I don’t always ride on the track. But when I do, I prefer leather.
In fact, most closed-circuit road racetracks won’t allow you to ride without a full leather suit, and your boots and gloves need to be up to the task as well. If the track is the place to test the limits of your bike or your skills, then you need to be prepared for the possibility of sliding down the pavement at triple-digit speeds. No one wants that outcome, but accidents happen and riders wearing proper protective gear often walk away.
Since my decade-old leathers had mysteriously shrunk—must be the dry weather here in Southern California—testing the 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000 at Circuit of the Americas gave me an opportunity to test Joe Rocket’s top-of-the-line road race gear: Speedmaster 6.0 one-piece suit ($699.99), Speedmaster 2.0 back protector ($74.99), Speedmaster 3.0 boots ($279.99) and GPX gloves ($144.99).
Developed over many seasons of AMA racing, the Speedmaster 6.0 suit is made from 1.4-1.7mm top grain cowhide with perforations in the chest, groin and lower waist for ventilation, articulated expansion panels for flexibility and an aerodynamic speed hump on the upper back. Crash protection includes CE-approved shoulder, knee and elbow armor, titanium shoulder reinforcements, a removable spine pad and removable foam inserts in impact areas. The fully lined mesh interior provides access for custom lettering, replaceable beveled knee sliders are made of a durable ceramic compound and heavy-duty YKK zippers withstand plenty of abuse. For on-bike comfort without restricting mobility, the sleeves and legs are pre-curved, there are windproof Kevlar stretch panels and poly/mesh ankle panels, and the wrist closure is adjustable. To better protect a vital area, I replaced the spine pad with the Speedmaster 2.0 CE Level 2 back protector, which combines molded, articulated high-density foam armor with impact-absorbing ventilated foam backing, and the adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt keep the protector in place.
Once zipped into the suit, on go the boots and gloves. Speedmaster 3.0 boots combine perforated split grain leather for breathability, an articulated, reinforced ankle for mobility and lateral rigidity, and injection molded armor, a titanium ankle plate and closed cell foam for protection. A three-way hook-and-loop, zipper and ratchet strap closure ensures the boots stay on no matter what, there are magnesium sliders on the toe (replaceable), heel and calf, the thermoplastic polyurethane midsole is reinforced with a steel shank and the antibacterial foot bed is replaceable. GPX gloves are made of drum-dyed cowhide with carbon fiber knuckle and palm protectors, vented TPR finger protectors, a TPU cuff protector and para-aramid on the back of the hand.
A pre-curved design with a non-slip palm ensures a comfortable, confident grip, expansion panels and a hinged thumb maximize mobility, and a hook-and-loop double cuff closure keeps the gloves securely on the hands.
Off the rack, everything fit me perfectly, and I rode all day in the Texas heat in confident comfort without needing any break-in. Luckily, I haven’t crash-tested this gear, and I hope the opportunity never presents itself. But if that day comes, my assets will be protected. Check out Joe Rocket’s website for available colors and sizing.
For more information, see your dealer or visit joerocket.com.