How To Choose the Right Motorcycle Leathers (4 Tips)

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Motorcycle leathers are a common form of protective clothing worn by most motorcyclists. There are various types to choose from and numerous brands, styles, and colors. It’s vital to select fitting motorcycle racing leathers that offer you the highest level of protection possible.

To choose the right motorcycle leathers, put your needs and preferences first. Know what style of leather best suits you, purchase suits made from high-quality material that offers additional protection, and be aware that comfort is vital. The sizing of your leather should never be overlooked. 

Choosing suitable motorcycle race leathers can be daunting, especially if you’re new to the practice. If you’re buying your first set of leathers or upgrading to a new pair, here are some tips to help you get it right.

1. Know What Style To Look For

How To Choose the Right Motorcycle Leathers

Apart from a helmet, motorcycle leathers are the most essential gear you can buy. They protect you from injury in a crash, help to keep you warm when it’s cold out, and look cool as hell (or at least they should).

So how do you pick the best leather race suit? It’s more complex than picking the jacket that looks best on you or fits your budget. 

There are some critical elements to consider before committing to a purchase, including:

  • Riding style
  • Durability 
  • Safety and protection
  • Comfort and Size

The first element to consider is what your riding style is. This way, you don’t waste time and money on something that won’t work for your preferred positions and movements.

Choosing a fitting motorcycle suit is a personal decision. The style you choose will depend on your riding style, as well as how much protection you want from the weather. The good news is that you’ll have many options to choose from.

One-Piece Race Suit: AGVSPORT Podium II Moto Race Suit

AGVSPORT Podium II Moto Race SuitBuy on Amazon

A one-piece race suit, as the name suggests, is a leather suit that covers your entire body apart from the hands and feet (which are covered by separate gloves and boots). It’s made of leather and another strong, abrasion-resistant material like Cordura or Kevlar.

This suit is typically worn by high-performance motorcycle racers, and if you’ve ever watched MotoGP, you’ll have an idea of what they’re like. 

The main advantage of a one-piece race suit over other types of riding gear is that it provides superior protection against abrasion, reducing the risk of harm in an accident.

Ultimately, one-piece race suits are designed for the track rider who wants maximum protection from abrasion and injuries during an accident. They also usually have extra padding on the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, where most impacts occur during an accident.

Two-Piece Race Suit: Imola Dona 2 Piece BlackFluo – Ladies Motorcycle Leather Suit

Imola Dona 2 Piece BlackFluo RedBuy on Amazon

If you’re racing or riding long distances on your bike, a two-piece race suit is the best choice for your needs because it gives you more freedom of movement when riding your bike. 

A two-piece motorcycle race suit is a high-quality leather garment with a jacket and pants. The two pieces are typically made from leather, although some high-end suits are constructed with synthetic materials.

These suits are the pinnacle of motorcycle protection because two separate pieces are put together to make one protective unit. Regarding safety, there’s nothing better than a two-piece racing suit.

Two-piece suits are used in most forms of motorcycle racing, including motocross, road racing, supermoto, and flat track. They are also becoming popular among street riders because of their superior protection in case of an accident.

A disadvantage of two-piece suits is that they can create more wind drag than one-piece, which may make it harder to ride at high speeds over long distances.

Custom Race Suit

Purchasing motorcycle custom leathers is best if you want something unique and specialized. This allows you to get precisely what you wish for regarding your needs, protection, color, design, and style.

Choosing the right made-to-measure leathers is essential because several options are available. With a custom-fit leather suit, you can decide whether you want a one or two-piece, as well as how much protection you’d like to add and where. 

The best thing about custom race suits is that they’re made specifically for you. They fit your body shape and size perfectly so that when you’re wearing them, there’s no discomfort. 

Custom leathers are the best way to express yourself on a bike. They come in many styles, from retro classic to high-tech racing designs depending on what kind of rider you want to be identified as. It’s fun to experiment with different models until you find a custom-fit leather suit that fits your personality best!

