IF YOU’VE ever worn one-piece leathers, you’ll know what a bitch they are to get on and off. And, unless you splash out big time on a custom fitting suit, chances are it will be too short/tall/tight/loose (delete as appropriate).
Now blokes quit complaining, as women have it much, much worse. Until recently, most manufacturers wouldn’t even consider making a female specific racing suit, and even now some still don’t (Furygan I’m looking at you…).
And while the mainstream manufacturers now make aesthetically pleasing, relatively female-shaped suits, there’s still a long way to go. For example, Alpinestars’ only leather ladies suit– the Stella Motegi V2 – comes up at less than half the price of the brand’s premium men’s suit. Similarly, Dainese’s top spec Laguna Seca 4 costs £949.95 – miles off the £3,399.95 Mugello R D-Air. And did I mention that neither make an airbag compatible female suit? Now while there certainly isn’t the market for a wide selection of women’s suits, who’s to say that we don’t desire the same level of protection as is available to men?
Anyway, rant over. Any track riding I did last year was in Furygan’s Dark Apex Perforated suit, which was too wide on the shoulders, arms, waist and calves and too tight across the chest and collarbone. Boo.
So imagine my excitement at the prospect of getting my hands on my first ladies one piece – Dainese’s ‘Assen 1pc perf Lady’. It actually arrived last year, the day after my final track day of the season, and so it wasn’t until our recent superbike test that I got to wear it. Now, at 5ft7 and a size 8, I’m a fairly standard size, so figured an off the peg suit would do just fine.
Unfortunately, what’s standard in the UK is certainly not the norm for Italians. Known for their petite figures, their suits are shaped accordingly. Even a size 10 (42eu) is designed for women between 162.5cm and 165.5cm – that’s almost a whole 10cm shorter than me. And while the suit fits well elsewhere, the lack of length in the torso is evident when it comes to hunching over a sportsbike, restricting my movement and leaving my shoulders and collarbone aching after long stints. Equally, the knee sliders sit a little higher than they should – more over my actual kneecaps instead of below.
Luckily/unluckily (depending how you look at it), I was caught in yesterday’s torrential downpour in leaky waterproofs, which left the suit damp and hopefully a little looser. Because aside from it cutting me in half, I really love this suit. It’s bright, but not garish, and boasts the effortless style for which Dainese is famed. There are three colour options of black/white, black/red/white and then primarily white with red and black accents. I went for the former.
With an exterior made from Tutu cowhide leather, aluminium shoulder inserts and CE certified armour throughout, it promises Dainese’s top-level protection. And of course there’s a race hump and knee sliders, too.
With a removeable Nanofeel liner insider, it weighs a nice 3.64kg – that’s about three helmets, to put it into perspective – and significantly more when wet.
At £749.95, it’s certainly not extortionate, and costs similarly to Alpinestars’ offering.
I'm wearing the Assen suit at a California Superbike School at Donington Park today, so will have more updates soon!