There’s definitely an interest in ‘going light’ when carrying kit on your bike. Many riders are looking at options when choosing between a backpack or stashing items on your body and bike.

There are plenty of options out there but we feel we’ve hit on a winner with the Alpinestars Paragon vest. It’s a brand that keeps producing some winning designs.

With the need for additional back protection as well as storage, this vest is ideal for stage racing or a few hours on the uplift. It’s good to get storage away from your shorts (where they can hinder comfort as well as pedalling) and onto your torso with strategically placed pockets. Back protection needs to be certified yet be not obtrusive and cause discomfort.

You’ll be wearing a garment like this in potentially hot and dry conditions, with a race jersey on top, so good breathability is essential. It’s asking a lot but we feel the Paragon vest is as close to a no-compromise garment as we have found.

‘From a brand steeped in two wheeled racing our expectations were high and we weren’t disappointed’

Using a very lightweight and comfortable combination of a mesh and a synthetic stretch fabric, this vest is cut for a close fit and is panelled for added comfort. It’s ‘over the head’ when putting this vest on – there’s no full zip on the front – but there is a diagonal zip from the shoulder to the chest to aid entry. A sleeve on the back of the vest holds the Level 1 CE certified back protector which is a three ply construction and is tuneable to suit your needs. The three individual layers are perforated to help with ventilation and cooling. This sleeve can also take a hydration bladder and there is routing for the hose over the left shoulder.

Storage is adequate with three pockets (with padding on the inner side for comfort) – one zipped on the lower back and one on each side above the hip. These side hip pockets are easy to reach and have room for energy bars or gels.

In action this lightweight vest almost goes unnoticed. A good range of sizes (S-XXL) should give the right fit and with bare weight of just 400g the bulk remains low and you don’t feel hindered in anyway.

For essential protection and increased storage the Alpinestars Paragon vest really is a no compromise piece of kit. From a brand steeped in two wheeled racing our expectations were high and we weren’t disappointed.

PRICE: £100

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

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