When it comes to MTB sportswear, Alpinestars is one of the top brands in our shop. Despite having its roots in motor sports, the Italian company has already been producing cycling equipment for several years. Focusing on the gravity disciplines, Alpinestars has built up an excellent reputation and an extensive range of products. Besides clothing, it covers protective equipment — helmets included. So it’ s no wonder that Alpinestars is a welcome guest in our Gravity Pro Shop, our place for all things gravity. Since it’s easy to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of weatherproof cycling clothes, Alpinestars‘ winter collection offered the perfect chance for Manni to put the brand to the test. And of course the helmet was a must in this context …
Putting Alpinestars to a hard test
“Alpinestars is an ambitious manufacturer of protective clothing that started out with motocross apparel but has also been producing MTB outfits for some years now. Of course, I couldn’t say no when I was asked to test their products. As I use to ride my bike through the woods all year round and in all weather conditions, I value high quality equipment. So what does Alpinestars have to offer?
Unpacked and tried on
First, I used the size guide of the manufacturer to determine the right sizes. The Tahoe MTB rain pants fit perfectly and can be easily adjusted at the hip via a velcro strap system. Two strong press studs and velcro fasteners open and close the pants at the front. There are two zipper pockets at the top right and left. A small point of criticism: At the bottom of the right trouser leg (drive side), Alpinestars could have added an additional reinforcement for possible contacts with the chainring. But since the material makes a rather strong impression in this area, it should definitely be able to withstand quite a bit of wear. Another feature: Using the ‘Flat Snap Connection System’, you can connect your Alpinestars inner shorts to the rain pants.
The Tahoe WP MTB rain jacket does also fit well. The main zipper makes a very robust impression. With many of my bike jackets, this was the first part to break. you’ll probably know what I’m talking of. Plus, you get so many functional features, MacGyver would jump out of his pants. There are two zipper pockets on the right and left and two shock cords at the bottom to fix the jacket. In the neck area, you will find another cord solution to adjust the hood, which is huge enough to cover your head even with the helmet attached. There are ventilation zippers under the armpits and Velcro fasteners on both sleeves to adapt them to the wrists and anti-slip silicone prints for backpack straps on the shoulders … Wow, no complaints here. All seams are amply and neatly sealed from the inside, this does definitely look waterproof!
Now the Vector Pro Atom MTB helmet. With most helmet manufacturers, I vary between two sizes, and if in doubt, I choose the bigger one. This way, I can wear a cap under the helmet when it‘s very cold. With the Vector Pro, I immediately notice the generous inside padding (removable) and the solid construction. The straps are easy to adjust and fix, and the visor can be raised and lowered by a few centimeters in 3 steps. The head protection reaches down relatively far at the temples and at the neck — that’s fine by me. Those who know me will know that I sometimes get off my bike involuntarily in the heat of the moment, so I attach great importance to safety. With this model, I have a very good feeling after the first examination — everything fits, nothing‘s wobbly.
Here, it rains often and a lot In winter, snow unfortunately is rare. The ground is mostly wet and muddy, drying badly or not at all. At least, test conditions could hardly be any better. On my rides, I include at least one downhill passage and several sections with roots, scree, steps, jumps — every challenge is welcome. I asked a lot from the clothes and covered myself in mud. The ultimate waterproofness endurance test was not only performed by riding off-road, but also with the garden hose at home.
The rain pants do a good job. Neither did they slip during the ride nor did they rub against the skin. Dirt and moisture couldn’t harm them, the trouser pockets and their zippers are absolutely waterproof. The breathability of rainwear is a much more complicated matter … I think it‘s very difficult to make a waterproof and at the same time very breathable product. Although I did not sweat excessively under the pants, it felt like the air was only circulating at the bottom end of the trouser legs. Since I was still quite happy, thumbs up for the legwear!
Judging by the look, the rain jacket has to be my personal favourite. With the collar up and the hood on, I look like a super ninja — amazing! Waterproof and breathable at the same time? As already mentioned, these terms should only be combined with caution. Alpinestars specifies the breathability of this product as follows: 5.000 g/m2/24h … everything clear?
I was surprised that I wasn’t completely soaked in sweat after the first climbs. Having wisely unfastened the ventilation zippers under my armpits, loosened the cords at the bottom of the jacket and slightly opened the main zipper, I was able to enjoy the ventilation effect during the climbs. Of course, it is still different from your usual functional jacket, but I admit I was somewhat impressed. So far I have never had a rain jacket that ‘worked’ so well. I also confirm that its outside is absolutely mudproof and waterproof. Furthermore, the material was able to absorb a strong headwind well. Cool thing — test passed with flying colours!
I look even more terrifying with a helmet than without, but safety comes first, of course. The Vector Pro Atom stood the test both on short rides and longer tours. At no time did it feel uncomfortable, the strap triangles under the ears never pressed. The adjustment ring at the back could be a little larger or more grippy, though. It is not easy to grasp when wearing thicker gloves and once you’ve put the helmet on. After adjusting the strap at the chin to my head size, the strap end was much too long. I had to fold the excess material and thread it through the rubber flap to prevent it from fluttering. However, my overall verdict for the helmet is still very positive.”