Personally, when I started riding, the very first piece of kit I purchased was a set of Alpinestars gloves. This simple transaction has subsequently steered me in the direction of the Italian giant ever since.
Since 2007, I've purchased one pair of track pants, one vented jacket, one one-piece race suit, three pairs of boots and three pairs of gloves, all of which came adorned with the famous A-Star logo. I like the brand and I like the garments. So with that in mind, as I've decided to start a series of updates talking my kit, I thought I'd begin with the most expensive piece of clothing, biking or otherwise, that I've purchased; The Alpinestars Atem one piece race suit.
After crashing in an Arlen Ness suit on a trackday at Silverstone, I was in the market for a new suit and I took advantage of an online winter deal to pick up a black and white Atem suit for around £700, which at the time, was about £300 off.
This is what the blurb says:
'The Atem is a fully CE-certified, technical one-piece leather suit offering class-leading protection for the street and track. Developed at Alpinestars specialist performance suit department and extensively tested in MotoGP and WSBK, the suit combines premium materials, safety features and ergonomic styling to give high levels of security and performance.'
This is what I've found:
Once I'd worn it a few times, the suit has proved itself to be extremely comfy. When on the bike the form of the leather actually supports the body when sat on the bike. Worth noting here, that both my bikes are sportsbikes so I'm sat quite far forward). When off the bike and walking / standing, the weight of the suit causes a slight discomfort in my lower back. I'm 6'3 and have long legs and arms, am fairly muscular and wear an EU size 56. I always wear the suit in conjunction with a Dianese D1 Wave back protector. I either wear a Buff or a high collar base layer so I get no rubbing around my neck.
When riding, the suit doesn't cause any additional turbulence, which is especially noticeable when wearing a textile suit on a sportsbike at speed.
As you would expect, the suit is compatible with both my A-Star Supertech boots and gloves, but because of the armour in the shins, it does make securing the boots a little tight.
No seams have come undone and all the zips work. Speaking of zips, the leather tab on the main zip gave way after about a year of use and some of the more intricate detailing to the suit, most notably the big logo on the chest have peeled away. I'm putting the later down to wearing a ruck sack and the friction between the two resulting in the damage. For what is effect a £1000 suit, this is disappointing.
Thankfully I haven't tested its crash performance so can't speak for it. General press coverage for the suit has been quite positive however and the armour in the suit never makes it uncomfortable and is present in all the major zones, with the exception of the chest.
The venting helps keep my temperature down, but even when its not exactly baking, I do find myself being quite hot in the suit, especially when not in motion.
I chose this suit over others primarily for the hard plastic armour on the outside of the suit on the shoulders, elbows and knees. My previous suit didn't have these and I prefer the prospect of the plastic sliding on the tarmac rather than the leather gripping at impact.
So am I happy with the suit? Well yes I am. Its my preferred piece of kit and will wear it whenever I can, even if there is a risk of rain. The level of comfort means that when riding, it doesn't register that I'm wearing it. The Atem is now onto it's third iteration is a still priced around the £1000 mark, so it's quite an investment. I'd certainly buy another one, but would probably steer away from one with such large white areas.