I’ve never been a racer, so a full leather race suit and all the other stuff associated with racing were a little foreign to me. What’s more, being a geezer, it’s not like a full leather race suit would be my first choice of riding wear. Nevertheless, it was a safety requirement, so I started looking around for the appropriate personal gear that would meet the requirements and be reasonably comfortable for the four days I would spend on the Salt Flats. And, I wanted to be safe, so I didn’t want to cut corners even if I was on a budget.
I’m going to include links to all the stuff I used, but I’m not making a commision or promoting this gear other than to say, “This is what I used, why I bought it, and how it did.”
Sedici Palermo One-Piece Racing Suit
I spent a lot of time online looking at racing leathers trying to decide what would be the best to get. Finding the right fit online felt kind of problematic (especially since I’m not a twenty-something with a 34” waist any more) and prices ranged from reasonable to off-the-charts expensive.
After reading dozens of articles and watching several videos on how racing leathers should fit, I decided it would be best to go someplace where I could try one on and see if I could squeeze my geezer butt into one of these things without feeling like a German sausage or looking like a total clown. I was expecting it to cost somewhere around $1,000—so with a Cycle Gear pretty close, I decided to start there.
The guy that helped me hone in the fit was very helpful and I was really surprised to see the price tag on the Sedici Palermo racing leathers. I decided to go with an off the rack suit; provided I could find one that would fit me properly. I wasn’t disappointed with the fit and was thrilled with the price. At under $500, it was half my budget and passed inspection without any issues.
Waiting in the line for your turn on the salt is a hot and time-consuming activity and not really well-suited for full racing leathers. Like everyone else on a motorcycle, I unzipped and pulled the top down around my waist while I waited; and the perforated leather kept me otherwise comfortable on the bike. Fortunately, I can’t give you a report on how they did in a crash, but they feel well made, of heavy leather and other materials, and after putting them on and pulling them off a few times they broke in like leather does and didn’t require me to go through weird contortions to get them off and on. And, they were actually pretty comfortable which totally surprised me.
Sedici is Cycle Gear’s house brand and I liked the leathers so much, I also bought my gloves there.
Sedici Gianni Gloves
To pass inspection you need to have a 2” gauntlet on the glove, so while I was at Cycle Gear, I tried on several pairs to find something comfortable that would fit the bill. The Gianni gloves were comfortable and the extra protection on the knuckles and fingers made sense to me.
They appear to be as well-made as some of the more expense gloves I tried on, but they were also the gloves I felt fit my mitts the best, so I got them. I’ve come to appreciate that there are very few pieces of gear that are ever perfect, but these were pretty close and we got along well with each other after they broke in a little bit.
Spidi SP3-S Boots
I’m a big fan of wearing the right protective gear, but I’ll admit to being a little put off by the look of these boots. They didn’t look comfortable, I thought they might be claustrophobic, and would definitely be clunky off the bike. I was wrong.
The Spidi SP3-S boots were comfortable, felt like they would be very safe in a crash, didn’t overheat like I thought they would, and got better as the days went on. My boots were probably the biggest surprise of the gear I took to the salt.
HJC RPHA 11 Motorcycle Helmet
I think the RPHA 11 is the best bang for the buck premium motorcycle helmet out there. I’d been wearing an RPHA Max modular helmet for a few years until I went down on the sportster and had just purchased this helmet prior to that. The RPHA 11 is so comfortable, I decided to go with a full-face touring helmet to replace the RPHA Max and bought the RPHA 70 to replace it.
The RPHA 11 is a light and comfortable helmet that fits my head shape (it’s an intermediate oval). HJC isn’t as quiet as some helmets, but after wearing a modular for many years, it seems really quiet to me—especially with the ear plugs I normally wear. I opted for a white helmet, thinking it would be a little cooler. I’m not sure if it made a difference, but it was pretty cool. At least I didn’t feel like my head was overheating.
To race at Bonneville you need a Snell rated helmet, or the European ECE R 22.5 rating. This helmet didn’t have the Snell rating, but did have the ECE rating and passed inspection without any issues.
I’ll admit to being an HJC fanboy, but this is a great helmet. It’s well vented, fits my noggin, is pretty light, and I don’t have to second mortgage my home or sell one of my motorcycles to buy it.
Sedici Close Riding Shorts
You welcome that I didn’t post my geezer butt in this photo and am instead using the web image. I wasn’t too sure these were going to make a big difference with the contortions required to climb into my racing leathers, but they did. The guy at Cycle Gear said I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I wasn’t. The Sedici Clost Riding Shorts made climbing in and out of the suit much easier. So much so, that I will get another couple of pair to take with me next year.
So that’s pretty much it. The personal safety gear I used on the Salt Flats. It passed inspection, was comfortable, and did what it was supposed to do.