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Old 02-04-2015, 10:54 AM   #1
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**** Alpinestars, that's right.

So I'd like to share a recent experience I had with what I guess I can call the "new" Alpinestars. I'm not sure how you all buy things but I'm HUGE on a few things, namely quality things that are made to last, and companies that stand behind their products and give excellent customer service. In my experience Red Wing, Wolverine, and Sketchers have done it with their boots and shoes. Jansport does with backpacks. Arnette sunglasses suck ***** (when the lenses delaminated the first year I had them she actually asked me "did you leave them out in the sun?) I'll buy a used Stihl chainsaw all day before I buy a new Craftsman or whatever. I'm old school I guess and expect things to last and only wear out and fall apart when I'VE worn them out (especially when I pay my hard earned money for the best). If cared for and stored properly I really don't expect things to fall apart. Wear out? Of course. Fall apart? No. And so was the case with my $300 pair (at the time-now they're up to mid 400's) of the finest boots A-stars made.

Over the years I've had a few issues with them, more specifically anything made out of plastic. The toepads and the plastic ovals on the sides and the soles all started cracking and crumbling. Twice I called A-stars and was really floored by the service. Dealt with a gentleman by the name of Brett Neal (thanks bud if you're out there listening) who unfortunately was "let go" several years ago. No bullshit, he didn't ask me a million questions or give me a hard time or any of that. Just "mail them in and we'll take a look at them." Both times a week or two later I get my boots back and they looked brand new again. No questions asked. Unreal. Didn't even charge me for postage! Since then I've sung the praises of Alpinestars over and over and purchased several of their jackets, another pair of boots, and several pairs of their gloves.

Fast forward to last weekend, a perfect day, and a neighbor who is hounding me to go for a ride. As my life is all over the place the last few years I sadly don't get to ride very much at all anymore. But he was persistant and thankfully I got the heck out of the house and had a nice ride. Also realized how I don't see much use for a modded Hayabusa anymore as it's just too damn fast lol. But damn it looks good, and it sure is fast

So I get home and realize my A-stars boots are literally falling apart. One of the plastic ovals completely broke off the stitching and is out on I95 somewhere. Both plastic ankles are cracked and coming off. Both soles are separated from the rest of the boots. Mind you the leather and print still look brand new. The bottoms of the soles literally look a month or two old. And while being 10+ years old or so the rest of the boots pretty much look brand new, as they should as they've not been used very much and kept in the box indoors in my closet.

So I figured there is no way these boots should get tossed and I called up Alpinestars and explained what happened. They politely asked me to take some pics and email them so a "technician" could look at them. So I did. Get a generic reply from Natalie in "sales support" that there is nothing they can do and the boots are too old (specifically told them I wasn't looking for anything for free). This despite having the same problem twice before and they DID fix them (for free). So I called and actually spoke to one of the techs since I didn't feel like wasting my time with "sales support" (the term "dry rot" is for wood not plastic sweetheart. Now go back to painting your nails). He explained how Bret no longer worked there (kinda took a hint of attitude as well when I explained how well he treated me and how it resulted in many other A-Stars purchases over the years). He went on to explain how they have since "retrained" everyone there and how they don't do things like that anymore (in other words he was probably fired for going out of his way to help loyal customers and keep them coming back). He boasted how the boots have a 1 year warranty, which he proudly claimed is "the industry standard", but if I bought a new pair and it was beyond the year they would "see what they could do" whatever the hell that means. When I asked him why I should purchase another set of boots from them, or anything else from them for that matter, he didn't have an answer for me. What a douche...

Hell even the putz from Arnette offered me a 25% discount coupon if I purchased another pair of their crappy glasses (yeah right) even though I could pretty much buy them anywhere else BUT their website for 50% off.

If you search the internet I'm sure you'll find many older tales of great customer service from Alpinestars. But going forward be aware that at the "new Alpinestars" everyone has been "retrained" and after the year you'll pretty much be on your own. Think maybe it's time to give another brand a shot... Any suggestions?

Last edited by captainchaos; 02-04-2015 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:01 AM   #2
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Shoes: Sidi. Fit is amazing.

Been using my bottom of the rung Sidi Rampa spd shoes on my mt bike for 10 years and they feel like the day i got em. Excellent quality.

Apparel: Dainese is top shelf. Never used it but heard great things.

