In a moto-topian world, we all would have premium, top of the shelf equipment, and protection equipment would probably be at the top of that list. But unfortunately we all don’t have the deep pockets like a Factory Honda or Monster Kawasaki to fund our riding. We have to abide by our own budgets and work with what we have. So when it comes to knee protection, it was a choice between some cheap plastic knee cups or spend a small fortune on highly engineered knee braces, right? Well not anymore. Enter Alpinestars’ SX-1 knee guards
There are a few clichés when it comes to motocross and safety: Dress for the crash, and it’s not a matter of IF you crash, but WHEN. So why do we throw a leg over the bike hoping we are dressed “right” while worrying about the “when”? Because motocross is fun! However, that fun does not come without risks. One way to minimize that risk is wearing protection and Alpinestars has plenty to offer. From neck braces to boots, they have you covered from neck to toe. But what about the stuff in between? That is where the A-10 full chest protector comes in.
The A-10 is a full chest protector that provides coverage is the chest, back, upper arms, and even around the mid-section with a kidney belt. Per Alpinestars, “Protector plates feature embedded grid technology under the shells which absorbs and dissipates impact forces. Grid technology cell system enables greater flexibility and air ventilation while allowing for significantly reduced weight.” I can attest to the flexibility, which I will get into more detail later. The ventilation felt fine, but on the day I tested, it was overcast and about 70°F. Once we start heating up here in the Arizona desert will I get a true sense of the ventilation and cooling properties of the A-10.
Putting on the A-10 and securing it is very easy. Fit can be customized with the adjustable kidney belt to give you as loose or as tight a feel that you want. There is no Velcro to secure or ratcheting systems to get stuck. Alpinestars has a quick release attachment system that easily locks in place and easy to disengage after a long moto.
Back in the day I wore one of those heavy duty under-the-jersey vests. I liked the spine protection and the fact I could show off my killer fashion sense without covering it up with a chesty. It was that total Euro look. But today, function has nosed ahead of form. Where a lower end chest protector may deflect roost, does it really offer that much protection in a crash? My experience is that you don’t really ‘wear’ the cheaper protectors, they just kind of hang on your shoulders while you move around inside it when riding. The A-10 has a soft bio foam padded chassis for maximum comfort and personalized, close-to-the-body fit. I was worried that it would feel constricting in the chest and on the sides, but once I put it on and made some slight adjustments to the adjustable kidney belt, my thoughts of ‘snug’ turned to ‘hug’. While riding I still felt like I can move about the bike like I did before and the A-10 moved right along with me without holding me back or feeling like it was getting hung up anywhere. It really is comfortable and felt like a custom fit.
The A-10 offers a modular design, which means it can be worn in various configurations. For example, it can be configured to fit Alpinestar’s BNS neck brace. I do not wear a neck brace so I do not know if this configuration will also adapt to other neck brace brands.
I did find the upper arm protectors a bit constricting. They were easily removable and once removed I felt I had full motion from the shoulders down to my hands. The can be easily put back on too should I find a need for that additional protection in the future.
When it comes to protecting my delicate body I am confident the A-10 will do its job in deflecting the heartiest of roost and take a hit should I find gravity overtaking my ability to keep it on two wheels. Even though it is a matter of ‘when’ it comes to crashes, the A-10 can help turn down the worry factor when riding.
All the cool kids may just run a jersey when riding, but for those that race and ride for fun that have a job waiting for us on Monday mornings, I highly recommend the A-10. It is comfortable, has great coverage in front and back as well as the sides, and looks good too. If dressing for a crash is a black tie affair, the A-10 is Giorgio Armani.
I may be an old fuddy duddy, but I haven’t once yelled at kids to get off my lawn (but I have told my daughter to turn down her music). I like to think that being a more “experienced” rider does not preclude me from being fashionable. I like the simple things: solid colors, crisp lines, and above all function. If being old means I like my riding gear to fit well first, be durable for many-a-moto second, and lastly look good, then make room for me at the retirement active adult community.
So when I got the call from Alpinestars asking if I would like to try out their Techstar line, I remembered what looked like a Pollock and Picasso painting splashed on the jersey and leathers of Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac. But when I took a look at the 2017 Techstar lineup, the patterns were subdued. The colors more solid. The lines were crisper. This was a look right up my ally! And Alpinestars claims a 30% weight savings to its predecessor. But, will this stuff fit and perform to my standards? Read on to find out.
First impression is that the jersey is light and airy, the pants well made and padding in the right spots, and the gloves not so thick to ball up in my hand and thin enough to maintain feel. Techstar looked good and felt good, but will it perform well enough?
The Techstar jersey is probably one the most comfortable I have ever worn. While the trend in riding jerseys have been more form fitting for that athletic look, the Techstar jersey is light and airy. It feels flowy and the collar rests perfectly around my neck and shoulders. It did not feel like it wanted to crawl up my neck and strangle me. The cuffs are like they are non-existent, and that’s a good thing. If you are the type of rider that does not like any type of constriction around the wrist, the Techstar is the jersey for you. It is very loose around the wrist without the feeling of a lot of fabric flapping about. The mesh inserts are in the right spot to move air and keep you cool. So how does it feel while riding? It doesn’t, and isn’t that really what we want? You want to focus on the track ahead, not the feeling of the back flapping in the wind or the sleeves constricting your arms and wrists, or that core temperature creeping up. You don’t get any of that with the Techstar. You get to focus on your riding.
The Techstar pant is well constructed. The zipper enclosure is heavy duty (and who can’t use a little heavy duty with the holidays coming up?), and Velcro waist adjusters on the sides help dial in the fit. Pulling the pants on it appeared to be very bulky in the knees, i.e. a lot of material. And when putting my Tech 10’s on, the ankle cuffs are loose and bulky when fitting the inner booty on. I wear knee braces and there was plenty of room and wear a ½ size bigger Tech 10 so the bulk in the boot was not an issue. While riding the bulk in the knees were not noticeable nor did the pants hang up on any part of the bike. In fact, movement was very easy and air flow was excellent. However, if you just wear knee cups or have a snug fitting boot, the excess in materials may be an issue. And for you trail riders, there is an inner hip pocket for safe key/coin storage.
Gloves are that fine line of feeling comfortable on the bike or fighting it over every jump and through every corner. And gloves can be a very personal preference from those wanting as much padding as possible to those minimalists that prefer something akin to a thin layer of Elmer’s glue that had dried on your palms. Me, I am a middle man. I do not like bulky gloves that when gripping the bars it feels like material is balling up on the palm of my hands. And the fact I don’t get to ride as much as I would like, my hands are as soft as newborn’s cheek. So, I need some protection there but not so much where I can’t feel what I’m doing. The Techstar glove meets those requirements. The stretchable layer on top conforms well to the back of my hands while the single-piece palm reduced material that protects yet offers good feel on the bars. After a day of riding, my soft hands were none the worse for wear. These are good gloves, but if I did have to pick out one thing that I did not care for was the cuff. Where the Techstar jersey had very loose fitting cuffs, the glove is snug around the wrist. Pulling them on and getting them over the butt of my palm almost made the glove seem too small. But once on, the fit was good as was the feel of the bars during riding.
Overall, the Alpinestars Techstar line of riding gear fit well, felt comfortable while riding, and looks good too. With Alpinestars pedigree in quality, it definitely worth consideration. If you are looking to have that unique look at the track and stand out from the other gear companies, the Techstar line can only be purchased through Alpinstar’s website : www.alpinstars.com
Techstar Venom Jersey: $49.95
Techstar Venom Pants: $179.95
Techstar Gloves: $39.95