Elite off-road athletes generally tend to wear as little body armour as possible so they can move freely on the bike. newer, or less talented dirt riders like myself, however, need all the protection they can get and that’s where comprehensive, all-in-one armour solutions like this come in.
The Bionic Tech V2 is a snug-fitting piece of apparel that includes CE rated back, chest, shoulder and elbow armour all built-in. The jacket is meant to be worn under an MX jersey and it’s held together by a thin, stretchy material that wicks moisture well. The upside to this is that the jacket has excellent breathability, but sweat tends to make it stick to the skin so you’ve got to be careful while taking it off to avoid overstretching or tearing the material.
Abrasion resistant material.
While some of the materials used feel like they need care, the actual protection offered is very good. Where there isn’t CE armour, you’ll find numerous foam padding sections built into the jacket. The armour itself has a honeycomb-like design that allows for great air flow, while also keeping the weight low. The armour used is soft and feels comfortable against the body.
The chest armour/ roost deflector can be unbuckled and removed from one side, or over the head, which makes it easier to get the jacket on and off. There’s also some abrasion-resistant material used for the outer section of the forearms, right up to the elbow to reduce the chances of the sleeves tearing when the rider falls.
The fit itself is superb. Follow the size chart and you’ll get a body hugging fit with no bunching of excess material anywhere. There is a height adjustable kidney belt as well, but you can remove this if you want. Another advantage is that the entire jacket is reasonably low profile, so it doesn’t look too puffy when you wear it under an MX jersey.
I’ve spent entire days in this jacket in searing heat and found it to be as comfortable as something like this could be. It doesn’t seem to get in the way while riding and all the armour stays securely in place. Alpinestars has also designed the jacket to interface with the company’s neck brace systems and it is also compatible with the Alpinestars 1.5-litre hydration pack.
Height adjustable kidney belt.
While it offers complete upper body protection, the downside to using a jacket like this is that it is more of a pain to get off compared with a stand-alone chest protector with built-in shoulder armour. If you’ve got something like that along with separate elbow armour, you could wear it over your jersey and easily take it off when taking breaks from riding.
This is the top model in Alpinestars’ upper body protection range and it is available on order in India. However, if you’d like a simpler option, there’s also the Rs 16,999 Bionic Action jacket which offers a similar low profile fit, but with a hard shell armour, and it doesn’t get the advanced, abrasion-resistant sleeve materials or the removable chest armour.
Price: Rs 24,999