In spite of the recent improvements to the world of hydration packs there has been a steady movement to replace them for all but the longest rides. That of course presents the question of just how do you go about carrying enough water and gear for your ride. While some companies are adding pockets to bib liners or even integrating storage into the bike frames, Alpinestars is thinking outside the pack but inside the jersey.
Building on the success of their Evolution jacket, the new Paragon vest strips down to just the essentials – water, storage, and back protection…
While the original ISPO Award Winning Evolution jacket was hydration compatible, it wasn’t really built specifically with hydration in mind. Instead it was meant as a light weight body armor that would protect riders without going full moto.
On the other hand, the Paragon vest is built to provide the required CE certified back protection for enduro racing as well as storage of up to 3 liters of water. Sold without the bladder, the Paragon uses an articulated back protector that slides into the same pocket as the reservoir. Riders can choose one of two routing options for the hose, either under or over the shoulder with either a velcro or elastic loop to keep the hose in place. When it’s time to drink just pull on the hose slightly and it’s right where you need it.
Along with two outlets for the hydration hose, the Paragon offers two padded side pockets as well as a lower rear pocket just below the bladder for carrying anything from food to a cell phone. Made from highly breathable mesh fabrics and a body hugging fit with a long asymmetrical zipper to keep the bladder in place, the Paragon is not the first under-the-jersey bladder system, but it looks like a solid choice for those looking for back protection and hydration with not much else. Pricing and availability TBD.
Among a number of new products and colors is the newly revised Aero 2 glove. Now with an improved pull tab on the lower portion of the palm with a Lycra cuff, the Aero 2 also receives redesigned gel padding on the palm. The other side of the glove sees light weight stretch fabric for an airy glove with plenty of ventilation for hot days.
For a company that started in the 80’s with bicycles and one that didn’t introduce a consumer clothing line until 2010, the Alpinestars collection has exploded with one of the biggest catalogs we’ve seen. Covering the spectrum from DH, to AM, XC, Trail, Freeride, Enduro, and women’s AM, the 2016 collection hones in on a few specific color stories that allows plenty of mixing and matching between categories while keeping the same hues. Calling it their most technically advanced group in the range, the Enduro focused Drop line (below) is also their best seller. With options for long sleeve and short sleeve jerseys as well as the matching Drop 2 short, the Drop should have no problem fitting in with the rest of your Enduro apparel.
Check out the entire line at alpinestars.com.