Ever noticed how some brand names when said almost gives us a compulsive reaction to go buy it, like having no second thoughts about it ? Alpinestars is one such iconic brand when it comes to protective gears (read about importance of riding gears here) for motorcyclists.
Once you hear Alpinestars, you know for sure, you don’t need to look any further for quality and assurance in terms of protection. So why am I stating the obvious ? Because for the last few weeks I have been reviewing a Alpinestars riding jacket and now it is ready for the world to see.
So here we present to you the Alpinestar T-GP Plus Air, fully reviewed.
Now mesh jackets are the need of the hour for us Indian folks,but the dilemma kicks in when you start looking one for yourself. Now with this review you can be sure to make a much more informed choice.
Now, like I always say, there are several other factors to be looked into before zeroing in on one specific model of riding jacket. So this review is based on with more perspective on those important and key points which makes more sense to the rider in real world situation.
So now the basic question here, How to choose the perfect jacket:
The few important points to be considered are.
2.Level of protection
3.Comfort,Fit & Finish
6.Competition & Conclusion
So let’s get started on the points mentioned.
Alpinestars T- GP Air is a mesh riding jacket constructed from 600 Denier Polyester. The 600 grade level represents the level of fineness in a yarn or fabric. The higher the denier rating the stronger but rougher the fabric will be. So a decent abrasion resistance can be expected from this jacket
The features of the jacket are as follows
♦ Full mesh construction which optimizes air flow
♦ 2 outer pockets (Non waterproof)
♦ 1 inner pocket with YKK zipper(Non waterproof)
♦2 internal pouches with Velcro
♦CE rated shoulder and elbow Bio-armor
♦PE padding for chest and Shoulders (Up-gradable)
♦Wrist and hip adjustment Velcro straps
♦Zipper for attaching to Alpinestars Riding Pants
Level of protection :
This has level 1 rated CE armor. Also what is special here is that alpinestars call them as Bio armor. They are super light and flexible armor , yet super effective in impact absorbing characteristics. They are extremely comfortable to wear too.
A better idea about the armor would be if you watch this video
Video Courtesy : RevZilla Youtube channel
Now coming to the back and chest armor pockets. Unlike most jackets in India A’stars have given provision for chest protectors. But the sad part about this is that for getting any kind of real protection you must upgrade the armor which will come close to 2k for the chest armor and 4.5k for the back armor. That makes it a good 6.5k dearer than the current price of the jacket.
The foam sheet on the A’stars are very thin and flexible that even the foam padding on jacket of other manufacturers are of more more use in the event of a crash. While other companies are moving on-to double density thick back protectors we get only very thin foam layer with almost no protective property at all. This is a really big let down.
Comfort, Fit & Finish :
The jacket is much different form it’s competition in this area, the jacket has been made in such a way that it fits just as good as your t-shirt or shirt, unlike other jackets which give a beefy look once you wear them, the light and flexible armor contributes in attaining this look. It is almost as you are wearing a normal fancy jacket without any armor.
Now that we have covered that , let’s talk about how good it is to ride in and walk in. It does live up to its mesh nature and the amount of air flow is pretty much decent once on the move, plenty of air circulation is there when riding and will make sure that you don’t sweat ,wearing them, but in stop go traffic it can get a little bit sweaty with this one, not much, but i found the Spartan Hyperion to be having more air flow in slow moving traffic than this jacket. And when it comes to comfort in walking with these jackets on, it is really very easy , the light weight of the jacket again being the reason.
But then again, it do comes with its fair share of problems/drawbacks, for instance, the lack of a zipper and insufficient length of the adjuster for the wrist area. The adjustment on this jacket is such that you have to fold the cuff area and pull the velcro which doesn’t have much adjustable length too, which is really a mess and not so user friendly.While this might not be a issue for some, people with thin arms and wrist will face this problem as it will be just too loose for them in the wrist are with lack of adjustment space on the velcro.
Another problem is the lack of adjustment strap for the elbow pad placement area, placement of the armor is of at-most importance, the armor areas like the elbow and shoulder should be seated perfectly and there must not be much free-play of the armor. While the jacket size might be right for a thin person , the elbow armor and the wrist adjustment will be a nightmare and the armor will move about from its position , which is not a good thing at all.
Weather Compatibility :
As a summer jacket it is great, great airflow, under different conditions ranging from moderate speed runs or crawling traffic within city limits , even in the searing heat. It wasn’t much difficult to walk around in too. But then, that all there is to it. This jacket is not so good in winter and not any good in rainy conditions either. The jacket doesn’t have a rain liner and not available as a add on too.
So that gives us a clear indication that Alpinestars had come up with this product strictly for summer use only, unlike the rest of the mesh jackets we get here which comes with winter and rain liners too which essentially makes it a reasonable all weather jacket(doesn’t mean it is 100% waterproof, more line water resistant, in case of mesh jackets with rain liner, they too seep in water eventually).
So now,one would think it is a good buy even with its limitations(Honestly , a handful of it for that matter ), let’s head over to the price part and have a quick overall look once again and decide about it in the conclusion.
Now this is where things go north. The Alpinestars T-GP Plus Air, retails at Rs9,900/- (Price as dated on 13th November 2013). Yes, you read it right, it is a tad shy to 10 grand.
So, basically what we have here is a beautifully made, light weight , well fitting summer riding jacket which has world class shoulder and elbow armor , but at the same time almost no protection for the back or chest (for which you have to pay another 4-5k or even more), with almost no/very little custom size adjustment fitting abilities and comes without a rain liner or thermal liner even as additional add-ons while and then costs you about 10 grand when shipping is also considered.
Somewhere along the line this wonderful riding jacket has lost sense for its practicality. I mean , don’t get me wrong but here in India, where the bikers usually ride a lot in the rains and winter just like in the summers,spending 10k on a jacket and not being to be able to use if for the most part of the year doesn’t sound all that inviting or sensible investment.
Even more when it is pitted against the likes of Cramster Breezer(5.5k) , Spartan Helios(6.8k) and Hyperion(8.5k, hiked price) which cost almost half the price of this jacket and they comes with rain and thermal liners and body armor which is on par(referring to Knox armor that comes in the Spartan range of jackets) with that provided by Alpinestars.
After all of this what would I say for a person considering this jacket to use for a majority part of the year ?
The Alpinestar T-GP Plus Air is not the jacket for you…!! Get a Spartan Helios or Hyperion or even a Cramster(not sure about that eh ? :-P) instead and spend the rest for a friends night out or good quality lid or even better,for a long long ride 😉 . You will be much more happier than having this particular jacket in your wardrobe gathering dust.
So , unless this jacket still makes sense to you or you only ride around during the summer days and have 10 grand to spare, go for it. You can get it online from PlanetDSG or for people in kerala, the jacket is available at DJ helmets,Cochin.
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