Just as nothing beats the right tool for the job, nothing beats the ride gear for the ride. Based in Asolo, Italy, apparel manufacturer Alpinestars is known around the world for its suits and boots worn by on- and off-road racers, on two wheels as well as four. Lately the company has branched out into apparel for mountain bikers and even makes high-tech board shorts for surfers. Alpinestars also makes high-quality gear for motorcycle touring and adventure riding.
Alpinestars’ Long Range Drystar is a comprehensive jacket/pants ensemble, offering protection from cold, wind, rain, bugs, branches and close encounters with terra firma. Like the 4-bikes-in-1 Sport/Touring/Enduro/Urban concept of the Ducati Multistrada 1200, the Long Range’s layers and vents allow riders to adapt to a variety of climatic conditions. The outer layer of the jacket and pants is made of dual coated polyamide fabric for durability and abrasion resistance, with extra rugged fabric at critical areas. The inside is lined with stretchy athletic mesh and there are two removable inner layers: a waterproof, breathable Drystar liner and a removable, full-length thermal liner. Outer chest, arm, back and leg vents can be opened for added ventilation, or their waterproof zippers can be closed to seal out the elements. Strategically placed stretch panels help improve fit and facilitate easier movement, and reflective stripes increase visibility. One of my favorite features of the pants is the detachable bib with adjustable suspenders, which keeps them from sagging.
Impact protection is a top priority for Alpinestars. The jacket includes removable, CE-certified Bio Armor at the elbows and shoulders that is slim, lightweight and flexible. Chest and back pad compartments have polyethylene foam padding, which can be replaced with Alpinestars’ accessory hard, CE-certified RC Back Protector Insert and Bionic Chest Pads. There are soft, CE-certified S/Mart protectors on the knees and more polyethylene foam padding at the hips.
Although the Long Range Drystar gear is very comfortable, well-made and provides good protection in the event of a crash, some features of the overall design are problematic. The 4-in-1 concept is certainly versatile, but the layers are fiddly to take out and put back in. The pants are not designed to be worn over jeans, so if you have to remove one or more layers, you’ve got to strip down to your skivvies (I recommend wearing a base layer, such as Alpinestars’ Tech Performance Underwear). Also, there are seven pockets in the jacket and three in the pants, but all of them are part of the outer layer, which isn’t waterproof. If it starts to rain, you have to stop and clumsily insert the Drystar liners if you’re not already wearing them, and you’ve got to quickly empty your pockets and put the contents into a saddlebag or dry bag. It would be much more convenient if the outer jacket and pants were lined with Drystar, and if the pockets were waterproof. Another complaint about the pants is that the lower leg has a small gusset with a short zipper, so they can’t be easily put on or taken off over boots.
At $499.95 for the jacket and $389.95 for the pants, the Alpinestars Long Range Drystar isn’t cheap. While the quality is there, I wish the design was more practical for the demands of long-range riding. The jacket is available in men’s sizes S-2XL, and the pants are available in men’s sizes S-3XL, both in black/gray only. See Alpinestars website for a sizing chart.
For more information, see your dealer or visit alpinestars.com