I’ve found over the years that if I want clothing to fit me from top to toe, then I need to mix and match or go bespoke. A long-forgotten car rally co-driving career taught me that off-the-peg race suits did little for me – they either gaped hugely at the waist or were tight on the chest.
Eventually, I took the plunge and went made-to-measure to get the right fit for both sitting in the car reading notes and pushing the car out of a ditch – hence the end of my co-driving career.
For most motorcycle clothing, I can usually find the right combination. Generally, this is an Extra-Large jacket and Large trousers though depending on the manufacturer and cut, they may need a little...re-negotiation. However, approaching a trackday a couple of years ago, I needed some leathers...what to do?
I decided to go for a set of two-piece to begin with; rallying showed how tricky it can be to get into a one-piece suit when made of fire-retardant material, let alone leather. So, two-piece.
Then I looked at manufacturers and Alpinestars had just introduced the third iteration of their Motegi suit, the V3. The one-piece suit is still current though the two-piece version appears to have been superseded but it can still be found online.
So I was faced with the choice I have whenever I choose a suit; the sizing. I have a large chest compared to my waist so a pick-and-mix approach usually works but I went for a size in the Mogeti that should fit my torso and decided to see what the situation with the trousers was.
As it transpired, the 54 (EU)/44 (UK) jacket is a perfect fit, as I would have expected. This is the size of suit jacket I take and also, motorcycle clothing. The jacket is not surprisingly a snug fit – that’s the idea – and like any racing leathers, feels really weird off the bike.
The arms are pre-curved to fit a forward-leaning riding position and once on and leaning forward, it sits against the body snugly with no pressure points. The 1.3mm cowhide leather is stiff – it needs to be to offer the CE rating of AA – but once you’re in the racing tuck, you don’t often need to move much anyway.
There are accordion panels on the small of the back and behind the shoulders with stretch-fibre sections under the armpits and inside the arms, giving all the movement you need.
There’s a mesh panel at the rear of the neck, just above the short aerodynamic hump and there’s a built-in coccyx protector and chest protection too. The jacket comes with Level-1 armour but both the shoulders and elbows are also covered by external TPU sections.
It’s the trousers where the fit becomes a little loose. The waist is not too bad – the elasticated waist, popper and zip all fitting nicely. The leg length is about right and though the lower leg is tight on my calves, it goes on and does up fine.
There is stretch fabric on the lower leg and also, an expansion zip that makes it easy to get on. The knee armour sits in the right place and is held there, thanks to the tightness of the lower leg, particularly when tucked into boots. However, it’s the section around the butt that isn’t quite right.
Clearly Alpinestars think people with a 44in chest have a butt considerably larger than mine, as there is almost enough room for me to get someone else in there. Thankfully, as the lower legs and, to a lesser extent, the upper legs, fit so well, the armour remains in the right place and like the jacket, this extra material allows plenty of movement when leaned forward on the bike.
Despite this odd fit, it’s a really nice suit to use. I wore it on a five-session trackday as well as to and from the circuit for 90 minutes each way, in dry conditions on the way and wet (under a set of waterproofs) on the way home and it was perfect.
The fit overall is excellent and though a bit spacious, the butt area didn’t cause any problems. It’s clearly intended for use on the road as well as the track, as there are two external pockets on the jacket and two internal ones, including a waterproof one.
It is also obviously intended primarily for dry use, as the leather is perforated in places, including the chest and thighs and there is that mesh panel at the neck. The result here is that during a frantic trackday session, there is enough cooling air entering to prevent you overheating – useful on-track.
The collar is edged in neoprene, the cuffs and ankles do up with zips and are also neoprene-edged and it’s comfortable and reassuring. And, of course, if you want to, you can wear just the jacket with say a pair of jeans or the trousers with a touring jacket if you wish.
Two-piece design makes useful for track and road
Excellent protection from slides and falls
Quality item from respected manufacturer
Slightly odd cut to trousers