If you have splurged on a leather motorcycle racing suit, you need to know that you will be as comfortable as possible when out on the track.
From comfort to safety, there are a lot of factors to consider. Motorcycle leathers can be so hot, but how do you know where to start? What is the best thing to wear under your leather? And from what material should it be made?
Here are the 10 things to wear under a motorcycle racing suit:
- Moisture-wicking undershirts and leggings.
- Airbag vests.
- Nylon or polyester sports bras.
- Specialized motorcycle undersuits.
- Thermal riding/racing socks.
- Glove liners.
- Back, spine, and chest protectors.
- Compression bodysuits.
- Thermal long johns.
- Ice packs.
To learn more about where you can find these unique, specially designed undergarments and why they are so essential, keep reading. I will cover the most comfortable and safe pieces of clothing you should consider wearing under your racing suit the next time you head out for a ride.
1. Moisture-Wicking Undershirts and Leggings
To start the list, I want to highlight the importance of wearing moisture-wicking clothing under your suit. Motorcycle racing suits tend to be made of heavy, thick leather to keep your body protected and well-insulated in case of an accident. While these suits are great for protection, they can get hot depending on the weather and the length and intensity of your riding session.
Particularly during the warmer months, you will notice that you’ll tend to get pretty sweaty underneath the suit if you just wear your regular clothes; cotton is especially bad at repelling moisture. It is best to wear moisture-wicking undergarments to draw moisture away from your body and keep your entire body nice and cool.
Although there are moisture-wicking undersuits explicitly designed to be worn underneath your racing leathers, these specialized garments can get rather pricey.
As an alternative, you can opt for more basic undershirts and leggings that are made of the same cooling polyester as the more expensive suits until you’re ready and able to commit to buying a racing undersuit (and don’t worry; I’ll cover those soon, too!).
Opna Moisture-Wicking Undershirts
These moisture-wicking undershirts are an excellent choice for wearing underneath your racing suit during the summer to keep you from getting sweaty and uncomfortable while you ride.
They are far less expensive than specialized riding under suits, but they are still amazingly effective since they are 100% polyester.
For your legs, we highly recommend wearing something like these compression leggings on Amazon.com. They feature elastic closures and are great for muscle recovery. Plus, they’re very breathable, so you won’t be too warm.
Ideally, you want a pair of undergarments that are made of cooling polyester or nylon and fit snugly against your body, so they fit comfortably under your racing leathers. The material should not be too thick or too thin.
Plus, they come in a wide range of colors, so you can pick something other than black if you really want to avoid overheating while on the road!
2. Airbag Vests
Protection should be your number one priority when it comes to all your racing gear, as your entire body is exposed while riding a motorcycle. One particularly clever invention for staying safe while riding is the airbag vest; these vests can be worn underneath your suit and usually are thin and compact.
However, in the event of a wreck or some other major impact on your body, the airbag vest will rapidly expand within mere milliseconds and instantly create a protective barrier between you and the ground or wherever you happen to land.
Some higher-end motorcycle suits have airbag vests built into them, but this is more of an exception rather than a rule. Most leathers come without an airbag leaving it up to the rider to add later and select the brand they prefer.
If you know your suit does not have such a vest built into it, it might be a good idea to invest in a product in one, which is both lightweight and moisture-wicking, for a bit of extra protection on the road. While they can be rather pricey, safety is an essential investment for riding and especially for racing.
3. Nylon or Polyester Sports Bras
This one’s for the ladies; generally, if you have a smaller cup size, it is best to simply go without a bra underneath your suit whenever possible. However, not wearing a bra is just not an option for those with bustier chests, particularly in the hot summer months.
Like with the undershirts and leggings we covered earlier, you will want to opt for a bra made of moisture-wicking material such as polyester or nylon. Avoid bras with uncomfortable material, hooks in the back, or stiff underwire, as they can be bothersome while riding.
Additionally, these more elaborate types of bras will take you much longer to put on and take off than sports bras, which you can typically just pull over your head, adjust the straps for comfort, and be ready to go. Getting ready to go riding takes a lot of preparation and involves putting on lots of different types of gear, so your bra should be as simple and comfortable as possible.
FITTIN Racerback Bras
These bras, from Amazon.com, are primarily made of nylon and polyester, but they also have around 12% spandex, so they are stretchy and move with you rather than restrict your range of movement.
Even a small amount of spandex goes a long way when finding a comfortable sports bra.
4. Specialized Motorcycle Undersuits
These suits are essentially a more pricey and durable alternative to simply wearing athletic compression undergarments. They are almost exclusively made of thin yet effective moisture-wicking material to keep you cool and comfortable while you ride.
Aside from just keeping you cool (or warm and insulated if it is colder outside), these undersuits also prevent chafing and give you an extra layer of protection underneath your leathers. They usually have a zipper that extends from the neck to the groin area so you can quickly put on and take off the garment before putting your racing suit on.
Another feature that makes them different from standard compression undergarments is their foot straps to keep them in place while riding. These straps are designed to be stretchy and flexible to support a full range of mov.
