Leathers: One-piece vs Two-piece on a budget

I did have a long, thought-out post on this, listing pro’s and cons of both. But my cocking internet died and didn’t let me re-send the cocking data. Anyway, to the subject.Getting a new bike next year, when I turn 17. Big 250cc V-twin, I want something to protect me, but also be flexible in it’s use. One-piece seems to offer the best protection, but is limited as it’s a single suit, where I could zip apart a two-piece and wear it with my draggins to school etc.

At the moment, considering my budget, I’ve been looking at manufacturers like Spada (Their Predator suit is very nice, and a decent price at £320, and they even do onesies starting from £315) and RST. My favourites are the Arc-On’s, Stealth two-piece and Corse onsie, The stealth for £345 all in, the Corse for £399. Plus they both have aero-humps and Knox armour.

Basically, what do you ride with and why (pros/cons of two vs one) and what would you suggest for a guy on a short(ish) budget as a decent set of long-term, long-use leathers, two piece or one piece and a decent manufacturer?

I use both…One piece for track days as they are the most comfortable for being in the performance riding position.

Two piece for out and about on the road as they offer the convenience of being able to take off the top half easily, sometimes I just wear jeans and the jacket.

On a budget, I’d just buy a 2 piece…Much more convenient and pretty much the same level of protection…Just get a suit with a good quality zip between jacket and trousers.

I’d say go for the 2-piece, pretty near the same protection as the 1-piece but far more flexible.

One other thing to bear in mind when you talk about long term use is that from my (albeit some time ago) experience, at 16 you’ve certainly not stopped developing physically & a suit that fits you well now is pretty unlikely to do so in a couple of years time.

So if you’re on a budget I’d suggest keeping an eye out for 2nd hand bargains - there’s plenty of barely used stuff being flogged off cheap on places like ebay that you could then sell on a year later for pretty much the same price that you paid for it.

If your budget is £300 mark, you can pick up bargains at either shows or warehouse shops. If you go to Geroge Whites in Slough, the factory outlet part, you can pick up a 1 piece Wolf or Spyke suit down from £600 to £280.

I found 1 piece quite a hassle to get in and out off but people say once it stretches and moulds to your body it is much easier. I have to admit I felt much safer in a 1 piece suit that a 2 piece but in the end I went for the 2 piece for practicality.

2 piece RST for this fatboy :smiley:

much easier when out and about cos you can remove the jacket, but as your just starting out it might pay you to try different brands on in a shop then look on fleabay and pick some up cheap cos you will prolly need another set in a few years :slight_smile:

Unless you plan top do loads of track days or go racing, a two piece will actually afford you better protection.

I will try and post a copy of an article I did on the pro’s and con’s later.

Also a 2 piece gives you the option of wearing leathers with a textile jacket or vice versa, most jackets and trousers come with a compatible connecting zip to zip to other garments. :smiley:

Some of the budget 1 piece manufacturers are good. Like Akito - they make decent 1 piece kit.

I’ve got a spare one in size 40" 5ft 11 (will fit smaller or taller up to a few inches no doubt) and used to use it for 2 track days only and never crashed! :w00t: Not needed now. Only cost 200 quid new.

If you like the power rangers look, it’s great for the track. Otherwise, 2 piece all the way.

Hey T.C were you on the ukbikeforum?

I remember an article there on 1 piece leathers vs. 2 piece.

I’d be interested to hear how a 2 pice can offer better protection than a 1 piece. I have a 1 piece for track days as the zips on 2 piece suits often break open if you slide or land on your back and there are plenty of examples of people with nasty gravel rash as a result.

It’s also easier to fit a full length back protector with a coxyx protector into a 1 piece suite because you don’t have the tight waist of the trousers. Doesn’t mean you can’t but it’s much more comfortable and it stays in the right place.

Sure a 2 piece is more convienient for road use but the armour and stitching will be the same as in a same make 1 piece. Only difference is the waist.

Still, would be interested to hear another side of the coin in favour of 2 piece suits.

