An affordable way to get on track
AAlpinestars SG-1 leather suit ($649 MSRP) is billed as an entry level street motorcycle leather suit and is priced accordingly, but it has the features you’d expect to find on much more expensive suits. 1.2 – 1.4 mm thick leather, removable mesh liner, multiple stitching for tear resistance, armor in the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and a “back protector compartment” where you can insert the optional Alpinestars back protector. In fact, on paper, it’s hard to tell the SG-1 from the more expensive SP-1.
We asked our Alpinestars rep what was the biggest difference between the budget minded SG-1 suit and their more expensive suits and they said “the higher end suits are sewn together with Italian hands while the cheaper suits are sewn together with Chinese hands.” They said the SG-1 suit uses the exact same materials; uses the same patterns and even the same stitching. We were encouraged.
Looking back on the best suits of yesterday, you will most likely cringe at the flashy colors and erratic patterns zig-zagging around the suit. Immediately we liked the simple stripes. The understated graphics will stand the test of time and not make you look like a power ranger like so many alternatives, plus the stripes and patterns will help mask bulging from ones middle, offering a nice “slimming” effect.
We gave our measurements and took delivery of two one-piece suits. We really dislike two-piece suits; when separated the jackets tend to be too short to be used on their own and the added bulk around the middle makes them unnecessarily uncomfortable while in a tuck on the bike. The only advantage of a two-piece suit that we can find is the ease of taking off the jacket at a track day – otherwise we prefer a one-piece suit in every other regard.
We’ve have very good luck with Alpinestars in the past, but were still surprised when we pulled on the suits and found they fit exceptionally well – particularly for an off the rack garment. We did notice some minor problems, however.
One suit had the knee armor installed incorrectly so the hook-side of the Velcro would rub on the knee-cap. At first we thought someone was rubbing a cheese grater across our knee every time we moved. When we removed the liner and tried to reset the armor we found that it had come loose become some of the Velcro tabs that hold the armor in place were missing. We were worried that this would be a problem but some careful reassembly and everything went back into place without a hitch and never gave any more problems.
The second suit had less of an issue; but still something that is likely to be attributed to Chinese manufacturing. The removable liner had one of the legs fully twisted, so the first time we tried it on we fell over when one foot refused to push through the leg.
Both these problems were extremely minor, and perhaps the most telling reason as to why the suits were more affordable. After these minor issues, the suits performed brilliantly in every situation, including one minor low-side where not even the cosmetic striping pulled away after sliding off the track and into the gravel at almost 70 miles per hour.
The leather is thick, yet tumbled to make them easier to break-in and the cut seemed ideal for both of our testers allowing for much more movement on the bike and easier times rotating the hips for knee-dragging excitement. We did not opt for the Alpinstars back protector since we already had back armor, but the suit had enough room for our armor without causing undue binding – something that we’ve had problems with in the past with other suits. Either the suit fits great until you insert a back protector, or the suit that allows for back protector is too large everywhere else. The SG-1 gave us no problems, which speaks to Alpinestars experience with making leather suits and how well the garment was thought out.
Ample perforations across the front of the suit make for generous airflow to help keep you cool even on the hottest of days, robust zippers have never missed a beat despite some significant abuse and the color has stayed steadfast despite having gotten wet several times (from sweat and rain). A really nice detail of the suit the rear third of the collar is not leather but neoprene; so when you are in a full tuck the back of your neck is not rubbing on unforgiving leather.
We do wish the suit had an aero-hump on the back for a little more comfort, but it’s hard to complain about a suit that has performed so well, particularly for the very reasonable price. But keep in mind the suits designed intentions. This is not to be thought of as a dedicated race suit; we feel this is better for the track-day rider or the street rider who wants more protection for weekend canyon jaunts. Despite that, we still give the Alpinestar SG-1 very high marks. We’ve not yet discovered a suit in its price-range that offers the same features, nor fits near as well.
For more information visit Alpinestars.Com