Coolmax Motorcycle Undersuits
Undersuits made with DuPont Coolmax or similar moisture-wicking fabrics are an option that is comfortable and effective. Plus, it is reasonably priced as low as 70 and comes in sizes ranging from XX-Small to X-Large, so you’ll be able to find a size that fits you perfectly. The DuPont Coolmax material wicks perspiration and moisture away from the body and keeps you cool.
5. Thermal Riding/Racing Socks
Finding the right pair of socks is just as important as finding the perfect motorcycle boots to keep your feet well-insulated and cushioned while riding. We highly recommend wearing specialized thermal racing socks, as they have a wide range of features that make them ideally suited for a long day on the road.
Thermal Racing Socks
You can find these on Amazon.com and they are perfect no matter what the weather is like where you are.
They are made of breathable, moisture-wicking material to prevent your feet from getting hot and sweaty during the summer, yet they are also thick and cozy enough to keep your feet and legs warm during the winter.
Additionally, these socks combat unpleasant odors with their ingenious anti-odor layer, so when you take them off, you will not be taken aback by the smell of your feet that have been trapped inside your boots all day.
They are also especially great for wearing under a motorcycle suit, thanks to their ribbed design that prevents them from bunching up around your legs and ankles.
Most racing socks are knee-length to give you more coverage and protection. Instead of wearing your usual socks under your suit, try on a pair of these specialized socks; the difference makes them well worth their somewhat steep price tag.
6. Glove Liners
Even though most racing suits don’t come with gloves, it is essential to wear a thick, durable pair of racing gloves with your suit.
A great way to keep your hands from becoming hot and sweaty while riding is to wear glove liners underneath your gloves.
Terramar Thermasilk Glove Liners
Terramar glove liners are ideal for riders who do not want their hands to slide around inside their gloves.
If it is hot outside, these will keep your hands cool and dry thanks to their moisture-wicking material and ClimaSense treatment lining their insides. However, they will also keep your hands warm and well-insulated during the winter months.
These glove liners are made of 100% silk, so they will feel nice and smooth on your hands and won’t make them itchy, sore, or sweaty while you ride.
Finally, glove liners like the Terramar Thermasilk liners also neutralize odors, so even if you sweat very heavily, your gloves will not become smelly after a long ride. They’re also very easy to wash and air dry, making them a convenient and useful piece of gear to wear under your suit.
7. Back, Spine, and Chest Protectors
While some higher-end racing suits have specialized protective gear built into them, many suits are simpler and only provide basic protection from impact. A great way to keep more vulnerable parts of your body safe while riding is to invest in specialized protective gear to wear under your suit.
AGVSPORT back, spine, chest protectors
Developed by AGV Sports Group with the latest innovative safety technology, this protector features a honeycomb structure that allows for optimal airflow, keeping you cool while you ride.
Most of these protective products can be worn either under or on top of your racing suit, and they have plenty of adjustable straps so you can get them to fit exactly right regardless of how you decide to wear them. This protective gear is made of exceptionally durable yet lightweight material to protect your back and spine from high-impact crashes and falls.
The AGVSPORT back and spine protector, for example, is mainly made of thick PVC armor that will prevent your back from sustaining any damage, but it is still lightweight and aerated enough to keep it from trapping too much body heat while you are on the road.
So, even though this kind of protective gear may seem unnecessarily bulky at first, it is actually amazingly comfortable and flexible to accommodate a full range of movement, and you won’t have to break the bank or your back to stay safe!
8. Compression Bodysuits
When it comes to budget and overall effectiveness, compression bodysuits are usually somewhere in the middle between separate athletic/compression undergarments and elaborate, specialized racing under suits.
Although they are not designed specifically for wearing while riding a motorcycle, most standard compression bodysuits are still made of the same thing, moisture-wicking nylon and spandex to keep you cool and give you a bit more protection and comfort under your racing suit than you would have had otherwise.
These are great for wearing under your leathers, as they are made of 82% nylon and 18% spandex to make them stretchy and flexible yet cool and dry during the hot summer months.
Designed to have just enough compression, they fit snugly but will not be so tight that they become itchy and painful.
If you are not sure if you are ready to invest in a specialized racing undersuit yet, try buying one of these more basic bodysuits to get an idea of what to expect.
The Speerise bodysuits come in a wide range of sizes, from X-Small to 3X. Finally, they are available in lots of fun colors, so you can choose something other than black to resist drawing in as much heat under your suit.
9. Thermal Long Johns
During the cold winter months, you might want something a bit warmer and cozier than the typical nylon bodysuit to wear under your racing leathers. Thermal underwear/long john is ideal for wearing under your suit when it’s particularly chilly outside.
Rocky Fleece-Lined Thermal Underwear
These fleece-lined underwear are perfect for wearing underneath your racing suit during the winter. They are warm and soft, yet they are still partially composed of moisture-wicking polyester if you happen to move around so much that you start sweating.
Plus, their size chart is very inclusive, as it ranges from small to 6X.
10. Ice Packs
If you still find yourself getting sweaty and itchy despite wearing undergarments made of cooling materials, consider putting ice packs under your suit or inside the inner pockets or lining of your suit.
TrekProof Ice Packs
Some ice packs are even designed to be worn underneath clothing, such as these from Amazon.com, which have a stretchy elastic band so you can just strap them around your waist under your leathers.
In addition to keeping your body from overheating, they will also help soothe sore muscles and joints.
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.