The feeling I get opening new kit is one of shear childish joy.
Having never used Alpinestars clothing before, to say I was keen to get my hands this gear was a big understatement. I would be using the Messa short sleeve jersey, Pathfinder shorts, Moab gloves, Summer socks and the pièce de résistance being the All Mountain jacket.
Initial feeling on wearing all the kit had me impressed; there is a great blend of technical features, comfort and style amongst all the garments. Oh, I forgot to mention the colours, if there’s a way to my heart with clothing it’s in the colour. The brighter the better for me, but fear not, there is a big range of colours on all the pieces, so if black is your thing they’ve got you covered as well.
For a long time I’ve been a connoisseur of baggy shorts and the Pathfinder shorts hit the spot for me. The cut is reasonably fitted and knee length, the length should make them work well with knee pads if needed. The stretchy rip stop fabric was the highlight of these shorts, I never felt restricted in pedalling or manoeuvring the bike. Surprisingly the short liner performed without notice, which is exactly what you want - generally short liners in mountain bike shorts seem to be an afterthought. But after riding for over three hours on several occasions in variable conditions in the Victorian High Country I couldn’t fault the comfort.
The Messa short sleeve jersey was simple yet effective. Again with a nice tailored fit and stretchy fabric, Alpinestars nailed it with the combination of style and comfort. We have come to expect moisture wicking technical fabrics from cycling clothing and this is no exception. A feature I love to see in this style of baggy jersey is a pocket; it has internal routing for headphones but is equally suited to carrying a multi tool or sneaky snack.
Socks can be an area of huge conjecture, and mountain bikers seem to be way more relaxed than roadies in this area. The Alpinestars Summer socks ticked all boxes for me, around the six inch cuff mark, arch and cuff support, padded heal and toe area and a good colour scheme. My feet felt fine after wearing these socks all day although they may be a little on the thick side for riding at the height of summer.
Gloves have such a personal taste and fit, what works for one person can be entirely wrong for another. Having said that the Moab gloves fitted me, you guessed it, like a glove. They are on the heavier and thicker side than what I like wearing, but a stand-out feature for me was the silicone printing on the finger tips, which made using my phone whilst riding a breeze… After all what’s the point of riding Mystic and Big Hill Mountain Bike Parks if I can’t make other jealous via my Instagram feed?
By a long way the highlight of the clothing was the All Mountain jacket, I couldn’t wait for the weather to turn bad in order to wear this jacket. Our first and second day of Bright and Mt Beauty were in the low twenties (Celsius for those concerned), generally not jacket weather, but I donned it until I was profusely sweating; this is how much I wanted to wear it. The waterproof and breathable jacket material were certainly both tested, we rode through bright sunshine to heavy rain and everything in between, not once did I get wet or cold.
Comfort aside the All Mountain jacket has two outer water resistant pockets with storm guards, one internal chest multimedia pocket and two zippered vents to help regulate body temperature. If you’re riding in changeable conditions this jacket rolls up small enough to comfortably fit into your pack. I generally avoid riding the mountain bike when the weather gets nasty, usually opting for the trainer or a road ride, but this jacket has changed my view completely. Once the heavens opened I was loving life. Comfort, style and function, this jacket had it all and if bright green isn’t your thing, there is a large range of colours to choose from.
From first wear of all the gear it just worked and was seamlessly comfortable, Alpinestars have definitely put in the work to make all of their gear a pleasure to ride in and I can’t wait to add more of it to my collection.