Alpinestars Stella Vika Motorcycle Apparel Review
It’s not like I’ve never worn leather riding pants and a jacket before, but the new Alpinestars Stella Vika motorcycle apparel collection exclusively for women takes leather riding gear to a different fashion dimension, letting me feel like a supermodel while still being sensibly dressed for two-wheeled riding.
Mind you, on first glance and touch, Alpinestars Vika apparel (part of Alpinestars’ female-exclusive Stella line) doesn’t seem to be a particularly protective choice in women’s riding clothing.
The beautiful lines, soft leather, and chic minimalism suggest this is a styling exercise. In fact, the design and construction is quite technical. On your upper half, the Alpinestars Vika leather jacket is sleek, stylish and cool. With a tailored fit and feminine Princess seams, it flatters your form while providing comfortable protection. Pull out the removable shoulder and elbow protection and it can be your little black jacket for a night out in the city.
Extensive use of Kevlar stretch panels allows unimpeded bending, reaching, and tucking; when you don’t notice your gear while riding, it’s doing its job.
The Vika jacket has the usual storage compartments – two zippered hand pockets, two larger Velcro-closing interior pockets, and a nicely detailed red-pull zippered vertical wallet pocket inside the left chest–as well as a back protector pocket, should you want to slide in extra protection.
With a full mesh interior liner, the Vika leather jacket has a finished look and is comfortable against your body, even when the easily removed quilted vest has been zipped out. The one-piece collar is unusually soft and pliant, and has a tabbed Velcro closure, which is much more comfortable than preset snaps.
The Alpinestars Vika jacket has a longer tail and can be zipped to the matching Vika pants, for a smooth all-in-one look. Understated branding comes via Alpinestars logos screened onto the shoulders, duplicating the marque on the knees of the Vika pants.
Sliding into the Vika pants, I can feel the well-cut design flattering my legs before I am even zipped up. Cut slim in the thighs by Alpinestars – with generous and strategically located Kevlar stretch panels–the Vika pants fit like a pair of high-end designer jeans.
The abrasion-resistant stretch panels run diagonally across the pelvis, down the inner thigh and across the leg just above the knee, perfectly addressing the seating position of a motorcycle rider.
More stretch on the sides of the waistband, as well as a wide panel running above the hips in back, keep the low-rise but high rear waisted-Vika pants from gapping while seated. This seemingly obvious, but overlooked detail, will be well appreciated by women.
From behind the knee, down the calf, all the way to the ankle, there is another strategic stretch panel. This not only gives the Alpinestars Vika pants a skinny-jeans look, but also removes the excess leather that you find yourself trying to stuff into your boot, and which can cause uncomfortable pressure points. They easily fit into the decidely sporting Alpinestars Stella S-MX 5 boots I typically wear.
Although the pant legs are slim silhouettes, the stretch panels do allow an over-the-boot look. This should work with the Vika Waterproof Boots, but they weren’t yet available for testing (or sale) when doing this review. Zippers at the Achilles’ heels make it easy to slip in and out of the pants.
The removable CE-certified foam protection at the knees (as well as at the elbows and shoulders in the Vika jacket) are thinner and softer than the usual padded inserts, which enables the streamlined look. However, the memory foam is claimed to absorb progressively–it remains soft and supple under low pressure, but increasingly resists pressure when subjected to a fast, heavy impact. I’m not sure I want to test this declaration, but I like the concept.
The pre-curved Vika pants have a full mesh liner and a very welcome, secure metal clip closure at the waist. The Vika pants fit like a glove and feel like a dream
Speaking of gloves, continuing the streamlined look of the Vika collection, the Vika leather glove is slim and smart, with styling details on the index finger, wrist and palm. An elasticized cuff, and unusual and stylish top-of-the-wrist zip closure secures the close-fitting glove, though not as firmly as I like for sport riding.
Full-grain bovine leather and goatskin leather combine for strength and flexibility, and foam padding at the knuckles, thumb and heel of the palm provide protection. I wasn’t fully satisfied with the flexibility of the fingers. On the inside of the fingers, rather than leather (which has inherently limited stretch), I would have preferred the same Kevlar stretch material that make the pants fit so well.
Alpinestars’ Stella Vika motorcycle apparel collection for women–jacket, pants, and gloves–does a masterful job of fitting the female form in style and comfort. Not appropriate for track day, or heavy duty enough for aggressive riding in the canyons, the Vika collection will keep you fashionably au courant while providing credible everyday riding protection.
For additional information, log onto Alpinestars.com.Google+