Date reviewed: April 2022 | Tested by: BikeSocial member Oliver Deacon | RRP: £2,275 | www.hideout-leather.co.uk
Hideout’s owner, Kate, has been making bespoke motorcycle leathers and textiles for more than 26 years, but the company was formed way back in the 1970s. With a large range of off-the-peg and made-to-measure options, Hideout is one of the very few companies in the UK making kit that meets the tough EN13595 testing standards.
Under the new EN17092 tests, AAA is the top-level, and although this offers a useful guide for buyers of the average bike kit, it’s a minimum standard that’s significantly less tough than EN13595.
With police forces choosing Hideout as one of its suppliers of professional riding kit, we spoke to two users to find out what the waterproof textiles that Hideout offer are like…
Oliver Deacon, is a fourth-year medical student and former research scientist. He’s been riding for 17 years, starting out on a friend’s farm bikes at 13, then progressing to motocross with his Dad. He got his full licence at 21, and has since been riding mainly on road, but sometimes on track.
He wears his Hideout textiles with a Shoei GT Air 2, and either Held Titan Evo or Dane Dragor gloves, along with a pair of Daytona Roadstar GTX or Daytona Evo Voltex GTX boots…
What bike do you currently own?
“A 2020 BMW S1000XR”
How much did your Hideout textiles cost?
“The jacket and trousers are made-to-measure two-piece Hi-Pro textiles that cost £2,275 in total. I went for the ‘adventure-pro’ pockets on the jacket and trousers (an extra £150), added the Cool Max lining (£100), reinforced elbows and knees (£100) and eight vents on the jacket, plus four on the trousers (£250), making for a total price of £2,875.” [The jacket costs £1,000 for an off-the-peg version, and £750 for the trousers. Adding made-to-measure increases the price by 30%.]
Why did you choose them?
“I was recommended Hideout Leather by Alistair Aim of Jim Aim motorcycles, which is a fantastic KTM dealer in Braintree, Essex some seven years or so ago. I needed a set of leathers as I’d made the move from a naked to supersport bike and wanted to ride on track. As I’ve been blessed with generously proportioned thighs, getting trousers that fit my legs typically results in a colossal waist size.
“I remember the first time I went to Hideout; from the moment I walked in I was taken aback by all the premium brands; Rukka, Daytona, Held and Shoei to name but a few. What impressed most though was the service; it’s old-school. Whoever you see at Hideout, they never try to oversell or upsell things, but they’re hugely knowledgeable with all things kit and they give you personalised recommendations based on your budget and intended use.
“For me, they recommended a made-to-measure two-piece leather suit, rather than heavily alter something off the peg. The quality of that suit and the customer experience has made Hideout my go-to place for all future motorcycle kit.
“Fast forward a few years and I was riding an S1000RR, a bike that I loved and put some 65,000 miles on. I’d joined the UK S1000RR forum and was planning on doing the MCN extended version of the NC500, as a forum tour. Textiles typically aren’t cut for supersports bikes, which can make them somewhat obstructive or inconvenient to wear on account of the high-cut neck-line and the jackets being very long at the front. Hideout had launched the Hi-Pro suit some years previously, and having had such a positive experience with my leathers from them, I naturally gravitated towards their textile offering. The fact that it could be cut for a sportsbike riding position – and being bespoke would fit me correctly – is what made the Hi-Pro a clear decision.”
What kind of riding do you use them for?
“Exclusively road riding, from touring to commuting and general road riding.”
Did you consider anything else first?
“The idea of a Rukka suit crossed my mind from time to time in the past, but considering the cost of a fully kitted out made-to-measure Hi-Pro suit is similar to that of a top-end Rukka, yet is literally made for you in terms of sizing and features, there wasn’t really much of a decision-making process. If you typically fit off the peg suits well and don’t want to wait for a tailored garment, then the argument for alternative brands is more significant, but even then, I think having the ability to discuss with Hideout what you’ve liked and disliked about previous suits means they can hopefully produce something that’s ideally suited to you.
