BMWSportTouring

Roadracing Suits

Posted By: JohnnyJ

Roadracing Suits - 11/08/17 06:06 PM

I want to participate in track days, but that involves investing in a good roadracing suit. I've never owned one, so I have a few questions.
At this point I am leaning towards a special order through Syed Leathers. They are custom made using approx. 25 measurements.

http://www.syedleathers.com/roadracing.html

I am definitely open to other options.

My primary question is: one piece, or two? What are the pros and cons of each?
Other questions: Snaps or Velcro? Ventilation or not? Beaded or Mandarin collar?
I intend to go with the full protection package, but there are additional options that I am unsure about: Back protector, Neck Protector / Hump, Knee Sliders?

Anybodies input or opinion would be greatly appreciated!

Johnny J
Posted By: eddd

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/08/17 06:46 PM

Leathers can be a significant investment. How sure are you that you are going to continue to participate? You might want to go slow with purchases at the beginning to be sure you will continue over time. Track fees, travel, the motorcycle itself, special equipment, etc, can add up pretty quickly. I started with, and still use a one piece suit I bought used. Ebay is usually a good source, and many track organizers seem like they have some used units available. They might have some scuffs from get-offs, but it isn't supposed to be a fashion show.

One piece offers the best protection, which is why you're wearing leathers in the first place. If you are considering a two piece, they need to zip together basically 360 degrees. The eight inch zippers at your back will not offer enough protection and are not allowed by track day organizers for the most part.

Zippers and Velcro offer the best protection. Almost all leathers will be perforated, and you wouldn't want any that weren't. Back/hump protectors are pretty much standard, but lots of riders wear addition back protection under the leathers for lower back protection. Track/racing leathers will have Velcro in the knee area that sliders attach to. That is pretty much standard. It would be silly not to have the pucks attached even if you never intend to drag a knee.
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/08/17 07:06 PM

Great information. Exactly what I was seeking.
Thanks !!

Johnny J
Posted By: BrianM

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/08/17 11:07 PM

Hi, I road raced for 18 years.

Get one piece leathers. Wearing shirts and leggings such as Under Armor make taking them on and off (especially when sweaty) much easier.

Get perforated, unless racing, you will probably not go to the track when it is cold.

All the one piece I have owned had zippers at sleeves and ankles. Most have velcro at the neck at the top of the zipper. Some suits have an additional velcro (easier to use) or snap tab at the end of the sleeve zipper, some suits do not bother, it is under your glove.

I never liked a back hump. They were introduced for aerodynamics, not safety. If they are not correctly placed, your helmet can push against them while tucked in.

Not a big fan of the collar that is a leather bead around the neck.

All race suits today will have knee pucks.

Many trackway organizations require some sort of back protector. A chest protector is not a bad idea either.

Get good gloves and boots.

My last suit was a Vanson custom suit. Tested it out at over 100 mph, not a scratch. Not cheap. This was the one I had - http://www.vansonleathers.com/vanson-race-suits/volante_custom-V093.html.
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/08/17 11:37 PM

Thanks Brian!

I will check out Vanson. They have stores that are fairly close to me.

Johnny J
Posted By: randy

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/09/17 01:05 AM

Check out sport bike track time gear
They rent leathers for track days
if you’re in their area I would rent a few weekends and see what you like
different manufacturers fit differently
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/09/17 06:40 AM

You are fortunate to live fairly close to Zooni Leathers near San Jose.
http://www.zoonileathers.com
The owner has been making leathers for decades.
He worked for Helimot for a number of years helping to put the brand on the map then went out on his own.
He made my suit in 1999 and it's still going .
You will have options such as over the boot or tucked in, high collar or low like the racers use, and even dual zippers in the front for easy on/ off.
I chose over the boot for an old school look, high collar to protect against bees, perforated, and a few years later added the dual zippers.
Yes, the under armor stuff works great for on/ off and keeps you from baring an old ugly body in public.

If you choose Zooni, take your boots, gloves helmet for fitting ob each visit. There should be two. The initial measure then when the suit is together, less lining and zippers.

