Top 10s

Best motorcycle leathers for all budgets

Motorcycle leathers are a must for those looking to ride fast on road and track but who much should you spend and on which brand?

IF you’re looking for the ultimate amount of protection while riding a motorcycle, a one-piece leather suit is the only way to go.

For many riders, stepping out without half a cow (or kangaroo) draped over their body would be akin to walking into the supermarket wearing your undies and some flipflops – not cool.

The last ten or 15 years have seen a massive boom in motorcycle leathers, mainly thanks to trackdays becoming a commonplace pastime for bikers with adrenalin dependency. With that growth in the trackday trend, more and more leather manufacturers have cropped up and the ranges of leathers have increased massively.

With an increased market for leathers, the price will naturally come down, and today you can go out and buy a leather suit for half what it would have cost you just a few years ago. In fact, from top-spec MotoGP-style leathers to budget options that are almost disposable, the choice is as wide as the motorcycle market itself.

To help you sort the cow from the kangaroo, here’s our guide to one-piece motorcycle leathers to suit every budget.

Best budget motorcycle leathers

RST R-SPORT - £399.99

Info: www.rst-moto.com

RST has long been known as the maker of the best value leathers for years now, in fact, my first one-piece was the old R-16 which has lasted me over four years of tests, trackdays and crashes. Today an RST suit is a common sight in the club championships and even the BSB grid. The good news here is that the trickle-down in tech from the top-spec, hand-built suits to the more budget options makes them a very enticing option for those looking to spend a little and get a lot.

ARMA Harada R - £499.99

Info: www.armr-moto.com

Like RST above, Arma have been seen as a budget option for some time, but while they quietly chip away at the job in hand they are beginning to make a name for themselves with riders like BSB Superstock 1000 contender Milo Ward rocking the Harada R suit on the track. They may not have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive suit, but with 1.2mm cowhide and CE armour in the shoulders, elbows, and knees, it’ll still save your skin in a slide.

Spada Curve Evo One - £499.99

Info: www.spadaclothing.co.uk

Spada has made a metamorphic transformation in the last few years, going from a budget textile manufacturer and kitting out those taking their CBTs, to protecting Dean Harrison as he wins the Isle of Man TT. Pretty meteoric you’d have to agree. Riding on the success of Dean and the other riders in the Spada family, the Curve Evo was developed as a kind of do-it-all suit, for riders of all levels. The suit has some nice touches too, like a neoprene collar, fleece-lined cuffs and ankles and a dual density foam in the back padding.

Best retro-styled motorcycle leathers

Ixon Legendary - €699.99

Info: www.ixon.com

If you prefer your track riding to be a little more classically styled, the Ixon Legendary leather suit should be right up on your wishlist. Retro looking, they might be, but retro-tech they are not, as the Legendary suit comes equipped with CE shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, are full cowhide construction and can accept an airbag too.

Best trackday motorcycle leathers

Furygan Full Ride - £709.99

Info: www.nevis.uk.com

If you are looking for some leathers that will spend most of their time on the track and that won’t break the bank, the latest one-piece suit from Furygan is a good choice. As you’d expect they have CE armour in the shoulders, knees and elbows, can fit a back protector in and are made of full-grain cowhide.

Buying Furygan leathers puts you with some pretty exulted company too, with TT legend Michael Dunlop being a long-time fan of the French brand.

Spidi Race Warrior Perforated - €999.99

Info: www.spidi.com

Now, these particular leathers have a special place in my heart, as I’ve been wearing a set for road and track riding since the Autumn of last year. So I’m pretty well placed to advise on the comfort, finish, and protection of the kit – it’s all bloody good!

Not only do they have CE armour everywhere, the internal (and removable and washable) lining keeps you cool and fresh, even in the 32°C heat of Jerez for the R1M launch last year. So they are comfy, offer mega protection and look pretty cool, even if the guy wearing them doesn’t!

Best premium motorcycle leathers

Alpinestars GP Pro V2 Tech Air - £1,099.99

Info: www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk

If you want the pinnacle of protection from your leathers, an airbag suit is what you need and there are only a few places to go for one of those. One of the pioneers of airbag tech in leathers was Alpinestars, who have long been at the forefront of the technology on road and track.

The GP Pro V2 is the culmination of years of work and hundreds of racer’s crash data, all rolled up into one slick-looking suit. It’s not cheap, but then no airbag system is. But if you take your track or road riding seriously, the cost is justified.

Dainese Misano 2 D-Air - £1,979.95

Info: www.dainese.com

The Dainese answer to the airbag question is the D-Air system, more of a vest within the leathers that inflates in a crash, rather than just a bag. The exterior is what Dainese calls the D-Skin, in layman’s terms, it’s 2.0 full-grain cowhide leather. For the trackday heroes among us, the Misano comes with pre-installed aluminium plates on the elbows for sparkling (or sparking) cornering.

Spidi Track Replica Evo - €1,299.90

Info: www.spidi.com

The top of the range leathers from Spidi come in the shape of the Track Replica Evo, which take their design, tech and styling directly from the leathers worn by the pros on track in WSBK and MotoGP. The Replica EVO is made from premium Italian cowhide leather 1,2 to 1,3 mm thick. This, combined with stretch material structures and neoprene inserts, should help to improve the level of comfort for the rider while racing.

The money no object motorcycle leathers

Kushitani custom leathers - £4,000

Info: www.kushitanimobileshop.com

The mythical Kushitani leathers are considered to be some of the best suits in the world. Built at a secretive factory in Japan, the skills and techniques used to make the production process sound like a Japanese master craftsman is making a samurai sword!

The Proto-Core suits are water-resistant, inside and out! Meaning that rain and sweat won’t soak in making the suit heavy and cumbersome. Even the cows that provide the leather for a Kushitani suit are specially bred just for that task!

It’s eye-opening stuff, and if you can afford one – and wait as the custom suits take time to make – they are regarded as the best leathers on the planet.

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