Alpinestars A-8 Protection Vest
Decent protection excluding the shoulders
Overall.... not worth it. The chest and back protection is great, CE2 and you can tell. Coverage is so-so especially if you are bigger. For reference, 6' 235 lbs, with wide and muscular shoulders/arms, but definitely a belly and extra "padding" all round. Bought the biggest size. These are NOT designed for broad or muscular shoulders. I'll have more to say about shoulder pads later but in terms of fit, the curve of them is very narrow which essentially means the edges rest on top of them instead of my shoulder fitting up inside the armor.
The vest offers a fantastic amount of adjustability, but you can tell it all seems to be designed for someone with a shorter torso (I have an average height torso for 6'). The natural curve of the back protector wants to sit further, just an inch or so, down my back than I can get out of the available adjustment. The thinner pads that seem intended for scapula protection (shoulder blades) are not wide enough and don't cover mine. Chest piece is spot on though. Good coverage, comfortable and just the right width. This should tell people with a narrower build that while the back might suit you better you might find the chest piece too wide and restrictive if bringing both arms in together. Of course, YMMV.
Now onto the real reason I'm not recommending this; the hardware (screws and base plates used to adjust the fit) and particularly the hardware attachment method for the shoulder pads is entirely inadequate. Screws and attachment plates are made out of a soft pot metal (maybe aluminum, can't be sure) that deforms and strips easily when trying to use a flat blade screw driver to disassemble. The worst thing about them are the bases you screw the little bolt into. It's hard to explain, but they are anchored to the shoulder armor in soft plastic by a tiny little flange on the base, not riveted or an integral part of the pad itself. So here's what happened to me: I gave this piece of gear my usual keep the tags on, minimally adjust for fit, and move around in it. Everything goes great ok, cool, cut the tags off, time to adjust the hardware, especially for the shoulders to try and get them to sit further out... boom just taking it off, not pulling or tugging on the should piece at all, the front attachment just comes out of the pad, so it's only attached from the back... awesome. At first I just thought the screw came loose but soon saw the screw was still attached to the anchor point, which itself had come detached from the armor. The reason for this, as far as I can tell is that the plastic mould of the shoulder piece was simply malformed from the factory and the anchor piece has no way of staying in. I looked at the other three anchor points and the rest seem somewhat secure but I feel confident in saying that one good off and something's gonna break. Another thing is the rib/side protection is attached to the sides of the back protector with just thin neoprene material. I can see this failing/tearing if you hit the ground on your back the right way.
So long story, sorry, but I just wound up removing the shoulder pieces altogether. As previously mentioned they don't conform to my shoulders well anyway. The chest, back and side protection are still good enough to serve their purpose. I do have an idea of drilling all the way through the shoulder pieces and lacing them to the vest with 550 cord... this could work... we have the technology...
Smaller guys, this might work ok for you if you're lucky enough to not get a defective one from the get go but the overall quality does not justify price in my opinion. Bigger guys... move along, nothing to see here, except maybe for the single fact that if you've got gut, there's a ton of adjustment in the waist (I used to be 315, and I think this could have been adjusted to fit me even then) I buy a lot of gear. I'm a total poindexter for this stuff, and I know what it's like to pay X amount of dollars for something and have my expectations either met or even exceeded. This does NOT do it for me.
October 22, 2013
Great overall protection
Good fit and adjustable. I'm 5'6, 165 lbs and took the large. Great protection and very durable, I have crash tested it and it's worth every penny.
August 5, 2013
Ultra customize able fit
I am a large fellow so I ordered the largest size available as an alternative to a textile jacket that I bought that felt flimsy. Since I ride mostly dirt and have a multitude of jackets that offer as much or more abrasion resistance then that textile jacket seemed to offer this seemed like a good choice and it also has back and chest protector which the jacket did not and its cheaper! So about the fit when I got it it fit, barely, and I knew it would be uncomfortable to ride in but after looking at the manual I saw that there are adjustable straps everywhere on this thing and its not just Velcro adjustments this is real hardware after a few turns of the screw driver this armor was fully customized to me and felt great tried it under a few jackets and stays in place with allot of movement. My only grip is that if you were to wear this over something the shoulder pads have a tendency to flap in the wind and might not stay put in an off could do with bicep straps to hold em down.
February 25, 2013
great protector - great quality
great protector - great quality. Bit pricy but good quality product
November 15, 2012
Best chest protector on the market for off road motorcycling.
Great protection for the rider's chest, back, and sides. I would like to have more air flow for cooling and some reflective features for night safety.
It's a well made product that should last for a long time.
November 12, 2012