I got the RST TracTech Evo 4 Ladies leathers on review here to replace a not much cheaper BKS suit from J&S that had let me down three times. These RST leathers are fully certified (something I’ve now started taking much more of an interest in), they’re well-made and they fit me properly.
I’ve been wearing these on my Kawasaki ZX-10R for five months and really rate them. Here’s why…
Fit’s going to be different for all of us, and the RSTs did take a little breaking in, but nothing major and they’ve stayed feeling great. I have a set of Dainese leathers too, and while they’re the same size, they’re tighter and keep me more crushed up in a racing tuck. The RSTs, which are made of genuine cowhide, aren’t baggy but they have a much more compliant stretch that means I can move around far more easily in them, and feel much more comfortable on my bike.
The BKS leathers I had felt very soft and went on easily in the shop, but within a couple of months they’d got baggy. The first pair I had tore on the chest in a couple of weeks – these were replaced, but the new set started coming apart around the fabric stretch panels after 12 months. These were replaced again, but I’d really lost faith in them, and then I realised that they didn’t have any safety certification at all, which is why I got the RSTs in the end.
The back of the collar, and the cuffs both have neoprene sections that make the leathers even more comfortable, and also make it easier for my gloves to fit over.
There’s no signs of any undue wear on the TracTechs including at the stretch panels – all I’ve noticed is a little bit of exposed thread on the stretch fabric where the bottoms of the legs rub against the bike.
Editor’s note: The BKS leathers Nikki had before were an off-the-peg brand exclusive to J&S. They’re not the same in any way as BKS Made-to-Measure, based in Devon and making only bespoke leathers and textiles that are also supplied to police and emergency services riders.
The RST TrachTech Evo 4 ladies leathers are rated to the highest level under EN 17092: AAA. They also come with a Level 1 back protector as standard, as well as Level 1 armour at the shoulders, elbows and knees. The hips have Level 2 armour.
It’d be good to see Level 2 armour throughout the suit for maximum impact protection, and it’s a shame that there’s no option to get these leathers with the In&Motion airbag that RST includes in two of its men’s suits (though these are more expensive).
People often assume that leathers are the safest option, but after feeling these compared to my old leathers, the quality seems much better. And as they’re properly certified (which they should be by law), the AAA rating helps prove they’re safer.
Two layers of leather in the bum are an important safety feature
Despite being more expensive, my Dainese leathers are only AA, which means they’ve not been proven to be as safe as these. Also, there’s only one layer of leather in the bum of the Dainese suit, rather than the two layers that these RSTs have.
Editor’s note: Only in AAA-rated garments under EN17092 is the bum considered a key impact area, which means in AA and A levels, this area doesn’t have to withstand as much abrasion as the knees, for instance. Given that the requirements for each level gets incrementally higher, an AA-rated set of leathers don’t have to provide anything like the protective performance of an AAA-rated set.
To help riders more quickly find the most protective gear, Bennetts introduced the High Performance Award, and we’re delighted to have awarded these leathers Gold.
All motorcycle clothing sold in the UK and Europe is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a good thing for riders as it can help them choose kit that has provable levels of safety because, to meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. To fully understand the labels found in all bike kit, click here.
There are two pockets inside the TracTech Evo 4 Ladies leathers, one of which is zipped. You can tuck a phone in these, but as leathers tend to be a good, snug fit, you won’t want to shove keys and the like inside. A bum-bag or hip bag is useful for carrying any gear when you’re in leathers.
The main zip has a moulded tag to make it easier to do up, and it locks in place when pushed down. Once it’s fully zipped up, a Velcro flap covers it at the top to keep in place, and to stop it from being able to open itself.
While the leathers break in, it can take a little work to get them shut over the chest at times, but it’ll depend on your shape of course, and the RSTs are really comfortable when done up.
The ends of the legs zip up securely and tuck inside my boots easily.
There’s no adjustment in the RSTs, but this is normal in leathers. The cowhide has enough give, and the fit is so good thanks to the fabric stretch panels and the accordion panels at the shoulders, base of the back, and knees, that the armour is held well in place and everything just fits great.
These leathers have perforated sections on the chest and thighs, which helps in the hot weather, but can mean they get a little chillier in the colder months. A windproof layer under them, or over the top (even a cheap set of waterproofs) cures this, but it’s worth knowing that the holes are there.
Editor’s note: The perforations are well away from the seams, which helps makes these leathers stronger. Some cheap gear will use pre-perforated leather, then just have the hide cut to size and sewn in, but doing this means all the holes can weaken the joins, creating a potential burst point.
The RST TracTech Evo 4 Ladies leathers have a comfortable mesh lining that makes them easier to pull on and take off as it doesn’t get sticky as you warm up. I also helps trap some air to keep you a little warmer when it gets chillier.
Editor’s note: Comfort liners like this also provide a valuable additional slip layer that reduces the chances of a potentially painful skin-sheer injury.
A tiny amount of thread showing where the stretch panel is being rubbed on the side of my bike is the only sign of wear. A far cry from what I had before!
Women account for a relatively small part of the motorcycle market, so there often aren’t that many options, especially when it comes to one-piece leathers (there are a lot more leather jackets and jeans around). Far too often, brands will just ‘shrink it and pink it’, so do look for products that have been designed specifically for women. And of course, check the certification ratings provide the safety you expect as we could only find two other women’s suits that were AAA-rated…
These are just three of many alternatives – you can find all the leather motorcycle jackets we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through Bikesocial membership.
I’m really impressed with the fit of the RST TracTech Evo 4 Ladies leathers – they’re snug in all the right places, and haven’t gone baggy like the BKS ones I had before, but I can easily move around in them and feel really comfortable on the bike, unlike my Dainese set, which feel too cramped.
These have clearly been properly made with a woman’s shape in mind, the hips and chest feeling great and meaning I can easily spend all day long in them.
Now I know more about the safety standards in kit I look around for the labels a lot more, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these RSTs to any women wanting to feel comfortable and safe on a bike. They feel good, they look good, and they finally give me the confidence that I’m wearing something that’ll protect me.
Editor’s note: The BKS leathers Nikki had before were an off-the-peg brand exclusive to J&S. They’re not the same in any way as BKS Made-to-Measure, based in Devon making only bespoke leathers and textiles.