James
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:25 PM   #3
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Sorry for your woes cap'n. From your address, I'm guessing you live near the ocean. I live in Hawaii and we're surrounded by the ocean.
I've had the soles of my shoes disintegrate into chunks, leaving a trail behind me as I walked, Casio watchbands that turn into a slimy mess, rubberized surfaces (computer mouse, Sena comm. unit) turn sticky, casters on luggage and chairs crumble, etc. It must be the salt air and humidity; I lived in LA for 11 years and never had these things happen to me.
The makers of these "defective" products won't acknowledge the problem; probably because they don't want to attract lawsuits or product recalls.
I know there are materials that resist this deterioration though. Nikon F100 camera bodies are notorious for turning sticky but subsequent Nikons are OK and Canon cameras have never had the problem.
BTW, Sidi bicycling shoes: entire sole fell off the shoe and remained clipped to the pedal as I was riding.

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Old 02-04-2015, 02:25 PM   #4
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Man Cap, I'm AStar loyal and will stay that way. I simply love their stuff. The looks, the fit, the level of protection...
I need clarification on something and I'm certainly not trying to disrespect you in any way. You mentioned telling them you weren't looking to get something for free, what exactly was the call for? Were you hoping to send them in for repair and they refused because of age (I would imagine helmet manufacturers are the same way)? Above and beyond levels of customer service are certainly dwindling everywhere. Times are tough, even for them! If they continue to offer free (or near free)service on 10+ year old boots for everyone who asked, they might very well start to loose money. In know, I know, my wife hates it when I do this... I seem to be able to see almost any situation from both sides perspective.

And again, you are one of this forums allstars and I mean no ill-regard.
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Old 02-04-2015, 03:00 PM   #5
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Not at all bud, I too always like to see both sides and I wouldn't have posted on here if I didn't want other's opinions.

I certainly didn't jump up and down demanding something for free on 10 year old boots (again 10 year old boots that have sparingly been worn). But they didn't even OFFER to take them and try and repair them and CHARGE me for it. They didn't even OFFER say a discount off a new pair of boots at retail price. Even ARNETTE did that, and their $hitty sunglasses delaminated and were useless after a year of sitting in the case in my glovebox in a car that NEVER sits in the sun. The guy had an attitude and it was just a sharp contrast from the type of customer service I've received from them in the past. And yes I understand all the liability nonsense if they repair 10 year old boots and I get in an accident....blah blah blah

Ever go into a favorite restaurant and when you sit down at the table you get a weird feeling and realize they changed owners? It's happened to me a couple times and each time they ruined the place and not long after they went out of business. That's what this felt like.

I own many things that are over 10 years old that don't crumble apart. Imagine if everything more than 10 years old did? I'm not asking for worn out boots or crash damage to be repaired. This is simply from crappy materials that crumble with time. The rest of the boots still look new, so the comparison with them repairing EVERYTHING for free that's 10 years old doesn't really apply. And times are also tough for the consumer and I don't have $450 to shell out on what is the comparable new model from Alpinestars (so they can also fall apart a few years from now). Guess I'll have to live with this fact though. The plastic lower rim on both of my AGV helmets has also fallen apart.

I could MAYBE see them not being able to fix the plastic around the ankle as it's a molded piece they no longer make. But everything else is able to be repaired, because I had the same problem before and it was fixed. (My opinion) Soles should never fall off a pair of shoes-period. Especially a $300 pair of boots, and if they do, I think they should offer to repair them. If not, they'll be getting a email from me with a picture of my new boots from another manufacturer thanking them for their service. Does that make me a *****? Maybe...
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Old 02-04-2015, 03:42 PM   #6
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Call back and talk to someone different.

Usually by the third call i have received something for free.

James
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by thedeatons View Post
Call back and talk to someone different.

Usually by the third call i have received something for free.

James
Oh yes I'm an expert at busting *****. I've many a time completely exhausted managers into giving me what I wanted just to get me off the phone. Spent two months driving Progressive insurance into the dirt until I had the regional director of the entire company on the phone asking me to name my price after the local office tried screwing my gf's mother out of several grand when her like new SUV got t-boned and totalled (and they treated her like a piece of dirt on top of it). They really didn't stand a chance but I was only dealing with logic and common sense. Feel bad for all the old ladies they screw who can't stick up for themselves. Don't think calling A-stars is like calling Bank of America though as by the second call he already knew exactly who I was. Like I said when I asked him why I should buy anything else from them he didn't have any sort of answer for me, so maybe it's time to give another brand a shot.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:39 PM   #8
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so maybe it's time to give another brand a shot.
And that's not a horrible thing. I started with Joe Rocket. Their jackets fit me great. Not trying to throw a recommendation out there, just sayin'.
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Old 02-04-2015, 05:20 PM   #9
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Captain maybe look at it this way, maybe they have offshored the manufacturing of their product. (A lot of industry is closing down in australia due to offshoring and profits)
so they no longer have the skills or the tools to repair the products they are just a distribution centre now..

