Let me guess, you want to buy a new set of motorcycle leathers but you don’t know how tightly fitted these leathers should be. I mean, it’s your first time after all. At least this was me when I was first trying out different leathers. 

They always look quite tight on other people and models. But how tight should these leathers be? 

Turns out, after some experience of wearing these motorcycle leathers, I know that motorcycle leathers should be well fitted – not too tight but definitely not loose.

The key is to try them while sitting down on your motorcycle and making sure you have total freedom of movement.

Let’s talk more about this in the next chapter.

How Tight Should Motorcycle Leathers Be?

As I said it’s important for your motorcycle leathers to be as tight as possible but still be comfortable for a full range of motion – so you are looking for some tightness but definitely not loose. 

Here’s 5 things you need to know when test fitting a motorcycle leather. 

  1. Total freedom of movement. Ensure it’s comfortable to move around in your leathers. It should feel quite natural to move around – remember, you need to ride in them. 
  2. Usually tight until the leathers break in. Motorcycle leathers, like any other leathers need some time to break in and loosen up. So it’s quite normal to feel a little tight when it’s new (but not so tight though). 
  3. Test while sitting on your motorcycle. When testing the fit of motorcycle leather, you should sit on your motorcycle and get into your riding positions. Many people make the mistake of trying them only while standing up. 
  4. Custom tailoring motorcycle leather is possible. Motorcycle leathers cover your entire body. Just like a good fitted suit, a good fitted leather might need some tailoring. For a best fitting leather, custom tailoring is an option – although it can get expensive.
  5. Wear an undershirt when you test fit. Most people wear some kind of shirts underneath the motorcycle leathers. You should test fit your leather with the undershirts you will use.
Tight fit motorcycle leather

Tight fit motorcycle leather

Why Motorcycle Leathers Should Be Tightly Fit

All the while I have been talking about how you should get a tight fitting leathers – but why exactly? So what if a motorcycle leather is tight or loose?

Motorcycle leathers are designed to protect you when you crash. They are equipped with armors and platings at the most critical spots of your body. 

A tight motorcycle leathers ensure these protective armors stay in the right places when you crash. Thus, keeping you safe.

But of course, that’s not all of the reasons. Here are 4 things why your motorcycle leathers should be tightly fit:

  1. Tight motorcycle leathers keep the armors in place. Like I mentioned, tight leathers ensure the armors equipped in the leathers to stay in the right places when you crash. You don’t want your lifeline to move around, do you?
  2. Tight motorcycle leathers work better at absorbing road rash. Leathers are generally picked for motorcycle riders because they do a good job at absorbing road rash. However, this only works if they are tight and don’t move around. If your leathers don’t stay in placing during a crash, your skin will definitely feel the road rash. 
  3. Comfortable. Believe it or not, tight leathers are more comfortable than loose leathers – especially after the tight motorcycles have broken in. Your leathers and body will feel as one. Imagine having a layer of leathers bunched up around your tummy – not comfortable. This happens for loose leathers.
  4. Looks good. Tight leathers look much better when worn. This is the same reason as any other clothing really. Tightly fit clothing immediately makes you look better.
motorcycle leather model

Tight fitting motorcycle leather looks great.

How To Break In Motorcycle Leathers? (& How Long)

Motorcycle leathers can break-in naturally as you wear them on track days. After broken in, your leathers will loosen up and should feel more natural on you.

Typically, motorcycle leathers can take about 2-3 track days to break in – provided you wear them at all times, ride in them and sweat in them. The key here is to move around in them and sweat in them. Leathers will loosen up when in contact with moisture.

The best and less-hassle way to break in motorcycle leather is just wear them on track days.

But what if you need to break them in immediately? You purposely bought a leather for this track day and you need them broken in – what can you do?

These are several ways to how you can break in motorcycle leathers – some take longer time while some are much faster. I personally have not tried all of them myself though.

  1. Naturally break them in by wearing them. This the most hassle-free way to break in motorcycle leathers. Just wear them and sweat in them. Your leathers will break in and feel natural after about 2-3 track days. 
  2. Sleep in your leathers. Wear your leathers (including the armor plates) to your sleep. After a couple of nights, your leathers should break in and feel more natural. 
  3. Stretch and move around in your leathers at home. This method is where you put on the leathers and do some stretching activities at home for as long as you can. I personally have not tried this but some people have and it helped to break the leathers in. 
  4. Shower in your leathers. As I said, leathers will break in faster when exposed to moisture. I personally have not tried this because getting out from a wet motorcycle leathers is a pain. But some enthusiasts have surely tried this. 
  5. Apply leather conditioner. This means applying leather conditioner to the entire leathers to loosen them up. Leather conditioner brands like Lexol cost about $25 per litre. This is worth trying if you are willing to spend. 
  6. Intentionally create creases and wrinkles. You could repeatedly curl your leathers into a ball or bunch it up continuously for 15 minutes. This should create creases and wrinkles on your leathers and loosen them up. 

Should You Wear Clothing Under Motorcycle Leathers?

You should wear light clothing underneath your motorcycle leathers – usually under armor products or any thin and slippery long johns. Direct skin to leather contact is not comfortable and can be hard to remove afterward.

For a more detailed answer, it actually depends on the weather and occasion. In cold weather, wear some thermal underwear underneath the leathers. Whereas in warm weather, a thin undershirt is enough – those sporty ones from nike or under armor.

If you plan on taking off the leathers and still look good, then you could also wear a T-shirt. Again, pay attention to the weather when choosing your undershirt.

Should You Alter Motorcycle Leathers?

Although possible, I don’t recommend tailoring a motorcycle leather because it can get very expensive and leather stitching is very hard to do – I don’t want to risk the leather tearing up during crashes or accidents. 

This is why I recommend you buy a leather in person – try it out physically on and off your bike and see how it feels. 

Leathers are very expensive and they are meant to protect you. Get the right fitting one from a shop of quality. Don’t go cheap here and don’t risk anything.

motorcycle leather tailor

Leather stitching can be hard and is very expensive

Ifandi S.

Ifandi S.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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