Our past experiences with Alpinestars gear have disclosed a couple of common denominators. The materials used have always been of good quality and the gear is stitched to last for years. I’ve got a pair of Alpinestars Riffs Denim Jeans I’ve been wearing for three years because they’ve held up so well. But, admittedly, most of my experiences with A-stars products have been with the brand’s higher-end items. Would an Alpinestars riding jacket from the other end of the price spectrum meet the same standards of quality? I kept that question in mind while testing the Alpinestars Spartan Jacket over the last several months.
The first thing that stands out is how light the Spartan is, considering it’s got a removable liner and four pieces of armor. Its shell is a blend of waxed cotton and polyester panels, which means it doesn’t have the stiffness of many other textile jackets. I ordered a size up because Alpinestars jackets tend to fit me tight in the chest and shoulders, and a size 2XL felt snug yet easily allowed for a full range of motion in the shoulders, whether I was in an upright riding position or leaned more forward. The jacket has two snaps on each arm and at both sides of the waist, which allow the fit to be dialed in just a tad.
For a $230 motorcycle jacket, the Alpinestars Spartan has impressively sized armor in the shoulders and elbows. I suppose if you name your jacket after Greek warriors, it better be down for a battle with road rash. The CE-approved armor isn’t the easiest to access because it sits in pockets beneath the jacket’s fixed mesh liner—you have to open up a zipper sewn into the bottom of the liner, then reach up and blindly fish the piece out. The second, removable polyester liner features two hand-sized pockets with a Velcro fastener, and this liner is easily removable via two small zippers inside the chest compartment and two buttons inside each sleeve at the wrist. One of my favorite features is the zippered waterproof pocket inside the left chest area, because it’s big enough to carry just about any phone out there and it zips up securely.
Alpinestars’ Spartan Jacket features two exterior pockets that also zip tight but are fairly small. Just behind these pockets are zippered vents with small cloth tabs on the end. Those come in handy when trying to open the vent with gloves. There’s a pair of vents in back above the kidneys as well, which are hard to reach with the jacket on. With all four vents open, the Spartan Jacket circulates air well beneath the pits and across the ribs, which was a boon considering it was 100 degrees the first day I wore it. With the zippers closed, it’s a decent evening ride-around-town jacket, but it’s by no means meant for cold-weather rides. Reflective strips are sewn into the upper sleeves to provide a bit of visibility at night.
The Alpinestars Spartan Jacket is light, comfortable, and comes with Bio-Light armor, all for $230. While build quality is what you’d expect from Alpinestars, the Spartan’s outer shell is fairly thin, which makes me wonder how much abrasion resistance it would provide. The CE-certified shoulder and elbow armor, on the other hand, helps balance out my reservations. While it’s not flashy, the Spartan is a well-made riding jacket that should easily provide years of use at a modest price.
Alpinestars Spartan Jacket