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Old 02-04-2015, 07:41 PM   #10
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I am not shocked by this. I like astars stuff but only have a leather street jacket and race boots.

I only race with Fieldsheer. Also have lots of their street gear. Several 100+mph crashes and no road rash. My race buddy wore Teknic for years & "moved up" do Dainese. ONE crash later and the suit was toast!

I really think those 2 brands are Italian icons but lots of Italian stuff looks great but is just not durable. And I sure would not count on Italian customer service.

Too bad since you said they used to be better.

Even brands like Shoei and Arai to me are overpriced (I own a shoei). I saw an independant crash test done in Europe and niether did that great.

I know a lot of guys who assume more money means more protection but I have seen many crashes in 15 yrs of racing that prove otherwise.

Sorry about your bad experience.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:47 PM   #11
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I am sure brand names are bought and sold by large corporations to milk them of their good will with shoddy second rate products until the luster is gone.

I could rant for pages about worthless brand name chain saws!
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Old 02-05-2015, 05:33 AM   #12
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Captain, I feel your pain. I have a similar story, but fortunately, it has a better ending. About a year and a half ago I bought a set of speed and strength gloves for track day use. Here recently the stitching started to break so I emailed the manufacturer to see what kind of warranty they had. Mind you, I wasn't looking for anything free, but this is the reply I got. Needless to say, their response floored me.

www.imgur.com/LO6BGo4.png
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Old 02-05-2015, 07:19 AM   #13
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Capt, for boots I suggest TCX. Great fit, good looks and very functional and comfy. As for gloves, Five. Very well made. They fit like a glove LOL. Kidding aside, Five make one thing, and one thing only, and that's gloves. And they do it right. The fingures all arrive exactly where they should, with no extra material at the end, or, too short at the palm.
That being said, I've never been an Astar fan anyway. Plus this little story of yours just makes my decision even easier.

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Old 02-05-2015, 10:10 AM   #14
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Beau,

+1 on TCX (formally Oxtar until A* sued for name infringement). I have an 8 year old pair of Oxtar race that are doing fine, a pair of 2011 A* SMX+ that seem OK for now, and a 2014 TCX X-Tour Gortex (Euro only and bought there that are similar to a US X-Five Gortex version but the zipper is on the outside where I like it better). I have an older pair of Teknic sport/race that while NEVER waterproof (as they were to be) have also held up well. Heck, I have Bieffe, Motoport and Bates boots that have to be 20~25+ years old and fairly worn out but have held together. I even have my original Frye steel toed "Engineer" boots that have been resoled at least twice and are way loose but with a couple of pairs of socks still can kick ****!

I also have Hein Gericke and Fieldsheer leathers that are over 16 years old that are in great shape.

If you clean and treat quality "motorcycle" leather it will last near half a lifetime.

The combination thermoplastic - synthetic leather (i.e., Lorica, Sportiva, etc) boots are constructed in such a manner that repairing them is usually not feasible because they are often bonded together or sewn in a sequence that does not permit replacement of most external components not designed to be readily replaced.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:54 AM   #15
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Captain, I feel your pain. I have a similar story, but fortunately, it has a better ending. About a year and a half ago I bought a set of speed and strength gloves for track day use. Here recently the stitching started to break so I emailed the manufacturer to see what kind of warranty they had. Mind you, I wasn't looking for anything free, but this is the reply I got. Needless to say, their response floored me.

