Top motorcycle leather suits

For ultimate protection, a set of one or two-piece motorcycle leathers will keep you covered.

BMW S1000RR on the road

by Jim Blackstock |

There’s a reason motorcycle racers wear leather; it's the most abrasion-resistant material you can get (either real or synthetic for those who prefer their motorcycling cruelty-free) so leather motorcycle suits makes perfect sense.

It’s durable, protects the skin in the event of an accident that involves sliding along the road or track and of course, when packed with the latest impact-resistant armour or airbags, will protect you as and when you hit the ground as well.

When it comes to selecting a leather motorcycle suit, you can either go for a one-piece or a two-piece which has a separate jacket and trousers that zip together. The latter is not as secure as a single-piece suit but does tend to be more forgiving if you are doing a trackday, for example, so you can relax between sessions or if you’re riding sportily on the road.

When it comes to fit, expect to feel very odd once you’ve got a on piece suit on until you sit on your sports bike and adopt the riding position – feet high, arms out and torso down with the head back. Leathers are built to be conformable when you’re on the bike, so they need to be snug but neither too tight nor too loose. They generally also won’t be waterproof so if you’re doing a trackday and you’re riding there and back in your leathers, you might want a pair of waterproofs in a rucksack with you.

What to look for in a leather suit

Different forms of leather can be used in the construction of leather motorcycle suits, but it will likely be cowhide (around 1.2-1.3mm thick) as its strength and abrasion resistance are excellent with potentially some elements in kangaroo for its flexibility and grip. There should be some flex panels for additional comfort while on the bike and the leather may also be perforated, as riding on a circuit is hard work and the body needs cooling air.

Related: Best summer motorcycle gear

Most leather motorcycle suits will be CE AAA rated and will include armour that is rated as per all other garments, so ideally, look for CE Level-2 armour at the shoulders, elbows, back, knees and hips while you might also want it at the chest and possibly protection for the coccyx as well.

Alternatively, you may want to add airbag protection, to cover the neck and torso for additional peace of mind. You should also look for external impact protection, such as TPU plastic sections on the outside of the shoulders, elbows and replaceable plastic sliders on the outside of the knee.

Here is a selection of leather motorcycle suits that will keep you covered

Dainese Assen 2

Dainese Assen 2

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This suit from Dainese has plenty going on; formed in perforated cowhide leather, it has several stretch panels in key areas, including the back and has a floating shoulder system that incorporates aluminium bracing.

It can also accept an integrated drinks bladder so riders can stay hydrated and has Level-1 armour in the shoulders, knees and elbows. It is ready to accept the company’s Wave air back protector and of course, has replaceable external knee sliders.

CE Rating: Unknown

Armour rating: L1

Pros:

• Perforated for ventilation
• Drinks bladder compatible
• Aluminium shoulder bracing

Cons:

• Back protector is extra

RST Podium Airbag

RST Podium Airbag

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A serious piece of kit, the RST Podium is based on the company's experience of supplying suits to racers from all forms of sport and is a CE AAA-rated suit made from full-grain leather with stretch panels across for flexibility and a less aggressive cut for road riders and trackdays.

It features a mesh liner to help promote airflow and venting panels, as well as perforations in the front for additional airflow. There is Level-1 armour in the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees with Velcro provided for knee sliders and external TPU panels on the shoulders. It also includes an integral In&motion airbag, protecting the back, neck, collarbones and chest in the event of an impact.

CE Rating: AAA

Armour rating: L1

Pros:

• Airbag
• Mesh inner lining for comfort
• Less aggressive cut more practical away from the track

Cons:

• None

RST TracTech Evo4

RST TracTech Evo4

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A non-airbag suit from inflatable clothing specialists RST, this is a less aggressive design than its official race suits and features cowhide leather throughout with a four-way stretch panel system for comfortable and forgiving fit on the road or for trackdays.

The suit is CE AAA-rated and comes with Level-1 armour in the shoulders, elbows, knees and back with Level-2 at the hips while there are also external TPU cups on the shoulders. There’s an aerodynamic hump on the back, neoprene edging to the cuffs and collar and provision for replaceable knee sliders. Also available in two-piece suit.

CE rating: AAA

Armour rating: L1 (hip L2)

RST Race Dept V4.1

RST Race Dept V4.1

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Another from RST, this time based on its pure race garments and fitted with an integral airbag for optimum protection. The suit is formed from a combination of kangaroo and cowhide leather to achieve a AAA CE rating and features numerous stretch and accordion panels for comfort and fit on the bike.

