Ask RideApart: What’s The Best All-Around Motorcycle Riding Suit

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Two-Piece Motorcycle Suit

You ask, the community answers. This week: What’s the best all-around motorcycle riding suit?

This week’s question comes from Sharper 86, who asks: “My budget only runs to a single riding suit. I need something that works while commuting, touring, sport riding and maybe even on a track. What’s the best two-piece suit that can do everything?”

So, readers, what two-piece suits work for you?

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  • HoldenL

    A two-piece Aerostich Roadcrafter, naturellement.

    • Michael Howard

      As a very satisfied owner of a 2-pc Roadcrafter, I’m tempted to agree but, in my opinion, there’s no such thing as one suit that can do everything. For example, I wouldn’t recommend the Roadcrafter in hot weather. I kinda hate mine when the temp and humidity get into the mid-90′s (F and %). It’s tolerable so long as you’re moving even at low speed but, when you stop and lose all airflow, it pretty much sucks.

      So in warmer areas, one of the lighter variants of the Roadcrafter would be better, but then you’re not as well-equipped for colder temps.

      Most, if not all, gear is a compromise in one way or another. You just have to consider what is best-suited for your use.

  • Brian

    what is your budget? reccomendations without parameters like that can vary greatly.
    re: the Aerostich reccomendation, while I love their stuff, the O.P. mentioned track, and some track orgs are not fond of letting riders out on the track with those on depending on what level/group you are with.
    things to look for in general though would be, double if not triple stitching in impact/abrasion areas of construction, full circumference zipper, good armor placed in areas of impact, and a general fit that doesn’t roll around on you. Proper fit is key, especially with how some suits are cut very differently.

    • sharper86

      I’d say budget is $1200 or so. I live in Washington, DC and the temp can vary from 30-90+. Having one suit to handle that range (with layering in the cold months) and rain would be great. Track usability is the least important to me.

      I know there is a lot of support for a roadcrafter, but I do a lot of short trips in the city and often wear jacket only. Being able to split the suit is important.

      Thanks!

      • Brian

        I also live in the DC Metro area, so I know the conditions for which you speak. A Roadcrafter 2 piece( which is what I own) can operate as a 1 piece or a 2 piece suit, so it would offer you a fair bit of that kind of flexability.

        • sharper86

          I’ll check it out. Thanks Brian.

        • mms

          I’m down in Richmond so it’s similar.. have a 2 piece Roadcrafter also, with a separate bib for the pants, so i can wear just the jacket or just the pants or zip them together. But boy will you get sticky in the summer if you wear the whole get-up. Probably a good way to sweat off a few pounds.

      • roma258

        Why not break up the budget and get two suits? You’re gonna have a hard time finding one thing to do it all. My recommendation would be to get one set of kit that works under 70 degrees and another for hot weather riding. I’ve lived in the DC area, you’re gonna want mesh in the summer. All the vents in the world’s not gonna stop you from being miserable.

      • engageit

        Braking up the suit wont work with most leather track style suits. The jacket is cut way too short to be worn on it’s own,they’re just meant to be easier to get on and off and to allow you to take off the jacket portion between sessions on the track. That said, I love my Dainese Avro 2-piece. Really beautiful suit for under $1000, hard to beat that…

        • Piglet2010

          With a leather track suit, proper underwear is essential – not only does it help keep you from overheating, but it turns getting the suit on and off from a life-or-death struggle into merely an awkward pain-in-the-arse.

    • Piglet2010

      The Aerostich Roadcrafter along with certain Motoport textile suits are the only non leather suits you will be allowed to wear at most track days. The main downside is if you do crash, your day is likely over and your suit gone for 3 to 4 weeks back to the manufacturer for repair.

      I have crashed on the track in an inexpensive Cortech Latigo suit, and it held up just fine. Not as light, flexible, or protective as the very best, of course, but if you are riding track on that low of a budget, you are probably on an old pre-gen Ninjette that is not going to see more than 95 mph, no matter what track you are on, so a $550 suit (by the time you include shipping or sales tax) is perfectly adequate. Other suits in the same price range are likely also fine, but may not fit fat USians as well as the Cortech (e.g. Alpinestars).

      Get a Roadcrafter Light for non-track use if you can swing the initial price, otherwise get whatever two-piece textile mesh suit and rain-suit you can find from a major brand on closeout sale online.

  • John Lyon

    The one piece Roadcrafter works for me: http://www.aerostich.com/roadcrafter-one-piece-suit.html. I also had good experience (10 years) with the Firstgear Kilmanjaro: http://www.firstgear-usa.com/kilimanjaro.html I would like to try some of the Belstaff stuff one day and see if it lives up to its reputation.

  • Jack Meoph

    I went on a Xmas ride yesterday up the coast to Big Sur, and a couple of the guys had one-piece’s on. They just looked uncomfortable and bulky when we stopped at Napenth for lunch. One pieces are good if you’re staying on the bike I suppose, but the one that I had was just a nuisance when I wasn’t on the bike, riding (even taking a pee was a hassle), so I sold it after wearing it a couple of times. Get a decent two-piece that zips together. LEATHER.

  • http://www.joycomplex.com/ Jeremy Burnich

    I like the icon overlord pants and jacket and add some D30 armor. Pretty good for most weather and conditions.

  • APG7

    Rev’It Gear 2 pants with Galactic or Ignition jacket. Great for everything but real rain.