“Furthermore, I think there’s something to be said for supporting an English business that’s offering genuinely hand-made products in this day and age.”
How comfortable are they?
“The Hi-Pro suit is very comfortable both on and off the bike. The external fabric has a certain amount of stretch, which really makes a massive difference when swinging a leg over the bike or kneeling down. This is also a good example of the tailoring process, because I specifically discussed having plenty of range of hip/groin motion when the suit was being made.”
What was the measuring up process like?
“There are two options when it comes to measurements; you can either take them yourself and send them in, or you can head over to Hideout and they’ll take care of everything.
“Not wanting to mess anything up and being quite local to them meant I’ve always had the measurements done by Kate on site. Kate takes loads of measurements but given how many suits they’ve made over the years, the whole process only takes a few minutes or so.
“After the initial measuring process, they manufacture a fitting garment and then proceed to make alternations over subsequent visits until everything is bang on, at which point the suit seams are taped.”
How important was the protection level of them?
“Given the premium price of Hideout suits, the protection level was a very important consideration. I really appreciate – and I think it’s fair to expect – that the whole suit is CE certified to EN13595 level 2.
“Unfortunately, in January I tested the suit in the way none of us wants to, as I had my first road bike crash. I came across ice in the road up in Scotland near the Cairngorms traveling at national speeds. While my shoulder sustained a nasty fracture, the suit did amazingly well, with only a scuff on the reinforced right knee. The fact the suit required no repairs whatsoever is a testament to the build quality. After that experience, I don’t have any reservations about the abrasion resistance of Hideout’s suits.
“At the time of purchase, I went with D3O level 2 armour in the knees, shoulders, elbows, back, chest, coccyx and hips. However, I removed the back protector and downgraded to level 1 chest protection as I’d acquired a Helite Turtle 2 airbag vest, so this provided a superior setup.
“Following my accident in January, I went to Hideout and enquired about something even beefier for the shoulders. Rachel informed me of a different shape D3O shoulder armour that’s beyond CE level 2 and covers more of the shoulder blade itself (specifically the spinous process of the scapula if anyone is interested), which is something that on me after the operation is particularly prominent now so any extra protection there is desirable!”
What are the pockets like?
“The pockets are great. They’re functionally waterproof; I’ve certainly never noticed them leak and have ridden for extended periods in heavy rain. The Adventure-Pro pockets are quite spacious too, which means you can get things out even with gloves on.
“They haven’t been perfect though, as I’ve had the poppers fail on a couple of occasions, due to them being rather stiff, but Hideout did a reinforcement modification the second time and they’ve been trouble-free ever since, so I’d be most surprised if that’s an issue on current suits.”
What is the ventilation like?
“The ventilation works well considering the design brief of this type of suit. That being said, in the height of Summer, even with all the vents open, it gets hot. But then again, it’s never going to be as effective at keeping you cool as a full mesh suit, which Hideout now offers and will undoubtedly be the next I commission from them!”
How warm are the Hideout textiles in winter?
“In terms of all-year ability, the best compliment I can give is that with the vents closed I’ve never got wet and find the suit brilliant during the Autumn, Winter and Spring.
“The suit comes with a thermal liner, which I do use during the winter months and find that with base layers and a jumper is comfortable in temperatures that I’d still be willing to ride in.”
How waterproof are they?
“I think the waterproofing is excellent given the low-cut neckline and number of vents that I specified. I’ve tested the suit in quite torrential rain over the years and have never noticed undue water ingress. If I were having the suit made today, on a more upright bike, I’d go for the typical collar design, and if water-proofing is the number-one consideration and you have separate suits for specific times of the year, then having no vents is of course the gold standard.
“For me personally though, I would be very happy to specify numerous vents to make the suit usable throughout more of the year, as I’m satisfied with their waterproofing.”
Would you recommend these and why?