Head injuries, although often the most serious, are not the only injuries motorcyclists suffer. Leg and arm injuries are common, and leg injuries in particular can be serious often causing permanent disability.

Under the EC personal protective equipment directive, a series of European standards are being developed for motorcyclist protective clothing that will be designed to.

  1. Prevent or reduce laceration and abrasion injuries.

  2. Prevent or reduce impact injuries such as fractures, broken bones and joint damage.

These standards marked with a CE mark are essentially to help riders distinguish between clothing that offers a minimal level of protection, and garments that may look similar but offers very little if any protection at all.

Unfortunately for many riders, the buying of new leathers is often no more than a fashion statement as opposed to a desire to maximise their protection, but, contrary to popular believe you can be fashionable and protected.

As with helmets, there are accidents and injuries from which even the best or most expensive clothing will not protect the rider. It is therefore important not only to try and reduce the severity of the injury, but also ensures that the garment is comfortable, does not impede your movement and will reduce the affects of fatigue thereby aiding concentration.

Leather is still regarded as the best form of protection against injury when riding a motorcycle. They are made from a natural material, which is breathable, abrasion resistant and supple. Like a crash helmet, they cannot offer total protection from injury, but they can reduce the severity and long term affects if they fit correctly.

Leather garments can be made from 4 different animals, Cow, which is the most commonly used, Goatskin, Buffalo or kangaroo skin.

Cowhide is the preferred choice of most manufacturers. It is heavy duty (compared with the others). It is hard wearing, and in the main the manufacturers use 1.4mm thick hides, which means that in the summer weather with the thickness and all the padding they can get hot inside.

Buffalo hide is often used on cheaper garments and this can be felt in the overall quality when compared to other leather products. Buffalo is tough, will last well but it tends to be a very stiff leather and can take some time to bed in and soften up.

Goatskin although worth considering as an alternative for summer use is very difficult to find in the UK. It is considerably lighter and more flexible than Cowhide, and many consider the goatskin to be stronger than cowhide due to the fibres being more closely knit together than cow skin. The downside is that goatskin stretches a lot quicker than cow so it may require specialist tailoring on an annual basis.

Kangaroo is probably the least known of the hides used although they are being used more regularly in very hot climates. The hides are supple, light and quite tough, but it has been found that they can react with sweat particularly when worn by riders who perspire freely. If this were the case then you would probably be well advised to look elsewhere as you may find your suit literally coming apart at the seams, although manufacturing techniques are improving all the time.

For those considering purchasing leathers for the first time, the question often asked is whether to purchase a suit/jacket combination, two piece suit or a 1 piece racing suit. The choice comes down to individual preference, but here are a few points that you may find useful to consider.

  1. A jacket and trouser combination is probably the most popular choice for the majority of riders, and, they can be worn singularly or in combination. However, many jackets (not all) have a Thinsulate lining for warmth retention together with a quilted lining. Many riders to complain that they overheat in warm weather which can ultimately affect concentration. However, this combination is ideal if you are an awkward size or on a limited budget.

  2. A two piece zip together suit can be a good choice for a number of reasons.

  • They can normally only be worn as a complete garment thereby maintaining your crash protection.

  • They come in a number of colour choices therefore conspicuity can be enhanced.

  • They are normally lighter than jacket/trouser combinations which for some means they will be more comfortable for summer or warm weather use.

  • When stopping for a break, the jacket can be unzipped from the trousers thereby enhancing comfort when away from the bike.

  • They maintain their shape and size better.

  • They often have features such as perforated leather to allow air to pass through in warm weather, stretch fabric panels behind the knees, waist and inner thighs which again can enhance warm weather comfort.

On the downside, riders may also wish to consider that:

  • They can normally only be worn as a complete suit.

  • They can take a while to break in and mould to your shape.

  • They are not particularly warm in the colder weather.

  • There are not as many pockets as in a jacket/trouser combination, which for some may be a good thing.

  • The colours tend to be more flamboyant than jacket/trouser combinations.

