RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
A leather suit doesn’t only look good, it’s also very safe. Leather suits come in two variants; a two piece suit and a one piece suit, also called a racing or race suit. Do you enjoy riding sporty? Or does riding on track sounds appealing? Then it’s often a simple choice. You go for a leather suit.
Even when you will never set a foot on track you could choose for leather. Because let’s be honest; it does look tough and smooth. But what to look for when you start your search for the perfect leathers? We’ll help you out and give you some more information.
Motorcycle suits and race suits are mostly made of leather. Kevlar material is used for parts where extra ventilation and freedom of movement is desired, such as the groin, the inner side of the arms, etcetera. When it comes to the leather, cow and kangaroo skin is often preferred. Occasionally the goat also has to give his life for us to go safely around the track. As you might understand, leather motorcycle suits are not very animal-friendly. The company Alien Moto took the first steps towards a vegan race suit, but leather is still the number one choice for most brands.
The animal kingdom is completed with the humpback whale. In most two-piece suits, the big ‘hump’ on the upper back is often absent. The two-piece motorcycle suits with a sport-tour design contain a small hump at the upper back / neck to protect the C3 cervical vertebra.
Almost every leather motorcycle suit has knee sliders, the hard protectors on the knees. The race suits or one-piece suits that are designed for the very sporty riders often also have elbow sliders. These protectors on the elbows offer protection when you hang next to your bike that much, that your elbow hits the track.
Those leather motorcycle suits also have the well-known big hump on the upper back. This hump does not only offer protection, but it also contributes to the aerodynamics at high speed when seated in the race position.
On many tracks leather suits (often one-piece suits) are therefore mandatory to wear to be allowed to ride on the track. Do you participate in an organized track day where you get instructions from experienced track riders? In that case, textile suits could still be allowed, but the preference goes out to wearing a leather motorcycle suit. A one-piece suit is safer than all other motorcycle clothing, simply because it consists of one piece. As a result, the suit contains fever so-called ‘weak spots’. For example, a zipper that keeps a jacket and a pair of pants together that’s present in a two-piece suit.
A one-piece motorcycle suit is the safest motorcycle suit you can wear. It is also mandatory if you have aspirations to compete on track. Those suits can be prepared for a airbags as well.
A two-piece motorcycle suit gives you all the advantages of a one-piece, but with a bit more convenience. You easily take the jacket off during a break for a cold drink.
Nowadays there are airbag vests and motorcycle suits with built-in airbag systems to take safety to the next level. The motorcycle airbag is worn around the body in the form of a vest or is integrated in your motorcycle suit.
Upon impact, the airbag fills itself with air in a few milliseconds, reducing the impact on the upper body (and sometimes also on the hips). This can prevent fractures and serious damage in event of a crash. Leather motorcycle suits with integrated airbag systems are still far from standard, but it is a development we encourage fanatically. Major brands such as Alpinestars and Dainese are already making great progress in this area, but smaller brands such as Held and Bering are also taking their first steps.
A race suit is designed for a sporty riding style and is thus pre-shaped for a sporty riding position. When you put on a one-piece motorcycle suit, your back will be slightly bent. Standing upright won’t feel comfortable from the start. Leather suits should generally not fit real comfortable from the first moment. Does it feel like the suit is a size too small? And are you almost unable to put the suit on, on your own? Then you are on the right track to the perfect leather suit.
Under a leather motorcycle suit you only wear a thin undersuit or thin thermal base layer. The leather stretches and adjusts to your body. After wearing it a few times, the suit will feel like a second skin.
The fit of leather motorcycle suits differs per brand. Are you a smaller biker or a small and slim woman? Then you will notice that suit from brands like Rev’it! will be quite spacious. The Italian brands often fit a bit smaller and have a more tailored design. But we see differences there too. Certain brands, such as Rev’it! and Dainese, offer different lengths. Blessed with more curves? The Italian Alpinestars offers several larger sizes.
Leather is extremely durable if you maintain it properly. We know the struggle, after a long ride you just want to take it off and put it away. But make sure you take time to care for your suit. Leather is quite windproof and water resistant, but will lose these functions when you neglect it.
Did a downpour surprise you? Then don’t hang your leather suit over the heater. Hang your suit to dry in the living room at room temperature (or another room of course). If you want to do things really well, you treat your suit with leather grease when your suit has almost dried up. So before it dries completely. You best clean a leather suit with leather cleaner and a cotton cloth.
Do you want an outfit that’s as safe as possible? Then leather still stand on top of it all, so you will make the right choice. Or do you simply like the looks of it? Then go for it. We don’t see the burden of wearing something that’s both safe and pretty. Keep in mind that you really have to wear it in.
Don’t expect the suit to fit like a second skin or like your favourite joggers after wearing it just three times. Be prepared for some uncomfortable rides at first. We promise you it wil loosen up and you will be happy as a little kid after you’ve worn it in. Eventually it will fit really well. So well, that you might not even want to get out of it.
Will you ride through all sorts of circumstances? Rain and wind too? And do you only want to invest in one suit? Then a leather suit might not be the most efficient solution. It’s possible to ride through winter with a leather suit, but prepare yourself for chilly rides. To invest in a rain suit which you can wear over your leathers might not be such a strange idea.
The search for the perfect leathers can be quite tough. Feel free to reserve half a day to try on multiple suits in a motorcycle clothing shop. You don’t ‘just’ put on a new leather suit. It takes some effort, so it could take a while.
Is your riding style sporty or racy? Then you’ll be best of buying a one piece suit. Do you mostly ride on the streets and do you prefer comfort and ease? Then choose a two piece suit. Suits from different brands can differ quite a bit when it comes to fit. So try on different suits of different brands. And remember; buy it tight. Don’t go for roomy and comfy. Go for tight and slightly uncomfortable. Leather suits do stretch considerably. Do they have to hoist you in your suit? Then you are on the right track.