Stratos v2 Techshell Drystar Review: Does It Keep You Dry?

I recently had the chance to test out the new Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell jacket. Over the course of a few weeks and hundreds of miles, I tested it in various weathers, from cold winter rides to warmer sunny days.

In this article, I’ll share my hands-on impressions after riding with the Stratos V2 Techshell and reveal how it performed in key areas like protection, comfort, and breathability.

But, the main question I will answer in this review will be: Is this the best waterproof motorcycle jacket for you? Let’s find out!

Stratos v2 Techshell Drystar

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Key Takeaways

  • Versatile motorcycle jacket
  • Impressive protection included
  • Water-resistant performance varies

What Appealed To Me

Here’s a quick rundown of what initially appealed to me about the Stratos V2:

  • 2-in-1 design – With a removable fleece liner, I could potentially wear it year-round and adapt it for different weather conditions.
  • Understated look – I prefer gear that can transition seamlessly from bike to everyday wear. The Stratos V2 has a low-key technical jacket aesthetic.
  • Waterproof yet breathable – Having a waterproof and breathable Drystar membrane seemed ideal for staying dry without overheating.
  • CE-rated armor – The included shoulder and elbow protectors provide crucial impact protection.

Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell Review

Protection

Protection is one of the most important factors I consider when choosing motorcycle gear. The Alpinestars Stratos V2 comes equipped with CE-rated shoulder and elbow protectors right out of the box. This provides a basic level of impact protection that can be further enhanced with additional armor upgrades.

  • CE-rated Bio Armor shoulder and elbow protectors included
  • Shoulder armor features a softer composite for flexibility
  • Hard shell elbow armor for abrasion resistance
  • Armored compartments for optional Nucleon back protector and chest pads

I was pleased to find that the Stratos V2 includes built-in compartments to accommodate optional Alpinestars Nucleon back and chest protectors.

While these are sold separately, having the ability to upgrade the armor really improves the overall protection this jacket offers.

During testing, the included CE-rated shoulder and elbow pads inspired confidence that I had crucial impact zones covered.

Knowing I could add optional upgrades like back armor down the line definitely provides peace of mind.

Comfort

Comfort is right up there with protection when it comes to importance for me. An uncomfortable jacket can ruin your ride, while a comfortable one lets you focus on enjoying the miles.

The Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell has a number of features designed with comfort in mind:

  • 4-way stretch polyester shell for flexibility
  • Pre-curved sleeve construction
  • Fleece liner for added warmth
  • Adjustable wrist and waist straps for a custom fit
  • YKK zippers at cuffs, waist, and front placket

I immediately noticed the flexibility of the 4-way stretch polyester shell. It moved freely with my body through the full range of riding positions. The pre-curved sleeve construction also reduced binding when gripping the handlebars.

The inclusion of the removable fleece liner made this a very versatile jacket comfort-wise. When temperatures dropped, zipping in the liner added noticeable warmth and insulation. For warmer rides, I could remove the fleece liner and just wear the jacket’s polyester shell.

Being able to customize the wrist and waist fit via Velcro straps and adjustable snap buttons ensured I could dial in a secure fit that stayed put at speed. The YKK zippers at the cuffs, waist, and front opened and closed smoothly.

Overall, the mix of 4-way stretch fabric, fleece liner, and adjustable fit points made for a very comfortable next-to-skin feel. The Stratos V2 lived up to its billing as all-day comfort gear.

Color and Size Options

Choose from two different color options, Black and Black/Asphalt/Red, and select your size from 2XL to 4XL, keeping in mind that certain options have limited stock availability. Here is a table that provides a quick overview of the available color and size options:

ColorSizePart Number
BlackMDItem #10004313
BlackSMItem #10004314
BlackXLItem #10004315
Black2XLItem #10004316
Black3XLItem #10004317
Black4XLItem #10004318
Black/Asphalt/Red2XLItem #1727483
Black/Asphalt/Red3XLItem #1727484
Black/Asphalt/Red4XLItem #1727485
Black/Asphalt/RedLGItem #1727486

Breathability

When riding with a jacket that has waterproofing, breathability is always a concern. You want to stay dry without getting that sauna-like condensation underneath.

  • Waterproof and breathable Drystar membrane
  • Rear exhaust vents
  • Perforated collar liner

The Alpinestars Stratos V2 uses a waterproof and breathable Drystar membrane to help prevent liquid water from penetrating while allowing water vapor (sweat) to escape.

