From R&D To Race Track
Mountain Biking UK|March 2017

What in Luence Do Pro Riders Have on the Products They Use? We Meet Enduro Ace Jérôme Clementz at Alpinestars’ Italian HQ to find Out.

There are lots of reasons to be jealous of pro riders, but a big one has to be the seemingly endless supply of free bikes and kit that they get. OK, so in return they have to train like machines and put themselves on the line going scary fast, but we’re still a bit envious. None of that kit is any use if it doesn’t perform as it should, though. The last thing you want midway through a race run is to feel like your shorts are restricting you or your knee pads are about to fall down. A stock product is never going to be perfect – after all, something that fits Richie Rude’s monster calves isn’t going to be much good for the rest of us – so it makes sense to tailor-make kit to a pro’s exact specifications. There aren’t many companies who provide this level of support, but Italian race fanatics Alpinestars are one of the few. With riders like Aaron Gwin and Jérôme Clementz on their roster, whatever they’re doing must be working. Curious to learn more, we take a trip to their HQ.

MOTO MEETS MTB

Just a couple of hours’ drive from Venice, we arrive in Casella, a town in the foothills of the Italian Alps. This is a region that’s famous for its textile manufacturing as well as its Prosecco (don’t mind if we do!), and within five minutes we’ve driven past the HQs of several top cycling and climbing brands. Alpinestars actually started out making hiking boots, but quickly diversified into motorbike kit, which is still the core part of their business.

There are many crossovers between moto and mountain biking, not just in the products but also the transferable skills. At our hotel we meet up with Alpinestars-sponsored enduro racer Jérôme Clementz, who’s arrived straight from the motocross track, where he’s been putting in some off season training.

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