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  • Buying leathers

    Buying a set of leathers.

    Ok so how much am I going to spend on a suit? Well first if price is a major concern, you might want to look for a used suit, you’ll save some money by going used. Used doesn't mean, worn or beat to hell. You can find plenty of slightly used suits, suits that have been worn a couple of times. Remember A LOT people get into and out of this hobby so you can always find deals on slightly used items. You can check your local forums, Ebay, racing forums, classifieds and so on. Depending on the condition of the used suit, you can find some pretty good deals out there. But remember to be patient, it might take some time to find something CLOSE to what you want, and you might have to settle for CLOSE, not exactly what you want.

    If you don’t want to go the used suit route, and would prefer new, then prices are going to vary dramatically, you can spend as little as 300.00 or as much as 2,500.00. There are many good name brand manufacturers out there that make suits for all price ranges, so do some research. Most manufacturers make different models with different levels of protection, so price will vary among product lines of each manufacturers. Now remember when I said you get what you pay for? Well you can look into a suit that is roughly $300.00 - $400.00, but what are you really getting? You are getting a cheaper suit that might be good for 1 or 2 crashes. What happens if you spend $400 on a suit and you crash wearing that suit? It might be able to be repaired, or it might not. I have seen some lower end suits blow apart at the seams, due to cheap construction, and the rider end up with some road rash. Something you don’t want to have happen. But if your suit cannot be repaired your suit is now toast. So you will probably need to purchase another suit. You can buy the same suit for $400 again, or if you learned your lesson, you might get a better suit, say in the $600-$800 range. Now you are out of pocket $1000 - $1200. What kind of suit could you have bought originally for that money? My first point is that you don’t really want to skimp, spend the money once, and do it right.

    A good track day/race suit will cost you anywhere between $600-$1000 dollars. Every manufacturer makes suits in this range, and they are all pretty good. Alpinestars, Teknic, RS Taichi, AGV, Joe Rocket, Syed. The list of manufacturers is endless.
    What to look for in a suit? You want to make sure that they use the following in their construction, 1.2-1.4 grain leather, CE armor, padding, double stitching, hidden stitching, Nylon stitching, back protectors, foam in impact areas. Most suits are made from cow hide, but some of the more expensive suits use Kangaroo leather, which has been said to be more durable, and stronger than leather. Think about your needs, budget and start to do research on the different brands.

    Do I want a 1 or 2 piece suit? Some prefer one over the other, the logic is this, if you buy a 2 piece suit, you can wear the jacket and pants on track days, but then still have a good quality jacket for just riding on the street. I started that route, with a 2 piece suit, and it worked just fine for me, just make sure that the jacket and pants zip together at the waist, and that it zips all the way around, a 360 degree circumference zipper as said in the industry. That will keep the suit together as your sliding down the track, well you hope it does. But I found that a 2 piece suit was still somewhat restricting, around the waist, and legs. Most one piece suits are made so that when in a race position, you are more comfortable, but when standing normally, you feel as though you are getting a FULL wedgie. But you want that 90 degree anatomical race fit design. Trust me; a tight waist band is not fun on the track. Again, you decision will be based on how much riding you do at the track, your budget and likes and dislikes. If you see yourself doing only a handful of track days a year, then maybe a 2 piece suit is better, and you’ll get a lot of use out of the jacket on the street, and maybe the pants also, for those weekend "spirited" rides.

    Finally the most difficult part of this process is sizing. Each manufacturer makes their suit different, so sizes between suits will vary. So whatever brand you are interested in, make sure you try it on, and even wear it around the store for a few minutes, to really get a good feel for it. That isn’t the difficult part, what makes this process difficult is that the manufacturers make their suits to fit a basic model of person, and that doesn’t work for everyone. Thinner people have no problem buying off the rack suits, and get a great fit every time. Then there are people such as myself, the difficult sized people, it is hard for us to find something that fits properly. I am 5’ 8" tall about usually between 180-185 lbs. I have broad shoulders and I would consider myself a stocky, athletic build. When looking for off the rack suits, most manufacturers post their suggested measurements for each suit size on their website. But when looking for myself, a suit that would fit most of my build would be for a person 6 feet tall or bigger. That isn’t the right size, and the suit won’t fit. So what are we to do? Well to be honest, I was just in the market for a good quality race suit, I wanted to spend anywhere between $900-$1200 dollars. But all the name brands didn’t fit me right. Through the suggestion of many friends, I went to a company that makes custom leathers, they all went this route and raved about how great and happy they were. So I ended up going the custom suit round, and let me tell you, just like everyone else, I am so happy that I did this. I got a high quality race suit, which fits me perfectly EVERYWHERE. That was my biggest problem, off the rack suits either fit good on my upper body, but was too big on my lower body, or vice versa. I spent just over $1100.00 for a custom suit that is just as good if not better than most manufacturers higher end suits, the suit fits me perfectly, and costs roughly less then I would have spent on a brand name off the rack suit.
    Like most, I was concerned about spending money and spending too much, but as you think about it, this is something that will protect you when you go down, and something that you need to be comfortable with wearing while operating a motorcycle at high speeds, distractions is the last thing you want.

    For those people like me, who are "in between" sizes you seriously want to consider a custom made suit, you’ll pay just as much or maybe a little more than a high end brand name racing suit, but you’ll have a suit that is custom made for you, and will fit perfectly.