Not every rider is looking for the maximum protection available from head to toe, but if you are that street rider who likes to push the limits on occasion and sail into a curve or corner just a bit faster than ever before, then a leather race suit could be one of the best pieces of riding gear that you ever purchase. Likewise, if you have a true need for speed that can only be satiated on a track, then a full leather race suit is a must not only for body protection but also for meeting the equipment requirements of most tracks.

Leather has been the material of choice for motorcycle riders since the early 1920’s when Irving Schott began creating purpose-built leather biker jackets in his lower East Side Manhattan factory. The material had survived nearly two decades of use as the jacket of choice of the early aviators and the durability appeared to transfer well to meet the needs of motorcycle riders as well.

Not only is a leather race suit going to provide the best abrasion protection but it is also going to allow you to have maximum impact protection and armor. Sliding across pavement can leave some devastating road rash but hitting an object or high siding off of the bike and suffering a hard impact against a vehicle or the ground can also cause life-changing injuries.

But a leather race suit offers the riders the ability to add impact protection and even extra abrasion protection on every part of the body other than your head, hands, and feet which should be protected with other gear. Check out the other “best of” articles on Web Bike World for awesome boots, gloves, and helmets to complete your safety gear package.

Now, back to leather race suits. There are a great number of variables when looking at leather race suits starting with the leather itself. You will want to check out the thickness of the leather as well as the type of leather. A solid piece of natural hide is always more durable than a man-made material or smaller pieces which are stitched together. Gear is only as durable and strong as its weakest segment, and in the case of a leather race suit, that could be the thread used in the stitching.

Next, check out the armor that is provided with the race suit as well as the upgrades or additional armor that can be added to increase your level of protection. Not every manufacturer will include the top of the line armor simply to make the entire race suit more affordable. But a quality suit will allow you to upgrade the armor.

While fit and comfort are not as critical to your safety as the physical durability of the race suit, they are very important. You need to be comfortable and have a full range of motion to get the most out of every ride, your skill, and your bike. The distraction of a suit that is too short waisted and binds in the seat area each time you move your upper body is not a good thing.

Either you will try to reduce your upper body movement or you will wait until the last second to move, knowing that it will cause a “discomfort” in a delicate region. And both of these can be dangerous on the track or even on the road. So find a suit that fits your body size and type. A big factor for comfort on long rides is expansion material and gussets. Quality gear is designed to accommodate your body in motion and still provide great protection.

Be sure to check back regularly with us here at Web Bike World to read about our latest hands-on reviews of leather race suits and other great products for riders.

Recommendations

  • Best overall: Alpinestars GP Plus V2 Venom Race Suit
  • Best value: Cortech Adrenaline RR Race Suit
  • Fully loaded: Dainese D-Air Race Suit
  • Other great options: Rev’It Spitfire Race Suit, Alpinestars Atem 2 Piece Race Suit, Dainese Assen 2 Piece Women’s Race Suit

Leather Race Suit Buyers Guide

The two choices that you will have for leather race suits are a one-piece true suit or a two-piece jacket and pants combo that most likely zips together. Each of these has their own benefits and drawbacks and you will need to weigh these points for yourself to determine which is YOUR best choice.

True One-Piece Suit

Pros

  • Solid leather is the best protection against abrasion
  • No zipper to fail and separate the jacket and pants
  • Leather panels offer more flexibility than a zipper
  • One piece suits can cost more

Cons

  • Must be worn as a full suit not just pants or a jacket
  • Some body types or shapes are difficult to fit in a suit format
  • Can feel restrictive until it breaks in or you get used to the new fit

Two Piece Suit

Pros

  • Easier to find pants and jacket that fit in some cases
  • You can mix sizes if upper or lower body needs extended size
  • Pieces can be worn independently or just not zipped into suit format
  • Pieces can be purchased separately to be more affordable

Cons

  • A zipper could break or be damaged causing a suit failure
  • A zipper can be uncomfortable
  • Total cost for a two-piece suit could be more than a one piece suit

Taking all of these criteria into consideration WBW has compiled a list of some great leather racing suits for you to consider when making your next purchase. Not only will this provide you with some great details about these six suits but it will also show you which criteria we felt were critical to the success of the gear so that you can evaluate other suits for your own use. And as always, be sure to check back regularly to read more evaluations and the results of our hands on gear tests.

Best Overall: Alpinestars GP Plus V2 Venom Race Suit

Alpinestars leather venom race suit front view Alpinestars leather venom race suit rear view

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  • Price: $1,199.95

The GP Plus V2 Venom is a true one-piece race suit constructed out of durable 1.3mm bovine leather.

