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 womans 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.
Alpinestar’s nostalgic-looking Stella T-Fuel Waterproof Jacket. With its flattering fit, this jacket looks good whether youre sitting upright on a cruiser, leaning forward on a sportbike, or strolling down the sidewalk.
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.
TheT-Fueljacketis 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 Im leaned over. The T-Fuel also has mesh chest pockets for the optional Stella Bionic Chest Pad.
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-Fuels 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—its a great help how that red tab stands out.
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 youre 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.
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, Im 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.