As Motorcycle USA’s cruiser guy, I’ve seen my sportbike-riding co-workers strut around with their A-stars’ leathers and gear but didn’t know what all the hype was about. Most of these guys weigh a buck-fifty soaking wet and are built like a board. So when Alpinestars sent over its ATL Leather Jacket to review, I was eager to sample the goods and find out if they’re cut out for a guy who has a little meat on his bones and was raised on traditional black leather biker jackets.
The ATL Leather Jacket has a standard biker jacket cut, with the bottom cropped right at the beltline and the collar-less neck cropped right below my Adam’s Apple. Ride anything with a forward lean and you’ll feel the breeze in back and it’ll rub your neck at times, but it does come with a waist connection zipper that attaches to certain A-stars leather and textile pants. Alpinestars took the courtesy of pre-curving the arms, but leaves the rest of the breaking in to you. Velcro fasteners at the wrists, short zippers up the arms, a small Velcro neck fastener and two Velcro waist tabs help dial in the fit.
It’s got what I jokingly refer to as a ‘Euro-cut’ and is a bit tight in the shoulders and chest for someone that’s got a thick upper body, but after breaking it in I actually enjoy the snug fit. The leather is nice and pliable now after wearing it to a few press intros and is just now beginning to take on character. After putting the jacket on for the first time, I’m thinking “Man, my chest is looking pumped.” Then I realized it had PE chest pads in the pecs.
Besides the small padded chest area, it also has a much larger padded back protector stitched into the liner. And while it isn’t removable, the CE-certified shoulder pads and soft elbow/forearm protection do come out. All this
Even though there’s no vents, the perforated panels of the Alpinestars ATL Leather Jacket allowed the jacket to breathe well enough once I got rolling that the desert sun didn’t bake me alive.
padding will absorb some of the brunt of a get-off, but your best line of protection is the heavy-duty leather itself. The top grain leather outer shell is stitched together solidly and I’d put my confidence in it in case I did go down.
Alpinestars ATL Leather Jacket has no venting, but leather panels with small perforations in the shoulders, upper arm panels, and one’s that run under the arms the full length of the sleeves allows the jacket to breathe. Even though I wore the solid black leather jacket in 95-degree weather in the desert it was tolerable as soon as I got rolling. The jacket is good for cool evenings, but you can’t just close the vents when the air gets cold as all circulation relies on the perforated panels, so it’s not your best bet if you ride in colder climes.
The styling is clean and contemporary without being overdone. It’s imprinted with a big A-star logo on the chest and the words Alpinestars spelled out on the back in raised lettering. You also get a little more A-stars flavor on the side pull tabs used to tighten the jacket and on the back collar. The perforated panels also break up the jacket and contribute to its good looks. The only drawback of the all black version that we sampled is that all of the logos are jet black,too, and blend in with the rest of the jacket. If you’re dropping $350 bills to wear somebody’s gear, you want everybody to know whose colors you’re flying, right?
For storage, you’ve got two zippable outside pockets that are about hand-deep. There’s three inside pockets – A deep zippered pocket on the inside of the left chest, and two pockets with small Velcro closures sewn into the fixed liner. What’s cool is that it’s got pockets in the exact same place stitched onto the detachable polyester liner. If you’re planning on traveling, the thick leather will add a few pounds to your gearbag.
So after wearing the ATL Leather Jacket for the last few months, I finally understand what all the hubbub about Alpinestars gear is. It’s heavy-duty stuff that’s built to last and looks great. It even gussies up an old cruiser salt like me. And that’s saying something.