There are a few checkboxes to motorcycle racing that are life-and-death and protective gear is one. It is the only layer of defense you have against the harm that you could possibly get from the impact of an unfortunate accident. And countless hours of design and testing go into the production and perfection of the best racing suits, gloves, boots, and other accessories.
Want to know the big guns? In this post, we discuss some of the world’s most bespoke racing motorcycle apparel brands and what you can expect from their products.
Top 11 Best Racing Motorcycle Apparel Brands Today
Strong, light, abrasion-resistant, cool, and comfortable are all features’ riders want in racing gear. AGV Sports Group, founded by the former Vice President of AGV Helmets America Michael Parrotte (Jan 1985-Jan 2000) in the early days of AGV Helmets’ introduction into the U.S. market in 1985, offers a unique technological perspective on the creation of protective racing clothing. The company makes high-quality protective clothing for motorcycle road racing and sports use that provides excellent performance at a reasonable price.
For over 36 years, AGV Sports Group has quietly developed some of the greatest protective gear in the world for racing motorcyclists. In fact, it’s one of the motorcycling industry’s oldest rider-owned and controlled clothing brands.
The manufacturer’s product development team is made up primarily of riders who are among the sport’s biggest fans. By sticking to their tried-and-true business strategy of “Designed by Riders, for Riders” and “The Science of Safety,” which drew on years of experience in the helmet industry, AGVSPORT has always been at the forefront of safety clothing design and manufacturing. Its products are made for the serious rider or racer, from entry-level equipment to world-class high-performance safety wear for professional racers.
Troy Bayliss, Loris Capirossi, Kurt Roberts, Randy Mamola, Steve Crevier, Ben Bostrom, Pascal Picotte, Eric Bostrom, Mike Hale, Thomas Stevens, Aaron Yates, Roland Sands, Randy Renfrow, and Mat Mladin (seven-time AMA Superbike Champion) are among the riders who have worn AGVSPORT apparel at some point during their careers.
AGV Sports Group continues to stay faithful to the committed following of discriminating motorcycle fans who value the quality and reliability of their performance-driven racing motorcycle apparel by maintaining product research and design in-house and hiring experienced riders. You will find racing suits like the full-body Monza Race Suit and the Podium II Moto Race Suit, both rated for leather protective ventilation CE Level 2, retailing way under the $1,000 mark, which explains why the brand is so popular.
Alpinestars is one of Italy’s “big two” racing motorcycle apparel makers. In fact, they are one of the top two brands in the world, with Dainese.
The firm’s name stems from its roots as a producer of ski and hiking boots, which began in 1963 in Asolo, northern Italy. By 1965, Alpinestars had produced its first motocross boots. Roger de Coster, the dominant force in 1970s motocross, wore the boots, and the manufacturer expanded into road racing, equipping Kenny Roberts with the footwear when he won the 1978 500cc World Championship.
Carlos Checa introduced their first leather suit in the 500cc Grands Prix in 1999, even though the company was still primarily a boot producer—famous for bringing new ideas and additional protection, such as ski boot type buckles and steel protection in susceptible spots, to its footwear. Working with elite racing teams presented the Italian giant with rigorous testing environments, allowing them to datalog their star riders and uncover forces exceeding 20g in some unfortunate life-threatening crashes.
In the 21st century, Alpinestars has made significant investments in the development of motorcycle safety equipment and leads in the world of motorcycle airbag technology and research, offering the Tech-Air technology with a variety of products and licensing it out to third-party manufacturers. The technology features self-contained airbag jackets that can fit underneath any motorcycle apparel. Because the airbag is thicker than armor, it can absorb an impact, rather than simply diffuse it.
Dainese, like Alpinestars, is most renowned for its racing accomplishments, particularly its relationship with elite riders such as Carl Fogarty, Barry Sheene, and the legendary Valentino Rossi.
The racing apparel maker began creating motocross pants in 1972 when it was founded by the 20-year-old Lino Dainese, and by 1975, the great road racer Giacomo Agostini was wearing their full leather outfits. Dainese suits were known for using elastic inserts and cutting processes that made them more comfortable and fit better than other choices on the market.
In 1979, Dainese collaborated with Sheene to design the first back protector, which is now a standard piece of safety equipment, and it created knee sliders for Kenny Roberts’ Dainese suit in 1981. Roberts was also sponsored by Alpinestars, and he wore their boots with his Dainese leathers, which is something that would never happen today, given that both companies offer a full range of protective gear.
