Mamola, Bayliss, Bostrom … recognize any of those names? Maybe Mladin rings a bell? These are just some of the world-class racers who have worn AGV Sport products, making me feel privileged when the company sent me one of its Laguna leather suits to wear when I played guest tester during this year’s “Class of 2011” sportbike comparison.
I prefer to test leathers based on how they feel and fit, and not how they fare in a crash. But the reality is race suits are made to protect you when you fall, which I managed to do at Chuckwalla Raceway. We’ll get to that, but first let’s discuss the feel and fit: For an off-the-rack suit, the U.S. size 48 fit me surprisingly well. At 6-foot-2 and 195 lbs., most suits I try on are baggy in the legs and torso, but the Laguna suit fits snug. Chalk it up to the “race” cut, which must take into account that if you’re racing you’re probably in reasonably good shape. Despite the tight fit, the suit didn’t feel restrictive. Stretch panels behind the legs, at the crotch and along the inside of the arms provide excellent range of motion. Pleated, elasticized leather panels in areas susceptible to abrasion allow flexibility, and are the sort of quality feature usually reserved for suits costing twice as much. The legs, arms and torso are heavily perforated, which helped keep me cool during our two warm days at the track.
The Laguna’s chassis is made of 1.2-1.4mm leather, with the thicker stuff and extra stitching in impact areas. CE-approved elbow armor extends to the forearms, while the knee armor reaches midway down the shins. There’s also internal foam padding at the hips and tailbone, with CE-approved, dual-density armor and external titanium caps at the shoulders. The suit comes with an 8mm foam back pad, but that’s really just a place-holder that should be replaced by a quality back protector.
Now, on to the crash: While trying to log a fast lap aboard the Ducati 1198SP, I low-sided on the brakes, hitting the ground hard at about 50 mph. When the front tire slid out, I fell straight onto my right shoulder and then skidded across the pavement. The external shoulder armor caved in, but despite the direct impact I didn’t experience any bruising or soreness. The elbow armor stayed in place and kept my arm safe, although the leather at the forearm wore through in a small spot where my body weight bore down on it. Two seams at the back of the shoulder were torn—a function of abrasion and not seam quality, suggesting thicker leather might be in order since this was a relatively low-speed crash. Aside from a dime-size abrasion, I walked away unscathed.
Considering how much damage the Ducati suffered, I consider myself fortunate!
The Laguna suit’s external titanium shoulder caps promote sliding rather than tumbling. Th
Sliding home at 50 mph produced a dime-sized hole. Double-stitched seams kept the forearm
|Agv Sport Laguna Suit
|Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars
|Comfortable, quality sport-riding leathers at an affordable price.