Highly protective without the high price
When it comes to safety gear, you should buy the best you can afford. The thing is, there are those of us who can barely afford to participate in this sport yet don’t want to be ground to mincemeat if we fall off of our motorcycles and go asphalt surfing. We’ve seen riders out there wearing some pretty sketchy gear. We’ve seen some of them fall. What’s a cash-poor enthusiast to do? You could buy a used suit, but then you’re getting something that has been crashed, (sometimes more than once) well worn or simply out-of-date. What can you get that’s new? Looking around, you’ll find that there’s a lot of gear selling cheaply on eBay but if you don’t recognize the brand name, how do you know what you’re getting?
There are a number of small companies out there which offer some good looking suits for considerably less money than the major brands. These sellers are usually importing leathers made overseas, primarily in Pakistan. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you need to be sure that the suits are being designed and put together properly from materials of appropriate quality. One such company is TrackSkins. We got in touch with owner Wayne Willis and arranged to test his product. We’d see for ourselves if his leathers were worth falling down in. Willis started TrackSkinz in November of 2007. As a racer and one-time AMA Pro license holder himself, Wayne’s goal was to design leathers that would be extremely safe yet affordable and then have them made to his specifications. Willis intends for TrackSkinz to compare favorably to any other suit, regardless of brand or price. Pursuing this ideal hasn’t been exactly easy, considering that the leathers are constructed overseas. Throughout the company’s history, Wayne has been in steady contact with his manufacturer, ordering suits in small batches and constantly refining the design. TrackSkinz stocks an amazing range of suit sizes, from XS – 5XL. If you need something really unusual or want a different color scheme than those offered, give Wayne a call. With a bit of lead time and for a small extra fee, TrackSkinz can produce whatever you require. Recently, Wayne delivered a custom made 9XL suit for a rider who stands 6’5’’ and weighs 330 pounds and a batch of pink suits for a group of women riders. TrackSkinz suits range in price from $299 to $369 with a new Race Spec model in the works that will cost $499. To get a feel for the quality of this product, we chose a TS-22 one-piece suit in Black/Gray for testing. This model sells for $349.00, which is right in the middle of the TrackSkinz price range. Examining our test suit, we noted that the leather was of high quality, especially considering the price point of the garment. TrackSkinz uses “A Grade” Aniline 1.3mm cowhide for its suits. Fit and finish were good, the seams were well sewn with double or triple stitching and the appropriate thread had been used. The chest and sleeves are perforated, as is the area behind the knee. External plastic scoops duct even more air into the suit at the shoulders. These really work once you get moving. A double thickness of leather protects your glutes, while Keprotec stretch material adds comfort in the crotch, calf and inner arm areas. Leather stretch panels are found above the knees, as well as on the lower back and shoulder area. The suit also features a fully padded speed hump and comes with knee pucks. Standard CE approved armor protects the knee/shin, shoulder and elbow/forearm zones. Our suit sported foam hip pads, while some models have even more padding sewn in to protect the ribs and shoulder blades. Honestly, you’d expect this suit to cost more than it does. Our one-piece suit doesn’t come with a back pad, since most track riders would upgrade that piece of armor anyway. The suit does feature a padded speed hump but it’s very important for the end user to realize that this does not replace a back protector. TrackSkinz sells back protectors and other body armor on its site. We were very surprised to learn about the brand’s replacement deal. Send in your crashed Trackskinz suit and the company will sell a new one to you at close to wholesale price. So far, with over 180 suits sold, no one has taken TrackSkinz up on this offer. The only report TrackSkinz has had of a destroyed suit involved EMTs cutting it off of a rider’s body after a bad street crash. That rider later ordered an identical suit, stating that the first one had saved his life. Other riders report having crashed one, two and even three times but have been able to continue using their suits. TrackSkinz has put its gear to the test in competition as well. WERA Experts Byron Barbour and James Stroud wear Trackskins suits. (Stroud rides for Pit Bull) These riders have assisted Wayne in the ongoing development of his products. He feels honored that these racers chose Trackskinz, since neither rider got his suit for free. TrackSkinz was also the brand chosen by two of the young riders in the Red Bull Rookie’s Cup last year, giving the brand its first international exposure. We haven’t had the displeasure of crashing a TrackSkinz suit yet but from what we can determine, this gear is the real deal. The only thing unreal about TrackSkinz is the price. For more info check out their website at http://www.trackskinz.com