Throughout the 1980s, the business perfected the current race suit, and by 1989, it had expanded to include gloves. The firm also expanded into boots and helmets, making it the only brand to provide complete safety from head to toe.
Since 2007, the Italian helmet maker AGV—reputable for making fine helmets since 1947—has been part of the massive Dainese company (which was taken over by Investcorp in 2019), and their protective helmets continue to shine through, providing a benchmark for safety and performance when it comes to protecting racers, from MotoGP to Motocross and every road or trail in between.
At the turn of the 21st century, Dainese introduced D-Air®, the first electronic airbag designed and developed for motorcycling, which would make its debut appearance in MotoGP racing seven years later, with massive airbags released over the suit in the event of a collision. This technology was eventually shrunk and integrated into the suit, and it has since been licensed for use in other products by other manufacturers.
REV’IT!, a Dutch firm founded in 1995, is another new challenger to the Italian dominance of high-end motorcycle apparel. They began as a mid-market choice, like RST, filling the gap between the cheap and terrible food that flooded the market in the 1990s and the more costly stuff from Dainese and others.
REV’IT! was originally only offered in the Benelux nations, but in 2002, it took on the task of making it in America, and in 2008, it joined MotoGP with French rider Randy de Puniet.
Since then, the brand has grown from strength to strength, collecting multiple design accolades and collaborating with motorbike manufacturers such as Ducati and Yamaha to create collections.
Originally started as Segura by Michel and Jacques Segura in 1967 in Nimes, south of France, Furygan was founded by Jacques after they had split up early on. The brothers were known for their sleek leather jackets and affiliation with the best French racers of the 1970s.
However, with ‘Mr. Jacques-as he is still affectionately known-left to start his own business Fury “Gant” (Gant is French for glove) in 1969, the company began manufacturing leather motorcycle gloves to add to the range of military gloves, goalkeeping gloves, and ski gloves he was already producing. In 1972, the ‘t’ was dropped, and Fury Gant evolved into Furygan.
Today, the manufacturer has grown to be a major player in the racing motorcycle apparel industry, with their leather and textile gloves, boots, and race suits all of which are distributed in 43 countries around the world.
Furygan, like the other firms in this list, develops its goods in top-level racing—including collaborations with the multiple Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop and the title contender Lowes along with the current Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco—but their textile line has proven particularly popular with riders of streetfighter style motorcycles in recent years. Other famous racing names to have worn Furygan include Scott Redding, Pons, Baker, and Agostini.
Rhino Sports Technology (RST) has been a significant success since its inception in 1988 while being rarely recognized outside of the United Kingdom. Starting with a line of basic leather jackets and gloves under the Rhino name, the Derbyshire firm set out to give a low-cost alternative to the high-end brands.
Rhino evolved into Rhino Sport, before Jonny Towers, one of the original founders of ‘Rhino’, alongside other founding shareholders of the company added ‘Technology’ to the name, and RST, as we know it, came into being. The firm has grown through investing in new technologies and establishing an in-house design, setting up the RST Race Department to produce racing clothing. Although it’s involved in British superbikes, where it manufactures race outfits; it is most at ease on the British roads.
The brand has become a best-seller in the UK, and its line of high-quality, mid-priced items can be found at almost any biker meet. Recently, RST debuted a line with integrated airbags, based on technology pioneered by the French business In & Motion, and while they are best known in the UK, they are expanding their profile internationally, particularly in Europe, North & South America, Australia, and South Africa.
7. Racer Gloves USA
We didn’t forget your precious hands, and so we had to throw in a renowned glove maker Racer Gloves USA to keep your palms soft and radius intact in the event of unplanned interaction with the asphalt. Gloves are a critical component of riding safety because they determine how easily and effectively you can control the bike.
Apart from racer gloves, the company has been making a full range of motorcycle apparel since the 90s. Its founder Lee Block is a die-hard bike enthusiast who owns and operates street, road race, and off-road motorcycles. He has been riding since the age of 8 and was a road racer in Loudon, New Hampshire in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Block has raced a variety of motorcycles, from Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and BMW, at racetracks across the country.
Racer Gloves USA is the culmination of over 25 years of experience in the motorcycle and apparel industries, and it’s no wonder that their premium quality products make your racing experience safer and more enjoyable. They will fit you like a glove!
