Alpinestars Atem One-Piece Leather Suit | SR Tested Product Review

Fully CE-certified one-piece suit costs less than $1500

Alpinestars prides itself on staying at the pointy end of the industry and continues to reassure us of its tech-driven intentions with products like the airbag-equipped Tech Air suit—and now the introduction of its fully CE-certified Atem one-piece suit. We've already tested the Tech Air suit thoroughly (much to the dismay of our health insurance provider), so prior to the green flag dropping on our 2013 middleweight comparison test, we turned our attention to Alpinestars' Tech 1-R replacement, the Atem.

The Atem’s appeal—and our interest in the suit—stems primarily from its EN 13595-1 Level 1 certification, which denotes that the entire suit (not just the armor) has been put through four very specific tests. “Most suits have some sort of CE certification, but it relates to the armor and not the whole suit. For full certification, the suit must undergo an abrasion, impact cut, burst strength, and cone test,” Alpinestars’ Nic Sims says.

The majority of these tests are as you’d expect from the terminology; the abrasion test requires a sample of material be dropped from 50mm onto a rotating belt and to endure grazing for four seconds (level 1 approval) or seven seconds (level 2 approval); the impact cut test measures blade penetration after a sample of leather’s been struck by a sharp edge that’s fallen from one meter and at 2.8 meters per second (level 1 approval allows for 25mm of penetration and level 2 permits just 15mm of penetration); the burst strength test measures the seams’ strength by assuring they don’t blow open when mounted over a diaphragm and extended into a dome shape by way of 98 psi (level 1 approval) or 112 psi (level 2 approval); and the cone test involves outfitting the suit with cones at the wrists and ankles and then pulling on those cones with 6.6 and 11 pounds respectively (after 60 seconds, the wrist cone could only have moved 60mm, and the ankle cone could only have moved 100mm).

Interestingly, Alpinestars says that, while the suit is only certified to level 1 standards, they test to level 2 standards in each of these cases.

There are a number of features strewn throughout the Atem that are unrelated to the aforementioned CE certifications but equally as beneficial, including an all-new aramidic stretch panel across the chest for added flexibility, 3D mesh inserts at the neck, wrists, ankles and back for superior ventilation, and GP-style armor at the knees. Four color options are available, and the suit costs less than $1500, which is a plus for racers and track-day enthusiasts looking for protection but not at the expense of an empty wallet.

So how does a suit that costs just $1499.95—but is inundated with safety features—compare to the more expensive competition? Surprisingly well, actually. The Atem’s perforations provide great air flow at the racetrack and kept us comfortable on and off the bike. The suit feels extremely pliable too, which not only means that we could spend less time breaking it in, but also that we could walk around the pits or move around on the bike without feeling restricted by a narrow range of motion.

In regard to the retention straps at the ankles and wrists (necessitated by the CE certifications), we can honestly say that they didn’t adversely affect feel when suiting up or riding. Think of the straps like ABS; yes, there’s a negligible difference in static performance (a slightly thicker cuff in this case), but the difference is more than offset by the safety net said system provides.

Are there any downsides? None that we could find, though the suit’s removable and washable liner did give us a few fits when slipping our feet into and out of the suit. This is a problem we’ve had on multiple Astars suits, however.

We’re not sure how Alpinestars managed to run the Atem through the rigorous tests required for CE certification yet was able to set an MSRP that’s almost half of what its top-of-the-line suit retails for. Regardless, we aren’t complaining and would suggest the suit to any racer, track-day aficionado, or serious street rider based on its looks, performance, and features.

Details
Alpinestars Atem leather suit
Retail: $1499.95
Colors: black/white, black/white/red, black/white/yellow
Euro Sizes: 50–60
www.alpinestars.com