Leathers - 1 piece or 2 piece

I’ve been thinking about get a full set of leathers for this year.

I currently have a Dainese Leather Jacket and some Knox Kevlar jeans that I love for trips where I need to walk around a bit at the destination and can’t change clothes.

But for rideouts and many other journeys, leathers would be great.

1 piece offer greater protection but I was thinking that 2 piece is nice so you can take the jacket off while you sit with your pub grub.

Which do you have? Which do you prefer?

Two piece for ride outs and one piece for track days :grin:



Does your Dainese jacket have a zip to attach leather trousers to them?

2 piece are definitely better for road riding and needing to stop for breaks.

I think I’ve only once worn my 1 piece once on the road and realised it was a hassle and stuck to leathers or textiles depending on the type of ride.
It’s taken me years to afford this selection though.

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Zip together two-piece, with Dainese for example the zip is all around so they are approved for track days - or at least have been for the handful of track days I’ve done.

Agree, the flexibility to take the jacket off at a lunch stop is very handy.

One piece leathers feel really solid because there is only one main zip and once they are on they are on. There is nothing to fix or adjust and they don’t flap or move much. It’s like a second skin. It is kind of a unique feeling like a giant baby grow where as a 2 piece just feels like a jacket and jeans.

Plus because they don’t have any pockets you don’t faff about with them as much and have to find other solutions to carry your stuff. They are less practical though and using the loo is a performance.

You also won’t get the full Power Ranger, “I think I’m a racer” look with a 2 piece.

They are both good solutions but you definitely feel more like a racer with a 1 piece if that matters to you

2piece and bowtie for me!

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Shorts t-shirt and flip flops all day long. Even in winter.

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Textile Jacket and Leather Trousers

As many of you know, I have written a number of news articles and been on various clothing committees amongst other things for many years

Even though I am now in semi retirement, I still get asked to talk to groups about crashes and clothing and advanced riding as well as legal.

I wrote this article a few years ago now and some of you may remember it, but it is still relevant.

I hope it is of some help

[quote=“T.C, post:10, topic:112260, full:true”]
As many of you know, I have written a number of news articles and been on various clothing committees amongst other things for many years

Even though I am now in semi retirement, I still get asked to talk to groups about crashes and clothing and advanced riding as well as legal.

I wrote this article a few years ago now and some of you may remember it, but it is still relevant.

I hope it is of some help

Over the years, during my time as a motorcycle policeman and then an accident investigator, I have taken a particular interest in how protective clothing performs in the event of a crash. Without doubt leather is still the best protective material to be wearing on a motorcycle. However, when it comes to buying a new set, it never ceases to amaze me how often dealers will try and talk you into buying the latest 1 piece race replica suit rather than listening to what your requirements really are.

Now my requirements are very simple, I want a 2 piece suit that is the correct fit, comfortable (once it is broken in) and well made from a good quality hide. Although a bit of colour is OK, I like my leathers to be subtle rather than in your face! Not too much to ask is it? Well from a number of dealers I have spoken to recently, perhaps it is.

I recently went in search of a new set of leathers since my current suit was starting to get tired, and although I could have gone down the tailor made route and had any colour my heart desired, I am usually quite fortunate and can get a good set of leathers off the peg to the specification I require. On this occasion all five dealers tried to push me into buying the latest race replica 1 piece. Firstly this would have done no favours for my slowly increasing waistline, and secondly I really have no desire to walk or ride around all day with a big lump sticking out from between my shoulder blades. These suits may be ideal for the track day guys, but I don’t do track days, I ride a Blackbird not a GSXR1000 and I often spend up to 10 hours or more in the saddle.

But there is a more serious side! 1 piece suits are designed for use on the track where everyone travels in the same direction, with nice large run off areas and, importantly, none of the road side furniture that you get on your average A class road. In the event of an accident, medical help is usually with the fallen rider before they have stopped sliding, and everything is contained within a tightly controlled environment. On the road however we are not afforded that luxury. In the event of a serious crash we could be waiting for a considerable time before medical help arrives.

This is where the main issue arises between wearing a 2 piece and 1 piece. A well fitting leather (and this can apply equally to jacket and trouser combination) will, in the event of serious injury, act as a splint for broken bones and, in some cases, reduce blood loss. With a 2 piece, if the rider is suffering from lower body injuries the trousers can be removed quite easily allowing medical personnel quick and easy access to the injury and minimizing the amount of discomfort suffered by the rider. If there is a combination of lower and upper body injuries and it is obvious that, for example, the rider has broken his collar bone, then the jacket can be left alone as it will be supportive leaving the paramedics to concentrate on the area most in need of attention.

Put the rider into the same scenario but this time wearing a 1 piece. The leathers will not be able to be easily removed without great discomfort or the risk of further injury to the rider. Although the paramedics may be able to eventually cut through the leather to gain access to the injured part of the body, this will be time consuming and, in the golden hour, could prove to be critical.

Then there is the issue of practicality. How many times have you been to an event on a hot or even just a warm day, and seen riders walking about with their 1 piece race suits tied in a knot by the arms around their waists, while those who choose to stay covered up tend to look like they are carrying a couple of kilos in their underpants? This is due to the different stress panels on a 1 piece compared to a 2 piece since the 1 piece is designed for the racing/sports bike crouch. 2 piece leathers actually keeps their shape better for longer, not to mention the fact that when you are off the bike you can remove your jacket and remain more comfortable.

The issue of 1 piece versus 2 piece leathers has kicked off many lengthy discussions during presentations I have made to motorcycling clubs up and down the country, and I could take up another two or three pages going into the pro’s and cons of the two styles, but suffice it to say, Mr Dealer, when someone comes into your shop asking for a 2 piece, please respect their decision, the chances are they have considered the options and are not as convinced about the virtues of a 1 piece as you are, some of us like to dress for safety and comfort!


KJ, what size are you? I might have a 2-piece set spare you can try out.

@T.C as always you are a fountain of knowledge and expertise. You should write a book.

I’d like to hear @T.C Expert comments on Leathers vs Textiles vs The Elements

Back in the day my riding attire was a Lewis leather jacket and Levi 501 jeans. My memory is of becoming too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and drenched through when it rained. Can’t understand why we ever scoffed at our dads and the Barbour boys.

In my experience out on the road today it seems to be the leather clad power rangers who are the first to complain that its too hot, too cold or they’re wet through. My non-Expert opinion here is that an uncomfortable hot, cold or wet motorcyclist will also suffer from a loss of concentration and is likely to be an accident waiting to happen.

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Very kind, thanks! I actually used a 2 piece for my track day at Silverstone last September and found it quite comfy. I think I’m pretty sold on getting a 2 piece based on this thread.

Thanks all!

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I have contemplated a 1 piece before but my 2 piece is fit for purpose (I believe). It zips all the way around so I have been able to use it for track days.

I must admit I go comfort first so I have a bit bought over time, textiles from when I commuted into London and for any weather below 15 deg cause I get cold quickly I mean heated grips even in summer. When I bought my lid from helmet city they had a deal for a free pair of kevlar jeans, so that get used on the relaxing rides on silly hot days. so win win all around. Its also all the same brand so can mix and match tops and bottoms.

I guess I have always wondered if the £800 leathers is that much better than the £200 ones ? RST do pretty decent ones and they don’t cost your monthly mortgage payment

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just dont put your tops on your bottoms :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve always had two piece leathers, and have never regretted it. Even on track days. When on long rides, being able to take off my jacket on a coffee stop is great. Toilet breaks are a lot easier too.