I am always looking for maximum flexibility when I ride and I am very picky about what goes under my jersey as far as protection. The Alpinestars A-1 Roost Guard has been around for a while, so I decided to test the crap out of it to see if I can live with having some protection under my jersey. As you may have read in an earlier chest pro review, my son gets on me about having some kind of protection on my body when I ride, so testing different guards has been an on going thing over here these days.
Don’t get confused, as the A-1 is not your full on maximum protection chest protector. The A-1 Roost Guard is constructed of a poly material blend and is CE certified (front guard) against impacts and roost (the back shell is not CE certified). However the back shell is removable and the whole shell is completely perforated to allow airflow through to your body. The shoulder pads are removable and the A-1 comes in combined sizes M/L to XL/2XL. I ran the A-1 Roost Guard with the complete shell intact for a while and found it to be very comfortable under my jersey and not too hot. Although it is not the lightest under protector I have tried to date, its mobility won me over and allowed me to move freely on the bike without feeling like my upper torso was welded together.
Once I got used to the complete shell, I removed the shoulder pads and back shell and rode with it like this for several weeks. This quickly became my favorite set up as it almost felt like I didn’t have anything on under my jersey. Adjusting from full shell to front shell is very easy with the integrated Y-strap system. I was skeptical on the sizing I received (M/L), but the A-1 guard is extremely adjustable and fit snugly around my torso. The straps have been durable, do not stretch out easily and the clips are tough enough to stand a nice size crash. I have tested that as well! I also appreciated that the soft bio foam shoulder pads do not stick out or make your jersey protrude outward when riding. I mean come on, you have to look good too right? I didn’t get as warm as I thought I would when wearing the A-1 protector, so I really had no excuse on why I couldn't wear it on every ride. Even though I am not the best candidate for “dress for the crash, not the ride”, I appreciate a good roost guard that offers flexibility and enough protection/roost deflection for my taste. At $119.95 the Alpinestars A-1 is a great buy with it’s multiple configurations and is comfortable enough for me to wear year round. It is my favorite under protector to date! You can order yours over at www.alpinestars.com and if you have any questions about this test please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.