The Life Span Of Motorcycle Leathers: Best Suits

The motorcycle suits I recommend provide a perfect balance of affordability and unwavering quality, ensuring the utmost value for your investment. These are items I've become well-acquainted with during my more than 50 years of motorcycling experience, where I've led and consulted for reputable companies in over 25 countries, in addition to being an avid rider. They are the very same suits that have earned my trust and served me exceptionally well during countless adventures.

2. Purchase Suits Made From High-Quality Materials

Kevin Martin - President AGV Sports America-Purchase Suits Made From High-Quality Materials

As with any type of clothing, you want your motorcycle suit to be made from high-quality materials. This is especially important if you plan on wearing yours regularly. Good quality leather will last longer, be more comfortable, and keep you safer when riding.

For more information about how long your leathers should last, check out this article.

Choosing suitable motorcycle leathers is one of the most critical decisions a rider can make concerning their safety. However, so many options are available that it can take a lot of research to figure out where to start. 

Fortunately, I’m here to help! So, let’s dive a bit deeper into the most used, high-quality materials you should consider when purchasing motorcycle leathers. 

Kangaroo Leather 

If you’re looking for protection and durability in your motorcycle leather, kangaroo is an excellent choice. 

Kangaroo leather is strong and durable yet lightweight. This feature makes it ideal for motorcyclists who are constantly on the go or in motion because it won’t weigh them down while riding. 

If you plan to ride in hot weather, kangaroo leather is the best option. It’s breathable and has natural insulating properties that keep you cool. It also has a soft feel, making it comfortable and easy to move around.

Additionally, excellent abrasion resistance and high tensile strength protect you against scrapes and scratches. It can withstand impacts from objects like rocks and branches without tearing or ripping apart easily.

However, kangaroo leather is not waterproof and will not protect you from rain or cold temperatures. Cowhide leather is the best option if you want protection during the winter months.

Cowhide Leather

Cowhide is arguably the most popular type of leather used in manufacturing motorcycle clothing because it offers several benefits that make it an ideal choice for riders:

  • Durable and long-lasting: The durability of cowhide makes it ideal for use in protective gear such as jackets, pants, and gloves. By ensuring proper care and maintenance, it can last for years.
  • Abrasion resistance: Because cowhide is so durable, it offers good abrasion resistance against rocks and other debris you may encounter on the road or trail. This helps keep you safe from injury during a crash.
  • Waterproof and warm: Cowhide’s thickness ensures that you’ll be able to ride through all types of weather. This makes it the perfect choice if you live in an area subject to fair amounts of cold and rainy weather. 

The material’s tough but flexible and has a deep grain that makes it highly durable. The only downside is that it takes time to break in and probably won’t be suitable for warmer weather. 

What Type of Leather Is Best for Motorcycle Riding? 

Motorcycle riding is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by anyone. However, it also comes with its own risks and dangers. To protect yourself from injuries in case you fall off your motorcycle, it’s vital to wear the correct type of clothing.

The most popular types of protective clothing for motorcyclists are leather jackets (or suits), pants, boots, and gloves. These are made from tough material that protects the body from scrapes and bruises in case of an accident.

The best type of leather for motorcycle riding is cowhide because it is durable and affordable. You find cowhide in everything from cheap jackets to high-end racing suits. This type of leather offers superior protection.

Ultimately, the thickness of the material plays a role in determining how much protection your protective gear can offer against impact damage and cuts from debris. Cowhide is tough enough to withstand impacts without tearing apart easily.

3. Good Leathers Offer Additional Safety and Protection

If you’ve ever been in an accident while riding, you know how important it is to have good leathers that offer safety. The difference between minor road rash and broken bones can be as simple as wearing the proper protective gear.

When choosing motorcycle leathers, you must understand how much protection you need. The protection you need depends on your riding style, how often you ride, and what weather conditions you typically encounter when riding. 

For example, suppose you race at high speeds, go on long cross-country rides, or tour through areas with extreme weather conditions like snow or rain. In that case, heavy-duty protective clothing may be necessary for your safety.

Look for motorcycle gear that has been designed specifically for motorcyclists, not just generic clothing that has been adapted for use on bikes. You want padding in all the right places so you don’t get hurt in case of an accident or fall.