There is a removable mesh lining to help promote airflow from the perforated leather and it is fitted with Level-2 armour int eh shoulders, elbows and hips with Level-1 in the knees. There are also external TPU cups on the shoulders and knees and an In&motion electronic airbag integrated into the suit to protect the thorax, neck and back.

CE rating: AAA

Armour rating: L2 (knees L1)

Furygan Full Ride

Furygan Full Ride

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Tested by Dan Sutherland for 2500 miles, three race meetings and three crashes
Value 5/5, Quality 5/5

"It’s not often this happens, but I’ve got nothing but praise for this Furygan one-piece. I wear it on the road, during trackdays and when I’m racing, and it’s never failed to impress. Once zipped up with my Spidi chest and back protector in place, it’s hands-down the most comfortable riding kit I own, and it’s the first set of off-the-peg leathers I’ve tried where every limb fits just right without any flappy excess material."

"The cut isn’t that aggressive either so it’s comfy on foot, and it’s held up very well despite three slow-speed racing tumbles – with just a few external scuffs and a few frayed stitches on the right shoulder. What’s more, the hard plastic knee sliders are highly durable and show minimal signs of wear despite plenty of use (I promise...!). It’s well made and the lightning bolt design appeals to my love of all things 1990s."

"Those thinking of buying the suit for the road may be put off by the lack of internal pockets and the bulky elbow sliders – which make popping on additional layers an absolute pain without a helper to assist you – but it’s marketed as a racing suit and for that purpose, it’s really very good."

The Furygan Full Ride is ready to accept the company’s airbag insert, using the In&motion technology for additional protection. Formed in cowhide, the suit features aramid reinforcement at the hips and on the seat as well as Level-2 D3O armour at the shoulders, elbows and knees.

CE Rating: AAA

Armour rating L2

Rev'It Xena Ladies

Revu2019It Xena Ladies

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Designed with a ladies'cut, this suit from Rev'It is available in while and black or with a pink trim for those who aren't afraid of clichés. It is formed in cowhide leather with numerous stretch panels for fit and comfort, including around the arms and legs and across the back.

It uses Level-2 armour in the shoulders, elbows and knees with the option of an L2 back protector and there is also coccyx protection built in. There are further external TPU slider sections on the shoulder and elbow and the obligatory knee sliders.

CE rating: A

Armour rating: L2

Alpinestars Motegi V3 One-Piece

Alpinestars Motegi V3 One-Piece
Amazon

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I have the two-piece version of this suit and really like it. The one-piece is what Alpinestars describe as an 'aggressive design' and it is made from 1.3mm cowhide with double layers in key abrasion areas. There are sections of perforated leather to allow cooling air into the body and stretch panels in key areas to give optimum comfort.

In addition to the internal armour in the shoulders, elbows and knees, there are also external TPU sections on the shoulders and elbows while there are pockets for chest and back protectors.

Read our full review of the Alpinestars Motegi V3 two-piece version here.

CE Rating: AA

Armour rating: L1

Spidi Track Wind Pro

Spidi Track Wind Pro
Amazon

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The Track Wind Pro from Spidi is about as serious as it gets. Made in cowhide, it is CE AAA-rated and comes with CE armour at the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees with a choice of Level-1 or Level-2 back protector.

It has stretch panels at the crotch and under the arms and comes with knee sliders as well as mounting pads for optional elbow sliders. It has an aerodynamic hump and can accommodate Spidi’s Hydroback drinking system. There’s a mesh lining for airflow and comfort and perforations on the front for additional air flow.

CE Rating: AAA

Armour rating: Level 1

Andromeda NearX

Andromeda NearX

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For riders who want the ultimate protection without harming any animals in the process, the NearX suit from Andromeda is the way to go. Formed in synthetic leather, the suit is Vegan-friendly yet rated AAA and tailormade for a perfect fit. The surface of the 'leather' is water-repellent and the suit is lined with Kevlar for abrasion resistance.

There is a full suit of armour, including Level-2 back protector, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and coccyx with Level-1 chest armour. There are external sliders at the shoulders, knees and elbows with knee sliders and an aerodynamic hump. *Excluding EU taxes

CE Rating: AAA

Armour rating: L1 (chest) L2 (back, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and coccyx)

Oxford Stradale

Oxford Stradale
Amazon

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Rated AAA in the CE standard, this suit from Oxford is designed for road riders who want the protection of a one-piece leather suit without having to adopt the full racing tuck. There are perforations on the shoulders and the upper arms to allow cooling air in without affecting the integrity of the suit and the whole chest area is also perforated.

There are stretch panels around the cuit to allow for a flexible fit and it comes with CE Level-1 armour at the shoulders, elbows and knees with a pocket for a back protector.

CE rating: AAA

Armour rating: L1

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