Adventure-touring can be challenging even before you leave home. For starters, what do you wear? You want to be comfortable enough for long days in the saddle in changeable weather, which means your gear needs to be breathable yet waterproof. You’ll be standing as well as sitting, so flexibility is good. Built-in protection is mandatory, but not so built-in that you can’t remove it for laundering. Pant legs need to be baggy enough to pull down over knee braces and off-road boots, but not so loose that they flap around. An enduro jacket worn over a motocross jersey and pants ticks all the boxes in the dirt, but lacks the abrasion resistance necessary for road riding. What’s a world traveler to do?
Alpinestars has the answer with its new Durban Gore-Tex jacket and pants. Constructed mainly of lightweight polyamide with heavier protective polyamide inserts, this two-piece suit uses welded, ceramic-coated Superfabric reinforcements to enhance tear and abrasion resistance. Ultra-lightweight, removable Gore-Tex Paclite liners with micro-fleece inserts keep you warm and dry when it’s cold and wet, while vents at the chest, shoulders, sleeves and knees keep you cool in warmer weather.
Impact protection comes courtesy of CE-certified elbow, shoulder and knee guards, plus cost-saving PE padding at the chest and back (which can be replaced with CE-certified bits). The elbows are articulated and the knees use A-stars’ patented Vector construction for flexibility. Cinch straps on the forearms tailor the jacket’s fit with the liner zipped in or out, and detachable sleeves are handy once you’ve arrived at your destination. Leather panels protect the inside of the legs from rubbing against the bike, while long zippers ease donning and doffing boots.
A pair of waterproof external pockets on the front of the jacket and pants keep your valuables safe and dry, while the large utility pocket at the lower back zips off. An internal waist zipper joins the pants to the jacket or to the included bib and shoulder straps. External loops anchor A-stars’ Bionic Neck Support system, and a pocket between the shoulder blades accommodates a 2-liter hydration-system bladder (.5-liter with the BNS); a clip at the left shoulder secures the hose. Integrated high-visibility reflective stripes at the elbows, knees and waist improve conspicuity in low-light conditions.
We’ve had our Durban suit for nearly a year now, and have worn it for everything from adventure-touring to sport-touring to commuting, with excellent results. It’s versatile, waterproof and quite comfortable, with a few caveats. First, while the jacket collar snaps down for warm-weather riding, it still chafes the back of your neck when worn for extended periods. Second, although the knee guards are said to be adjustable, ours slumped at the bottom of their internal pockets just below our knee caps. Last, there’s no provision to close the knee vents other than to install the pants liner, so they can be drafty.
Alpinestars’ Durban jacket and pants are available in U.S. sizes 38-50, in any color you want as long as it’s gray. At just shy of $1200 it’s not the most expensive adventure-touring outfit on the market, but it’s still pretty spendy. The jacket is worth every penny; the pants need improvement.
Alpinestars Durban Suit
Price: $699.95 jacket, $499.95 pants
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.
Don’t circumnavigate the globe without it.