TWMX All Access: Alpinstars’ Gabrielle Mazzorolo

 

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Over the last few weeks, we’d run a couple sneak peek photos in Monday Kickstart of the newly updated Tech 6, which was starting to make appearances on the feet of pro riders at various tracks. But this week we visited the Alpinestars USA headquarters in Torrance, CA, and got to take a look at production versions of the newly updated. boot.

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Tech 6

The Tech 6 (at $259) has always been a competitively priced product, but it’s been somewhat overshadowed by Alpinestars’ own Tech 8. Regardless, it’s still an extremely capable boot, and some Pro riders (like Mike Brown), prefer it over the more expensive model. The biggest difference between the two is the exterior profile and the lack of an inner bootie on the Tech 6.

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The biggest change (and one that’s extremely welcome) is the new, exclusive dual compound sole with integral steel shank. It’s designed to provide superior durability, while improving grip, feel, and offering a high level of structural rigidity. The new sole is reportedly also more shock-absorbent. While the center section isn’t replaceable by itself, the whole sole can still be replaced, and Alpinestars offers an in-house repair service.

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Some of the boot’s components were available for examination, and if you’ve ever wondered what they mean by “Uniflex anti-torsion design and patented internal ‘ankle brace.’ Now you know.

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The new techno-polymer and aluminum buckles are also more streamlined and easier to operate than the old style buckle, which is still on the Tech 8.

The full-grain leather upper has a new poly fabric lining and open cell foam interior. Externally, impact- and abrasion-resistant PU components guard the foot, ankle, calf and shin, and the shin plate has a redesigned profile for added coverage.

The instep (top of the foot, and Achilles flex zones have been changed, and Alpinestars wants the Tech 6 to have the feel of a boot that’s already been broken in when you first put it on.

Colors are white, blue, black, red, and silver; while U.S. sizes run from 5 to 16.

The new Tech 6 boots are shipping now.

Tech 8

Alpinestars has always made running changes to the Tech 8, and they also had a pair of their top-of-the-line boots to show off. Now on its fifth evolution, the gang at Alpinestars tell us that if you were to take the original Tech 8 and compare it to the new one, there would be virtually no part of that boot that’s the same as the current model. The new sole is the most obvious change. It also gets the dual compound rubber sole, but a large replaceable insert is designed to extend the life of the boot. (You can replace the insert yourself, or send it to Alpinestars for replacement.)

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The edition of the Tech 8 also gets redesigned leather instep and Achilles flex zones.

The rest of the features on the Tech 8 look pretty familiary, with a removable inner bootie, full-grain leather upper, breathable Cambrelle liner and perforated shock absorbing shin pad, as well as impact- and abrasion-resistant PU components to guard the foot, ankle, calf and shin.

To answer the question that’s already forming on your ls, nope, there’s no Tech 9 or 10 in the immediate future. Since we’ve heard rumors about it, that was one of the first questions we asked of Gabrielle Mazzarolo, the 41-year-old President of Alpinestars.

“The next boot will probably be in one year’s time. At the moment there’s nothing better than the Tech 8, and it will be in the line for many years to come for sure.”

Gabrielle attends his share of nationals and supercrosses, but we also wanted to get a little insight into the background and future of Alpinestars, and their involvement in everything from MX to Moto GP, to CART, IRL, F1, and World Rally events.

“The company was started in 1963 by my father. I was born in that time also, so I was working in it as a kid, of course, and going to all the races and such. Later, I was still working at the company while doing school also. Naturally, I started to be very involved in it around 19 years of age. The company became my company in 1993, so it was about ten years ago that my father retired.”

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The one thing I see while looking at Alpinestars is the real passion for the motorsports, whether it’s motocross, road racing, or four wheeled racing.

“That is really what is motivating us. That is also the main reason why so many talented people are joining the company. At the company in Italy, I think we now have 16 or 17 different nationalities in the office. People are there from New Zealand, from Australia, from South Africa, from so many places. A lot of people want to come to Italy and work there because of the involvement in motorsports.”