One Piece suits are the other alternative often favoured by those who ride Supersports or participate in track days. Whilst offering a fair degree of protection, for road use they have often been deemed impractical as you cannot separate them when away from the motorcycle, but more importantly in serious accident situations, the emergency services have occasionally experienced difficulty in rendering an effective diagnosis or treatment simply because they cannot cut through the leather to tend to the riders injuries, or they cannot risk removing the garment without fear of causing further injury. This of course comes down to a matter of preference.

There have been a number of occasions where the rider wearing a 1 piece has suffered multiple injuries to both lower and upper body, and Paramedics have had extreme difficulty in getting to one of the injured parts without causing further injury or suffering.

Leather is abrasion resistant, and its main function is allow you to slide, thereby reducing friction. From new, leathers should fit as tightly as possible to allow for stretching and moulding to the wearer’s shape. If the leather is a poor fit then there is the possibility that as the rider slides down the road, the friction caused by the road surface will cause the leather to snag. This could cause a flailing limb to snag and whilst the torso is still travelling at speed, the flailing limb will slow down too quickly and can result in severe injury. On the plus side, good fitting leather can slow down any potential blood loss, particularly internal blood loss, or it can at least stem the flow until medical help arrives on the scene.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident as a result of which you are injured (and we all hope that it doesn’t happen), at least you can be comforted that the severity will be less than if you were wearing non protective clothing, and the sympathy you receive from the emergency services and Hospital will be far more favourable than your compatriot wearing his jeans and trainers

As a matter of interest, I had a guy who had been involved in an accident wearing his leathers and was seriously injured. He was wearing his normal trousers and jacket (casual wear) under his leathers and he had been told by the retailer that this was perfectly acceptable. He could have got me and a few mates in his leathers with him Embarassed they were that big. Suffice to say he made a full recovery in time, and with my help took out a successful action against the supplying dealer under the product liability regs.

I recently bought this http://www.mcaleicester.co.uk/products/leather-suits/1098 from a bike show in Hendon. Its the newer version of this suit with the plastic/metal shoulder armour but essentially the same with all the knox armour. The lady at the show also threw in a Knox level 2 back protector and some under glove liners for £340 all in… which I thought was a steal.

I’m not sure if that’s a valid reason for not wearing a 1 piece suit, the positives massively outweigh the possibility that a Paramedic has forgotten to pack the scissors they use to cut though leathers. Paramedics on track recommend 1 piece too.

Or perhaps you’re referring to old race suits that might have been much thicker than modern suits ? My experience is only of recent products.

You have to remember too that 1 piece leathers often have better ventilation than 2 piece suits so in the summer, on the road, a 1 piece could be cooler than a 2 piece despite fitting better/firmer and offering more support in the event of an off.

Nice one steve, didn’t know RST did XXXXXXL:P:D:w00t::hehe::wink:

Thanks ladies and gents, been a big help!

Looks like Spada Predator 2-piece it shall be!

Steve… (24/07/2009)

Well, I can only use the 20,000 plus accidents I have investigated and the 30,000 + case studies I have done just on motorcycle protective clothing which is part of an ongoing study and report.

1 piece rarely ventilate better than a two piece, and even modern materials make access difficult.

I am currently involved in a case where it looks like the 1 piece contributed directly to the rider losing his leg, but I am not yet in possesion of the full facts.

T.C (24/07/2009)

Can you explain more ? Just doesn’t seem to make sense. How can a suit directly contribute to the loss of a limb simply because it’s 1 piece rather than 2 ? Do the Paramedics not carry knives or scissors ? My 1 pc suite could be cut with a sharp knife or scissors.My Alpinestars 1 pc definately ventilates better than my Dainese 2 pc.

Even surgical shears can have trouble getting through some leathers, especially if they are tight to the body. I have enough trouble cutting up 1000denier nylon with them, 1.4mm leather, potentially lined too, is going to A: Hurt the user’s hands and B: take a long time to cut through, potentially too long.
Plus you have no break at the waist from whence to cut, you’d have to start a hole of your own.

Thanks for all the replies all!

got me back with that one Mo :D:D:D

You beat me to it, but answered the question exactly right, thanks:D