British brand RST has been making good quality mid-range riding gear for almost 30 years and when I found myself needing a one-piece suit for my first track day, they seemed like the natural choice.
Textiles have been the clothing of choice for me since I started riding . As a commuter who doesn’t do more than 10 miles a day, spending five minutes sliding into some leathers only to spend 10 minutes getting out of them again at work isn’t an ideal scenario. That was until I was called upon to take part in a group test of 125cc sports bikes at Rockingham a couple of months’ back. Full leathers are a requirement for circuit riding, so after much deliberation an RST R-16 one-piece suit was ordered and on its way.
The next day the leathers arrived and were unboxed, looking and smelling amazing. They may be some of the most keenly priced leathers you can buy at around £300, but don’t for one-minute think that these are in any way inferior to the more expensive items in RST’s range. The spec might be a bit lower, but the finish is impeccable and from the breathable lining to the double stitched joints, you can immediately tell these are a quality item. All the armour is there, with knees, elbow, shoulder and thigh protection all CE approved for peace of mind. About the only thing missing, which you can buy separately, is a back protector but other than that they’re good to go.
The first thing I thought as I slid into the leathers was, 'they’re tight'. As I walked around the paddock parts of my anatomy were meeting for the first time and they were not getting along at all! It wasn’t until a more ‘senior’ member of the team reminded me that they aren’t designed for hiking in and as soon as I was out on the track the suit came into its own. It’s designed for general sports bike riding and is cut to be less aggressive than the RST Pro Series and Tractech suits, meaning a more comfortable experience when in the saddle for longer periods. I was surprised to find that the tiny vents on the shoulder and perforations on the front portions of the leathers do a half decent job of cooling you down. The Great British Climate also provided some wet weather testing, including some torrential downpours. I was kept reasonably dry and am happy to report that there were no annoying jets of water through any of the seams or zips. My textile jacket can’t match that!
I suppose the true test of a set of leathers is the crash test. Thankfully that’s one part of this review I can’t write as, touch wood, I have kept it right side up. However, RST do provide suits for some of Britain’s top racers, including world superbike star Alex Lowes and TT legend Ian Hutchinson, so if it’s good enough for them…
What I can say though is that if you are looking for some quality leathers that look great for sports bike riding, summer touring or the odd track day, you cannot go wrong. The RST R-16 is just the right mix of protection, ergonomics and looks makes them a great entry level set of one piece leathers.
The RST R-16 are available from dealerships around the UK with an RRP of £329.99. Five colour options are available, from the solid black option we tried, to versions with blue, white, red and fluorescent yellow trim. To find your local stockist, visit RST’s website: https://www.rst-moto.com/ustorelocator/location/map