REVIEW OF THE ALPINESTARS VIKA LEATHER PANTS
- MSRP: $429.95
- Sizes: Euro 38 (US 0)-50 (US 12). I'm wearing 42 pants but normally fit into a 40 in other Alpinestars pants
- Cowhide construction; full grain leather about 1.1mm
- Aramid stretch fabric along the thighs, back of the knees
- Removable CE armor in knees, no hip armor
- No outer pockets
- 3/4 connection zipper for connection with Alpinestars jackets
- Matching jacket also available, see Vika Jacket
- Sample provided by Alpinestars for review
The Vika was really designed as a fashion leather outfit, with modest protection as a compromise to create something that was lighter and more comfortable for city riding.
I was really looking forward to seeing and trying this outfit in person, with hopes that it would have a similar function/fit as the Tyla. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.
The leather is thin so it's really chilly below 65 degrees. I'm always cold, so this only works for me at 75-80 degrees. I couldn't wear these in fall or winter for San Francisco riding.
There isn't a removable liner system or anything along those lines, since it's a lightweight pant for warm weather riding.
Yes, the leather is really soft and supple and definitely comfortable on or off the bike. And it does feel less bulky than other riding pants I've worn. But for me and levels of protection that I want/need, the compromise is simply too much.
These are surprisingly short with 30.5" inseams. Mine is 28.5" so I typically need a little extra since wearing boots add another inch or two. Standing they're fine but as soon as I bend my knees, the pants move up a little. Although they're tapered at the ankles and knees, which does help keep them from rising up too much. I've only worn this outfit on the Brammo which has a fully upright riding position. Sitting on my SV with its higher pegs and my knees up high made it even worse. They just don't run very long.
Not having hip armor is a little troublesome for me, since I rarely ride without any. I could probably have these altered to add hip pockets and something lighter like Sas-Tec or d3o armor would probably be ok but still bulky. I think that's one of the reasons they left them out of these pants. That and aesthetically, it adds weight to the hip area.
As with the jacket, these are really light and cool. Way too cold for fall/winter riding for me. I am *always* cold. Unless it's 75-80 degrees out. They're also a touch saggy in back for my liking. I like my pants fitted and snug and these are just too bunchy for me. I'm sure a 40 would've been better but when trying them on they were just so tight. I'm sure after break in they would've been fine. I just didn't expect the thinner leather to break in very much.
I'd recommend your size as it's listed on their size charts but order one size up if you want to wear them with thermals. Their size chart is also off by one US size. I'm a 40 and I'm not a US 4 in most women's clothing. Just drop me an email if you need advice as to what to order.
These are vertically challenged friendly for those of you looking for a shorter pant but have limited features and functions which really limit the seasons as to when you can wear them.
Overall, I can only recommend these pants if you're looking for something lighter for summer and have extra $ to spend. It's a lot of money for a minimally featured pant, for those of us who ride often and need something to perform.
Comments from Alpinestars
A representative from Alpinestars wanted to address some of my concerns with the following comments:
The VIKA gear was never designed to be compared to the Tyla or more street bike fast riding gear, as you mentioned it is motorcycle gear with fashion and protection combined. It has been very well received in Europe but definitely has that look to it and they have a lot more bikes to ride and the culture is very different to motorcycle culture here. I appreciate you comment about the hip armor and I passed that back to our head office. The VIKA gear is really our first fashion/motorcycle focused gear that we have done.