Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Follow WRN on Facebook Follow WRN on Twitter Follow WRN on Pinterest Follow WRN on Instagram
Women Riders Now - Motorcycling Lifestyle. Women. Men. Men Riding with Women.

Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Product Review: Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket and Stella Tyla Gloves

Three-season riding in a stylish package

By Donya Carlson
3/12/2013

I like when a motorcycle jacket is described as being “specifically styled and cut for women” and truly is. The Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket has smaller-circumference closures at the wrists and neck to correctly fit a woman’s features, plus an extended profile makes it long enough to fit over a woman's hips. The T-Fuel also sports a simple but stylish design, with black material and white-leather trim that give the jacket a retro look. 

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Front on Woman Rider
Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Back on Rider
Alpinestar’s nostalgic-looking Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket. With its flattering fit, this jacket looks good whether you're sitting upright on a cruiser, leaning forward on a sportbike, or strolling down the sidewalk. 

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Back Vent
This photo shows how well hidden the 7-inch vent is above the 1.75-inch-wide leather trim when the vent is zipped closed. The reflective piping below the leather trim continues under the trim on the rest of the jacket.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Waist
Mesh-lined handwarmer pockets are accented by white leather trim. The pockets have big openings, so you can fit your gloved hand inside.

The T-Fuel was my constant companion during a weeklong motorcycle tour in Florida this past December. Even though it was winter, daytime temperatures ranged from the high 60s to mid-70s, with enough humidity that I removed the full-sleeved quilted liner the first day out and stowed it for the remainder of the trip. Despite the T-Fuel’s breathable membrane, Florida’s humidity had me steaming in the jacket when all the vents were closed up. Opening the jacket’s upper-arm vents and its well-concealed back vent made a world of difference. When we crossed a bridge to get to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, an ocean crosswind breezed in through the shoulder vents and across my chest, cool air instantly flowing through the jacket. 

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Rear Vent
In back, an exhaust vent above the leather trim effectively cools you down when the weather heats up.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Arm Vents
Five-inch vents are well integrated into the upper sleeves. With the three vents open and the liner out, air flows through the jacket very well.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Collar
The Neoprene collar is cut higher in back and is sized to accommodate the smaller circumference of a woman's neck. Donya said the collar felt soft and didn't bite into or chafe her skin.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Logo
The upper arms feature reflective piping and the Alpinestars logo in white leather trim.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Cuff
The T-Fuel’s cuffs cinch up tightly on smaller wrists, keeping drafts out in cold weather. When the temperature starts to rise, loosen the hook-and-loop for a welcome breeze up the arms.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Waist
The waist's D-rings with hook-and-loop closure allow for about an inch of adjustment on each side.

The T-Fuel jacket is made of a polyamide fabric (a fancy name for nylon) that feels soft to the touch, not slick like some nylons. It’s also abrasion resistant and claims to be 100 percent waterproof. To test out its water resistance, I rode for half an hour in the rain while wearing the jacket. It wasn’t pouring, but it was raining enough for water to pool on my motorcycle’s seat. Once back home, I removed the jacket for inspection. The inside of the jacket was dry, and no water had leaked through the main zipper, which is backed with a storm flap. When I zipped out the liner to feel the inside of the jacket, it felt cold to the touch, but the liner had provided a good barrier to keep me warm. The mesh-lined hand-warmer pockets were damp inside, however, so that’s not a good place to store a cell phone when riding in wet weather. 

Molded armor in the shoulders and elbows doesn’t feel intrusive and is removable for those times when you want to hand wash the jacket. A mesh compartment with hook-and-loop closure houses a back protector. An optional CE-certified Bio Armor Back Protector is available for purchase, but I was happy with the standard pad, which is flexible, and doesn’t make me feel like I have a dinner plate fused to my back when I'm leaned over. The T-Fuel also has mesh chest pockets for the optional Stella Bionic Chest Pad.

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket on Rider
The Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel jacket sits right at the hips when seated in a cruiser style motorcycle. Donya is riding the 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S..

For me, the T-Fuel is a three-season jacket, as I get chilled easily and need a heavier jacket in colder temps. By wearing a sweatshirt and a thermal shirt underneath—and with the vents closed and the liner in—I was able to stay warm in temperatures down to the low 50s while tucked in behind a small windshield. 

Here’s a brilliant touch: While most jackets have a black pull tab that blends in with the fabric, the T-Fuel's left inside pocket (referred to as a “Napoleon” pocket) has a red zipper. That may seem like an insignificant detail, but when you’re trying to get to that pocket quickly—to access your wallet at a gas station, for instance—it's a great help how that red tab stands out. 

Alpinestars Stella T-Fuel Jacket Review Inside Pocket
With three inside pockets and two more in the quilted liner, this jacket provides quite a bit of room for stashing small items. Here you can see the “Napoleon” chest pocket with its red zipper tab, which stands out against the black and makes it easy to locate.

Although my test T-Fuel jacket had a faulty main zipper—it began separating from the bottom just after I received it, was fine for a month, and then started splitting again—Alpinestars will do what’s necessary to fix the problem, whether it’s replacing the zipper or the entire jacket. Just out of curiosity, I checked with a local tailor, who wanted $25 to replace the existing zipper with a similar one. 

If you're looking for riding gloves to complement the Stella T-Fuel Jacket, look no further than the Stella Tyla Gloves, also from Alpinestars. I don’t normally get too enthused about motorcycle gloves (unless they’re extra warm for winter riding), but this pair is a cut above. 

There was absolutely no break-in period for the Tylas, which have full-length cuffs and Lycra stretch panels on top and on the fingers. I put them on and they felt like they had been custom-made for my hands. Although there was a tad extra space at my fingertips (I should have ordered a smaller size), it never interfered with reaching for the brake and clutch levers.

Alpinestars Stella Tyla Gloves Review
The Stella Tyla Gloves don’t just look great—they're also functional, nonbinding, and high quality. The color shown here is white with black.

Alpinestars Stella Tyla Gloves Review on Grip
The Stella Tyla gloves are constructed of cowhide and goat skin for strength and flexibility.

Alpinestars Stella Tyla Gloves Review Fingers
A close-up view of the Lycra stretch panels and the flexible padding on the fingers and knuckles.

Alpinestars Stella Tyla Gloves Review Palm
Here you can see the suede-like panel with padding that's sewn onto the palm. The combination is comfortable and helps keep the palm from wearing through.

The palms on the Tylas have padding and an extra layer sewn onto the leather, while a partial elastic panel is positioned at the wrists. Additionally, the gloves have 3mm-thick flexible padding at the knuckles, fingers and wrists. The gloves' cuffs can be tightened with big panels of hook-and-loop, and there are even little zippers at the insides of the wrists. With their smart design, I'm confident these gloves would stay securely on my hands in the event of an unplanned get-off.

I’ve had the Tyla gloves for several months, and while they’re getting a lot of use, the white portions are still white! The palms, where dirt is more likely to collect, are black. Embroidered Alpinestars logos add to their attractiveness. Of all the gloves I’ve worn in my many years of riding, I’ve never received as many compliments as I have on the Tylas. 

The Stella Tyla Gloves are available in white with black, cream with black, and black, in sizes XS-XL for $79.95. The Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket is available in sizes XS-XXL for $219. For more information, visit Alpinestars.com

Reader Comments




Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Email (kept private)
City
Country
v
State/Province
v
Comments
Image(s)
Allowed File Extensions:
.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .png


Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.
Submit
Clear