Alpinestars Koln Drystar jacket and Excursion Gore-Tex trousers, £249.99 each
(discontinued, replaced by Valparaiso Drystar, £249.99 and £199.99)
Time tested: Three years /40,000 miles.
What’s good? I’ve ridden for around six hours at a time in horrendous weather conditions and stayed perfectly dry in this jacket, but there does come a point when the faintest dampness seeps in around the neck or cuffs. But this does also depend on what gloves I’m wearing and if the bike I’m riding has a full fairing. Unlike some winter jackets, it is flexible so I can move around freely. It’s light and airy rather than solid, without the unpleasant cardboard feel some winter jackets have. The liner is also easily removable if it gets too warm. Having had a high-speed accident on the A1 recently, I can say the crash resistance is mighty impressive and I highly recommend the jacket and trousers (below). I sustained no upper body injuries – not even a bruise. You can see the force the jacket took, but the body armour was did its job perfectly.
I’ve owned the trousers for three years and through three harsh Yorkshire winters they’ve never let me down. No matter how poor the conditions they’ve stayed 100% waterproof and warm. With thermals underneath they’re fine even in sub-zero conditions, which I find extraordinary. The zips are robust and strong; haven’t broken or even shown any signs of wear. However it’s the crash resistance that’s impressed me most as without these trousers I would have suffered serious injury in my crash on the A1. I’m sure that without the body armour I’d have suffered far worse injuries than the heavy bruising I suffered. The stitching has broken slightly on the left side, however the abrasion resistance was outstanding as I estimate I was sliding down the A1 at around 60mph. I didn’t even receive any friction burns, which is a fantastic performance.
To walk away with only bruises after an estimated 60mph crash and slide down the A1 is incredible. I’ve been massively impressed by the performance of this kit and have already ordered a similar replacement.
What’s not? Heavier winter jackets are warmer in sub-zero conditions, but they don’t have the flexibility and movement. The external pockets are not 100% waterproof and will let in moisture after a few hours of heavy rain, as will the trouser pockets. There’s very little impact protection at the hips of the trousers, unlike some textile trousers I’ve tried previously.
Quality rating: 4/5
Value rating: 4/5