How To Try On A Motorcycle Race Suit
Race suits are made to work in one very specific environment- a racer’s crouch. Worn off the bike they rotate your shoulders and bend your elbows and knees awkwardly. These suits are not made for walking.
If you have never worn a race suit, expect severely articulated knees and elbows, rotated shoulders, a short front zipper to prevent fabric bunching in the abdomen when in a tuck and extra fabric at the seat for expansion. A full tuck is when all these alterations make sense. When trying on a race suit without a bike nearby, here is what I do. For demonstration and discussion purposes, we use the Sedici Corsa one-piece suit.
The downhill racer tuck.
I assess fit by doing what I call the downhill racer tuck. I bend at the knees until my thighs are parallel to the floor. Next, I bend at the waist until my elbows are just a bit lower than my kneecaps, about where they will be in a full tuck. Then I extend my hands at the same height as my shoulders and out in front as if holding on to handlebars. Last, a step many people forget, I raise my head upward as far as possible, simulating looking out over the top of the triple clamp. All of this done simultaneously will helps quickly diagnose where a suit fits and where it doesn’t.
On the bike, all of the extra fabric and expansion panels make sense.
As a tall rider who appreciates a lot of flexibility in a suit, I also test for stretch in the crotch by placing my elbows inside my kneecaps then pushing outward as far as I can until the suit reaches its maximum stretch point. This tells me not only how much leg freedom I can expect on the bike but how much effort it takes to get to that point.
This fit check can be done in a store or at a vendor’s tent before you even get on the motorbike. While it may look funny, a motorcycle race suit is a substantial investment from your wallet towards your well-being and proper fit is crucial to safety. Comfortable race suits are more likely to get worn, while poorly fitting suits tend to stay on the hanger. Fit and flexibility also make the difference between feeling fresh or quickly reaching fatigue. Fresh riders are fast riders, fatigued riders make mistakes. I know this all too well.
Bunched fabric at the seat and the back of the shoulders is ready to expand when on the bike.
If trying on a suit before your purchase is not an option, find retailers willing to ship you several sizes to try on and return the extras. The money and time spent in this process is worth finding a suit that will fit perfectly and protect you adequately in a crash. For an additional investment there are manufacturers that will take your measurements and custom build a suit for you.
Shop around and test fit to find a suit that works with your body type.