark a well-worn jacket will develop. In the sleeves, chest, and underarms, stretch panels assure both protection and the slim, comfortable fit I prefer in a motorcycle jacket. There’s no loose leather around my middle to flap on a naked bike, like is sometimes found in the more generous American cut of some jackets. Accordion leather on the waist and shoulders assist in this fit in this while still allowing room for my Tech-Air 5 to deploy in a mishap.

As airbags become more common among riders, you’ll see more jackets featuring generous stretch panels to allow for expansion in a crash. Note the placement of the zippered vent to flow air under the rider’s arms and around the back.

The elbows and shoulders have internal Level 1 CE-certified GP-R protectors, and the precurved nature of the sleeves made the armor feel like a natural extension of my arms from the first time I donned the jacket. The External Dynamic Friction Shield shoulder sliders look good, but subdued in black, while serving the dual purposes of spreading out impact forces and helping the shoulder to slide in a crash instead of hooking up and causing a tumble. For those who don’t utilize an airbag, the lack of a back protector feels like an oversight. However, you really should consider an airbag vest. Riders who want additional torso protection along with their Alpinestars Nucleon back protector have chest pockets available for Nucleon chest armor.

The accordion panels on the shoulders ease movement. Below the collar, there is a touch or reflective material.

Ventilation, while present in the Caliber jacket, is provided but not to the level of full perforation. I recognize that not every rider lives in the hot, arid Southwest, so for most people, this will be a feature, not a bug. When the two zippered vents on either side of the chest are open, I’ve found the airflow to be adequate up to about 90° F. Perforation sections in the chest and armpit offer a little additional airflow. With the inner quilted liner zipped and snapped in place, I’ve ridden in weather as cold as the high-40°s, proving the Caliber to be a good jacket for places that have real seasons before the hot and cold extremes set in.

A waterproof pocket is a nice touch in case you get caught out in a shower.

Storage is about what you’d expect from a slim-fitting jacket. The two zippered hand warmer pockets are perfect for little essentials, like earplug cases and keys, while the waterproof chest pocket is handy for protecting your phone from the elements. The two internal pockets on the lower front of the jacket have proven to be surprisingly useful for carrying a spiral notepad, my passport, or similarly flat items on my recent trip to ride the Ducati Diavel V4.

Aside from my initial surprise that the color was a darker brown than depicted in photos on the Alpinestars website, my time with the Caliber jacket has shown it to be perfect for the cooler seasons here in Los Angeles. I like the subdued-but-sporty styling – particularly when I’m going to spend time off the bike with the general public. I believe that the styling, fit-and-finish, protective qualities, and solid construction will help the Caliber provide years of use. With a retail price of $570, the Caliber isn’t as expensive as some other similarly-featured jackets, making it a good value. The Caliber is only available in brown and in Euro sizes 48-60.

Shop for the Alpinestars Caliber Jacket here


How much does a motorcycle protective jacket cost?

While you can find jackets that offer some protection for under $200, those jackets usually are made of a textile with minimal armor. For a good leather motorcycle jacket, the pricing starts at about $400, but features like venting and quilted liners may add to the cost. Be sure that the armor in the elbows, shoulders, and back are CE approved to assure their protective quality.

What’s the best material for motorcycle jackets?

Traditionally, leather has been the material of choice for quality motorcycle gear. Look at what racers wear. However, in the past decade, textiles have made great advances in protection and durability and, in some cases, can cost significantly less. Look for this trend to continue.

Should a motorcycle jacket be tight?

While you don’t want excessive material – be it leather or textile – flapping in the wind at speed, you don’t want your jacket to be so tight as to impede your movement when operating the bike. This is why premium motorcycle gear often combines leather with stretchy textile to fine tune the fit to be form-fitting without being overly snug.

Additional resources

MO (Crash) Tested: AGV Sport Element Vintage Jacket

MO Tested: Alpinestars Brera Airflow Jacket Review

MO Tested: Dainese Racing 3 Perf. Leather Jacket And Delta 3 Perf. Leather Pants Review

MO Tested: REV’IT! Prometheus Jacket Review

MO Tested: Spidi Clubber Jacket Review

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Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

More by Evans Brasfield

Join the conversation
  • Ulysses Araujo Ulysses Araujo on Feb 22, 2023

    C'mon Mr. Brasfield, not even a crash test? Have seen you go to greater lengths to test bikes. 😝
    Jokes aside, it seems to be a nice jacket. Appreciate the detailed text and photos of the features, especially the ventilation which is not usually seen even in many manufacturers' websites. None of the outer pockets is waterproof right? Had one full waterproof zipper + pocket unglue out of an Alpinestars jacket recently, not a fan.

    • Evans Brasfield Evans Brasfield on Feb 22, 2023

      Well, I’m in transit to ride the 2023 Triumph Street Triple family - in the rain, most likely. So, there’s still a chance this jacket could hit the pavement (under a waterproof shell).

      Only the inner chest pocket is waterproof. I’ll be using it this weekend.