  • The sleeves and legs are pre-curved for added comfort and mobility.
  • Large accordion stretch panels on the lower back and knees provide additional range of motion and comfort in a tuck position.
  • Stretch fabric panels in the sleeves, crotch, and chest add to the comfort and fit of the suit.
  • Calf expansion gussets allow for unrestricted movement of the legs when launching, tucking or leaning into a curve.
  • Ergonomic back hump provides better airflow and performance at high speed.
  • Perforations in the leather increase airflow and comfort.
  • Aramid fiber inserts in the arms and legs provide reinforcement at the critical seam areas for added abrasion protection.
  • Suit offers inner cuff and calf adjustors, a removable mesh liner, an inner wallet pocket, and a 3D textured fabric collar for added comfort and convenience.

The list of added safety features on this race suit is amazing considering the very reasonable price of just a nickel shy of $1,200.

Included in this price are DSF external, dual-density TPU shoulder and knee sliders, CE certified GP-R protection on shoulders, elbows, and knees, sport knee sliders, reinforced knee construction with grip texture for enhanced contact with the bike and chest pockets with PE padding. The suit is also equipped with a snap system to accommodate an upgrade to the CE Level 2 Nucleon Back Protector which is sold separately.

All of these features, the ability to add even more protection and a great price make the GP Plus V2 Venom from Alpinestars our selection for Best Overall Leather Race Suit.

Best Value Leather Race Suit to Buy: Cortech Adrenaline RR

Cortech adrenaline leather race suit front view

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Free shipping on orders over $40
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Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

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Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Leather Race Suits on Amazon

  • Price: $799.99

The Cortech Adrenaline RR is a leather one-piece race suit that is ready for a day at the track or on the open road.

  • This race suit is constructed of top grade cowhide leather with the thickness varying from 1.2mm to 1.4mm and a combination of perforated and non-perforated panels.
  • Rotated sleeves and pre-curved legs add to the comfort as well as the quality of the fit.
  • Accordion style expansion panels at the shoulders, elbows, waist, and knees along with stretch panels in the arms, inseam, and calves increase the flexibility and comfort as well.

For a very cost effective leather race suit, the Adrenaline RR offers some added features that you might only expect to find in a suit with a much higher price tag.

  • Seamless panels in the bottom and rear thigh area provide added durability for increased abrasion protection.
  • Stitching throughout is a high strength bonded nylon thread in a triple stitch pattern, and the cuffs offer spring-loaded zippers to eliminate flapping.

The list of safety features is equally impressive on this economically priced race suit.

  • The aerodynamic race profile speed hump offers great protection while the perforated leather and its hollow body provide awesome airflow for added comfort on a hot day.
  • Shoulder and elbow protection begins with TPU molded stainless steel external armor and also includes removable level 2 CE protection at the shoulder and level 1 protection at the elbows.
  • Level 1 internal protection is also in the knee area while the included knee sliders can also be added for external protection.

A few bonus comfort features include a soft neoprene collar, neoprene stretch panels at the cuffs for a custom fit and a removable and washable mesh liner with a zipper chest pocket.

For a leather race suit with a price tag well under a grand, the Adrenaline RR is a superior option. Hands down the Cortech Adrenaline RR is our choice for Best Value Leather Race Suit.

Best Fully Loaded Leather Race Suit: Dainese D-Air

 Dainese d-air leather race suit front view Dainese d-air leather race suit rear view

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Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

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Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Leather Race Suits on Amazon

  • Price: $2,079.96

The Dainese D-Air leather race suit takes safety to the next level using the Intelligent Protection System.

This amazing gear combines a wireless airbag system and technology package which includes:

  • Three accelerometers
  • Three gyroscopes
  • GPS
  • 4 GIGs if internal memory
  • LED user interface mounted on the right forearm.

In addition, proprietary software manages this state of the art race suit to instantly evaluate the accident conditions and severity to activate the safety features as quickly as 15 milliseconds for a violent crash or with a slightly longer trigger time for precise protection at a lower speed.

For the aspects of this race suit which have similar peers and can be compared, the D-Skin 2.0 leather is full grain cowhide but with added long fibers to increase the strength and durability of the leather while still remaining soft and supple. Added resin and silicone wax also increase durability without creating any added stiffness.

The D-Air includes all of the comfort features that you would expect from Dainese including:

  • Pre-curved arms and legs
  • Double calf zippers
  • Suit to boot fastening system
  • NanoFeel removable sanitized liner

When it comes to added protection, Dainese makes the standard protection appear mundane in comparison to their technology-laden bells and whistles, but they include only the top of the line all the way around.

  • Suit is certified to CE Cat II – 89/686/EEC Directive
  • Includes a back protector, composite protectors and Pro Shape soft protectors on the sides.
  • Aluminum inserts at the shoulders and titanium inserts at the elbows.

If you are looking for the latest technology combined with superior quality solid protection, then the D-Air is the suit for you. Testing demonstrated that this suit reduces the force transferred by traditional armor by an astounding 85%. And at a cost of just under $2,100, that is an amazing feat to offer any rider.

