While I’ve tested this theory more times than I care to remember, I was recently reminded just how significant a role your leathers make, once again solidifying my decision to wear the best, and only the best, cowhide on the market – at all times. Luckily, several brands are stepping up to the plate and giving riders plenty of options to choose from these days. For this review we’ll l focus on Alpinestars and their top-of-the-line Race Replica suit.
Tipping into the fast Turn One at Streets of Willow during a three-bike Suzuki shootout I tucked the front of a GSX-R750 at well over 100mph, careening off into the desert abyss at an extremely high rate of speed. While not the smartest move of my career, I had tried to extend tire life far too long and was pushing for lap times at the end of the day (I was this close to a 1:19…). The rest is history – high-speed, bore-jarring, Suzuki-destroying, extremely dirty history.
As a result of my regular Alpinestars suits being re-logoed due to the recent job change from Cycle News to MotoUSA (it was my first day on the job!) I was in a production Alpinestars Race Replica Suit. And it came through with flying colors…
Those Italians have the craft of stitching cow hide down to a science. Despite tumbling across the rock-laden sandy ground at triple-digit speeds, my internals shaken like a blender on frappe, I hopped up with nothing more than a couple bruises. No skin abrasions, no broken bones – nothing. Undoubtedly, it should have been much worse. It was one of the biggest get-offs I’ve had in years!
Some may say it was just my day, but I say it’s the top-quality Alpinestars suit, boots and gloves, plus Shoei X-11 helmet, which made all the difference.
The Race Replica’s fit and finish is top notch, as are the hard-plastic knee and shoulder protectors, making for great move-ability and said protection. Knee sliders aren’t the easiest to go on and off – and if I had to complain about anything this would be it – though once in place they stay there, so worrying about them falling off never crosses your cranium. Say goodbye to losing a slider mid-session or duct-taping them in place and looking tacky for photos. In this case the effort is worth the reward. Ventilation is up to the task of keeping one cool on even the hottest day, while the included hard-plastic back protector is a crucial saftey feature.
This was the single most damaged part of the suit. Incredible considering the speed and severity of the crash.
And judging by the aforementioned crash, leather quality is more than up to snuff. The 1.2-1.4mm premium full-grain hide is extremely abrasion resistant, which is especially impressive considering the overall weight of the RR suit is quite light. Throw in the trick styling and elbow sliders to boost one’s ego, and you have one of the best off-the-rack suits yours truly has ever worn – if not the best.
Want to be safe, comfortable, and look stylish all at the same time? Alpinestars’ Race Replica suit may be the answer.