ALPINESTARS KNOXVILLE & GP DRIVING SUITS
— PRODUCT TEST: Price-point fire suits for UTV drivers —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
At Dirt Wheels, we promote safety as much as possible. That means showing our readers the best protective gear out there and, of course, wearing it ourselves. In the sport ATV world, we all know that a good helmet, riding boots, riding gear and a chest protector is proper etiquette. With UTVs, it’s a bit different. We still see a large population of UTV drivers not wearing helmets. In our eyes, no helmet is a huge danger. Hopefully, over time, more drivers will be aware that even with a cage, you can still get yourself hurt. But besides, a helmet, what else should be worn?
A fire suit is the best option to keep you safe in the result of a fire in your machine. A suit can mean you have more precious seconds to exit your machine before you get burned. Also, if your intentions are to race your UTV, most legit race series require you to have an SFI-rated fire suit before you can enter a race. Most fire suits have had a steep price tag. Recently, we’ve actually seen prices drop on most fire suits, making them more attainable for the average Joe to afford. Alpinestars is known for their great protective gear in the motorcycle/ATV world, and they’ve been offering fire suits for some time now.
KNOXVILLE SUIT $399.95
The Knoxville is the easiest on the wallet, but don’t let the cheaper price fool you. The Knoxville is certified to SFI-level 3.2 A/5 standard and has an advanced two-layer construction for weight-saving comfort in the cockpit. That SFI rating is what most race organizations require for safety standards. It features anatomical arm patterning for optimum driving position fit, internal flat seams that reduce pressure points, has a fitted design, adjustable collar, elasticized waist and a boot-cut leg for style. It also features Alpinestars shoulder epaulet construction to facilitate driver extraction in the event of a crash. It also offers thigh pockets for storage of your personal items.
GP SUIT, $699.95
The GP is $300 more than the Knoxville, but for good reason. It is SFI 3.2a/5 and FIA 8856-2000 certified. So, that means it would be race-ready in the USA and Europe. Its two-layer Aramidic construction features an elasticated lower back panel for unrestricted movement when sitting in the car. Other features include a floating arm construction for unrestricted performance, ribbed stretchable wrist and foot cuffs. Essentially, the GP suit has higher fire standards, the same options and has stretchable gussets for less restriction compared to the Knoxville.
Both suits are comfortable and offer great fire protection. For us, the GP suit is more comfortable than the Knoxville because of its stretchable gussets. However, we went up one size in the Knoxville, and we didn’t feel restricted in our movements while driving. Whether you’re using these suits for racing or recreational use, these are great options to keep you safe and keep a ton of dust off of you while driving.