Alpinestars A1 Roost Guard

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yz250f_spud

  • 5
  
I’ll never forget a hard wreck that I had as a kid, where I was thrown into my handlebars.  I hit hard enough to knock the wind out of me and break the skin across the width of my chest.  I started wearing a chest protector shortly thereafter and I've owned many since.  While I appreciate the protection, it's always a balance with comfort.  I wanted to try something lighter, cooler, and better fitting than my current rig, and the Alpinestars A1 Roost Guard seem to fit that bill.
 
The A1 comes in two sizes. I chose the MD/LG for my 5’11”, 160lb frame with 38” chest and I'd say it's true-to-size. The front and rear coverage is sufficient, with the chest place covering from right below the collarbone to the bottom of the rib cage. The back plate covers a little larger area from the top of the shoulder blades to bottom of the rib cage. I would have liked to see a bit more side protection, but being designed primarily as a roost guard, this isn't a necessity.
 

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Build quality is top notch and I really like the materials that are used such as the flexible plastic plates, metal attachment posts for the lower straps, and soft bio foam padding.  Because the plates flex to fit the contours of your chest without leaving gaps, impacts from roost are more evenly distributed and have less of a sting.  I'm not typically the one pulling holeshots, but this guard helps ease that pain (literally).
 
The shoulder straps are adjusted via Velcro and maybe I'm a little OCD, but I found them to be a bit of a pain to get adjusted evenly and correctly the first time to get the fit I wanted. Luckily, it's a one-time adjustment, as they haven't moved since the initial fitment. The side straps are made of an elastic material that allows you to set how tight of a fit you want.  The side strap buckles are easy to secure and release, even with gloves on and I had zero issues with them loosening up while riding.  
 
Testing of the Alpinestars A1 consisted of tearing up some MX practice laps in late-summer heat.  I wore the A1 both over and under the jersey and had no issues with either set-up.  This is the best fitting, most comfortable roost guard I've ever worn! It conforms to your natural body position, giving you great range-of-motion and it stays in place, even in rough terrain.  
 
The A1 is extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at a measly 1lb 5oz. I rode some tight single track trails to check out how well it breathes.  Amazing!  No doubt that the low weight and little perforations in the front plate help a lot.  It’s hardly warmer than wearing just a jersey and incredibly cooler than hard shell roost deflectors that I’ve used in the past.  
 
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The modular design of the A1 provides a lot of options to tailor it to your riding.  A rear foam section held on with Velcro can be removed for fitment with an Alpinestars Bionic Neck Support. The shoulder pads and entire rear plate can also be removed, leaving just the thin Y-frame to connect to the front plate.  With the rear plate removed, it’s slightly front heavy, but not enough to be an issue.  The shoulder pads simply stick on with Velcro and have elastic cords to hold a neck brace in place.  I'm not a fan of the shoulder pads and removed them early on.  They didn’t form well to the curve of my shoulders and I felt coverage was minimal anyway.  I wasn't able to verify fit and comfort with a neck brace, but I did quite a bit of riding wearing a hydration pack over the A1. Since the shoulder straps are thin, the backpack straps can sit where they naturally want to, making for a comfortable pairing.
 
Pros   :thumbsup:
  • Lightweight package
  • Eats the roost so you don't have to
  • Breathes well
  • Comfortable
  • Stays in place
  • Adjust-n-Fahgettaboudit
  • Build quality
     
  • Cons   :thumbsdn:
  • Shoulder pad fit
  • Getting Velcro shoulder straps even
 
Bottom Line    :prof: 
If you’re tired of getting beat by roost or want a minimalist protector for trail riding, I definitely suggest the Alpinestars A1.  It does everything it needs to and excels at all of them. It's comfortable, protective, non-restrictive, and runs cool. When protective products don’t achieve these things, they have a tendency to be left in the truck.  The A1 won't be one of them.
 
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