I definitely noticed airflow inside the jacket increasing when opening the rear exhaust vents. These side vents on the back of the jacket allowed built-up warmth to exit. Keeping them open helped reduce that sticky moisture build-up during high-exertion riding.

Even with the vents closed, the perforated collar liner and 4-way stretch fabric helped prevent an overly stifling feel.

Breathability seemed decent but not outstanding. In sweltering 95+ degree heat, this is still a jacket you’d want to wear unzipped or without the fleece liner to maximize airflow.

Quality & Durability

From the materials to the construction, the Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell oozes quality. You can immediately notice the attention to detail that sets Alpinestars gear apart.

  • High-grade polyester shell fabric
  • YKK zippers throughout
  • Velcro brand fasteners
  • Smooth zipper pulls
  • Reflective logo hits
  • Embossed logos
  • Microsnap brand snaps

The jacket simply feels sturdy in hand. The shell fabric has a nicely textured look and feel while remaining light and flexible. Brand-name hardware like YKK zippers and Microsnap fasteners provide confidence in long-term durability.

The zippers operate smoothly across the life of the jacket. Velcro wrist and waist straps show no signs of losing adhesion, even after repeated fastening and unfastening. Reflective and embossed logos add visual interest without feeling overdone.

My testing showed the Stratos V2 to be well constructed and able to stand up to regular use. I would not hesitate to trust this jacket to provide safe protection for many riding seasons to come.

Water Resistant

One of the main selling points of the Alpinestars Stratos V2 is the water-resistant Drystar shell. But how well does it actually repel water in the real world?

To test this, I wore the Stratos V2 through light to moderate rainfall during my testing period. Here were my impressions:

  • Water beads up and rolls off the outer shell initially
  • Light to medium rainfall can be handled reasonably well
  • After 30+ mins of steady rain, moisture starts soaking through
  • Not intended for heavy downpours or prolonged wet weather

The Drystar membrane did a decent job repelling lighter rain, provided it wasn’t an all-day soak fest. For commuting during scattered showers, it provides ample water resistance to keep you dry.

However, in sustained wet weather or downpours, you’ll eventually experience moisture soaking through. For those situations, I’d recommend layering a separate waterproof rain shell over the Stratos V2.

Value

With an MSRP of $259.95, the Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell is positioned as a mid-range, technical motorcycle jacket. Based on my testing experience, it’s a solid value at this price point.

You’re getting a lot for your dollar:

  • CE-rated shoulder and elbow armor included
  • Water-resistant Drystar shell
  • Removable fleece liner
  • Premium materials and brand-name hardware
  • Understated, technical styling
  • Armor compartments for upgradeability

When you consider you’re essentially getting a 2-in-1 jacket combo, the value proposition is quite good. The Stratos V2 will serve as a versatile year-round companion that works both on and off the bike.

Key Specs

Here are some quick hit technical specs on the Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell jacket:

  • Main shell fabric: Polyester with ripstop reinforcement
  • Waterproofing: Water-resistant Drystar membrane
  • Removable thermal liner: 180g fleece with taffeta lining
  • CE armor: Shoulders and elbows (Level 1)
  • Armor compartments: Chest and back protector (sold separately)
  • Cuffs: Hook and loop wrist adjustment
  • Waist adjustment: Hook and loop waist tabs
  • Pockets: 2 exterior hand pockets, one interior waterproof pocket
  • Ventilation: Rear exhaust side vents

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell motorcycle jacket:

Does the jacket come with a back protector?

No, the Stratos V2 does not come with a back protector. It has an interior compartment to accommodate optional Nucleon back armor that must be purchased separately.

Is the jacket fully waterproof?

The Drystar membrane provides water resistance, but the jacket is not 100% fully waterproof. In heavy rain or storms, you may eventually experience moisture soaking through.

How does the sizing run?

The sizing seems to run true to size. Refer to the Alpinestars size chart and consider sizing up if you plan to layer heavily underneath.

What colors is the Stratos V2 available in?

For 2023, the Stratos V2 comes in black, gray/black, navy/red, olive/gray, and light gray color options. The colors vary slightly by year.

Is the fleece liner removable?

Yes, the fleece liner can be easily zipped in or out to adapt the jacket for warmer or cooler weather.

Conclusion

After hundreds of miles in the Alpinestars Stratos V2 Techshell, I’ve been impressed with its performance and versatility.

It offers a compelling mix of protection, comfort, weather resistance, quality construction, and understated style.

For the urban rider seeking a solid all-around technical jacket, the Stratos V2 warrants strong consideration. I will certainly be getting a lot of use out of mine this coming riding season.

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