Let’s say that you’re looking for a sporty leather jacket that’s technical yet subdued, and versatile yet purpose-built—the Alpinestars Core leather jacket has you covered. When Alpinestars sent over the Core for me to try out, all I asked for was a sporty jacket that could handle a chilly ride in January for the Yamaha R3 launch. Normally, I do a bunch of research and carefully select the items that I request for review—with the Core I had no idea what I was getting.
Breaking down the Core, it’s your higher-end sport jacket that sits below the Alpinestars GP Pro, and a ways above the Alpinestars GP Plus Rv2. With 1.1mils of cowhide you’ve got ample material to keep you clear of road rash. Being that it’s slightly thinner than a full-on race jacket it has a bit more suppleness to it, which makes day-to-day life a bit easier.
Also making life easier is the full-length thermal liner that truly makes this a three-season jacket. Depending on your location, your three seasons could have very different temperatures. That’s why Alpinestars offers the Core in a perforated version as well, to make life in hotter climates that much better. For those of us in the north, the thermal liner and amazing stretch panels allowed me to throw on a sweatshirt underneath the jacket when needed. Even on a sunny 35-degree day in January, I was as toasty as could be.
Weather aside, the Core has a slew of other fantastic features to showcase. With semi-auto locking zippers, a waterproof chest pocket, a 3D fabric collar, a 270-degree zip for connecting to a pair of Alpinestars pants, and side vents for bringing in a little air, the Core has a lot to brag about. These fantastic features are certainly worth a mention, but where the Core excels is with its safety features—or rather, its accommodation for safety features.
The thing is, the Core doesn’t include a lot of what it makes room for, but the fact that it makes room for so much sets it apart. With a lot of jackets, you’ll find a pocket in the back for a back protector. With the Core, not only is there a pocket, but you also get an adjustable attachment point for a Nucleon KR-R.
Most jackets stop with a placeholder for a back protector, but the Core takes it a few steps further. With room up front for Alpinestars Nucleon chest protector and Nucleon hip protectors, the Core can be made into a veritable tank of protection. If you choose not to upgrade you still get PE (polyethylene foam) padding, which is better than nothing.
The safety features that come standard are the tough-as-nails-looking TPU shoulder inserts and CE-rated armor at the shoulders and elbows. The shoulder and elbow armor deserve a mention because some jackets feel like the armor just sort of sits in their respective compartments, while the Core’s armor envelopes your arms in a cocoon of safety. Call me weird, but this little bit of extra attention is what makes the Core worth its cost.
Which brings us to the Core’s $589.00 price tag, putting it firmly into premium jacket territory. The price will push the Core out of the realm of possibility for a lot of riders, which is a shame. I’m sure many riders will say $589 should get you something that’s either Gore-Tex or compatible with Alpinestars Tech-Air system. Sadly, the Core has neither.
But for those slight issues, the Core is an awesome jacket that oozes build quality and style. It’s a jacket that walks the line between flash and stealth extremely well, all the while providing the possibility of race levels of protection. To be honest I ended up liking the Core way more than I thought I would. I’ve actually found myself looking for ways to justify keeping it instead of sending it back to Alpinestars, and that’s the tell-tale sign of a quality piece of kit.