Originally Posted by ddk632
Congrats on your upcoming test and welcome to 2 wheels!
As for leather vs. textiles, I would say if you are starting out riding and it rains a lot, and you cannot buy leathers AND textiles, you should be fine with textiles to start with. I would get a leather suit for more spirited riding, however (which if you're just doing the test and you've not ridden before, is not really a concern at the moment).
I personally believe that in a hard crash at high speed where you slide a lot, leather will be a better protector. In any other "normal" circumstances textiles will hold up fine, though. Make sure whatever you buy has good hard (not soft) armor for knees, shoulders, and elbows - these are the areas that take the biggest beating in a crash.
So if you are going to be Valentino Rossi on the backroads over there, then I think leathers are a must. You can get collapsible rain jacket and pants which you can put over your leathers, and keep in a tank bag when not in use. I do this in Florida as it can rain a lot, and tends to be random and erratic.
But if you're just starting out riding textiles will protect you very well as long as you have the good hard armor.
I started my riding career in California (also some good ole' summer weather) on a beater Suzuki GS500, and the gear I got to start riding with cost more than what I had paid for that bike.
Also brands make a difference. Cheap leathers might withstand a crash poorly, and rip, causing injury; at worst they are one-time-crash leathers. In contrast, my Dainese 2-piece leather suit, I probably crashed in it about 15 times when I was doing WSMC club racing, and it always held up insanely well (with the help of some eventual strategic patches, which you can see on left shoulder and elbow in attached pic
there was another patch there too but I was sitting on it in that picture
In California if I was going into the canyons, I always wore a 2-piece Dainese leather suit - always. Here in FL, there are not any canyons; I have only used my current 1-piece perforated leather suit at the track.
Otherwise the main problem with my gear selection is I wear normal jeans, which I have been meaning to get another pair of the special jeans which double as riding pants (look like jeans though). Like you said where it rains a lot, the textiles are great due to being waterproof.
I can't really recommend a brand of textiles because I have never owned any, so I'll let other chime in on that. But leathers when you eventually want to get them, spend the money on a good Dainese suit and gloves.
Let us know what you decide!
Originally Posted by ddk632
I would just like to state here that this is true if you plan on and accept as a fact of life that after crashing once you'll be throwing your leathers away.
However I still recommend spending the $$$ for a Dainese suit. Until you've crashed in one (and also crashed in a cheap leather suit) it's hard to appreciate the difference.
That being said I've always been disappointed with Alpinestars and agree 100% not to spend the money on that brand because you pay for the name but not the quality! I've had an Alpinestars glove rip at the seam in a 100mph+ lowside at the track (bad day, cold tires, learned that one the hard way), causing a 2 inch hole where the skin on my palm used to be ... also had an Alpinestars leather pants/jacket combo, crashed at 20-25 mph (at most) when I was first learning to ride, and it was complete trash, ripped, discolored, etc. For the money it was definitely sub-par. Even my Alpinestars boots came apart after moderate use (the soles started to come loose).
For boots - Sidi
For leathers/gloves - Dainese
For helmets - Arai 1st, Shoei 2nd
Just my opinion of course, all personally tested
Guys thanks very much for the detailed advice! Really appreciate it given it's a lot of money to spend, and there is so much out there.
It's funny you said not to buy Alpinestars because of the name. I funnily enough decided to look at Alpinestars because it's a tried and tested brand with plenty of people who vouch for them.
I had planned to go with the following, or similar price ranges:
And then buy waterproofs to go over them if it did rain.
HOWEVER....now that I've read the comments here, there's clearly more to it than just brand name shopping and sticking with A-Stars.
This might sound silly, but I want to look good in what I wear. I often see guys with bikes that look unbelievable, then the riders look scruffy. It just doesnt match the bike. I'm 22, I'm young enough to pull it off haha!
Anyone got any suggestions on what I should be looking at? Or is what I detailed above in the right ballpark?