MXA TEAM TESTED: ALPINESTARS A1 ROOST GUARD
WHAT IS IT? Most chest protectors are bulky, but not Alpinestars’ new A1 roost guard. It is the lightest and sleekest plastic roost guard on the market. Designed as a one-size-fits-all component, the A1 offers simple protection from the rocks and debris thrown off of the rear knobs of dirt bikes.
WHAT’S IT COST? $99.95 (one size fits all).
CONTACT? www.alpinestars.com or (800) 409-0903.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Alpinestars A1 roost guard.
(1) Concept. Many riders want to wear a plastic roost guard under their jerseys but find them too bulky. To avoid the Bulgarian weightlifter look, riders resort to fabric under-protectors, wear no guard or wear a guard on the outside. The market has responded by making slimmer, all-plastic roost guards that can be worn under a jersey, such as the Thor Sentinel, Fly Revel and Fox ProFrame, but Alpinestars went all out to make a sleek design that doesn’t add any bulk.
(2) Protection. If you are just interested in knocking down roost, an under-protector will do the job just fine, but if you want plastic impact protection (front and rear), you have to accept some added girth. Of all of the roost guards we have tested, the Alpinestars A1 is the thinnest and least obtrusive. IT can be found under the jersies of many factory riders. Plus, it is CE-certified as an EN-14021 stone shield, has a modular design that allows you to remove the back protector, is perforated for ventilation, has a soft Biofoam pad insert in the back section and features a hinged back panel for increased mobility.
(3) Fitment. It goes without saying that riders with an added dose of natural padding don’t look good wearing their roost guards under their jerseys. Thus, if you are over 200 pounds, the Alpinestars A1 will not be your cup of tea. Additionally, if you intend to wear your roost guard over your jersey, there are competing roost guards that feature thicker plastic, more coverage and increased structural strength over the A1. That doesn’t mean that the A1 is limited to the role of an under-protector, just that it works best in that mode or as an outer protector for smaller and thinner riders. Adjustment is simple. An elastic strap goes around the waist and hooks into the front of the A1, while Velcro straps cross over the shoulders to allow up and down positioning of the front and back panels.
(4) Added features. Alpinestars added several features that make the A1 work well with the BNS neck brace. These include a removable upper back pad to allow the neck brace to slide down, elastic hooks that can be used to hold the neck brace down and small shoulder pads to cushion where the neck brace sits. Most of these features are designed to work with Alpinestars’ proprietary neck brace only.
(5) Modular. Creatively, Alpinestars incorporated a Y-strap into the back panel system that allows a racer to remove the plastic back protector and use the A1 as a front-only roost guard.
(6) Weight. Alpinestars’ A1 roost protector is about 1/4-pound lighter than any comparable all-plastic, front-and-back roost protector.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We had two minor quibbles. (1) Big riders need not apply. (2) Calling the Velcro pads that go on the straps “shoulder pads” is overly generous. They are only there for users of the Alpinestars BNS neck brace.
MXA RATING: There are always riders who live in the nether regions of motocross protection. They know that a polyester jersey is no protection at all but don’t want the bulk of a full-size chest protector. They live in a world of compromise between reality and hope. They know they will crash but hope they won’t. The Alpinestars A1 roost guard is for the dreamers among us. It is the minimum of what a rider can wear and still believe he is wearing protection.