24 million people in the US rode a motorcycle last year. Want to take bets on how many did so in full leathers? Yeah, a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of that total. But why would the vast majority of riders risk their lives and comfort by skipping protection? They either don’t like the way it looks or don’t understand its benefits. That’s where this new Vika suit by Alpinestars comes in. It seeks to sell women on wearing it not through tribal roses or pink dye, but through a cut, fit and style specifically designed to help them look good on and off the bike, while bringing a significant level of safety too.
A while back, Ashlee wrote about her textile Scorpion two-piece. Great suit, versatile performance, but she’s a pretty lady and it makes her look like Rosie O’Donnell when she puts it on. If she wasn’t exposed to such a strong safety message through Sean and I, she probably wouldn’t wear it.
Same problem with her various leather suits. She now rides in an Alpinestars/Icon/cowboy boot mix, in search of something that won’t make her look like an MMA fighter.
But the Vika? That’s somethings else entirely. It’s not a general purpose men’s suit with wider hips and shorter sleeves, it was designed from the ground up to flatter the female figure. It does that by contrasting leather panels with Kevlar stretchy bits to create not only long, vertical patterns that will elongate and flatter the human body, but help the suit cling tightly to the wearer’s curves while facilitating natural movement.
Safety comes not only from that leather and Kevlar, but also SAS-Tech, CE-Certified armor in the shoulders, elbows and knees. A back protector will need to be worn separately. SAS-Tech is neat stuff, it stiffens significantly on impact sorta like D3O, but is a little thicker and softer, think half the way to traditional armor.
In addition to the $430 pants and $430 jacket, there’s also some $90 shortie gloves specifically shaped for girl hands and a really nice, understated pair of waterproof boots with integrated ankle armor.
It’s not a race suit and it won’t offer race suit levels of protection, but it’s still a lot of protection in the kind of package people will actually want to wear.
The whole thing together appears to be a slick, flattering, understated suit that, to my eyes at least, actually manages to capture the romantic idea of riding that most people have in their heads, but which the gear we wear often fails to capture. Pair it with a black helmet and black visor and you’ll be well on your way to filling not only your own fantasies, but those of everyone you pass too.