At the time of writing, in order to participate in a bike track day at any of the major UK race tracks you need to either wear a full one piece leather suit, or a two piece leather suit that has a 360 degree (more like 270 degree) zip that connects the jacket and trousers.
If you currently have a two piece set of leathers with just a small zip connecting the jacket and trousers and are thinking you might try and get away with it, please don’t! The marshals check all two piece leathers before you’re let out on track and if they see your suit is not correctly zipped up then you will not be allowed out. So to prevent your day ending before it’s even begun, invest in a set of track day leathers.
Put simply, a one piece set of track day leathers are the best choice for riding on the track. From a safety stand point, there is only one thing that lets the two piece suit down and that is the zip connecting the jacket and trousers. The top and bottom halves of a one piece leather suit are connected through one continuous piece of leather material, and this is always going to be stronger and more durable that a zip. No matter how strong the material is that the zip is stitched to, it’s still a zip which given enough force can be pulled apart.
However, that in no way means to say two piece track day leathers will rip themselves apart at the first sign of a crash. I’ve had the pleasure of testing a two piece suit in one low and one high speed crash and in both instances the suit stayed together nicely. The zip was a bit worse for wear after, but it did its job and after the second crash I simply got a leather tailor to fit another one to it.
Two piece leathers do have one advantage over one piece suits in that they’re more convenient for road riders. It’s a lot nicer being able to get to where you’re going and quickly whip off the jacket to enjoy a little sit down, where as a one piece suit makes this a little harder to do. So for road riders looking to throw in a few track days in here and there, two piece track day leathers are definitely a viable option.
In truth, although there is a vast gaping hole between the cheapest and most expensive branded track day leathers from a price perspective, the distance between them in terms of quality is not so vast. People buy what they buy for different reasons and we all know that in some instances you are probably paying a little bit more for the name stitched onto the leathers, but just know that buying a set of leathers from any of the known brands will get you a set of high quality leathers to keep that supple skin of yours safe.
For the main leather manufacturers it’s in their interest to make sure their products do their job, so they will all be made to a high standard to make sure they do. All motorcycle leathers from well known brands have the same basic features i.e. premium grade leather, double and triple stitching, as well as armor to CE approved standards. In the end then you should opt for a suit that fits you well, you like the look of and you are happy to pay the price on the tag.
Sports Bike Shop offer a very hefty range of motorcycle leathers now and while they’re not always the cheapest, they certainly make up for it with bloody good customer service. Ask anyone.
Any of the one or two piece leathers that they sell will be of high quality and will more than meet the standards needed for track day leathers.
Photo by Driver Photographer