When we think of airbags, we don’t think of motorcycles. But if you are familiar with motorcycle racing, then you know that a career or even life-ending crash is always a tank slapper away. The difference between organ donors (a bit insensitive but rather oddly befitting term for recklessly fast street racers) and professional racers is the level of protective equipment they wear. Pros will be airbags that deploy in a crash, reducing the impact of even very serious crashes.
And that’s where Helite comes into the picture. The company has been in existence since 2001 when French engineer and renowned innovator Gerard Thevenot founded it. He started his career in the light aircraft industry where he designed (you guessed that right) airbags! He would later transfer his 35+ years’ worth of experience to motorcycling where he developed the world’s fastest mechanically triggered inflation device for use with racing bikes. He would later become the first motorcycle airbag to attain full Conformité Européenne (CE) certification.
Whether electronic or mechanical, Helite racing motorcycle airbags offer optimal protection in case of an accident or fall. They provide the biggest protection volume—between 17 and 28 L—on the market, ensuring maximum protection of vital parts and the neck and ultra-fast detection. The airbag systems are easy to use and reuse by the racer.
9. Joe Rocket
With a name that first appeared on a proverbial beer-soaked napkin, Bruce Parker and his employee Marc Bay founded Joe Rocket in Windsor, ON, in 1992 and have never looked back since. The brand has since been producing top-end moto apparel and has outfitted more Canadian professional riders than any other brand, making its first appearance on the global scene when it swept the podium at the famous Daytona 200 nearly a decade after its debut.
Over the years, Joe Rocket has been on the shoulders of many superstars, including all three Hayden Brothers, Pascal Picotte, Michael Taylor, Steve Crevier, Miguel Duhamel, and some CBSK National Champions like Jordan Szoke, Ben Young, Brett McCormick, Jodi Christie, Michael Taylor, and Francis Martin.
Just recently, the brand made headlines when it partnered with Canadian Superbike as the official Canadian National Superbike Championship. This will see the racers fly the “Canadians ride rocket” flag from 2021 onwards in a move that makes sense given the companies’ Canadian roots and their aptitude for sponsoring Canadian riders over the last three decades.
Being Canadian as they come, Joe Rocket makes a wide range of DOT/ECE certified racing gear (footwear, helmets, and gloves among others), built with performance in mind. It’s worth noting that jackets and pants might fare well in normal riding conditions, but you will require specialized racing one-piece suits to go out on the track and do your thing.
The motocross legend Joel Robert was the first pilot to race with Sidi boots. Like the company, he began his career in 1960 and had to innovate his way to world fame. Sidi has been custom building racing boots for the crème de la crème over the decades, including Antonio Cairoli the 2017 MXGP champion with his custom LED lit boots, a first event for adept Sidi designers.
The brand’s thundering success with numerous podium appearances can be attributed to the spirited professionalism and sheer passion of the ingenious founder Dino Signori. He endeavored to grow the company from a shoe artisan’s workshop to a fully-fledged ultra-modern specialist shoe factory producing footwear for the crème-de-la-crème of the world’s sportsmen and women, including those with special needs.
Dino had been a cyclist himself and it’s no wonder that the company first specialized in cycling shoes in the 70s. Their motorcycle boots are successful because there is more passion that goes into them beyond the mere purpose of making racing boots. The brand is present at racing events fine-tuning and even repairing boots for stars you love and constantly learning fresh design cues for future products.
Sidi promises to cover your bases so that you can make your dreams come true on two wheels. A promise they have already delivered for many stars!
When it comes to choosing your gear, the most crucial factor to consider is safety. The last thing on your mind is whether you’re properly protected in the event of a fall when you’re rocketing down the track at triple-digit speeds.
Remember, we dress for the slide and not the ride. As with premium protective gear, the best sport-riding suits come with stock CE-certified armor (Level 1 or Level 2) at the elbows and shoulders as well as an option to insert a back-armor pad. Companies like Alpinestars, REV’IT, and Dainese have their own armor that is also breathable, flexible, and certified by CE, which is similar to a helmet’s DOT approval. The latest technology also features motorcycle airbags.
Bring out the big guns to live your best motorcycling life!
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative Government, educational and nonprofit organizations:
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, and Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.
Click here for all of Michael’s contact and Social Media information https://parrotte.com/
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