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Gear Guide: Motorcycle Suits

Chaparral Motorsports
January 4, 2019
Last Updated: August 25, 2020

Whether you're new to the motorcycle world or have been biking for years you may be wondering which type of motorcycle suit is better for riding: one-piece or two? As with most gear questions, the answer is, it all depends.

Track Rules Rule

First and foremost, it's important to establish whether you plan on using your motorcycle riding suit for racing or for leisurely riding. If you plan on racing in your suit, the answer is simple: get a one-piece. Though some tracks are more lenient than others, most will send you home if you aren't wearing a one-piece leather racing suit. You can get one of those suits that offers a 360-degree zip that connects the jacket and pants, but if you opt for a suit with this type of versatility, make sure that the zipper really does connect all the way around the midsection. A small zip connection is not enough to satisfy most marshals' requirements.

Leather Race Suit: One Piece or Two Piece

If you are buying for the track, you've established that a full-body race suit would be best. However, now that you've made that determination, you must decide whether you want to go with the full-body suit or the two-piece, connect-at-the-hips-via-a-zipper suit. From safety and convenience stand-points one-piece beats out the two-piece on both counts.

Alpinestars GP Pro 1-Piece Vented Leather Suit

For one, when you wear a one-piece sport bike suit, you are protected by one continuous piece of leather. If you wear a two-piece suit connected by a zipper, that "continuous" piece is broken up by a zipper. At the end of the day, a continuous piece of leather is going to be much stronger when put to the test than a plastic or even metal set of teeth.

That's not to say that a two-piece track suit will rip apart at the first signs of distress. Many people have crashed while wearing two-piece track suits without an issue. However, after two or three crashes, the zipper may become weak or damaged and eventually might need to be replaced. The fix can be costly and, after so many replacements, it may make more sense to just invest in a new suit.

In terms of convenience, the one-piece track suit is easier because it has the one zipper straight down from the neck to the thigh. If you have to go to the bathroom, need to make a quick change or simply need to open your suit for a bit of a breather, you can do so much more easily than if you had a two-piece. You can also zip back up much more quickly, which is nice when you need to take a bathroom break between races.

One of the only true pitfalls of a one-piece track suit is comfort. Many people feel constricted wearing the one-piece, while others' body shapes simply don't fit comfortably within the ensemble. If you do opt to buy a one-piece, you should only do so after trying a few on.

One or Two Pieces for Pavement

While there are many benefits of wearing a one-piece leather motorcycle suit on the track, such a suit may be a little much when riding on the road unless you are going to be doing a ton of hard core canyon carving.

Alpinestars GP Pro 2-Piece Leather Suit

One benefit of wearing a two-piece riding suit for leisurely riding is the fact that you can dress for the weather. If it's warm outside, you can ditch the heavy material and wear a lightweight jacket or mesh/textile jacket with more breathability. If it's cold outside, you can bundle up with a heavy-duty leather jacket, which is just as protective as track-suit material.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of opting for a two-piece over a one-piece for street riding is versatility. If you were to wear a one-piece while running errands, you would either have to take the entire suit off and stow it somewhere when you went into stores, wear it half-on-half-off or wear it entirely. The latter two options aren't favorable options to most. When you wear a two-piece, however, you can quickly whip off your jacket and go about your errands without thinking twice about how you look or feeling constricted in everyday movements off the bike.

Another benefit of the two-piece suit is that you can mix and match. If you have a collection of riding gear, you can select riding outfits just as you would everyday outfits. For example, if you have a pair of riding jeans or textile riding pants with zippers at the waist and a couple jackets that also have zippers at the waits, as long as the zippers are compatible you can suit of for the weather or type of riding you'll be doing. Some people may find this as a shallow benefit without, but for others, such as those who spend a lot of time in riding gear, it's a significant perk and very convenient.

Many motorcycle commuters and long distance riders prefer to wear one piece riding suits for several reasons. Most importantly, many of these riding suits are made from textile materials which are extremely strong and durable yet offer easier movement and better comfort than a leather suit. Because they aren't built for performance or aerodynamics, riding suits have a looser fit than a one-piece or two-piece track oriented motorcycle suit.

Klim Hardanger 1-Piece Textile Riding Suit

This looser fit makes it easy to slip the suit on over street clothes or even office attire and keep the clothes free from road debris or rain while riding. Then when you get to your destination you can just unzip and slip out of the suit with ease. Another reason commuters and long distance riders like to wear riding suits is they they provide full body warmth and wind protection in cold conditions. Similar to leather suits, with most one-piece riding suits you get the benefits of built-in armor and adjustable ventilation with the added benefit of waterproofing.

Where To Find a Quality Motorcycle Riding Suit

Whether you're looking for a suit to wear on the tracks or leathers to wear on the pavement, and whether you prefer a one-piece, a two-piece or a hybrid, you can find the durable and quality suit you need to ride in comfort at Chapparal Motorsports. Chapparal has over 30 years of industry experience and can guide you towards the best motorcycle suit for your riding needs. Shop their collection of riding suits today.

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