1-piece leathers are the ultimate in protective motorcycle clothing. The famous 1950’s TT racer Geoff Duke was one of the first motorcyclists to adopt a full leather suit. The idea soon caught on and development has certainly come a long way since then! When buying, important things to consider include materials, construction and body armour.
Cowhide is the most commonly used type of leather, but goatskin can also sometimes be used. High end suits, such as some of those manufactured by Held might also use kangaroo leather. In all cases, the quality of the grain and finished thickness varies depending on how leather is processed. For best performance and comfort our 1 piece leathers use high quality grains and typical thicknesses are in the region of 1.2 to 1.4mm. However, kangaroo fibres are extremely strong, so where this leather is used it can be considerably thinner (therefore lighter) and still provide excellent protection.
Generally speaking, the fewer separate pieces that are used in the construction of a suit, the more resistant to splitting in the event of a crash it will probably be. That aside, good quality stitching is also very important. It’s rarely possible to see from the outside what kind of stitching techniques have been used so it’s best to get this information from the manufacturer’s specifications, where available or look for reviews and recommendations.
Stretch fabric panels are used on many suits in low risk areas. These can allow a suit to fit closely yet remain comfortable and allow good movement. It’s worth also remembering that stretch fabric allows extra air flow, so this leads to a cooler feeling suit when riding in warm weather. Areas of perforated leather aid cooling too.
Good 1-piece leathers these days all generally come with a full complement of pre-fitted body armour. While most of the standard body armour is great, for additional safety we’d often recommend replacing foam insert back padding with a more substantial aftermarket back protector.
You may have noticed that some 1 piece leathers have humps fitted on the back – these were developed on the race track to help aerodynamic efficiency.
When choosing the correct fit, we advise bearing in mind that many manufacturers size their suits very conservatively. Most well known for this are Held and Alpinestars. Our size guides should help explain the sizing methods in use but we’ll be happy to help if you’d like to call us for advice.
Please note that all of our Held, Alpinestars and Furygan 1 piece leathers are available to order only and can normally come into stock within a few days.