Choosing leathers can seem like a bit of a minefield. 1 vs 2 piece, different grades and kinds of leather, lots of brands all jostling for your attention. There are a few key questions you need to ask yourself when choosing your riding kit. The first and most important is what kind of riding are you going to be doing? The second is when are you (mostly) going to be doing it? Once you have thought about this you can start to narrow down what you need from your leathers.
If you are here, chances are you are considering migrating from road riding to more frequent, or possibly exclusive track riding (and we wouldn’t blame you given the state of the roads these days not to mention the increasing likelihood of being hit by a driver on their phone)
Now you’ve probably started to gravitate straight towards getting a 1 piece suit with a full race hump and various titanium sliders on every joint and protrusion - and there are very good reasons what that is probably the right solution for you BUT spare a thought for a 2 piece set up too.
I still ride on both road and track and so for me a 2 piece had a couple of distinct benefits - Firstly it’s much easier to get in and out of - A 1 piece, especially when new can be a bit of a challenge in this respect.
Secondly, A 1 piece suit also tends to be ‘pre-formed’ into a more constricted racing position - it literally forces you to bend forwards. Great when you are dragging knee on a track but less comfortable on a 3 hour touring ride or when you get off and want a cup of tea on your ride-out. A 2 piece tends to be less race focused BUT they often still come with things like race humps and sliders so look the biz on track.
That’s what I liked about the Dainese Avro Div 2 (The ‘div’ is short for divisible i.e you can separate it into 2 pieces) It felt like a good compromise between protection, style and comfort in a wider range of riding styles. (it’s also got some reflective panels which will help you be seen if riding on the roads at night as well as a small ‘race hump’ which adds a cool look and a bit of aerodynamics when in a tucked position)
Dainese have been around since the early 1970s so I felt comfortable trusting their expertise to have created a good product.
The suit is high grade 1.3mm thick Bovine ‘tutu’ Leather (Which seems to be the acceptable standard for a set of quality leathers) with bi-elastic stretch panels in the places where leather isn’t needed should you touch down on the tarmac, such as on the inner thighs and under the arms - this, along with some concertina panels along the lower back, waist, shoulder and knee joints mean you can move well in the suit whilst also keeping you protected.
Everything is double stitched with special coated nylon threads that won’t come apart in the event of a spill and it’s got CE certified protection in all the required places - shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and shins. The suit also comes with a small pocket inside the jacket, Solid YKK zips and velcro secondary closures at the neck and waist, There's some adjustment zips down the back of the calves, if you’ve been doing lots of ‘leg days’ at the gym, to make getting the trousers on and off easier) plus removable knee sliders. The 2 pieces zip together all the way around - not just at the back like some suits (this is a requirement if you’re taking a 2 piece on track)
You can read the full specs on the Dainese site but needless to say it stands up to the rigors of the job.
As you’ll see from the pictures here I’ve thrown mine down the tarmac and i’m very impressed with how it’s stood up to it. Now my particular spill was a fairly low speed up and down highside, rather than a high speed low side, so I wasn’t dragging along the road for any great length of time, but I DID land on my head and shoulder and you’ll see that the shoulder shield has taken most of the beating. It’s pretty scratched up and it’s caved in somewhat but the panel itself can be removed (3 small screws) and a new one screwed on. The leather around it is still intact and all the stitching has held firm - Essentially it has done its job in protecting me.
After my spill (which resulted in a broken collarbone) I’ve started thinking about what more I could have done to protect myself and with the rapid developments in airbag technology I will certainly be considering an airbag suit as this would probably have decreased the chance of the kind of injury I sustained but for now, i’m pretty sure my Dainese Avro has still got plenty of miles left in it.
QUALITY - 8/10
COST - 7/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
TOTAL SCORE - 23/30