Technological breakthroughs, as well as the Dainese, continued high standards for excellence make the Dainese D-Air our selection for Best Fully Loaded Leather Race Suit.

Other Great Options

Rev’It Spitfire

Revit spitfire leather race suit front view Revit spitfire leather race suit rear view

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Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

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  • Price: $1,399.99

The Rev’It Spitfire is a one-piece race suit constructed of Monaco cowhide.

  • The arms and legs are pre-curved for comfort and mobility with Kevlar stretch inserted in key areas for flexibility and comfort when tucked without sacrificing superior protection.
  • Gussets at the knees, elbows, and back provide excellent flexibility while the sleeves crotch and legs add to the comfort and fit by using the less bulky Kevlar material.

The protection package includes:

Dual composition protectors at the shoulders, elbows, and knees which includes type A knee sliders, Betac CE elbow protection, Betac CE adjustable protection at the shoulders and knees and SeeSmart CE-level 1 type B hip protector inserts. The suit also includes a back protector pocket which can be purchased separately.

The Rev’It Spitfire is a great choice for a one-piece leather race suit offered in a variety of sizes and color patterns. Comfort, flexibility, and safety are all important features that are offered in this race suit.

Alpinestars Atem 2

Alpinestars two piece leather race suit front view Alpinestars two piece leather race suit rear view

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Awesome pricing

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Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Leather Race Suits on Amazon

  • Price: $1,299.95

The Alpinestars Atem is a full leather two-piece race suit.

The suit is constructed of 1.3mm full grain leather with inserts and armor for the comfort and protection that you expect from Alpinestars. The two-piece feature works well for riders who want to have the flexibility of wearing a race quality jacket only or a full suit.

  • Added comfort is provided by an array of stretch panels which are located in the torso, arms, crotch, and back of the knee area.
  • Accordion stretch panels also provide added range of motion to increase both safety and comfort.
  • Perforated leather panels and the full mesh liner provide great ventilation, increase comfort and promote wicking in hot conditions.

The protection begins with external Dynamic Friction Shield at the shoulders, elbow, and knees.

  • Added lower body protection is provided by the CE approved GP-R knee/shin protector featuring floating construction for a more customizable fit.
  • Upper body gear includes an Aero hump for improved aerodynamic performance and added impact protection.
  • Chest pad compartments with PE padding are included and the armor can be upgraded if desired.
  • Integrated PE foam padding on chest, hips, tailbone, upper arms and back.
  • Multiple snap button systems provide the option to integrate Level 2 CE certified Alpinestars Nucleon protectors, which are sold separately, throughout the suit for added safety.
  • A neoprene comfort edge is added around the collar and cuffs to prevents chafing and skin irritation.

The Alpinestars Atem 2 piece leather race suit is a good option for any rider who is looking for the ability to have a full race suit as well as a track quality jacket and pants which can be worn separately.

Dainese Assen Two Piece Women’s Race Suit

Dainese ladies two piece leather race suit front view Dainese ladies two piece leather race suit rear view

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webBikeWorld has worked closely with RevZilla over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner.

RevZilla

Free shipping on orders over $40
30-day no-nonsense return policy
Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

Buy This Leather Race Suits on RevZilla

Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Leather Race Suits on Amazon

  • Price: $949.95

The Dainese Assen two-piece women’s leather race suit is a great option for the ladies who just can’t find a men’s race suit that fits properly. The Tutu leather, accordion elastic panels, and the bi-elastic fabric inserts provide an ergonomic fit and the flexibility needed to ride comfortably and safely on a track or roadways.

And an added benefit of this platform is that ladies can purchase the race suit complete or the jacket and pants can be purchased separately to accommodate anyone needed varied sizing for upper and lower body. At the time this article was written, buying the pants and jacket separately will actually reduce the above-quoted price to $824.91 before tax and shipping.

  • Replaceable external aluminum plates on the shoulders
  • EN 1621.1 Level 2 standard composite protectors at the elbows, knees, and shoulders
  • Pro-Shape certified Standard EN 1621.1 soft protectors are located at the hips.
  • The safety features are rounded out by the interchangeable knee sliders and a 10mm jacket-pants connection zipper to provide security and durability in the event of a slide.

For the ladies who are having difficulty finding a men’s leather race suit that fits well and provides adequate protection for the street or the track, the Dainese Assen two piece leather race suit is a great option for extreme comfort and safety as well as the flexibility to fit almost any body size and shape.

1 Comment

  1. Terry Holt
    November 29, 2018
    Reply

    Thanks Kathy for this list. There’s great info on what to look for in a suit. Can you tell us how they fit (did certain ones from your choices run large or small?). Did certain ones take longer to break in than others? Guess I missed the details but you did check these out in person, right?

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