Review: Alpinestars Bionic Pro Jacket
A product the Transmoto team has tried, tested and would recommend to a mate.
WHAT IS IT?
The Bionic Pro Jacket is the most ergonomically refined model in the ‘Bionic’ line of protective garments that Alpinestars first released in 2016 – products that were beneficiaries of new premium padding and mesh materials that were incorporated into their construction. As a result, the Bionic Pro Jacket is now the preferred choice of many of Alpinestars’ elite athletes – including Toby Price, Troy Bayliss, Stephen Gall and Troy Herfoss.
WHY WE RATE IT
- Comfort – When wearing any protective garment, it’s inevitable that there’ll be some sort of compromise when it comes to comfort and/or mobility and/or ventilation. But thanks to the high-tech materials incorporated into the ergonomically designed Bionic Pro Jacket, that compromise is minimised. The zip-up chassis (made from a breathable ‘Elastane’ stretch mesh) offers a slim-line fit, while the soft thermoformed 3D poly padding in both the shoulders and elbows conforms to your body’s shape and doesn’t cause chaffing (which the hard exterior protective panels on pressure suit-style body armour often does). Plus the lack of a kidney belt means you avoid the dreaded stomach pinch when sitting down for extended periods (if you still use a kidney belt, you can simply run one over the top of the Pro Jacket). And with sizes ranging from Small to 2XLarge, you can fine-tune the Bionic Pro Jacket to fit you snugly.
- Ventilation – One of the biggest drawbacks of jacket-style body armour is how hot it makes you while riding. With the Bionic Pro, however, the combination of the mesh chassis and the cutaway sections around the armpits and inner elbow ensures airflow is way better than average.
- Protection – Protective panels (whether hard or soft) are slim-line and located exactly where you need them to protect vital organs, but there’s nothing unnecessary to impede your range of movement on the bike.
- Versatility – The Bionic Pro can be used for a wide range of applications – from trailriding to enduro to MX/SX to dirt track to supermoto to mountain biking. We’ve even run the thing while snowboarding.
- Durability – The stretchy mesh construction looks and feels soft, but it comes with cleverly positioned Cordura reinforcement to resist abrasion.
- Styling – If you’re a trail boss who lives in the tropics and likes to run your pressure-suit armour on the outside (or in place of a jersey), you’re in luck; the Bionic Pro even comes some stylish logos on the shoulders and forearms. If you wear it under your jersey, these silicon-printed logos actually help keep your jersey in place.
- Neckbrace-compatible – As Alpinestars makes one of the best neckbraces on the market (the BNS, or Bionic Neck Support), it makes sense that this Bionic Pro Jacket was designed to work with it. Convenient pull-tab loops on the shoulders help integrate the BNS perfectly.
- Customising Protection – An upper section of the back protector (and upper chest padding) can be removed to integrate a neckbrace, but it’s not possible to remove of the shoulder, elbow or primary chest padding – which is an option some riders like to have, depending on what they’re wearing the jacket for.
- Zipper – When new, the premium auto-locking YKK zipper works a treat. But because it’s fairly fine and incorporates metallic components, the zipper needs to be washed clean of sweat (and/or lubricated) after use to prevent it from getting gummed up and jamming.
At $299, the Bionic Pro Jacket is $100 pricier than Alpinestars’ recently released Bionic Action Jacket, which appears to have more protection than the Pro. But we reckon the Pro model’s superior fit, comfort and airflow makes that $100 premium easy to justify – especially when it’s for a product that will last for many years. If high-vis, external shell-type hard protection is more your style, and you’re less concerned with a slim-line super-ergo fit, then go for the $199 Bionic Action Jacket, which incorporates a kidney belt.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This Alpinestars Bionic Pro Jacket is available from any of Monza Imports’ dealers for $299.95