Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket Off-Road TestHow is it I’ve been riding dirt bikes for so many years without any serious body protection under my jersey? If you’ve been riding light, as many of my compatriot female riders do, that is what you’ll be asking yourself once you’ve tried Alpinestars’ Stella Bionic Jacket—form fitting body armor that includes CE-certified back, chest, elbow and shoulder protectors, plus a kidney belt, and all in a lightweight, ventilated package.
The Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket looks rather formidable in photos, but you’ll be surprised at how comfortable and flexible it feels when worn. The Stella Bionic Jacket is a composite of materials, from the polyurethane foam padding in the shoulders and elbows, to the hard shell certified chest and back protectors, to the elastic kidney belt with a pink TPR detail, all working together to protect your body from roost, abrasion, impact, and jolts.The Stella Bionic Jacket goes on like, surprise, a jacket. Slide your arms into the sleeves, then zip up the body hugging perforated chassis along your right side with the high quality YKK zipper—and you’ll immediately feel the security of the supportive fit. A nice little detail is a flap that covers the zipper pull so it doesn’t snag on your jersey.The chest protector provides a female-friendly shield across your chest that doesn’t pinch or bind. Once you’ve snugged the kidney belt around your waist and set the hook-and-loop closure to fit, you’re fortified for an off-road or adventure ride.You won’t slide your jersey on quite as easily. The jersey sleeves take a bit of arranging, as they tend to twist as they pull down over the padded elbows and shoulders of the Stella Bionic Jacket. However, in less than a minute you’ll have your tail tucked and tidy.Note that the blue garment under the Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket in the photos is the highly recommended 2XU Women’s Base Compression Long Sleeve Top.Yes, your upper body now has a more solid silhouette with a jersey pulled over the body armor, but you’re not a starving runway model. Once you swing a leg over the seat and twist the throttle, you’ll quickly forget you are wearing the Bionic Jacket—even with the CE Level 2 back protection.
Actually, that’s not quite true. I am aware of the Stella Bionic Jacket because of the sense of security it instills. In the same way that I wouldn’t go riding without a helmet or proper boots, I can’t imagine why I’d want to take on the dirt, gravel, whoops, ruts, and slippery trails, without this additional piece of non-distracting protective gear.It simply does not restrict your movements on the bike. Whenever I thought about it, it made me feel more comfortable riding aggressively.Not simply high-end protection for faster riders, the Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket is exactly the kind of protective gear you want any new rider to wear; it’s not just the extra layer of confidence one gains, it’s a true physical barrier to protect against the bruises and abrasions that come with falling on the dirt, which is an inevitable part of the learning process.The Stella Bionic Jacket is warmer than riding au naturel, though the mesh design minimizes heat retention. That aspect is welcome in the winter, but not so much in the dead of summer. Still it’s worth the trade-off, no matter how hot it gets.For riders who also want integrated neck protection, a padded panel in the Stella Bionic Jacket’s back protector is removable to accommodate an Alpinestars’ BNS Tech Carbon Neck Support or BNS Pro Neck Support. Oddly, Alpinestars claims the Stella Bionic’s sleeves are detachable, but they absolutely are not. In fact, the stitching they are sewn on with is robust, like the rest of the jacket.No matter how many years you’ve been riding, anyone can fall on the dirt. The Alpinestars Stella Bionic Jacket has your back (and chest, elbows, shoulders, and kidneys), making your upper body well protected for all of your off-road adventures!