Alpinestars A-4 Roost Guard
- Added protection with the bulk.
- Mostly unnoticed and didn't hinder performance.
- Raises up and down when worn with fanny pack.
- Slight decrease in airflow.
What it is
- Mid-level protection roost guard.
- Extended back plate and rib/kidney protection.
After testing the A-1 Roost Guard, Alpinestars sent us the A-4 Roost Guard which is a slightly beefier version of the A-1. There are quite a few differences between the two and they have to do with the amount of protection. The front shell features the same ventilation ports for cooling while being constructed of a poly material blend for a claimed better flexibility and weight savings. The back plate is quite different from the A-1-- considerably longer offering more protection while still having the removable top piece to allow for a BNS neck brace. Additionally, thermoformed rib/kidney protectors are integrated into the back plate are claimed to offer more protection while not hindering any movement. Adjustable shoulder pads feature added foam for protection. The bio-foam chassis aids comfort while retaining a slim fit along with the easy-to-use buckles securing the two shells together. Lastly, BNS pullers sit on the shoulder straps to hold down a neck brace if you use one. The A-4 is available in XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL sizes in the White/Black/Red color.
How it works
- Increase in protection.
- Added protection pieces went mostly unnoticed.
- Slight decrease in airflow.
- Slim fit.
Alpinestars’ A-4 Roost Guard serves as a mid-level roost guard in terms of protection. It isn’t minimalist but it also isn’t a full body armor suit either. When first receiving the A-4 roost guard, I was a bit skeptical of the backplate. The backplate of the roost guard extends down much further than what I’m used to. However, once it’s on and I’m out riding, it isn’t noticeable at all. Also, the roost guard still keeps a slim fit similar to the A-1 roost guard just with a little more protection included. It is a step less than the A-10 which incorporates more shoulder protection.
The added areas of protection are in the back plate, shoulder pads, and kidney protectors around the sides. As stated above, the extended back plate didn’t bother at all and it really wasn’t noticeable when riding. Even when wearing a kidney belt, the extended back plate and even the kidney protectors still went unnoticeable. The only time went the back plate wasn’t welcomed was when I would wear a fanny pack. The back plate would get hung up with the pack causing the back of the roost guard to lift up while sitting down. When standing up; however, it wouldn’t get hung up. Likewise, the kidney protectors went unnoticed while riding. Lastly, the shoulder pads weren’t bothersome and like the A-1, they move around with the use of Velcro allowing you to place them wherever you want on the shoulder.
One area where the roost guard could use some improvement is with the rib/kidney protectors. They are attached to the back plate and they are supposed to stick to the front plate with a small strip of Velcro. However, the Velcro doesn’t stick very well and the side protectors don’t stay attached when the side straps aren’t hooked on. I found the best way to attach them is to hold the side protectors in place while I buckle the sides. I never had a problem after that. With the A-4, I never had a problem with them flipping out or coming undone while riding, but I couldn’t get the tight feel that I was looking for. Another thing I noticed is the backplate didn’t have a lot of airflow, so a slight increase in sweating on the back while riding with it. However, the kidney protectors didn’t eliminate too much airflow to make it noticeable.
Similar to the A-1 roost guard, the A-4 is available in multiple sizes. This is good because a wide range of rider sizes is able to fit in the roost guard but each one doesn’t have a ton of adjustment. Picking the right size is important but it also allows for a good comfortable fit with the right size. I used the M/L size roost guard and I also wear a Medium jersey. The A-4 is also compatible with an Alpinestars BNS neck brace if you use one. The A-4 can be worn over or under the jersey as well.
Overall, the Alpinestars A-4 roost guard is a great mid-level protection roost guard. It features more protection than the most basic roost guard but not an overwhelming amount that restricts movement. There isn’t a large amount of adjustability with it but with Alpinestars offering different size models, it isn’t needed. Also, the durability has proven to be excellent similar to the A-1. At $180, it isn’t the cheapest piece of protection but it is certainly better than being hurt on the side of the trail.
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