BKS leathers?

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BKS leathers?

Hello all,

OK, I know this should be on General, which I've tried but we all know what replies can be like there! In any case, this is "safety related"

If you had the cash and wanted top notch leathers, would you buy BKS? Are they worth it?

I know they are tailor made, 'CE-approved PPE' and all that ... but so are Hideout and Crowtree, which are less expensive

In any case, are they appreciably better than an Alpinestars Racing Replica suit that is allegedly identical to Nicky Hayden's? Italian leathers can look more fashionable, eh? It's that old chestnut: fashion versus features. Do I go for fashion or tailored spec? What do you think? Whoops, nearly went back to General there. Strike that last question

Has anyone got BKS leathers? What decided you to buy them? Did they live up to what you wanted? How long did they last?


I know someone who bought a set when he started racing.A good choice considering his start:crash ratio (2:1 !) . . . But it didn't all go well for him; as he was being measured at their stand at the bike show, my mate BeeDubya happened along and stayed for a chat. . . So as the guy from BKS is measuring and BeeDubya says "Leave them a bit baggy so he can get some Pampers underneath in case he gets scared", and when the colour choice was ecided (blue, red, yellow piping) Beedubya piped up "Oooh - a yellow stripe down your back - that'll go down well in the paddock."Beedubya got glared at then, so made his excuses and left However, said completed leathers saved chappy's hide, including a 90mph tumble which put owner in hospital for two days with concussion (his Shoei wasn't too good after), a smashed (4 pieces) collarbone, and various other cracks & bruising.That led to the point at which he gave up racing.His brother was visiting him in hospital, and they were discussing rebuilding the bike; owner said "I've got some black fairing panels" and his wife said "Yes, and I've got a black dress!".He took the hint

MarkSV wrote

...I know they are tailor made, 'CE-approved PPE' and all that ... but so are Hideout and Crowtree, which are less expensive ..

bad news sport - Crowtree are now much less expensive - they retired earlier this year from what I've gathered BKS do seem to make superb leathers, I doubt they were better than Crowtree in protection terms, but that avenue is now closed anyway. I'd regard whether club racers use them a lot as a good measure - they get to test leathers more than most of us and know which ones are good for a season of repeated crashing and which ones save your hide but fall to bits . I know Crowtree did well on that count. [but I'm biassed as I own a set ]. On that basis , you should probably repeat this question in the club racing forum ; they spend their days testing leathers, something that the SS folks here are fairly studious about trying to avoid I do know there is another less-known* three-letter-initial custom leathers shop that the club racers frequent, sure googling or asking in the right place will find them. *which is of course the way to go if you don't fancy paying an extra £300 to have the letters "B K S" on them.

Ask yourself what you want...Basically you're looking for abrasion resistance (as we've been thru many times before, the body armour will help avoid injuries caused by flying/tumbling but NOT hitting something hard) so that the suit needs to stay together. It mustn't (to any significant extent):

  • split
  • tear
  • wear through

On a v rough and subjective scale based on personal experience and what I've seen:4= cheap fabric suit/waterproof oversuit4= "market quality" leathers (often sheep nappa) from market - OK for ONE sub 30mph get off ie, it'll probably have small tears, small holes etc but has done the job at the speed tested but is now unwearable3= decent fabric suit3= "budget" m/cycle leather suit using poor quality hide from dealers - OK for ONE commuting speed get off (ditto small tears and holes, probably unwearable)2= quality fabric suit2= "fashion" leather suit using average quality hide from dealers - OK for ONE high speed get off (ditto but may be repairable like Aerostich or by leather specialist)1 genuine racing leathers from bespoke manufacturer from top quality hide - OK for multiple high speed slides with no significant damageI'm sure someone will be along to tell me about their 170mph crash into a brickwall after flying 30ft into the air AND being run over by a HumVee that only resulted in broken nails whilst wearing only jockey shorts any moment now...