www.imgur.com/LO6BGo4.png
That's awesome. EXACTLY what both Wolverine and Sketchers did for me with boots that the soles fell off. I even TOLD Sketchers the shoes weren't worth as much when she told me pick out ANY pair off our website and she didn't care.
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:04 AM   #16
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+1, that's gettin' rare these days!
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Old 02-05-2015, 11:51 AM   #17
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I like the product and when it works, it works, but warrantee and customer service at A star is not what it once was.
The Parts manager at my local dealer has stopped stocking A-star stuff, special order only as the return issues were just not worth the hassle.
That said, she can get stuff fixed when needed..it just takes time and hassle. I just bought two new pairs of A-Star road boots... my last pair lasted 8 years..my wifes a little less. Time will tell if the new ones wear as well.
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Old 02-05-2015, 07:25 PM   #18
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Oh man, sorry to hear that and also very disappointed, I loved Alpinestar and just got a new motocross boots from them last summer.
Will have to look for a different alternative next time.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:53 PM   #19
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Oh man, sorry to hear that and also very disappointed, I loved Alpinestar and just got a new motocross boots from them last summer.
Will have to look for a different alternative next time.
I'm sure you'll be fine it's not like I'm saying all their stuff is crap or it's going to fall apart. I LIKE their products, I just would have liked to see them do a little more than blow off a long time customer. There was just no effort at all.
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Old 02-05-2015, 08:59 PM   #20
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Thanks much for the info guys, I'll have to check out the TCXs and also the Fieldsheers when I get a chance. Yeah as far as work boots I've been a pretty loyal Red Wing guy over the years. Had a few issues over the years with soles falling off and crumbling and they always took care of me. Got a real jacka$$ on the phone last time (as was said it seems everyone is tightening up and service is going out the window) but I got through to the right person and they still fixed me up. My newest acquisition are a pair of boots from Haix (for when I'm on shift at the fire station). Heaviest toughest ***-kicking boots ever lol! Make my Red Wings look and feel like slippers. Got a SCREAMING deal off ebay on a pair that was probably worn once or twice. Been wearing them for months and I still don't think they're broken in yet lol. Yeah seems like leather will last forever, but anything synthetic breaks down with time. As I said both my AGV helmets are now crap as the ring around the bottom is crumbling and falling apart on both. Damn can't afford this stuff right now...
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Old 02-12-2015, 02:21 PM   #21
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Captain

My -02

For years I rode with Doc Martens, but always wanted to get some real moto boots, but my old local shop, long closed now, only carried Sidi and Every time I had extra $, I would try em on, but they never fit - way too narrow for me. I'm an E wide, but always fit into normal shoes in the past. I guess Sidi just makes narrow boots.

Fast forward about 8 yrs ago and I'm at a small local shop, WCW | Washington Cycle Works - Great place BTW

And I tell the guy that I always wanted moto boots but never fit in them. He tells me to try Oxtars - Now TCX, I still have em. Great boots.

Sadly post cage accident I can't fit into them anymore, left ankle is full of metal now.

So If you wear a size 11.5 / 12, I'll send em to you free - just pay for shipping. They're in great shape.

Let me know...
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:56 PM   #22
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Damn, that's real generous of you, thank you. I'll send you a PM, let me know what the euro size is (that's all I see on the A-stars and all my street and fire boot sizes are all over the place from 10.5 to 12) and if they fit I'll give you a few bucks for 'em.
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Old 02-12-2015, 07:30 PM   #23
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This forum is awesome!

Sidi is for narrow feet, like Asics.

James
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Old 02-17-2015, 11:39 PM   #24
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Great Rant ! I'm in !

Alpinestars used to be a totally safe buy, but they are hit 'n miss now. Things have changed drastically during the last decade within that brand, and very little of it has been positive.

One of the major problems is Parts Unlimited (whole 'nuther story), but on a fundamental level, the overall consistency and quality of the Alpinestars line has eroded drastically , and fairly recently. They are cutting corners again, and AGAIN , on the production side, to compete on price with the newer "house" brands like S&S , Bilt , First Gear , Icon, etc., etc.

They should be strutting boldly, even arrogantly, into the future, raising prices again and again as they strive (successfully) to maintain a standard of quality that involves no compromises, and no cost-saving measures when it comes to product design, engineering, and performance. Protect the brand, protect the reputation . Put whatever price tag you need to put on it, but do it right.

It ain't going down like that, friends. Exact opposite. Oh sure, they raise their prices again and again, all right...but cut quality and customer service at the same time, just to maximize profits a bit more. It's ugly.

I have used, abused, and sold just about everything Alpinestars has ever offered, and mostly been happy with the stuff, up until recently. But, without writing a book, I can say that Captain's rant is exactly what I would expect to hear from the "new" Alpinestars customer experience.

