If you’re in the market for some upper body protection with a twist, the Evolution jacket from Alpinestars is worth a look.
First off, it’s comfortable and, for the most part, fits really well. The thick spine protector may appear a little bulky, but it more or less goes unnoticed once riding.
Cleverly, you can slide a hydration bladder into a compartment on the back, and there’s routing for its hose too — a nice touch for enduro enthusiasts who don’t want to carry a pack.
The features don’t stop there, though. If you don’t want to use the shoulder and elbow pads, the sleeves zip off in seconds to leave you with a protective vest that’ll fit under a jersey.
Should you leave the sleeves in place, the well-shaped elbow pads hug your arms securely without budging when the going gets rough, but aren’t so tight that they’ll give you arm pump or restrict movement.
Unfortunately, the large cutaways under the armpits, while good at dumping heat, mean that the shoulder pads can still move about a bit, leaving areas at the front of the shoulders exposed in places. I’d prefer them to be more securely anchored in place, even if that meant getting a bit sweatier.
That niggle aside, in terms of comfort, coverage and ergonomics, the Evolution jacket is up there with the best of them.