Entering Canada in less than favourable weather this September had me running to the nearest accessories store to buy a much-needed replacement for my well-worn BMW Comfort Shell gear. Having spent two days in the rain and cold for months on end, it was time for an upgrade. My deciding factors on purchasing this particular gear was the fact that I was coming into the early part of winter in the northern hemisphere. It had to be waterproof and warm. Overall I was really pleased with this gear. It did the job and I most certainly gave it a thorough test in all conditions. See below for a more comprehensive review of the features.
Product: Alpine Star – DRY STAR STELLA ANDES V2
- Waterproof. The liner most certainly did its job of keeping me dry in days of torrential rain.
- Warm. The jacket’s removal liner was a nice addition to keep the wind out and add an extra layer of warmth. It is easily removed and folds up very compact when not needed
- Excellent women’s fit in all the right places. The pants I found sat well without bunching when riding
- Interlocking zip for jacket to pants, excellent for protection, stopping the jacket riding up and reducing wind gaps
- Straps to tighten around upper arms and waist on jacket, reducing bulk
- The gear is waterproof via inside liners, meaning the outer shell on both the jacket and pants will absorb water and become quite heavy. They do dry well overnight, even from a thorough soaking.
- The closure around the cuff is very short, meaning it can be difficult with gloves on to get a tight seal. This can become frustrating, especially in cold weather when you are trying to eliminate gaps.
- The armour is minimal to say the least. I removed the armour from my BMW gear and had it custom fitted into this suit. Without that option, I would recommend upgrading the armour from what is provided off the shelf.
- This is not a four-season suit. It remained comfortable up to 77F however, in warmer weather it was very hot. Even with the vents open, the level of airflow was minimal.
Having tested this gear in every weather condition you can think of, I feel confident in recommending this suit. It was exceptional in the wet and provided peace of mind that myself and my personal valuables, such as passport and phone, would stay dry no matter how long I rode in the rain.
It was warm in temperatures down to the low forties, however that is of course a personal observation as we all feel the cold differently. I personally hate even the slightest chill, so if you layer up this will do a more than adequate job of keeping you warm.
The pockets on the front of the jacket are great, easily accessed and large enough to hold phones and wallets. Keep in mind that they are outside of the waterproof liner, so in rain valuables should be moved to the inside pockets to keep dry. The hip pockets of the pants were small and not user friendly, especially in gloves.
As mentioned, if you like to tuck your gloves into your jacket sleeve, this might cause some frustration as the velcro cuff closure is short, not leaving you much room to manoeuvre gloves underneath. This was probably the biggest pitfall in my eyes, one that could be easily fixed by Alpine Star.
Having ridden in my BMW Comfort Shell for almost ten years, I was reluctant to make a change of brand. I had tested the limits of my much-loved suit in some of the most difficult road and unpaved places in the world, through all weather conditions and it had more than done the job. I was most comfortable with the level of protection from the comprehensive armour that came standard in the BMW gear, and I can only imagine the injuries I may have sustained without it.
With that being said, with a DIY upgrade with the armour, I was just as happy with the Alpine Star. It did a much better job of keeping me dry and the removable inner was nice to have on very cold days.
Overall, I would recommend the Dry Star range, it will see you through most conditions, keeping you safe and comfortable. As with anyone who rides in hot summers, you would need an additional suit for the season with better air flow and a lighter outer shell. If you are looking for sturdy construction, well thought out design, practicality, and comfort, give this suit a look.