“Often we have karting outings, and or we go ride street bikes or off-road or motocross. It is very clear that they’re there because of the passion for motorsports.”

“This morning I was on the phone with some of our people who were in Barcelona for the Formula 1 testing. Last night I was on the phone to Malaysia, finding out about the Moto GP testing with Nicky Hayden, John Hopkins, and Kenny Jr., and everybody. So we always have people who that are at different events all over the world, so it’s easy for me to feel like I want to be there and go there. This morning I almost went to Barcelona as well, because I have reasons to be in Europe, and reasons to be here. I don’t have a set schedule of events, but I often feel like going places, so I just go, basically. (Laughs) The Monte Carlo Rally is actually this weekend. I was actually thinking of going to there, too.”

How do you divide your time between the U.S. and Italy?

“I am mostly in the U.S. This is the part of the company which is growing the fastest. As far as R&D and product design, a lot of that is done here, and actually has been done here for a long time. Again, I don’t really plan the year. I go wherever I feel like I should be. So I’m here for most of the year, but go back to Europe often.”

Alpinestars was at the most recent ASR show again last weekend. How is the new fashion line going?

“It’s going extremely well. It’s a different distribution line than the motorcycling, it’s developed to expand into a different distribution.”

“I like sportswear, and like that environment, because generally it’s a little less competitive than technical.”

“In my opinion, in motorcycling the only competitors are companies that aren’t bringing anything to the sport, but they’re actually trying to take something out of it. I am always welcoming other companies which are sponsoring riders, or putting things in it to make the sport safer or better-looking with good image and good ads. I don’t really like as much companies that do bad ads or cheesy ads or just copy products or try to take something out of the sport without bringing anything in.”

“There is room for everybody, and people to bring their own talent and ideas. That’s what it already is basically for the sportswear. It’s such a larger market that no company dreams of being the only company. That would almost be the end of them because if everyone was wearing the same thing, that company would be dead really soon because it would be so overdone and out of fashion that nobody would want to wear that.”

“The sportswear industry is very open to other brands, as long as they are doing the right things. We have been very accepted, and we are actually working with other shoe companies and doing things like sponsoring surf contests.”

I’m always impressed with the Alpinestars focus on safety.

“That is major¿to make the sport larger and better for everyone, it is very important to make riding safer, both for motocross and for road. So we put a lot of effort into that, which is not something you really see. We don’t really brag about it, but it is making a lot of our gear safer, which is part of our commitment.”

If you could pick one of the sports that you’re involved with, and really excel at it, which would it be?

“I love rally driving, but I just like to ride so much that I think I would say endurance road racing. Like the Le Mans 24 Hour. That way I’d get to ride for a long time.”

More Info: www.alpinestars.com.

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ry to take something out of the sport without bringing anything in.”

“There is room for everybody, and people to bring their own talent and ideas. That’s what it already is basically for the sportswear. It’s such a larger market that no company dreams of being the only company. That would almost be the end of them because if everyone was wearing the same thing, that company would be dead really soon because it would be so overdone and out of fashion that nobody would want to wear that.”

“The sportswear industry is very open to other brands, as long as they are doing the right things. We have been very accepted, and we are actually working with other shoe companies and doing things like sponsoring surf contests.”

I’m always impressed with the Alpinestars focus on safety.

“That is major¿to make the sport larger and better for everyone, it is very important to make riding safer, both for motocross and for road. So we put a lot of effort into that, which is not something you really see. We don’t really brag about it, but it is making a lot of our gear safer, which is part of our commitment.”

If you could pick one of the sports that you’re involved with, and really excel at it, which would it be?

“I love rally driving, but I just like to ride so much that I think I would say endurance road racing. Like the Le Mans 24 Hour. That way I’d get to ride for a long time.”

More Info: www.alpinestars.com.

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