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Which Brand Of Racing Suit Do You Guys Wear?


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Hi All,

 

I'm currently wearing a Dainese two piece and looking to invest in a suit.

There're SO MANY choices out there and I'm wondering if I can get some thoughts and pointers from you guys.

 

I'm looking to spend $1000~$1500, and hoping to find one that's bang for the buck.

 

Any type of feedback is welcome.

---

Andy Kang

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Andy,

You are right about soo many choices out there for suits. I would think that if it is quality, with the key word being quality, the manufacturer really should not mater very much. If you are built in a manner that an off the rack suit fits proper then you are in luck.

As a reminder, when you go trying on suits make sure you will be dressed under the suit the same as when you ride. Go sit on the bike etc... If some area doesn't feel right it may not work itself out later.

Different brands will fit different in the same size. Just like shoes :)

 

Custom may be the best bet for the money.

I recently gave away a 1 piece Dainese that just fit wrong in all the wrong places :blink: I was told that it would stretch out with wear. Well it didn't and I wasn't thinking about under gear etc... and the fact that when I bought it I was about 20 lbs lighter than normal for me.

So, whatever you buy think ahead a little in time. Will this suit fit in 5 years?

 

Good luck

Jeff

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Had and IXS that was very comfy, destroyed in a road crash. Kid has an Alpinestar that he is very satisfied with. Before that, he had an old Dainese that we bought used. As said, quality and fit matter more than name. I also reckon popular names are a bit like Mercedes; you pay extra for the name.

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Jeff: I can totally relate to that feeling of slipping into something you thought that fits a while back but just don't anymore. LOL And I know exactly what you're talking bout with that old Dainese suit of your's. I'm experiencing somewhat a similar situation where I just feel stiff and not flexible enough on the bike. note taken, thanks for the reply.

 

Eirik and Jeff: Paying for the brand is something I was thinking about actually. I've noticed that the big names like Dainese and Alpinestars have a bit more safety and functionality designs to their suits. As to other brands, most of it feels like they're quite similar but just different color patterns and prices.

 

In an event of crashing, have you guys seen or experience(hopefully not) suits ripping or not providing the safety it should?

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Andy - are you a "standard size" fit for most of these sizes ? If you are then you can get off the shelf suits. If not, then you might have to look at custom suits. .

 

I find that with most of these - the better two options that most know about (and mid way up their line) being Dainese and A* are both very good options. A* Laguna Seca on up and Dainese mid level on up both satisfy most people's idea of a good safe suit. . Some other brands to consider are Held and Rev'It which both make very nice suits as well at a slightly better price.. . You can also spend more and get a lot more as well, but given that its not within your price point - no need to go there.

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Andy - are you a "standard size" fit for most of these sizes ? If you are then you can get off the shelf suits. If not, then you might have to look at custom suits. .

 

Anthem and Jeff make a good point on custom. I am not a "normal' size. I'm 6' with a 52" chest; the off the rack suits that fit me through the torso are made for some on 6'4". I tried mixing and matching two piece suits but the fit was never right (plus the safety factor is not as high). Once I went to a custom suit I was amazed at how much of my $10 of attention was being wasted on my leathers not fitting. And the armor never seemed to be exactly where it should be so in a crach that would have been less than optimal.

 

If you consider custom, Pilot and Vanson are well thought of however I dont have direct experience with either. Sadly the maker of my leathers, Adyen Lee Racing (which have proven to be very well made) is no longer doing leathers.

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I have, and like, Pilot leathers. They have a few suits on the rack but mostly they make the suits when you order. Before they finalize your order they will ship to you a test suit for you to try (in your home and not on the road however) and make sure you are happy with the fit. They can do custom suits for a few hundred dollars more. Sadly, I crashed in mine the very first day I wore it on the track, but it came through mostly unharmed (just some scuffs).

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I've had a two-piece Dainese ensemble for several years that is well-made and still serviceable. However, when I decided to get a one-piece for the track, I finally went with a Taichi suit after (too) much research. Outstanding design & construction using heavy, soft leather and well-perforated for hot Florida weather. Fortunately, it fit me perfectly without alteration and when riding, I don't even notice it. Very pleased with the quality. Haven't 'tested' it yet - hope I don't have to! - but others who've crashed it reported that it provided solid protection and held up exceptionally well. BTW, as others have mentioned, make sure you try on suits with the protective gear you'll be wearing underneath - your back and/or chest protector will make a big difference.