Safety should be your top priority when choosing a set of motorcycle leathers.

Although leather offers protection in its own right, some safety features can be woven into the material to keep riders extra secure.


The motorcycle suit airbag is the most intricate of these extra features. It’s made to withstand the impacts experienced by riders who fall off their motorcycles and is situated at the suit’s back, shoulders, and chest. 

Airbag-equipped race suits have sensors that can recognize when a fall has taken place. Inflation doesn’t happen randomly because the program is incredibly intelligent and can distinguish between an actual accident and a close encounter.

The first thing to consider when choosing motorcycle suit airbags is whether or not you need them. Again, this will be determined by your riding style.

Motorcycle suit airbags can be an essential safety feature for high-performance riders. 

Armor Protection

In most cases, leather alone cannot protect a rider’s body in an accident.

Most good quality motorcycle suits come with protective armor built into the suit itself. Still, some don’t, so it’s worth looking into this before buying any suit – especially if you’re planning on doing more off-road riding where falls are more likely.

A good pair of leathers will have built-in safety features, including padding, Kevlar lining, and armor inserts. The padding should be thick enough to protect against bumps and bruises but still be able to provide wide ranges of movement, flexibility, and comfort.

The most sensitive portions of the rider’s body are strengthened with armor to absorb knocks and disperse impact energy. In this regard, the elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips are priority protected areas. 

Most motorcycle leathers feature internal compartments to contain these protective reinforcements. These must be supple and light so as to not compromise the rider’s comfort on the bike.

What Suits Do Motorcycle Racers Wear?


What Suits Do Motorcycle Racers Wear

Motorcycle racers wear a lot of different clothing items to protect themselves from the elements, but one of the most critical pieces of gear is a one-piece suit. 

Motorcycle racers wear full leathers that protect them from the wind, heat, rain, and impact of a fall. The choice of motorcycle suit is determined by the type of race and the weather conditions expected. These suits also help keep the body temperature regulated, especially in hot weather.

The most crucial aspect for any rider is to be comfortable in their gear to concentrate on the race. The leathers that riders wear will vary depending on their particular needs and preferences.

Why Do Racing Leathers Have a Hump?

The racing hump is one of the most distinctive features of motorcycle leather and is commonly seen on MotoGP riders.

Racing leather gave a hump to enhance the rider’s aerodynamics to boost the bike’s overall top speed. However, it is now utilized to store sensors, ventilation, and the rider’s water. The hump on the back of a racing suit is one of the most noticeable characteristics of MotoGP.

Additionally, the hump offers a large, padded section covering the rider’s upper back, shoulders, and neck. It provides extra protection in the event of a crash and sliding by absorbing some impact.

4. Comfort and Size Matter

The riding style is a significant factor in choosing the right kind of motorcycle suit for you. If you’re riding long distances, comfort is key – after all, why would you want to wear it if it’s uncomfortable? 

On the other hand, protection is arguably more important than comfort if you want to take part in track days or racing because these activities require more speed and agility than touring or commuting do.

Comfort and size are essential because they can affect your riding ability and enjoyment. The best way to find a comfortable fit is to try on several different types of equipment until you find what works for you.

Put Comfort First

Comfort is critical when choosing motorcycle gear because it will make you want to wear it every time you get on your bike. It allows you to focus on the road ahead without any distractions. 

If your gear is uncomfortable, there’s a good chance that you’ll leave it at home when heading out on a ride or forget about it altogether and not wear it at all. This can lead to injury or even death if an accident occurs while riding without proper protection.

Breathable material allows air to circulate between your body and the pants or jacket, so you won’t overheat while riding in warm weather conditions. This is especially important during summer when temperatures tend to rise quickly.

If you’re unsure what type of riding you’ll be doing, choose an all-season suit with removable liners that can be worn with or without thermal protection, depending on the season. If you plan to ride mostly during warmer months, opt for a lighter suit that has more ventilation options than an all-season suit would have.

You’ll need to feel comfortable and move freely while wearing the gear. The best way to ensure this is to try on several different styles of jackets and pants until you find those that are the most comfortable.

