Chest protectors such as the Alpinestars A-10 chest protector can provide vital protection to the upper torso of any dirtbike rider, and yet they aren’t as widely worn as you might think.
Why? Maybe it’s because many riders find the extra bulk to not be worth any safety benefit–real or perceived.
The Alpinestars A-10 seeks to change that with a design that offers the full benefit of wearing a chest protector sans the heft. The A-10 boasts a contoured exoskeletal shape that is intended to hug the rider’s upper torso better, and it can even be worn under a riding jersey. To accomplish their goals, Alpinestars engineers focused on removing as much material from the A-10 as possible to make it light and comfortable. On our scales, the fully equipped A-10 adds 3.5 lbs. to the rider’s weight.
The A-10 is constructed of a series of polymer plates that are CE-certified; CE certification basically means that the product has confirmed to a set of safety standards for a recreational product in its class in Europe. The plates utilize Alpinestars’ embedded grid technology, a series of cells that are under the hard shell material and are designed to absorb and dissipate impact forces while offering flexibility and the aforementioned weight reduction. The shells themselves are constructed of a polymer material.
Aa modular design allows the A-10 to be configured to match the rider’s comfort preferences. Hook and loop straps are used to affix the EVA-padded bicep shells to the frame of the A-10, and the upper front panel is also easily removed to allow for the addition of a neck brace, which can be attached to the A-10 via stretch loops (Alpinestars calls them pullers) found on the shoulders.
The A-10 is easy to get put on and secure. A pair of quick-release straps secures the frame, and a side-adjustable kidney belt allows it to fit a variety of upper torso sizes while ensuring that the A-10 hugs the rider’s body. The inside of the A-10 chassis utilizes a soft bio foam for comfort with the close fit.
DirtBikes.com tested the A-10 in some fairly extreme weather during a recent test day at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, where temperatures were well over 90 degrees, and again in only slightly cooler weather at Cahuilla Creek Motocross in Anza, California. At the end of both days, our test crew came away with mixed feelings about the A-10.
For starters, there’s no question that the A-10 offers some of the most comprehensive coverage of any chest protector on the market, and its well-developed air channels did a good job of venting away body heat when the rider was in motion. Where our test team’s opinions varied had to do with the overall fit of the A-10. Some riders, who often don’t wear a chest protector, found the A-10 to feel a little restrictive on the shoulders and arms, while others who are used to wearing chest protectors found it to be pretty comfortable and didn’t notice any range of motion issues. For the riders who did, removing the bicep shells seemed to help–at the expense of upper arm protection, of course. Overall, though, the A-10 can be easily adjusted for a comfortable fit.
But that comfort errs on the snug side. Even without the bicep protection, the A-10 may be the most body-conforming chest protector we’ve ever sampled. Again, if you’re used to wearing a chest protector, the Alpinestars is likely to feel really, really good. If not, then you may find a reason to complain about it.
But there’s no question that the A-10 is a solid, well thought-out chest protector. This thing laughs at any rocks and roost that are thrown at it, and although we didn’t crash in order to verify its ability to withstand major ground impacts, we’re confident that it would do a reasonable job of dissipating some pretty heavy hits.
The Alpinestars A-10 Full Chest Protector retails for $229.95. That’s not a cheap price by any stretch, but if you’ve made the decision to wear a chest protector and you want a close, comfortable, easy-to-adjust model that won’t leave you all hot and sweaty even in warm summer months, the A-10 is a worthy investment.
Alpinestars A-10 Full Chest Protector
2780 West 237th Street
Torrance, California 90505