KIT TESTED

‘A se­ri­ously solid suit’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

BKS Prow­ess ladies leather suit £649.99

Tester: Emma Franklin Time tested: 2000 miles What’s good: In 2008 the great Bri­tish made-to-mea­sure leathers man­u­fac­turer BKS cre­ated a range of off-the-peg items for the Frank Thomas Group, which in­cluded this top-spec ladies race suit. Al­though the Prow­ess was mass-pro­duced in China, BKS’S founder Brian San­som de­signed and over­saw the pro­duc­tion of the suit so it re­tained the be­spoke brand’s leg­endary build qual­ity. It’s se­ri­ously ro­bust, made from 1.2-1.4mm cowhide held to­gether with heavy, multi-row seams, with dou­ble-lay­ered leather at the shoul­ders and el­bows. It also has Ce-ap­proved ar­mour in the shoul­ders, el­bows, fore­arms, knees, shins and hips. Kevlar-re­in­forced stretch ma­te­rial on the in­sides of the arms and legs help give this suit a de­gree of flex­i­bil­ity as well as mak­ing it a fairly flat­ter­ing fit. It’s tough and feels very se­cure, which is why I choose to race in it.

What’s not:

Be­cause it’s so ro­bust, it’s taken lit­er­ally years to break in. I’ve owned it since 2008 but have only re­cently per­se­vered with it long enough to get it com­fort­able. Other nig­gles in­clude the lack of soft neo­prene ma­te­rial at the col­lar and cuffs – it’s just ex­posed leather here and isn’t as com­fort­able as other suits I have. Also, the tag on the main zip snapped off, so I had to at­tach a loop of ca­ble tie in or­der to get pur­chase on the zip.

Con­tact: www.jand­sac­ces­sories.co.uk Value ★★★★ ★ Qual­ity ★★★★ ★

Arai RX-7 GP £429.99 (+£500 for cus­tom paint)

Tester: Bruce Dunn Time tested: 30,000 miles/ five years

What’s good: I have been wear­ing Arai hel­mets for 20 years. This RX-7 GP is now five years old and has been used for road-test work and rac­ing. It has kept me safe and shared some of the most un­for­get­table bik­ing ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had: rac­ing at the NW200; do­ing 207mph on the V10-pow­ered Mill­yard Viper; and ac­cel­er­at­ing to 180mph in 13 sec­onds on the Kawasaki H2R. Af­ter all that, it fi­nally fulfilled its rea­son for be­ing when it kept me safe when I high­sided out of sec­ond place at the last round of Golden Era Su­per­bikes at Cad­well Park last month, so I’ve had to re­tire it.

The fit has al­ways been per­fect and I’ve been able to wear it for many hours at a time with no dis­com­fort. There is ex­cel­lent cool­ing and ven­ti­la­tion, and it’s very sta­ble even at speeds of up to 180mph.

What’s not: Some­times the vi­sor lock­ing catch doesn’t en­gage prop­erly and the vi­sor can open at speed. How­ever, this is­sue can be rec­ti­fied free of charge by an Arai ser­vice cen­tre or dealer.

Con­tact: www.wh­yarai.co.uk Qual­ity ★★★★ ★ Value ★★★★ ★

BMW large soft bag £175

Tester: Adam Child

Time tested: Three weeks/1000 miles

What’s good: I didn’t think this would be as good as a con­ven­tional hard top box, but it’s bet­ter. It’s huge – the 50-55 litre ca­pac­ity is more than BMW’S top box. Un­like a top box it has sev­eral in­ter­nal com­part­ments, great for sep­a­rat­ing clean clothes from dirty shoes. The main sec­tion is 100% wa­ter­proof and the four side pock­ets are water re­sis­tant. For £175 I think it’s good value, and the qual­ity is up to BMW’S stan­dards.

What’s not: It’s not lock­able – it would be easy to un­zip and walk off with it. It of­fers some sup­port for a pil­lion, but can’t be used to lean on for added com­fort.

Con­tact www.bmw-mo­tor­rad.co.uk Qual­ity ★★★★ ★ Value ★★★★ ★

Thick leather, de­cent stitch­ing and CE ar­mour makes this BKS suit feel solid – ex­cept for the bro­ken zip tag

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