Whether you’re a motorbike newbie or a seasoned rider, buying a new suit usually isn’t something you do every day. Store employees might not always give you the best advice and even when you do find a great shop, it’s still important that you know what to look for in a new outfit. So here it is: your guide to buying a new motorbike suit.
Leather or textile?
This will be the first choice you’ll have to make and the answer often depends on what you will use it for. Textile is usually the to-go-to solution for commuters and others who use their motorcycle as their main transportation. It allows you to wear your normal clothes underneath it and if you buy a good quality outfit, it will keep you dry when it rains. Some people find it more comfortable, because it’s less tight than leather.
Leather on the other hand is more suitable for the ‘leisure riders’, the people who just ride for fun, only when the weather is nice. It’s safer because it’s tighter than textile suits, so the protection won’t move in case of a crash. On warm days, despite popular believe, it’s also more comfortable than textile. Leather let’s your body heat out, while most textile suits don’t. And let’s be honest, leather usually looks better than the Michelin-man you look like in textile.
The right fit
This is the most important factor when buying a new suit: it should fit you perfectly. Many people, especially first time buyers, tend to buy a suit that is too big. First of all, that’s unsafe, because the protectors might move if you fall. Second, with a textile suit, if it’s too big, you will get incredibly frustrated because it will flap in the wind. Leather will stretch up once you wear it, so if you buy it too big, thinking it’s right, you will regret it after a couple of rides. Whether you buy textile or leather, don’t try to lift your arms up ‘to see if it fits’. That’s not your position on the bike, so the outfit is not designed to do so. In fact, put on the suit and actually get on a bike. You will see that it instantly feels better. Or not, and in that case you’ll just have to keep looking.
1 or 2-piece
If you decide to go with leather, there’s another decision you’ll have to make: will you go for a 2-piece or 1-piece? The upside of a 2-piece is of course that you can take of your jacket when you walk around or go to a terrace. However, I walked around entire holidays in a 1-piece with the top half just hanging behind me. Not only is it the safer choice (the zipper in the 2-piece is a vulnerable part during a crash), but especially on sport bikes, it’s also more comfortable. Where the pants and jacket overlap, they will press into your stomach the more sporty your position is. A 1-piece doesn’t have this issue.
One last tip: don’t go buy your outfit when it’s really warm; you don’t want to put on 5 different outfits when you started sweating before you even walked into the store. Be smart, do it during the winter.
The Biker Chick