Shift SR-1 Leather Race Suit And Gloves

If you ever suspected anything less than total commitment on the part of the Motorcyclist staff in providing you with the most completely researched product reviews possible, let this erase those doubts. While lesser mags might be content to discuss the suppleness of the Shift SR-1 leather race suit and call it a day, our discerning readers won't settle for less than a full performance review, including an assessment of overall crash-worthiness. So it was with your best interest in mind, dear reader, that I flung myself face-first through Thunderhill Raceway's Cyclone corner to see how well the SR-1 stood up in a crash. My findings? Shift one, Cyclone zero.

A classic, 60-mph low-side offered me ample opportunity to appraise Shift's premium cowhide shell, the double- and triple-stitched seams, and the combination soft and hard armor contained within. Despite abrasions along the entire left side of the suit, the 1.2-1.4mm leather wore through in only one dime-sized hole over a high point in the shoulder armor. The crash destroyed the outermost layer of nylon thread along the forearm, shoulder, knee and hip, but every one of these seams remained intact-testimony to the integrity of the stitching beneath. The combination of hard, CE-approved armor at the shoulders, elbows and knees, as well as the soft gel-type stuff at the hips, did the job, too; the only injury I sustained was a bruise to my unarmored upper forearm. The SR-1 suit behaved exactly as it should in a crash, so I was able to stand up, brush off and continue riding.

Even if you never bodysurf in it, the SR-1 (available in men's sizes M-XXL in black/blue or black/silver) will still be a satisfying purchase. The cut is proportional and clearly designed by someone who has studied the human body. And the range of motion is excellent thanks to carefully placed flex panels at the elbows, shoulders, lower back and knees, plus generous swatches of abrasion-resistant Kevlar stretch panels along the inner thigh and arm. Perforated thighs, calves and shoulders keep you cool, a full-length nylon liner assists ingress/egress and "adjustable" armor (Velcroed in place, not inserted into pockets) allows you to fine-tune the fit. For an off-the-rack suit, the SR-1 comes surprisingly close to custom fit and function at a fraction of the price.

The matching SR-1 race gloves (sizes S/8-XXL/12 in black/blue, black/red or black/silver) held up to crash testing with similarly stellar results. Made from premium-grade leather with a full Kevlar liner, the SR-1s fit like the proverbial glove thanks to pre-curved, articulated fingers and adjustable closures at both the wrist and gauntlet. A post-crash inspection revealed only superficial damage to the composite knuckle armor and molded rubber gauntlet bolsters that absorbed the abrading forces, leaving the leather body untouched. Good stuff-just don't ask me to crash-test it again!