Do you even really want leathers? Why? What riding is intended? A step in fabric suit like a Roadcrafter goes a long way to help you actually use it rather than leave it on the peg for those 'just nipping out' moments. Even for testing, I now use my Roadcrafter for everything but the track and even then only wear leathers when cornering is involved.If you want to look the part by all means get leathers, but I'm not so sure they are the right solution anymore for anything but track use.If so, you may need to consider budgeting for at least two if not three sets. I would also recommend you think about fully perforated. Outside of the ones already mentioned consider: AM, MW, Scott. I have one bespoke MW and a bespoke set of RS Taichi. However another one of my racing collaegues swears by AM. The Taichis are like wearing a second skin and very lightly constructed, but do not have such safe seams on the insides however they suit riding the modern ultra low barred sports bikes a treat. The MWs feel and are more crashable but a lot less comfy. The AMs I've seen look like a good compromise between the two extremes. It's all a set of tradeoffs..... enjoy your shopping

I had a set of BKS leathers made earlier this year. After many years of trying to find leathers that fit me well (I'm only 5ft 4 and a little bit 'big boned') I decided to go the made to measure route (BKS make off the peg suits as well). I did a bit of research and found BKS seemed to always come highly recommended esp. in magazine tests. I used the suit designer feature on their website, you can create your own designs and colour schemes, and submitted the spec I wanted via email. Brian Sampson (MR BKS) returned my email personally, and answered all the questions I'd asked. After an initial deposit, I was booked in to visit them to be measured and finalise the specs and colour options. Just about every aspect of the suit was available as 'standard' or 'customised', vented panels or plain, stretch leather or kevlar for example. Both Brian and Sandra, who I spoke to whilst there, were extremely helpful and knowledgeable. The balance for the suit was payable in a couple of installments, which helped spread the cost, as it were. My suit was delivered to me at the end of July, as promised, and although Brian had warned me it could take up to a month of riding to bed in, the suit fitted like a second skin from day one. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the workmanship in the construction of the suit and would say it was worth every penny. I had the suit pretty well spec'd up and had quite a few optional bits added and it came out at just over two grand. It was a lot of money, but I ride every day and will wear the suit every dry day throughout the summer. I have every confidence the suit will last me for many years. I have no hesitations in recommending BKS to anybody who asks about my suit, and can't speak highly enough of the service they give. As for how they compare to other made to measure suits, all I can say is one thing to remember is with the BKS suits the WHOLE construction of the suit is CE approved, and not just the armour as in some other suits. As for the replica off the peg suits, remember with BKS you are speaking to the people who actually make the suit (literally) and not just an importer or distributor. Hope this helps. You can follow the link to the BKS site from my sig.

I took the plunge and forked out £2,000 for made to measure suit. I did check all the options with special cool bubble liner , perforated leather and the best of everything on a tasteful black one piece suit to end all suits ! After the six weeks wait a very impressive weighty package arrived but to my disappointment the suit was too short in the tops of the legs. So much so that my knees felt like they were in a vice and painful after 30 mins riding. I consulted Brian at BKS and he swapped out to a thinner armour to give more room, and made alteration to lower leg area as they were so short i couldnt fasten zip around calf. There was an improvement and I have ied riding in the rain, sitting and stretching around in the leathers whilst wet etc. However, I have given up on these as they just don't allow me to move on the bike. 

Hmmm.  BKS seem to be over expensive.  I was chatting to someone on their stand at one of the shows and he was quite detrimental towards my M2M ZAK Leathers which cost half the price.  I saw a lad fall off at The Rock wearing BKS at about 20mph and was left with a big hole.  I crashed a few times in my ZAKs without needing any repairs with 2 crashes at 120mph to 140mph.  They were eventually cut off me but even after the last 100mph crash they would still have had good wear left in them. My replacement pair are a bit tight but am going to have them adjusted for a larger person!!!! ZAK are no longer going but they will still look after previous customers. Crowtree have always had a good reputation as have Heideout and a few other M2M  leather suppliers

Just wondering why this post has 973 views??? Is it a leather thing?...a rubber thing....???

Think you should be in the tyre section mate!

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