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I have had a couple of Z Custom suits, great quality and very comfortable, custom fit is really nice. The leather is soft but very protective, he uses high quality liners, fasteners, and protection pads, and he makes sure it fits right. On other people's off-rack suits I've seen zippers that break, pads that get out of position, and plastic or velcro parts that scratch or feel uncomfortable, and designs that make alteration difficult or expensive.

 

I've never really crash tested one but I know others who have and the suits did great - scrapes on the leather but no tears or ripped seams and the pads did their job.

 

Things to look for are double stitching at any potential crash/slide areas, very durable zippers, no protruding velcro at wrists, knees, or neck that will scratch at you, pads that are secure and fit comfortably, a collar that doesn't rub, and I'm a big fan of the stretchy panels some manufacturers add in certain areas like the inner thigh - makes it much easier to move around on the bike.

 

Price up a couple of custom suits, you might be surprised to find them closer to your price range than you expect, especially if you don't add a lot of custom lettering, etc. I had an Dianese 2 piece off rack suit before my first Z Leathers suit - the custom suit cost LESS than the Dianese and was far more comfortable and had better protection.

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Just looked into Avsport since I need a suit too. They have a policy with my dealer that it is unlimited return if fit is not perfect. A little pricey...about 1000 US. Probably paying some for the name but good stuff anyway.

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Just looked into Avsport since I need a suit too. They have a policy with my dealer that it is unlimited return if fit is not perfect. A little pricey...about 1000 US. Probably paying some for the name but good stuff anyway.

 

Do you mean AGV Sport? Those are what the school uses, nice product, and they make custom suits too. My CSS coach suit is an AGV Sport custom and I am really happy with it. I was nervous about sending measurements off to parts unknown (versus having someone measure in person) but I was pleasantly surprised that the leathers fit quite well when I got them. If you are lucky and you can find a stock size AGV suit in a store that fits comfortably, that should be a good deal and good reliable protection.

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A note on buying a race suit - most people won't buy a suit that is too small because it feels uncomfortable, but a lot of people buy a suit that is too big, especially in the upper body. If the suit is really loose, it can feel like a sail at very high speeds (over 100mph, roughly) and want to pull you backwards on the bike. Plus it affects the crash protection - too much freedom of movement, not as much ability to slide smoothly.

 

Also, here is a personal opinion - if a suit (or boot) feels uncomfortable in the store, and the salesman says it will "stretch out", take this with a grain of salt - unless you ride a LOT. Many riders only use a full race suit occasionally, I don't really think it is realistic to expect a suit to stretch out much - and of course if it is uncomfortable, you will be even LESS willing to wear it, and it can be extremely distracting. If it ever did stretch and get too loose, taking in a suit is usually not difficult or expensive.

(Gloves are a different matter, they get used (and flexed) a lot more so they do stretch out, especially in the palm.)

 

Now that I wrote all that - I got curious - have any of you ever bought a full race suit and had it stretch out a lot, or too much? I've had them get softer and more comfortable, but not ever too loose.

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if you get them wet - leather will stretch a bit, but not too much. Kangaroo will not stretch much at all, or at least it stretches less than cowhide. Some people will jump in a shower to stretch the suit out but I wouldn't advise on doing that. . .

 

I usually put a suit on and walk around the house for an hour or so. .. do this several times looking like a dork and suffering the mockery that the rest of your family gives you. That will at least get you comfortable with the suit and the suit will stretch a little (maybe a half size). .. In a way you want a suit that you can still wear if you gain 5 pounds, but at the same time Hotfoot is right in that you want a suit that fits snug and keeps the armor in the right places that you need it . .

 

In terms of brands - some brands give you decent protection and I can't really say any brands "gouge" in their race suits since they dont' sell anywhere near that many of them. . . You aren't really even paying for the "name" if you're buying Dainese or A* since most of their suits are in the 1-2k range as well. . . And AGV sport doesn't even really have a name that anyone knows, so there is no name there. . And the really uber high end suits are pretty expensive like the japanese cowhide ones from RST, K-tani - but both of them don't really have a "name" either that evokes brand recognition..

