How to choose your motorcycle leather suit.
A wrong purchase of a motorcycle suit can be a very frustrating thing. Usually we talk about a hefty financial investment that is also difficult to resell, but most importantly, riding around with a suit that is too narrow or too wide is dangerous, many times uncomfortable and even painful. To avoid disappointment, let’s see how we can make sure that we make the right choice. The first step is to know what we’re looking for.
The leather suit, one or two piece, is a piece of technical gear. Its first and foremost purpose is to protect us in case of a fall (armor that absorbs impact energy + leather that protects us from abrasion). The secondary function of the suit is to accommodate the movements of our body as we ride, avoiding the creation of too much compression or blocking our movement.
With these functions in mind, there will be two major factors in the choice of the leather suit:
1) Our riding style and the use that we will make the suit
2) The fit and comfort of the suit
As already mentioned for the helmets: a suit that fits well and allows us to ride and move freely will be more effective and protective of a top-notch suit that blocks us or that is so loose that the armor is out of place.
- The choice of the suit must necessarily be based on the use that we will make and the type of the motorcycle.
Adapting the choice of the suit to our bike is not a matter of style and aesthetics, but a very important technical factor. The various suits models are designed according to functionality and riding position. The professional track suits are designed for a “hunched” position and as a result will be uncomfortable for example on a cruiser bike, while touring-oriented suits are designed to work best in a straight position in the seat and so on.
- The fit and comfort of the suit must be tested in the intended riding position. A racing suit will not be comfortable when you’re standing up straight, and will not allow you to raise your arms in the air, for example. This type of restriction is normal and even welcome. The important thing is that none of the movements that can be performed during normal riding in the motorcycle is restricted in any way.
The fit of women’s suits varies considerably since the various manufacturers base their models on measurements of different body types. A good tip is to look for models with large stretch/elastic areas that can more easily accommodate our curves and at the same time ensure greater freedom of movement. It is also advisable to try many suits from several manufacturers before making the choice. Some companies that make the women’s with improved fit include Spidi and Alpinsetars.
Dainese suits are recommended for the tall and slender in built girls.
In general, the most important points to consider when we try a suit are:
* The suit should be snug, but not tight – should not be painful or stop you from breathing.
* A suit that fits well will have certain areas where it will seem to have excess material, especially on your butt. This extra material will allow you to be comfortable in the riding position, it’s ok!
* The suit must follow the movement of our body without constraining it.
* All armor must be in the right place, if the suit provides adjustable armor, ask the vendor to adjust them for you.
Some tips for checking the fit of the suit in the store:
- Ask to try the the suit with a back protector, make sure you insert the back protector all the way down, otherwise when you close the suit, it will be too tight on the chest.
- Ask to try the suit with an under-suit, sometimes a suit that in the beginning seems hard to wiggle into, proves to be the right size. An under-suit will ease your way into the leathers.
- Once you have put on the suit, try to put yourself in the riding position, move around, do the “squat” and try to broaden your knees. If you can do these movements, you will be sure that the suit will allow you to ride your bike without creating problems.
- Do not believe anyone who tells you that the suit also yields or expands a lot. Today the suits are designed precisely with special elastic zones. Although the leather will yield a bit after 3-4 rides, and will adapt to your body shape, it will never expand to accommodate a back protector that does not fit when you try it, and certainly will not grow a full size up!
- When trying the suit, wear your helmet and make sure that it doesn’t hit the shoulders or the aerodynamic hump when you look up o to the sides.
- Do not panic if the suit pulls or is uncomfortable when you straighten up. As long as all is well in the riding position, there’s no need to worry. The suit is not made for Yoga class; it is a tool that performs a specific function.
Two words on caps that offer the suits:
The leather suits provide for two types of protections: the leather itself, which can be more or less thick, more or less soft, and of different origins (bovine, kangaroo). Most of the suits on the market are made of 1.3mm thick cowhide leather with additional reinforcements in the most vulnerable areas. The weak points of the suit are always near the seams. Be sure to periodically check the seams to avoid disappointment.
Then there are the inserts with CE protectors on the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and shins.
These protectors are used to protect in the event of impact, and are usually composed of thermoformed plastic materials and may be rigid, semi-rigid or a combination of soft and rigid parts. Some manufacturers have developed systems which provide joints to facilitate movement while others have developed materials that harden upon impact.
It’s also important to remember that the aerodynamic hump of a suit is NOT a protection.
Not all of us can find an off-the-shelf suit will fit us in the right way. There are various body types and sizes and various shapes that cannot be accommodated by a standard suit. In this case, you can contact a company that produces made-to measure motorcycle suits. Be sure to choose a well-known and reputable company. Good examples are Vircos, Gimoto and others.
* This article was written with the help of a professional in the sector.