Everything I know about South Africa, I can write on the back of a pack of matches. And were it not for Alpinestars, I wouldn’t know there’s a coastal city in eastern South Africa known for hosting the 2010 World Cup and the namesake of their latest and greatest Tech-Touring piece of riding gear: the textile Durban jacket and pant.
The polyamide main shell with "Superfabric" reinforcements is lighter in color (Grey/Black/Sand) and far lighter in weight than the Klim Badlands Pro suit I tested last year. The pair of garments are each of two-piece construction with removable micro-fleece lined Gore-Tex liners that are ready for three-plus seasons in action, from hot to not.
This waisted and adjustable jacket is so riddled with pockets, it just might rival the cubic liter count of your tank bag. Every one in the right place; a pair of waterproof hand pockets symmetrically flank the jacket and zip shut, as do a pair of Napoleon pockets that double as venting-in ports. A third waterproof vertical pocket hidden behind the left-hand chest pocket, easily available to your throttle hand when clutched to a stop, perfect for the cell phone. One more waterproof pocket on the left forearm works well for stashing toll and parking meter money. Velcro wrist closures offer enough length to tightly close the wrist with or without gloves, a 6-inch zipper eases gauntlet glove fitments.
Ventilation begins just behind this forearm zipper as a standalone elbow flow-in port. A pair of lashes on each arm help to keep the CE pads in proper placement. Two more vents – one atop each shoulder – flow air into the back and out the pair of vertical zippers flanking the built-in hydration bladder compartment.
The smartest feature of this jacket is a full-length 2-inch open mesh panel sewn into the right-hand half, allowing for two “zipped shut” positions. One being fully closed as normal, the other allowing the left and right halves of the jacket to be zipped shut with a wide open mesh gap, offering major airflow into the jacket. Sometimes the ATGATT rule takes a back seat when heat and humidity soars; this is one way to have it both ways.
Riding with your jacket on and unzipped offers very little security in the case of a get-off, but at least with this feature chest pads remain in place and the garment is less likely to get peeled from your body or snagged on something while you fly past the instrument cluster... if.
In the jungle-like 95F heat and 80-percent humidly of northern Colombia in December, I just wanted to ride as naked as the beachgoers around us, but I’m smarter than that (only slightly). So,with the sleeves zipped off and the vertical mesh channel opened, great relief was found in motion! With an upgraded back protector in place – just in case – I was gleefully cruising the Caribbean coast while still riding ATGATT.
The cold-weather blocking halves of the zipper smartly snap or Velcro back like barn doors to prevent the annoying at-speed flutter. At the neckline, the collar remains open thanks to the Alpinestars hook-and-bungee loop, and closed with a short piece of Velcro. The jacket is also ready to accept the Alpinestars Bionic Neck Supports with connection points around the collar.
The Durban jacket has all that AND a bag of chips... which you can carry in the buckle-enclosed and removable back pocket if you don’t mind a few broken Pringles. I keep a second pair of gloves in this zip-off compartment, but it will also fit the jacket’s Gore-Tex liner as well, if you don’t might the additional booty look.
An included strap allows the pocket to be worn around your waist without the jacket; handy if you like to carry items like maps and paperwork on your person (i.e. In case of separation) and not just in the jacket (which I tend to have to take off at border crossings). Just remember it’s not waterproof.
An encompassing (and height adjustable) Velcro waist belt helps prevent the garment from riding up a rider's body in the case of a crash, as does the circumference zipper that attaches to the separately sold Durban pant.
The Durban pant offers all the same great construction and protection of the jacket in a color/theme-matched garment. Interior leather panels reduce wear from abrasion with your bikes’ frame and hard parts, CE-approved knee pads protect the body.
A zip and Velcro-off bib support system keep the pant upright when choosing not to zip to the jacket, and a hook and snap waist closure never come undone until you want them to do so. Lateral webbing adjustments make for a more finely tuned fit around the waist. Low-profile hand pockets hide beneath the jacket’s carcass, but a pair of thigh pockets catch everything you choose not to stash in the jacket. Vertical vents to the inside of these pockets help keep your nether regions from overheating. The weather- and waterproof liner zips to the shell at the waist and ankles. The typical zipper and Velcro ankle closure system are large enough to absorb many riding boots, including motocross type.
Many of us are looking for adventure everywhere we go. From the gravel roads of Alaska to our choices in riding gear, we want to feel the adventure all around us. For those of you nodding your head right now, Alpinestars has a product you’re going to want to check out. As the flagship of their Tech-Touring line, the Durban jacket and pant are designed to work for you through thick and thin.
I’m still finding pesos in some of the pockets of this suit months after the ride, but it’s still a light and smart suit for any adventurer. True to sizing, with numerous tailoring points in both garments. Look less like a combat soldier while you explore the world, and blend in with the gravel and dirt roads we love instead.
Durban Jacket (S-4XL) US $799.95
Durban Pant (EU 48-60) US $599.95
More info: alpinestars.com