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Alpinestars Paragon Vest

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Tested: Alpinestars Paragon Vest

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Matt Swenson // Photos by Matt Swenson and Seth Beckton (Action)

The Italian brand, Alpinestars, has been immersed in motor sports, like motorcycle racing, motocross, auto racing since 1963. As they expand their presence in mountain biking and develop more bike-specific product, we received their Paragon Vest. The lightweight vest is built for comfort and features a three-piece, customizable back pad, room for a water bladder as well as additional storage on the side and lower back. We put the Paragon vest to the test for a couple months to see if it's a true performer.

Alpinestars Paragon Vest Highlights

  • Removable and replaceable Level 1 CE-certified ergonomic shaped back protector
  • Open mesh stretch panel construction designed for a slim fit
  • Lightweight, stretchable mesh main

Review by Matt Swenson // Photos by Matt Swenson and Seth Beckton (Action)

The Italian brand, Alpinestars, has been immersed in motor sports, like motorcycle racing, motocross, auto racing since 1963. As they expand their presence in mountain biking and develop more bike-specific product, we received their Paragon Vest. The lightweight vest is built for comfort and features a three-piece, customizable back pad, room for a water bladder as well as additional storage on the side and lower back. We put the Paragon vest to the test for a couple months to see if it's a true performer.

Alpinestars Paragon Vest Highlights

  • Removable and replaceable Level 1 CE-certified ergonomic shaped back protector
  • 
Open mesh stretch panel construction designed for a slim fit
  • 
Lightweight, stretchable mesh main construction

  • Back protector compartment pocket can also house hydration pack
  • 
Hydration hose loop on upper left shoulder
  • 
Double cut-out on back panel for hydration hose passing

  • Side pockets with internal padding

  • 420 grams

  • Available in men's international sizes, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
  • MSRP: $99.95 USD

Initial Impressions

Alpinestars is a reputable brand in the motorsports industry so it’s no surprise that when unboxing the Paragon vest we instantly noticed the quality stitching, lightweight materials and attention to detail that only comes from a designer who knows what cyclists want. On our body, the vest was hardly noticeable, minus the back protection, which was pliable and didn’t affect movement yet offered good protection.

This vest has two padded side pockets, a zippered rear pouch, and the hydration/protection pad area. The optional hydration hose routing had a perfect location for holding the mouthpiece. The protection pouch also features a velcro bladder-hanging device that works with or without the protection pads. Small details like the zipper cover were quite impressive and the vest was very comfortable to wear.

On The Trail

Depending on the trail, length and conditions, it seems there arere many variations of must-have tools and accessories a rider may want to have with them. For short rides, we typically packed a tool pouch, a phone, and a tallboy of our favorite brew, along with the removable back padding. Surprisingly, because of the padded pockets, we didn't feel the frosty, cold beverage and the pockest proved to be good insulators, keeping our beer cold. The back protection is nice for the gnarlier descents and takes some worry out of more critical moves. We will note that it’s best to have the vest balanced by packing it evenly. Once we pounded our frosty one, the vest tended to shift slightly to the heavier side where the tools were, but this was very minor.

On longer rides, we went with a different set-up that could sustain us for 2-3-hour rides and even all-day epics. We were able to fit a tool pouch along with some energy gummies in one side pocket, a phone in the rear zipper pocket, a PB&J and two energy bars in the other hip pocket, as well as the hydration bladder (sans back pads). This proved to be a great combo for longer days and even got us through a 30-mile ride with 2000 feet of climbing and 4000 feet of descending. It was nice to not have a cumbersome backpack for this ride and the vest provided a lot of freedom of movement when the downhill terrain got technical.

Things That Could Be Improved

After several rides and many different types of trails, weather and various gear set-ups, we weren’t able to find anything to complain about with this vest. The only variation we might desire in the future is a similar vest that’s not predominantly made of mesh material, but the same material that’s on the shoulders and back. If you were to wear it by itself, you wouldn’t have to worry about looking like Glenn Danzig in public. Other than some minor nipple slips, nobody gave us too hard a time when wearing the vest without a jersey and it definitely provided great breathability. The back pocket could also use a bit more room for bigger phones.

Long Term Durability

After a few months of use, washing machines and typical riding abuse, the vest looks as new as when we pulled it out of the box. The mesh has held up well and the pockets still retain elasticity despite being pulled many times with oversized beverage cans filling the pocket to its max. The velcro still holds a full 100L bag and despite being heavy, it’s held up just fine. Every piece of stitching is immaculate and shows no sign of wear, good work Alpinestars. 

What’s The Bottom Line? 

We have to admit the Paragon Vest is very impressive for such a minimalistic piece of protection/storage. In these changing times, where enduro has become so popular and riders are seeking to ride with less gear, this vest is likely to be very popular. Any rider, from racers to weekend warriors, will greatly benefit from the versatility, protection, and comfort of this vest.

For more information, visit www.alpinestars.com


About The Reviewer

Matt Swenson - Age: 34 // Years Riding MTB: 27 // Height: 5'11" (1.80m) // Weight: 160lbs (72.57kg)

He’s a ColoRADo native who’s been shredding bikes since the age of two and his life revolves around two wheels. He currently works at Winter Park Resort running both the Gravity and XC race series, as well as a new Junior Development Race Program at Trestle Bike Park. He’s worked in the medical field but has also built and judged slopestyle events like GoPro/Teva Games, the Colorado Freeride Festival, Crankworx and others. Growing up working in bike shops as a mechanic, he’s always been a nerd when it comes to bike components and tech. These days he enjoys the bike park, trail riding, skatepark and dirt jump sessions with his wife and puppy. He’s always down to shred a lap at Trestle Bike Park, so don’t be afraid to say hi! "Hold the throttle wide open ‘til you see God...then brake."

Specifications
Product Alpinestars Paragon Vest
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Pad Type Soft Shell
Material • Removable and replaceable Level 1 CE-certified ergonomic shaped back protector
• Open mesh stretch panel construction designed for slim fit which enables top to be worn under jersey
• Extremely lightweight, stretchable mesh main construction for maximum breathability and ventilation
Coverage Vest
Sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL (Men's International Sizes)
Color Black/Yellow
Miscellaneous • Back protector compartment pocket can also house hydration pack
• Water tube loop on upper left shoulder
• Double cut-out on back panel for water tube passing
• Side pockets with internal padding
• 420 grams
Price $99.95
More Info

www.alpinestars.com

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