So you've been riding for a while.
You can only go so fast on the road...
TO THE TRACK!
P.S - this article is not to discourage and scare you away from the track. It is to educate you...but hey, a small dose of fear is good for you.
Unless you can do this, we recommend getting a set of leathers...actually we recommend it anyway.
Ah wait...you've already done the level 1 track day and now you need to move up a group (congratulations by the way!) Which means new rules in regards to your getup. Which means leather.
Feeling a bit daunted? Let's break it all down.
To hit the track, you will need either a one-piece suit, or a two-piece suit. The two-piece suit MUST zip together.
If you come off at a high speed, and your jacket isn't connected, the jacket could ride up while you slide, and you can imagine the rest from there.
Now leather suits aren't cheap. They are a safety item, a very important safety item. When you are in a car, you have all that metal around you to protect you...on a motorcycle, you don't have any of that. The suit is your protection, and even your air bag in some cases! (There are now leather suits with air bag technology in them, expensive, but very cool!)
Our salesman Jimmy on the track in full leathers, riding a Yamaha Niken
1 piece or 2 piece?
While a 1 piece provides more protection in the event of an incident, a 2 piece can be a bit more convenient and versatile.
A 1 piece has no break in the middle of the suit, it's only weakness is the full front zipper, and have you ever seen one burst open on a Moto GP crash reel? Neither have I. 1 piece suits are super snug, and therefore can be uncomfortable and hard to put on. Once you have it on though, you will definitely have a sense of comfort knowing that you are encased in leather and very safe. 1 piece suits do tend to lack pockets, so don't be expecting to stash your phone, wallet, keys and sunnies in there.
I know I don't normally commute in full leathers, but I do wear my leather jacket.
So how do you fit leathers?
Well you know how we say your helmet should be snug? Now imagine if your helmet was a size smaller and was squeezing your brains out...you're just about there.
Leather streeeeeeeeeetches. When you are wearing it in such an aggressive position, it will stretch bigger and faster than a standard leather jacket. So if you don't pull a muscle, or almost dislocate your shoulder getting the suit on, then it's not tight enough.
Now let's try that brand new suit on. Is it comfortable? Yes? Take it off and try the size down.
Struggling to get in? Excellent!
Does it just zip up? That's great!
Now sit as if you're on your motorcycle, or if you can, go jump onto a motorcycle. When you are in the riding position, you chest should open up, the baggy leather around your backside will stretch and tighten, and the suit will just feel better.
The riding position is the position that all motorcycle gear is designed for. If you've got your chest pushed out, shoulders back and arms waving around like a wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man, you're not riding your motorcycle. Or if you are, you're doing it oddly...dare I say wrong?
Putting on leathers for the first time be like...
Is there any way to make getting leathers on easier?
YES! Welcome to the world of skins. Skins are a brand, like Esky, but it's also the universal name for undergarments that are skin tight, and designed for go under sporting clothing.
The point of Skins is to act as a barrier between you sweaty & possible hairy skin, and the leathers. It'll provide a smooth and dry surface for the leathers to slide over.
Even trying on a suit in store is a tough and sweaty experience sometimes. You may be able to get your leathers on easily enough first thing in the morning, but try getting them off half way through the day when you're all sweaty. Not an easy exercise.
SIXS do have a great range of skins made with carbon, making them super light, breathable and moisture-wicking. The configuration of the skins allows sweat to be truly taken away from the skin to the outside due to low density zones properly alternating with light pressure zones. This peculiarity ensures the athlete correct thermo-regulation and optimum breathability under all conditions. They also infuse the skins with perfume, they they smell great and don't stink as much when you get hem all sweaty. SIXS come in summer, winter and all season thermals.
Alpinestars also have their Ride Tech range, which uses Lycra and moisture-wicking fibers that are designed to be used with Alpinestars leathers for optimal confirm and breathability. Muscles are also supported against fatigue by a compression fit.
There are others out there, but that's what we all use here.
Trying leathers on with skins is 1000 times easier and 100% the best way to do it. So if you're going to hit the track anyway, I'd highly recommend getting a set.
Just some of the SIXS and Alpinestars skins options.
So there you have it. Hopefully I've given you some insight into getting a pair of leathers (and not scared you away!).
Ride safe and have a good one!
Got questions? Send me an email at [email protected]