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I have used many different brands over the past 30+ years and have seen protection evolve drastically over that time frame.

 

My current suits, an AGVSport Imola one-piece and an AGVSport two piece. it is funny becasue my two piece is a 42 jacket and a 30 pant and despite both being the same model and brand-the zippers go opposite directions-and while the pants did come with both sides to the zipper, I still had to go out and have the zipper of the coat removed and then this other half installed at extra expense- These are my daily riding attire and I can easily fit a sweatshirt and long underwear etc under these and still not be restricted too much in movement...my two piece is now 4 years old and has seen about 60,000 miles of use (and yes it did stretch and get looser despite the fact I gained some weight in that time frame)

My one piece IMola, It is a size 48, the legs are too long as are the sleeves, so I will get those both shortened....Day one of riding in it I couldn't get it over my shoulders myself, the 6 or seven times I pulled the top half back on I had to find someone to tug it up over my shoulders....Day two of ridng in it, about half way through the day I tried again to get it over my sholders by myself and found that I could...It is tough but it is possible and now I can not have to consider finding help or leaving the jacket portion up all day...So I feel it did stretch some but certainly not much.

 

I have had a low side in my 2 piece at about 45 mph and only very minor scuffing to the left forearm and outer knee and hip area-no tears, no torn threads and I still wear it today just as it is.

In the past I have had a Z Custom suit-from the early 90's-It din't offer nearly as much protection as either of these, but I have not seen what their current suits are like.........I was extremely satisfied with customer service and the suit as a whole when I wore it for 10 years of racing and street riding. It was never rash tested

I had a few different Dianese suits in the 80's- they didn't crash well at all. But as I said suits have evolved alot since then and no doubt they are much better quality now

I also ran a Fieldsheer suit for one racing season, it was on par with the Dianese but the fit wasn't as good

For about 6 years of strictly street riding (perhaps 125,000 miles worth) I wore an Alpinestar jacket and pants ~they did not zip together~again they were never crash tested and they did loosen up significantly. Enough so to the point I ended up buying an AGVSport 2 piece in smaller sizing expecting them to stretch some (and they did) and retiring the Alpinestar jacket and pants and eventually giving them to another rider who didn't have gear. I did find that some of the stitching around the elbow and shoulder armour had started to come loose-break. I also was never able to get the shoulder protectors exactly where I wanted them-although they were "close enough". All my suits and jacket pants have seen countless times in the rain, been thrown on the ground, put away wet, exposed to tons of sunlight and I have rarely ever done any leather treatments on any of them, usually the most they would see for care was some dish soap on a wet wash cloth the clean off the bugs (sometimes I had to use a small nylon brush to scrub) and wiped dry with a towel~which likely didn't help the leather at all, but it did remove the bugs~

 

I do have customers with $2000+ suits from A*, Held and others and I do have customers with Route21 $400 suits or Pilot $700 suits, my take on them.....they all do about the same thing with about the same level of protection, some fit thinner builds better, some fit more "american" builds better...The leather quality seems about the same as does the armour-much of the cost difference is once you get into kevlar thread instead of nylon, kevlar backed stiching vs no backing, name brand, design, Ti shoulder, elbow and knee exterior protectors or not, knox armour inside or something less, kangaroo or all cowhide, stretch panels-kevlar based or teramid, soft cuffs and collar or the leather is simply folded over and sewn.

 

There are lots of high quality suits to chose from and price is not always an indicator of its quality. Plenty of good suits to be had for under $1000.

Attend CSS and get a discounted price on AGVSport suits & gloves, SIDI boots etc....definitley helps if you are in the market anyways.

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Thanks everyone for the replies! Now I've definitely got more than enough information to find the right suit for me. My plan now is to try all the brands I can and get the most comfy one that's at the right price. Will share my result when decided!

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  • 1 month later...

I have an A* Orbiter suit, it was too tight in the chest and the calfs. I took it to a local tailor that all of the racers recommended to me and he opened the chest 2" and 1" on the calfs, plus we stretched it......made it feel like a different suit in a great way! The orbiter is a great suit especially for 900.00!

 

Unfortunately it has been crash tested lol but it held up great and did it's job! The tailoring only ran me 200.00 so 1k total works for me!

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  • 1 year later...

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