Review by Olaf Wolff
[This Alpinestars Neo Motorcycle Jacket Review was originally published in the June 2008 issue of Rider magazine]
This was a jacket I wanted to like right off the bat, simply based on its bodacious profile. With black perforated full-grain leather along the shoulders and top of the arms and water-resistant 600-Denier fabric imaginatively filling in the rest of the Alpinestars Neo motorcycle jacket, it’s a fresh, original design, combining leather and textile in a fashion that makes a great deal of sense, without compromising anything.
The thing is when my XL jacket arrived it was amusingly small. Take note, use Alpinestars’ detailed sizing chart and look at the number sizes, not the letter designations. Alpinestars’ style is geared to a more precise fit and when my XXXL arrived I was actually very pleased with that feature–once I got over the triple-X thing.
I rode with the jacket for the next three days straight, becoming increasingly more appreciative of the Neo each time I zipped it up. There are in fact two types of textile on the jacket. Sewn in between the leather and Denier fabric is an abrasion-resistant, corduroy-type mesh material which allows for bountiful air circulation when riding. The mesh material is tidily positioned along the length of the inside of the forearm and up into the chest. Riding in the sweltering mid-90s the jacket remained reasonably comfortable–even though mid-90s and jacket is an oxymoron by my definition.
The Neo is by intent a sport riding/ touring jacket with a good amount of versatility and a clear understanding of its purpose. There is a full-sleeve, zip-in thermal liner that provides a fair amount of comfort when it gets chilly. In addition, the liner also provides three more full-sized storage pockets. This is not a foul-weather jacket, nor is it intended to be–but it is perfect for all those in-between days when most of us are compelled to ride.
The Neo is a tough, well-made jacket, there’s nothing frail about it. Multiple-stitched main seam construction provides maximum tear resistance and gives the jacket an “all business” demeanor. The jacket comes with removable CE-certified shoulder and elbow protectors and a back protector compartment with a foam back pad insert (a CE-certified RC back protector is available as an accessory). The pre-curved sleeves give the jacket an organic, comfortable posture when riding, and the hook-and-loop waist adjustment is uncomplicated and large enough that it can be adjusted with gloved hands. I have a slight problem with the wrist adjustments though, as I’d like to see the pull-down wrist zipper cinch the sleeve opening a tad more snugly around my wrist. Pulling the gauntlet of my gloves over the sleeves requires more fumbling than it would if the sleeves closed tighter.
Externally the Neo has two large, snap-closure front pockets, two handwarmer pockets and a zipper pocket. Inside there are three more ample hook-and-loop pockets, another zipper pocket and a zipper waist connection for selected Alpinestars leather or textile pants. The Neo comes in Black and Black-Blue in sizes S-4XL and retails for $299.95.
I thoroughly enjoy this jacket and it continues to grow on me. Its overall comfort, the conscientious ease of operation and especially the bold design that scrunches up its nose at boredom make it one of my favorites.
For more information see your dealer or contact Alpinestars, (310) 891-0222 or www.alpinestars.com