Choose Leathers That Fit Properly

Max Crocker - Choose Leathers That Fit Properly

Motorcycle leathers should fit snugly to your body but not so tightly that they restrict movement or breathing. 

The pants should not be too long or too short. The suit should fit well at the waist without causing discomfort when bending or crouching. The jacket should zip up easily and comfortably without restricting your shoulder movement or causing chafing against the neck or chin.

A made-to-measure motorcycle racing suit is designed to fit tightly around your body without causing discomfort or restricting movement. This is especially important if you ride regularly and want to wear your gear every time you ride – it’s not like wearing jeans or sweatshirts! 

The number one way to ensure a proper fit is to try the leather on in person. Most motorcycle dealerships have a selection of available leathers for sale so you can see what fits well and what doesn’t. If you’re ordering online, measure yourself and ensure that whoever makes your order gets everything right.

You need something that fits like a glove but still allows enough movement, so you don’t feel restricted while riding. 

Motorcycle Leather Size Chart

A made-to-measure race suit fits the rider like a second skin while also protecting you from the elements and all sorts of possible impacts. 

Knowing what size to get when you buy your first motorcycle leather can take time and effort. Here’s a quick guide to assist you in choosing the right size for your new leathers.

International Size XS S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Size 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52
Chest Measurement (cm)  85 – 88 89 – 92 93 – 96 97 – 100 101 – 104 105 – 108 109 – 112 113 – 116 117 – 120 121 – 124
Chest Measurement (inches) 33.5 – 34.6 35 – 36.2 36.6 – 37.8 38.1 – 39.3 39.7 – 40.94 41.3 – 42.5  42.9 – 44 44.4 – 45.6 46 – 47.2 47.6 – 48.8
Waist Measurement (cm) 73 – 76 77 – 80  81 – 84  85 – 88 89 – 92 93 – 96 97 – 100 101 – 104 105 – 108 109 – 112
Waist Measurement  (inches) 28.7 – 29.9 30.3 – 31.5 31.8 – 33 33.4 – 34.6 35 – 36.22 36.6 – 37.7 38.1 – 39.3 39.7 – 40.9 41.3 – 42 42.9 – 44 
Hips Measurement (cm) 85 – 88 89 – 92 93 – 96 97 – 100 101 – 104 101 – 104 109 – 112 113 – 116 117 – 120 121 – 124 
Hips Measurement (inches) 33.5 – 34.6 35 – 36.2  36.6 – 37.8 38.1 – 39.3 39.7 – 40.9 41.3 – 42.5 42.9 – 44  44.4 – 45.6  44.4 – 45.6  47.6 – 48.8
Height (cm) 164 – 166 167 – 169 170 – 172 173 – 175 176 – 178 179 – 181 182 – 184 185 – 187 188 – 190 191 – 193 
Height (inches) 64.5 – 65.3 65.7 – 66.5 66.9 – 67.7 68.1 – 68.8 69.2 – 70 70.4 – 71.2 71.6 – 72.4  72.8 – 73.6 74 – 74.8  75.1 – 75.9

AGVSPORT Knee and Body Armor

I've diligently categorized my motorcycle gear recommendations into all available categories, with the aim of providing you with a comprehensive analysis that showcases the absolute best options for all your needs. These items are the culmination of in-depth research, extensive testing, and personal use throughout my vast experience of 50+ years in the world of motorcycling. Besides being a passionate rider, I've held leadership positions and offered consultancy services to reputable companies in over 25 countries. To See Top Picks and the Best Prices & Places to Buy: Click Here!

Conclusion: How To Choose the Right Motorcycle Leathers

Today, choosing the best motorcycle leather is easier than ever. There’s a wide array of brands, styles, and models to choose from, and all of them will meet your needs in one way or another. 

The tips provided in this guide should make that search much more straightforward, helping you narrow down your choices to a few manageable options. 

Ultimately, there’s no definitive answer on which pair of motorcycle leathers is the “right” pair for you. Prices, quality, and accessorizing needs may vary from rider to rider. It’s all about finding the alternative that suits your needs best.

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative Government, educational, corporate, and nonprofit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

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