Leathers & Riding Gear
|This page is going to be broken up into several subsections. The first part is about my thoughts on Helmets, the second is a compilation about Leathers I took over several web forums of various riding demographics from street riders to club racers about a decade ago so the info is dated, but still interesting. From what I have gathered I believe it is easy to say that the racers who know their ass is on the line look for safety & value as prorities whereas the street riders tend to go with whatever is cool & basically thrown in their face from a marketing stand point regardless of price.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to
get a decent helmet & yes I consider $500 a lot of
money for a brain bucket.
Top 10 brands of leathers preferred by Street Riders:
Top 10 brands of leathers preferred by Track Only Riders (many are WERA racers):
While doing this research study on leathers I learned a couple key points that are pretty simple to comprehend, but had never crossed my mind before as criteria:
Two major things to look for when buying a suit are:
1. Exterior seams. Anytime a seam is visible then that is a weak spot in the suit. Many maufacturers use lots of smaller scraps of leather which make up many "unneccessary" panels in the suit. This leads to exposed stitching, edges of material to snag & ultimately the propensity for the suit to come apart in that key area. This also includes exterior pockets for armor.
2. Number of stitches per inch. When you sew textile fabric the stitches bind into the weave of the fabric, but when you sew leather every puncture you make with a needle weakens the leather. Kinda like the perforations on paper to tear off checks or portions of a bill etc. 6-8 stitches per inch is generally more than adequate, but some companies use up to 15 stitches per inch which is just asking for the leather seam to rip out when put under stress.
Personally after owning & crash testing several brands over the years I went with the Barnacle Bill's custom suits because I know beyond any shadow of doubt that as many times as I have walked away from a crash unscathed while wearing one of his suits that I have made the right choice.
I just had new BB suit delivered last month (February 07) and while they are not the most stylish looking leathers on the market, his suits cost less than most off the rack leathers & way less than any other custom made set. Most importantly though Bill knows how to build a suit to take a beating & protect the rider!
I've had the red/white/blue suit below for almost 10 years, when I am instructing it is not uncommon to have to ride in the pouring rain many weekends out of the season, I have sweated in it profusely & it has survived numerous crashes. I have not had one repair made to this suit nor does it so much as have a single stitch coming loose (except on some patches I ground down while sliding across the track & one barb wire fence...
Me, my BB leathers
& Darth's RC
My new ones
More to come later