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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
People,

I am in the market for a replacement off the shelf one piece leather suit. It will generally be used for road use.

There is a very reputable Company in the UK that sells new and aftermarket leathers but before I approach them I would like some thoughts on the following.

To me, the market leaders in off the shelf leathers appear to be Alpine Stars, Dianese and BKS. None of the riders at the top levels of racing appear to wear BKS although in the UK they certainly have a reputation for quality.

I would appreciate thoughts on whether anyone can provide feedback on how the above compare in terms of crash protection (or in all honesty is leather, leather and the most crucial thing is fit).

Secondly just as importantly, what are peoples thoughts on how the standard armour in market leading suits performs when compared to that of aftermarket protection from Companies such as 'Forcefield' or 'Knox'.

many thanks





Submariner
 

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I have a set of Spyke Kangaroo leathers. I've crashed many times in mine and they have held up remarkably well. They belonged to Chris Burns. I bought one set and Ralf (Haupti) bought the other.

They are skin tight, not a good look for a man my age, and I've been told that is how they are supposed to fit. Other than keeping your skin protected from road rash, tight leathers help keep everything together when you've come off and arms and legs are flailing.
 

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I lowsided at the track yesterday doing around 80kph in my AlpineStars motegi suit, for one of the lower specced AStars suits it held up really well.

I have been a fan of alpinestars for a while, It comes with pretty good armour as standard and it also has pockets and attachments so you add additional chest protection and and body armour
 

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Try to use 100% kangaroo leather if you can get it. I use a spyke 100% kangaroo I also have a spyke mix cow and kangaroo the cow hide is like cardboard compared to kangaroo
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
At least you are OK mate, I bet you feel guilty about your R6
 

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James Toseland used to wear BKS but I don't think the off the peg suits are made in the UK, but then nor are any of the other manufacturers, Alpinestars are made in China now I think like everything else.
 

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James Toseland used to wear BKS but I don't think the off the peg suits are made in the UK, but then nor are any of the other manufacturers, Alpinestars are made in China now I think like everything else.
And Dainese made in North West Africa. :)
 

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Sub, don't let the TV advertising fool you, those guys are using those suits because they get paid to wear them, or al least the very least are given those suits to wear.

If you have a look around, there's a lot more out there other than Alpine Stars and Dainese, also being worn by some of the top guys, just look in motorsport magazines.

You will find Icon and Ixon, Spyke and Berick, also there is RS Taichi and Spidi, BKS, Teknic, REV'IT, and Arlen Ness suits .
Some of these companies are smaller and others are more specialised, but if you look at other championships around the world you will see heaps of other brands out there, all making great leathers.

Suits using Kangeroo or Japanese leather are soft and very strong, keep an eye out for that.

Make sure you pic the right leathers for the right job, one-piece leathers can be very hard to use on the road, and you will find guys buy them and wear them less and less as time goes on as they are uncomfortable and hard to deal with when just stopping for coffee and a quick toilet run.

You can get brilliant 2-piece leather suits, and it leaves you with more options for back pro-taction etc.

Make sure your suit fits well, tight but not too tight as this will make you tired and hamper movement on the bike. Good quality suits have more stretch panels which allows great movement, yet fitting well.

Good luck in your search, many options out there.
 

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I have a Dainese and Spyke (MV Agusta) suits. The Dainese is over 10 years old and looks like new and even crashed with it. MV dead, suit still alive... The Spyke fits well but I can't say too much as it is still brandnew.
 

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have a look at this web site http://www.tigerangel.com/pgs/quality.php for some info about suit design. Always have a full suit like Donsy says. A two piece that zips together is quite practical compared to a one piece which can be a pain on a hot day when stopped for a drink (or piss). I seem to recall that kangaroo hide is tuffer than cow hide but also thinner so the benefits of increased tuffness of kangaroo hide are about equivalent to the thicker cow hide. A custom suit may cost more but provides a better fit which in the event of a crash is what you want. It also allows for choice of features (colours, pockets, logos etc). The tanning of the hide is quite critical as the outer 30% provides the abrasion resistance. Fine leather garments have this part removed. I've come across two theories re protection, hard (plastic inserts) can dig in and 'cut' you while soft isn't as abrasion resistant as hard. My guess is they are about the same (as long as the soft is impact resistant not just cotton wool). Hides, just like humans skin, vary depending on which part of the animals body. Related to humans, palm of the hand has tuff skin where as the forearm is comparatively soft. A good suit manufacturer will choose where various parts of the hide is used (back, arms, outside legs are abrasion areas where as behind the knees and inner thighs are not). Stitching (as explained by TigerAngel) is quite important so the sequence the suit is stitched and therefore where stitching may be exposed to abrasion is critical. If the stitching comes apart then the skin is exposed.
 

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Sub,
I have a two piece BKS suit and it is great bar the ridiculous amount of padding around the base of the calf. I have had this removed and they are really comfortable. I have never had crash use out of them but a couple of guys I know have, and rate them very highly.

Hide leathers are also very good and will make custom leathers for you. The guy who setup The Bike Experience rides with them and has had several offs and they have held up very well.
 

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I have a 1 piece BKS Silverstone suite I picked up very cheaply when George White's went belly up. I only use them when it's too hot to wear my Crowtrees. Basically they are made by Frank Thomas and whilst not bad are a pale imitation of BKS made to measure kit (which is possibly the best you can buy in uk). I haven't crashed in them as yet so can't provide a detailed assessment.

The Crowtrees on the other hand I had made in 1998, when I started racing, they have seen me through 22 crashes including being run over by 3 600s. The worst injury I suffered was a dislocated kneecap and a few burns due to sliding a long way. The leathers have only needed lettering replacing.

My brother uses an Arlen Ness Kangaroo hide suite, it looks pretty good, the zips could be better but he's too slow to fall off and test the rest of it!
 

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I've got a Dainese Avro Pro 1 piece and and the normal Avro in 2 piece. The 1 piece with the D skin leather and the extra stretch material moves a lot better, along with having removable liner and full ventilated hump, but is very aggressively cut compared to the 2 piece and a bit much for every day. I got both from eBay (local pick up) and both were not even broken in.

I've ridden Spyke Blaster Evo (currently on sale for £300 from the biker store) and it was very good.

My older A* stuff is great, the gloves I've had are s**t! I've just switched to Held RS1000 gloves which are a bit weird, but not broken in yet (2 rides out in them). I bought an A* GP Plus jacket recently. It lasted a week before I sent it back.

Check out Held suits, I've heard they are very good.

Armour wise I'm upgrading the GF's knee armour to D30, nice and flexible until an impact.

Sadly the Dainese armour is not replaceable.
 
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