Recommendations for motorcycle leathers?
October 25, 2004 12:29 PM   Subscribe

New Motorcycle Leathers

I'm in the hunt for a new set of biking leathers (not necessarily leather but full coverage is preferred. i.e. not just a jacket). Can anyone make any recommendations on what's worked for them? And (perhaps more importantly) what to avoid?

Also, has anyone tried any of the new Scorpion EXO helmets? Any feedback would be great!
posted by fenriq to Shopping (6 answers total)
It's been my experience (10 years+) that you get what you pay for with many motorcycle accessories, especially leathers. If you are serious about riding, enough that you are investing in leathers, then you ought to consider quality before price.

One way of understanding what is good quality is to attend your local amatuer motorcycle races. The amateur racers are often the ones who are supporting the best manufacturers because they really need equipment that protects vs. just looks good. People who don't race don't think about falling too often, and often fashion or price comes before function.

If you're on the West Coast, then Z-Custom is in SoCal, and is really popular with racers up and down the coast. I had friends in Washington and Oregon (as well as California) who raced amateur classes and Z-Custom was the preferred brand.

On the East Coast, Vanson still remains strong. Venerable brand, legendary quality, very good stuff.

If you are willing to look beyond American brands, there are many other companies outside of the US that make leathers as well as or perhaps better than the best of the US.

Kushitani (Japanese)
Dainese (Italian)

I personally would stay away from brands (eg. Joe Rocket) that are manufactured in China. The Chinese do not have a history nor a legacy with motorcycle leather or protection clothing production. Companies that do manufacturing in China are doing so to cut costs. That in turn affects quality.

Good luck and keep the shiny side up.
posted by gen at 6:29 PM on October 25, 2004

NewEnough often has good prices on lightly-worn or almost-unworn leathers and other biking gear. I've heard that Helimot makes leathers that are the shiznit, but have no direct experience with them.

If you're considering the broader category of protective motorcycle gear, you should also look at Aerostich suits. I just got a one-piece Roadcrafter, and it's breaking in nicely. Many of the people I ride with have many tens of thousands of miles on their 'Stiches, and they hold up (and crash) very well.

As far as helmets, get one that's worth as much as your head (to paraphrase an old Bell ad). Once you have Snell certification (although there's some dispute about just how good that is), you're really paying for light weight and ease-of-use features like visor attachment, lining comfort, ventilation, etc.
posted by spacewrench at 6:38 PM on October 25, 2004

I agree with spacewrench. I've used an Aerostich for many, many years and many miles. Even went down in one with no injuries (fairly low speed.)
posted by gen at 6:47 PM on October 25, 2004

If you aren't in a hurry to get them, Langlitz Leathers.
posted by turbodog at 8:46 PM on October 25, 2004

fenriq, you're in NorCal... so you need to look no further than Helimot. They're in Sanfran, and you can speak to them yourself.

If you'd like to talk to someone who's used and loved Helimot's leathers, and is an unusual and hard to fit ... talk to Bluepoof, aka Carolyn. I count her among my friends (she helped me find my '93 viffer), and she's been an extremely happy customer of theirs, even returning a few times for adjustments and fittings when something didn't work or fit correctly. She's done something past 20,000 miles in Helimot gear.
posted by SpecialK at 8:52 PM on October 25, 2004

spacewrench, I've been thinking about the Aerostich, its got a lot to offer and I've never heard of anyone disliking theirs.

I will try to check out Helimot when I can.

Thanks for the input. I'm just in need of something that I can wear over work clothes and not have to worry about getting soaked or rashy if I go down.

I've been really pretty pleased with my Vent Tech jacket but the pockets are ripping out and it seems to delight in sending an arctic breeze down my crack at high speed.

Leathers and suits I can understand paying top dollar for but what about helmets? It seems like the new Shoei's are incredibly over priced and there's new Icons as well as the Scorpions. Yeah, yeah, ten dollar head buy a ten dollar helmet, I know but with that rationale I wouldn't be riding at all since they don't make $500 billion helmets.
posted by fenriq at 10:54 AM on October 26, 2004

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