I use a slip in back protector . For me, easier.
Knee pucks only to protect in a crash truthfully as my vintage bikes don't lean like a modern bike.
My first set of bargain leathers was 2 pc and was heavy. You'll never wear the jacket alone and old guys can't contort around to mess with the zippers.
Avoid trendy colors and trim that look silly after a few years, remember neon and the "chrome leather " panels and trim ? Simple colors are easier to live with.
Posted By: Antimatter

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/09/17 02:01 PM

I've been using a Barnacle Bill suit for quite a while now. As others have said, a one-piece gives better protection. A two-piece has more utility on the street where you can take the jacket off during stops, but for track use a one-piece is the way to go. I'd also suggest leaving room for both a back and a chest protector, and even adding an airbag vest (worn outside the suit) if your budget will allow it. I'm also not a big fan of speed humps, mostly because the track I ride at is short and aerodynamics aren't an issue. Fit is key to getting good protection out of a suit. You should be able to move on the bike, but the suit itself should fit your arms, legs and torso tight enough that it won't move excessively during a off.

Other than that, have fun! You'll learn what works for you and what doesn't over time. Be warned though, once you get a taste of track riding the appeal of going fast on the street goes way down.
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/09/17 02:35 PM

Wow!! These are some great responses, Thank-you all!

I have a lot to think about. The original plan and option choices will definitely be modified. I like the idea of going to San Jose and checking out Zooni Leathers.

I live less than 100 miles to Buttonwillow Raceway Park, and about 150 miles to Laguna Seca Raceway. I recently retired and have the time to devote to this, but will take it slow and methodical. I'm frugal but not cheap; I want to get this one right.

Thanks again to all that responded.

Johnny J
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/10/17 04:34 PM

B/W is my home track. I'm in Fresno area . What bike do you use ?
Posted By: Hank R1200RT

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/10/17 05:46 PM

You should also consider Bates in Long Beach.
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/11/17 01:52 AM

I live in San Luis Obispo, but I grew up in Bakersfield and still have family there. I pass by B/W fairly often. I've only been on one track, and that was Willow Springs many years ago. Right now I have 2 motorcycles a Yamaha FJR 1300 (2015), and a Kawasaki KLR (2007), but hope to Get a MC that's dedicated for track days. At this early stage I am leaning towards a Yamaha R3, or I may go all out and get the R6... amazing bike from what i've heard and read. I've got lots of MC experience in general, but practically no track experience.

Johnny J
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/11/17 03:38 AM

You'll find that less is more if you talk to folks that will be honest with you.
An R6 will keep you so busy, you'll be riding 15 drag strips on B/W and trying to get thru the corners without lighting up the rear tire.
I suggest looking in the classified of the Bay Area Riders Forum (. http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/ ) for a race prepped
Kawasaki 250 or 350 Ninja. Not a Formula 250 but a Production 250 that has reworked suspension and is already prepped.
A gen 1 or 2 Suzuki SV650 Production would be another excellent choice.

Avoid the Formula bikes as you want a motor that hasn't been built or tuned to have a short fuse.
Either of these bikes with a stock motor would be a ton of fun and run forever.
Then get a suspension guy such as Dave Moss or Catalyst Reaction to set the suspension up for you.

Most track day providers have a guy onsite that will do this for a reasonable cost.
If you can find one that features a school , not just a trackday, you'll be money ahead.
You can also attend California Superbike School .
Pridmores CLASS school may not be a good fit as they teach a street line on a track.
Posted By: Bill_Walker

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/13/17 04:44 PM

Note that nearly every manufacturer of motorcycle gear also makes one-piece leather suits. Have a look around on Revzilla. They list 109 different models.

As a guy of retirement age, I think we need to recognize we're a little more fragile than we used to be. If I were in your position, I'd be really tempted to blow some extra money on one of Dianese's air bag suits: Dianese D-Air Race Suit.
Posted By: szurszewski

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/13/17 05:21 PM

Originally Posted by Bill_Walker
Note that nearly every manufacturer of motorcycle gear also makes one-piece leather suits. Have a look around on Revzilla. They list 109 different models.

As a guy of retirement age, I think we need to recognize we're a little more fragile than we used to be. If I were in your position, I'd be really tempted to blow some extra money on one of Dianese's air bag suits: Dianese D-Air Race Suit.


Probably a lot cheaper than one broken anything - and forking out the money will certainly be less painful than any amount of physical therapy. Plus I imagine it would have a decent resale value...
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/14/17 04:37 PM

Originally Posted by szurszewski
Originally Posted by Bill_Walker
Note that nearly every manufacturer of motorcycle gear also makes one-piece leather suits. Have a look around on Revzilla. They list 109 different models.

As a guy of retirement age, I think we need to recognize we're a little more fragile than we used to be. If I were in your position, I'd be really tempted to blow some extra money on one of Dianese's air bag suits: Dianese D-Air Race Suit.


Probably a lot cheaper than one broken anything - and forking out the money will certainly be less painful than any amount of physical therapy. Plus I imagine it would have a decent resale value...


