Alpinestars Factory Tour - Dirt Rider Magazine

Alpinestars products, and specifically its boots, are found on the bottom of the top professional racers in motocross and off-road. Those riders aren't just paid to fly the A-Stars logo on the podium; each one sends in a performance report after every event to help develop future products' performance, comfort and durability.But Alpinestars didn't want to rely exclusively on real-world testing (and moody athletes) for all its information. The company wanted empirical data it could extract from different designs in a controlled environment. To remove variables such as grittier sand at one track, more aggressive riding on "good days" or colder weather on another day, Alpinestars constructed an underground high-tech test lab in the late 1990s in its facility in Asolo, Italy.The lab now functions year-round to simulate and improve wear characteristics, evaluate protection performance, and maximize comfort on prototype concepts, alternate materials, updated designs, next-generation models and sometimes...just prettier colors. Current models in production often get a tour for an advanced level of quality control. Here's a look at the "boot camp" a product needs to go through before it heads out in the black box with the A-Stars logo on it.

The "old drawing board" is a series of computer-aided design and manufacturing systems. This poor boot has no idea the torture it will have to pass before earning that A-Stars logo.
I got Publisher Sean Finley to stand inside the Impact Test device then I faked camera trouble to try to get him to stay there until the impact-testing 11-pound weight fell.
This is a waterproof "100 percent test" of a membrane, with a leak simulated to demonstrate what a failure would look like. To see more failures, peek into Dirt Rider's Art Department some time.
The Walkometer cycles boots repetitively through the fore/aft motion under pressure. Typically each boot gets 100,000 cycles (around 30 miles of walking). It was either this or hiring Forest Gump.
The Alpinestars techs swore up and down this was just water with food coloring in it... Yet none would drink it when I dared them.
37.5 kilograms press down, a rotating sharpened footpeg pushes up, and a Tech 8 outsole finds out what it's made of.
This Flexometer stresses dyed leather back and forth to ensure no dye weakens the material. And you thought your job was boring!
The Climactic Chamber cycles extremes of heat, humidity and pressure to simulate riding and shipping conditions. In the reflection, Mario ponders if "Egghead" is a compliment or an insult.
After a few days of hard abuse the products are given a relaxing break on a sun bed. Hey, wait a minute, this is another test! This one accelerates UV exposure.
The ISO standard test for rubber compounds measures the mass lost when dragged over a given distance of a known abrasive surface. I think this is the machine the test-parts fear most.
Mainly used for apparel, this device pumps water up against a seam to ensure its integrity. Here, it applies about the equivalent pressure of being 10 meters underwater.
This leather sample gets ready to meet a number of materials in the Abrasion Tester including sandpaper, hook-and-loop pieces and nylon. It won't look pretty for long.
The Traction/Compression Dynamometer spends its day crushing things or ripping them apart. Sounds fun, but the techs are more interested in load resistance for materials and stitching tensile strength.
Different dyes affect material performance. This includes leather, plastics as well as textiles. Alpinestars won't put a product out just because it looks good, it has to perform to Alps' standards.
This centrifuge tests waterproofing by spinning a boot with water inside at 250 rpm, to 40 Gs of pressure.
Here's a lap of the Valencia road course in Spain and the G-loads a rider encounters at every single point.
This machine cycles a buckle continuously. So if you take your boots off 100 times per minute, A-Stars has you covered!
The Flame Test is applied to everything where fire and heat is a risk. This is primarily in auto racing, from Baja to F1.