They still make some really nice items, but you can't absolutely count on the label, the brand , or the customer service anymore. In a nutshell, you can still buy a really, really finely made Alpinestars product , but you can also buy a cheaply made piece of crap with their label on it , and it won't be counterfeit. Check the zippers, check the stiches, , check it period. You can't just trust the name anymore , sorry. Caveat Emptor .

Side note : If everybody bought local , we could hammer these guys back into shape pretty promptly. But it ain't going that way , in fact it's going in the opposite direction. Online low-ballers focus on beating their supply chain down on price (manufacturers like Alpinestars, and many others), so they can , in turn , offer the lowest price online. Yay ! Nobody really wins !

The trend is for heavy hitters like Tucker, Parts U , Western etc. to take control of their supply-side by simply buying up the manufacturers, and they will subsequently raise the retail price while cutting corners on the product quality , ten times out of ten. Online low-ballers quickly fall into step , on the great race to the bottom.

Cycle Gear is the worst, with their Bilt crap. More like "Bilk" , but to blame them exclusively would be unfair. Everybody's doin' it , let's all put each other out of business ! Lowest common denominator wins the big prize, which incidentally might involve your job being outsourced , but hey...who really wants to go to work everyday, anyway ?

The bleakest part of the whole scenario is the fact that I don't have a good recommendation for a company or distributor that has defied all this, and still offers integrity and quality at whatever price point it takes to maintain that integrity and quality. Anachronisms like Arai still exist, just like Ferrari still "competes" in the car market. But who do they compete with ?

Nobody . Their buyers are pre-determined, and will settle for nothing less. Alpinestars kinda HAD that , and they let it slip away. So sad !

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Old 02-18-2015, 12:05 AM   #25
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Man, now I'm all bummed out. I'm going to go cry myself back to sleep.

And watch yourself, Bustin, dancing around the tire and oil topics. You know what I'm talking about..
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Old 02-18-2015, 02:14 AM   #26
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They are cutting corners again, and AGAIN , on the production side, to compete on price with the newer "house" brands like S&S , Bilt , First Gear , Icon, etc., etc.
The First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket w/ pants I have is absolutely top notch stuff, in fact it's probably the best (textile)gear I have ever owned. No where near Bilt....
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:06 AM   #27
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Well Bustin you pretty much summed up the state of all things that revolve around money. Which is really everything. All else be damned in favor of a quick return.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:12 PM   #28
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The First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket w/ pants I have is absolutely top notch stuff, in fact it's probably the best (textile)gear I have ever owned. No where near Bilt....
I'm a big First Gear advocate from way back, but they are slippin' , since becoming a Tucker Rocky house brand. ( Alpinestars rant, above) If your experience mirrors mine, the "new" version of whatever product you buy from them now will not quite measure up to the one you are replacing. The "new improved" Kilimanjaro glove would be a good example, or better yet the HT2 overpant.

Who , at First Gear (which is really Tucker-Rocky, now) decided to take the HT2 overpant side zipper DOWN a foot or so, just to defeat the whole purpose of an overpant.....the ability to put it on or take it off over boots.

I don't get it. The people who redesigned these once awesome overpants have obviously never actually USED the product, or they would have nipped this "redesign" on the first ride.

On the "new improved" Kilimanjaro glove, they managed to replace a nearly flawless gauntlet system with a zipper-based thing that only manages to result in a bound up zipper , about 100% of the time. Grrr.

At the risk of over-simplifying the issue, I swear that the people who are redesigning these "new improved" versions don't ever actually ride in them , or better yet, have a baseline to compare them with , because they have never even used the previous version...either casually or , more importantly, day in, day out,in the real world.

First Gear is actually one of the lesser-offenders in this race to the bottom, and they still offer some nice quality products ..but they are participating in that race , without a doubt.
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:25 AM   #29
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Agree about firstgear. I have a touring jacket and it is top notch. Excellent jacket.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:22 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinjoe73 View Post
Agree about firstgear. I have a touring jacket and it is top notch. Excellent jacket.
Make sure you don't toss that jacket out when you buy the "new, improved" FG version of it...you may end up fishing the old one out of the closet , if your experience mirrors mine.

Inside information has it that First Gear just brought in a whole new design team , which could mean two things : Either they fired the crop of nitwits that "re-designed" their last couple years worth of offerings , or they shitcanned the last of the talented holdovers that gave us the original designs which made the brand a contender in the first place.

I'm hoping for the former, but the cynic in me expects the latter.

Last edited by Bustin; 03-01-2015 at 09:24 PM.
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