Good points! I completely agree. I've had lots of orthopedic surgeries and know the cost in both monetary terms and long term health consequences.

Initially my track riding will be comparable to street riding. As (or if) my speeds and exposure to risk increase, then so will the safety gear.

Thanks -- Johnny J
Posted By: Tri750

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/14/17 11:16 PM

Originally Posted by JohnnyJ
Originally Posted by szurszewski
Originally Posted by Bill_Walker
Note that nearly every manufacturer of motorcycle gear also makes one-piece leather suits. Have a look around on Revzilla. They list 109 different models.

As a guy of retirement age, I think we need to recognize we're a little more fragile than we used to be. If I were in your position, I'd be really tempted to blow some extra money on one of Dianese's air bag suits: Dianese D-Air Race Suit.


Probably a lot cheaper than one broken anything - and forking out the money will certainly be less painful than any amount of physical therapy. Plus I imagine it would have a decent resale value...


Good points! I completely agree. I've had lots of orthopedic surgeries and know the cost in both monetary terms and long term health consequences.

Initially my track riding will be comparable to street riding. As (or if) my speeds and exposure to risk increase, then so will the safety gear.

Thanks -- Johnny J



All the more reason to carefully select the bike.
An R6, makes a statement that perhaps a 60+ yr old body would have trouble keeping up with.
A CBR250, 500 or a 300 Ninja is what it is and relies on rider talent and experience
Add good suspension and an understanding of how to adjust it and it's fun.
Yes, you can get just as hurt or just as dead on a 250 as a 1000 but one is limited as to how much bravado one can use.
Posted By: Endobobdds

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/15/17 12:11 AM

Originally Posted by JohnnyJ
Wow!! These are some great responses, Thank-you all! .........

........I recently retired and have the time to devote to this, but will take it slow and methodical. I'm frugal but not cheap; I want to get this one right.

Thanks again to all that responded.

Johnny J


This is a great thread for anyone considering serious "track time". thumbsup
I had a bad crash on my last track day back in 2004. Reading this thread sure does make me want to spend some serious time on a track. Fun to dream about, however, unlikely at age 72 and with some serious responsibilities for several sick and older family members. frown
Posted By: eddd

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/15/17 12:29 AM

Originally Posted by JohnnyJ

Good points! I completely agree. I've had lots of orthopedic surgeries and know the cost in both monetary terms and long term health consequences.

Initially my track riding will be comparable to street riding. As (or if) my speeds and exposure to risk increase, then so will the safety gear.

Thanks -- Johnny J


This sounds like you are just going to dip your toe into track day participation. With that in mind, I suggest you consider a couple of less expensive options:

- Some track day organizers allow textile suits such as Joe Rocket, AeroStitch etc. in Level 1 only (beginner/street rider), provided they have reinforced and padded shoulders, elbows, hips, and knee areas. This gives you a chance to have a track experience with gear you most likely already have.

- Look into renting leathers from the group putting on the track day.
Posted By: duckbubbles

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/15/17 10:46 AM

Originally Posted by Tri750
[quote=JohnnyJ]All the more reason to carefully select the bike.
An R6, makes a statement that perhaps a 60+ yr old body would have trouble keeping up with.
A CBR250, 500 or a 300 Ninja is what it is and relies on rider talent and experience


I've always felt that it is more fun to ride a slow(er) bike fast than a fast(er) bike fast, and fun is what track days are all about.

Frank
Posted By: mrzoom

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/15/17 12:49 PM

The older I get, the faster I was. wave
Posted By: JohnnyJ

Re: Roadracing Suits - 11/15/17 03:48 PM

Originally Posted by duckbubbles
Originally Posted by Tri750
[quote=JohnnyJ]All the more reason to carefully select the bike.
An R6, makes a statement that perhaps a 60+ yr old body would have trouble keeping up with.
A CBR250, 500 or a 300 Ninja is what it is and relies on rider talent and experience


I've always felt that it is more fun to ride a slow(er) bike fast than a fast(er) bike fast, and fun is what track days are all about.

Frank


When I started this thread I had no idea what a 600 cc factory sport motorcycle was capable of. Astonishing!! Wayyyy different than my KLR 650.

A used (possibly new) something in the 250 to 300 cc range will work just fine, and still give me plenty of room to grow. I am even looking forward to the challenge of upgrading (suspension, braking and ?); I like to tinker with things mechanical. Plus, a small bike would be great for getting around town and finding parking.

Johnny J
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