Undersuit makes riding more comfortable

By: On: November 20th, 20110 Comments »Updated: July 20, 2013

MOTO-D motorcycle undersuit worn under jacketIf you have ever been on a motorcycle for hours at a time on a hot day without an undersuit to protect your skin, you know how uncomfortable you can get. Riding involves some body movement and subtle physical adjustments to your position on the seat, plus movement of legs and arms for shifting and cornering, etc.  Add sweat, rubbing, and chafing into the mix and the ride isn’t so fun.

I’m just a regular motorcycle rider that enjoys the occasional half or full-day ride on country roads and highways.  Here in the Carolinas, the summer heat can really wear you down when you’re on your bike just out for casual ride.  I can imagine a racer or a track-day rider moving around on their bike much more than I ever will on mine.  Now imagine wearing full  leathers doing that on a hot day for long periods of time.

A clever solution for a much more comfortable ride, whether you are on the street or on the track, is what is called a “motorcycle undersuit”.  I tried one of these recently on a ride I took around the back roads of North Carolina on a warm Autumn day.  The actual undersuit that I tried out is the latest hot weather version from MOTO-D Racing.  I wasn’t sure how well it would work because the temperature was only about 68 F (20 C) the day of my ride.

Undersuit details:

motorcycle undersuit from MOTO-D RacingThe suit is one-piece design with a zipper on the front.  You simply unzip it, step into the legs and put it on like a racing suit. The legs have stirrups built in, which is really helpful.  The suit material is extremely thin and flexible, so you don’t even feel the stirrups on your feet.  The zipper extends from the neck to the crotch and is flexible and comfortable.  The suit also can unzip from the crotch upward, which is a real help for bathroom breaks.  Putting the suit on for the first time was quicker and easier than I thought it would be.

As shown on the tag, the undersuit that I received from MOTO-D was made in Canada of 84% Polyester and 16% Spandex materials.  This is the 2012 summer suit.  Cost is $59.95 USD direct from MOTO-D (they do ship world-wide). The material is very soft, breathable and light.  The stitching looked sufficient and no threads were hanging or pulling away as you sometimes find on new clothing.  My initial impression was one of good quality.

So, after I got the undersuit on, I put on my jeans and motorcycle jacket and headed out for my test ride.  I got on the rest of my gear and headed out on my Moto Guzzi California.  The first thing I noticed was that my jacket felt a size bigger on me.  I think that was because the inner lining of the jacket slid so easily against the fabric of the undersuit.  I was totally free to wave my arms around, twist my torso and move however I wanted without feeling restricted by my riding jacket.  My jacket is comfortable anyway, but I have never felt such ease of movement in it.  It was a pretty good feeling to be able to move in it like that.

tag on moto-d motorcycle undersuitAs for wearing the undersuit with jeans, I noticed that my jeans were not riding up on my legs like they often try to do when sitting on the bike.  My Moto Guzzi has a fairly standard seating position with knees bent about 90 degrees.  After I get going on it, I often have to pull down the bottom of my pant legs because they tend to creep up do to the seating position.  I didn’t have to do that with this undersuit on.  My pant legs kind of floated on my body in the way my jacket was doing.  The undersuit had obviously eliminated all the usual friction under my riding gear and clothes.

As I mentioned, it was a cool, but comfortable Autumn day when I wore this undersuit for the first time.  Not a lot of sweating going on.  However, I have been on my Guzzi for 300 mile rides in 95 degree and hotter weather through South Carolina.  I know just how uncomfortable that can get.  Once your clothes start to get soaked in sweat when you’re riding a motorcycle, nothing good happens.  The friction builds up and your butt and other parts of your body get really irritated.  It once took about 3 days for me to finally get rid of the soreness I got from that kind of ride.

Undersuit Likes:

I found MOTO-D’s materials and workmanship both to be very good.  The zipper did not cause me any problem and did not interfere with the comfort of the undersuit in anyway.  The ability to open the zipper from below is a plus.  The collar is not to high, but is substantial enough on the back of the neck to prevent my jacket from rubbing.  The opening at the neck is good so that when zippered all the way up, it still does not pinch or bind.  The stirrups are sewn-in, no buttons or snaps to interfere.  The size medium fit perfectly for me at 6′ tall 165 lbs.  Large would probably have been too big.  While riding, aside from the very noticeable lack of friction between me and my riding gear, I didn’t actually feel the undersuit on me.

Undersuit Dislikes:

Only while not riding, I felt a little like the undersuit was too much to have on.  I’ve never worn a polyester/spandex undersuit before, so the feeling was new to me.  As long as I was riding the motorcycle, I did not even feel it on me.  When I was just walk inside my house after I got home from the ride, I began to feel kind of clammy.  The idea of the undersuit is that it is moisture-wicking, but I didn’t get that feeling when just wearing it a short time in the house before and after the ride.  It does perform as intended when riding, and that it what counts the most.

undersuit for motorcycle ridingSo, now that I have tried it, would I recommend a MOTO-D motorcycle undersuit to other riders?  Yes, definitely.  It is a good quality, easy to wear piece of simple clothing that just about any rider would benefit from.  The price is competitive, and in most cases, a little less expensive than other brands. I can’t imagine someone that wearing full leathers and not wearing an undersuit like this one.

Undersuit Bottom Line:

It really worked great for me under my regular jeans and motorcycle jacket.  It is perfect for weekend riding. I think any motorcyclist would include an undersuit as part of their riding gear if they tried one. I actually felt much more comfortable in it, and that was just a mild day.  For short rides, like commuting to work, I probably would not wear it just because it is a one-piece suit. However, the next time I set out on one of those long, hot rides in the summer heat and humidity of the Carolinas (especially when I volunteer as motorcycle marshal), I will certainly be wearing an undersuit!

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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