Everybody likes to have the best looking gear available, and on the race track that usually means donning a top of the line off-the-rack leather suit or a custom one-off set-up. But what if you want the look like a pro at the track while getting the same level of protection, but don’t want to break the bank in the process? That is where Pilot Leathers
comes in to
Every set of Pilot Leather is customizable with logos, names and numbers.
play. For a surprisingly low cost you can get the same suit that Dane Westby, Elena Meyers and Danny Eslick trust to protect them while racing. For the last couple of months I have been testing Pilot’s newest suit, the EVO, which unfortunately involved a crash testing.
Pilot is a smaller company that is intent on giving its customers the best bang for their buck. Made with top-shelf materials, you can order an off the rack design that you can then personalize or go full custom right off the bat. Pricing varies, beginning at an astonishing $1200 for standard sizing and jumping to $1500 for a full custom tailored piece. Included in that pricing is a myriad of personalization options including your name and number on the back and just about every sponsor logo you can think of. If the logo you are looking for is not available, Pilot will make any logo desired at an additional cost. Standard features such as shoulder air vents, a race hump and fully perforated front leather further increase the value for your dollar.
Looking awesome means nothing if the suit doesn’t protect as it should. Pilot takes pride in producing a suit that is just as durable and protective as it is good looking. Contructed of 1.3 and 1.5mm milled cowhide, the EVO suit
is double- and triple-stitched with super-strong nylon thread and reinforced with webbing in critical areas. Swiss-made Scholler Keprotech textile is used extensively for airflow and mobility while providing the best possible abrasion resistance. Anatomically-placed armor in the elbows, knees, shins and shoulders cushion impacts while metal sliders on the outside of the suit’s elbows and shoulders allow the suit to slide and not grab in the event of a fall.
While every suit is made to order, Pilot has standard sizing and custom fitting available. I visited Pilot HQ in Temecula, California to check out the options available before making a decision on which would be best for me. I have short
Pilot sends each customer artwork to approve before the suit is made to confirm color choices and logo placement.
thighs and a chest like a barrel so I was confident that I would be needing a custom suit, but to my surprise the standard sizing was just about spot on. With just a few adjustments to the length of the thigh and lower leg I was set up for a perfect fit. After we picked the design and colors, the info was sent out to the suit design department to draw it up. After a couple days I received a drawing with what my suit would look like, and I was given one last chance to make any final changes to colors and logo placement.
After about a month, my favorite brown-clad delivery driver dropped a box in my office. The wait was worth it. This suit exceeded my expectations and that was before putting it on. Quality oozed out of every bit of this leather work of art, and the fit was spot on. I couldn’t find a single flaw no matter how hard I tried.
With just about any suit I’ve every worn, I have felt confined, which makes moving on the bike more difficult than it should be. Not the case with my perfectly-fit Pilot EVO; there's plenty freedom of movement thanks to the Keprotech panels and perforated
The fit of the EVO suit is excellent while still allowing an unrestricted range of motion.
leather stretch panels in the lower back, knees and calves that are superior to any suit I’ve slid into. Being comfortable makes me faster and I’ve found a new level of confidence in my riding in this suit. Maybe it’s because I have to live up to the coolness of the suit, but mostly it has to do with being able to move how I need to in order to get the job done.
The only complaint I have is that the Everlast Knee Sliders provided with the suit take some getting used to. While they will outlast any other pucks by a huge margin, the feel when they touch the pavement is very hard and slippery. Not to mention they are loud! Once you get used to the feel and noise, they work amazing. After four solid track days I would estimate I’ve only used up 25% of the available material. Impressive.
The Crash Test
It was a sad, sad day for me this past weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway Park
. While shaking down my older brother’s
Although my suit is not pretty after a lowside crash, it is still fully functional and structurally intact.
Kawasaki ZX-6R, a coolant hose burst and dumped me on the ground before I knew what was going on. As I slid through Turn 4 on my behind at speed, my heart broke, as I knew my super Sweet EVO Suit was no longer pristine.
Inspecting my now-rashed EVO suit revealed the double-thick milled cowhide leather survived the slide, and all the seams held together. I was confident that the suit was sound to continue riding for the rest of the two-day weekend, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it for a long time to come.
After using and abusing the Pilot EVO Leather Suit
, I would highly recommend putting it on your short list if you are in the market for a new track suit. The quality is unsurpassed, the list of features is longer than my arm, and the price is right. Now I just have to convince Pilot to line me up with version 2.0 so I can continue to look great while being protected.