  • Stuki

    In Cali or similar climes, for actual riding on a multitude of different bikes, I’d say a Vanson Supermoto suit. Vents well, leather just grips saddles better than textiles, protection only slightly less than 4 inch steel armor, track ready even at fairly high speeds (Panigale Riders contemplating 200mph getoffs should wear nothing but properly fitted, tight as a drum, top of the line roadrace specific suits), and sufficiently spacious to sort of function even off bike.

    In wetter climes than Cali, the Roadcrafter is probably tops all around.

  • Jessica Dally

    Buy a kit for where and when you ride the most. Then save up and buy a kit for the off season. Trying to make one kit fit all your needs works only if your weather doesn’t change. You don’t ask your regular clothes to do it so you can’t really expect your riding gear to do it either. Besides you’re likely talking at least 6 months to save for another kit for different weather. If nothing else look for used kits at swap meets to make due in different weather while saving up for the different weather. Just my opinion after trying to make one kit work. It did until I started commuting year round. Then having something that worked in 80 degrees also work in 33 degrees and rain just wasn’t possible or reasonable.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    My suits the best. Laguna seca pro with alpinestars track vest tucked between the suit and removable liner so I have an inch and a half of chest padding and a back protector I never have to adjust or mess with. The vest is a size too big which means it doesn’t hug my body, so I actually have airflow around my core. If it’s raining or cold ill layer over the suit, throw a hoodie or a high visibility cycling rain jacket over since the venting and forward arms are where I need it.

    The best suit is a system that you can make to work for all conditions. That’s my system at least.

    • Piglet2010

      “To draw on an analogy from cycling, you’re not dressing to look a certain way,”

      That is hilarious, dude. For the roadie crowd, looks and conformity on the “training ride” (which of course starts and ends at a boutique coffee shop) are paramount (but not Waterford, Wisconsin made Paramount).

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Overstepping your area of expertise by a lot, again.
        I would love for you to share photos or a video of you actually riding something with two wheels. Until you do, go play pretend with someone else.

        • Piglet2010

          Yep, you fit the roadie personality to a T.

          • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

            Thanks.

            • Piglet2010

              You are welcome.

        • zedro

          Yes, he must a prove he is more than just a happy-time puppet/oven-mitt. Pics or he doesn’t exist!

          • Piglet2010

            I have ridden a scooter all over Lisbon.

            http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8306/7918804316_84b480479c_b.jpg

          • zedro

            I wonder if the down votes are from not getting the sarcasm, or just not appreciating it…..

            • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

              Sarcasm or not, considering the number forum fanboys lacking real world experience, who show nothing but biggotry towards bicyclists, there probably isn’t a whole lot of appreciation.

              • zedro

                Well just keep on keepin-it reel-er then……

  • Joe

    So, any recommendations for the city commuter? I’m guilty of wearing my Levis more often then not. I have a good armored riding jacket, full face and gloves. I am planning on investing in a decent pair of overpants. I’d like something that i could easily throw over jeans or slacks for the ride to work. More concerned with protection from a mishap than from the rain. Also, they must be as light and comfy as possible during our hot and humid NYC summers. Any suggestions?

    • Hummbug

      Rev’it Gear 2 pants feature leather protection with mesh panels and a zip-out waterproof membane. I have worn jeans under mine before. Also matches well with the Ignition 2 Jacket.

      • APG7

        I second the Gear 2. Surprising amount of ventilation on those guys.

  • MotoBell

    EASY – since your criteria didnt include good looking it has to be a Aerostitch Roadcrafter. I have a daines 2 piece for track, revit 2 piece for street but my aerostictch is the most versatile and ugly piece that I commute and tour in – there is no denying how functional it is and did I mention it will not flatter you in the looks department but damn it works well.

  • keith_joh

    Vanson Mark 2 Challenger jacket, Spidi chest back armor, Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Pants.

  • zweirad

    It really depends on the time of year. Here in NC, it gets cold enough that I want something durable like my Darien and AD1 overpants once the temps drop. (I also have an Olympia AST in high-vis that I wear instead of the Darien.) In the summer, I’m usually wearing a set of Olympia mesh gear: hi-vis Bushwhacker and matching mesh overpants (in black). Compared to leathers, they’re water-resistant, breathable and less expensive initially. If I had unlimited resources, I would look into a Transit suit or something like the BMW Atlantis suit.

    Aerostich has released a Lightweight and an Ultralight Roadcrafter that look really nice. I just don’t think that it would fit the type of riding like like to do: commuting, touring, etc. I prefer two pieces since they are are more flexible when I’m off the bike.

    Whatever you choose, just remember: All The Gear, All The Time. It will save your bacon.

  • atomicalex

    I have four complete suits. In reality and outside of the track, my Gore-Tex pair gets the nod almost every day. If I only had one suit, that would be it. Or a ‘stich top and bottom, which would be comparable in the US. During the summer, the mesh setup gets a lot of air time, in mild weather, I adore my Spartan leathers (and would live in them), and every once in a while my old Sheltex kombi sees the light. But really, those are all basically single-purpose suits. The GoreTex with removeable winter liners, hardcore ECE Level2 protectors everywhere, and tons of ventinng zips and pockets is the clear winner.

  • AHA

    If it really has to be one suit & track riding is included, I suspect the best choice is a leather GoreTex ProShell 2 piece e.g. From Rukka,Dainese,A* etc. You’ll need to figure out how to add knee sliders for track work but otherwise you are set. Only problem will be that you’ll have to sell your bike to afford one of these suits but you’ll be the best dressed person on the bus!