“A resounding, emphatic, YES! For the above reasons really, but in a nutshell for the quality of Hideout’s customer experience, the fact that you’re guaranteed a suit that fits properly, and the fact that if any stitching fails or any niggle arises down the line they cover it under a lifetime warranty. Also, for the fact that it’s not a generic suit, so you end with the right product for you.
“It's tricky to say how long they’ll last because I’ll inevitably commission a replacement suit before the suit strictly ‘needs’ replacing. Kate can now integrate the Helite airbag inside the Hi-Pro and the new mesh suit, so if I were purchasing from them all over again I’d go down that route, along with a couple of other spec changes to better suit my current setup.”
(Below) Oliver now wears a Helite airbag over his kit, but he’s looking to get a new suit soon with it incorporated
“I ride motorcycles for a living, wearing bike kit for anything from eight to 16 hours a day, five days a week, 47 weeks of the year. My suits get very well worn, my cleaning regime isn't always what it should be, and it takes a lot of abuse.
“My previous textile suit was a Rukka; it fitted where it touched, was baggy around the chest, the arse would've done Beyonce proud, and it was, to be honest, disappointing.
“Within a year the crotch leaked, and although the warranty was excellent, I wasn't impressed. The jacket zip also failed, and was again replaced under warranty. I had no confidence in the suit, and often wondered how the zip would hold up in a crash.
“I knew the Hideout name from my racing days, and had seen they made a textile suit, so I got measured by Kate for a tailored Hi-Pro textile adventure suit with an aramid abrasion-resistant liner.
“Kate was excellent, and explained what adaptations I could have, which was pretty much anything that didn't compromise safety. For example, I wear a Kreiga Hydropak in the Summer, so had all the vents moved so they would still open and allow airflow. I also specified slightly different pockets and positions, to suit what I normally carry. I even added a poacher’s pocket on the rear for stuff like a spare buff and visor cleaning cloth.
“The suit took ten weeks to be finished, with a second fitting in-between to check fit, make any alterations and to finalise my specifications, which included coloured panels in certain places to reflect the sun. I also added extra Velcro to the cuffs – so I can wear gloves inside or outside the sleeves – and a different fastening on the waist to make it easier to pee! Remember, I live in this kit all day… these things matter.
“When I collected the suit I was like a kid on Christmas day. It was the first time I'd had something actually made to fit me, and it did. The armour stayed where it should, and on-bike comfort was an instant improvement. It's having a properly fitted suit that makes you realise the discomfort in your knees wasn't foot-peg position, it was your old ill-fitting kit bunching up!
“It took a while for the protective liner to wear in, but I had pockets for all the stuff I carry and vents that actually worked. I removed the very efficient thermal lining as I wear heated kit in the winter. I should mention that I was measured with my heated kit on to ensure it could replace the thermal liner if I chose to.
“I’ve worn this suit down to -5°C and up to +35°C in the summer of 2020. Sat on a hot bike, in a city, in the sun, will cause any rider to get hot, and it did. But the vents being usable kept me much cooler than I would have previously been, though I now have a tailored vented/mesh suit from Hideout for the summer.
“The Hideout was properly waterproof in the worst a UK winter can throw at it. I was wearing it constantly for over two years and around 55,000 miles before the first dampness started getting through at the crotch and inner elbows. The pockets are still 100% waterproof, so your passport is safe on those Euro trips. Remember, this is thousands of hours of use, getting on and off a bike multiple times a day, day in, day out. No other suit has lasted as long. It's the bonded waterproof layer cracking with excessive use, and is wear and tear that has to be expected on any kit.
“You may think just over two years isn't long, but the average rider will not even cover the same hours and mileage in 10 years of normal weekend riding or trips! The Hideout has out-performed any other high-end off-the-peg suit I've ever owned.
This is all the damage Dave’s suit suffered after what was a very nasty, high speed crash
“But the main test of a protective suit isn't just how dry or warm it keeps you, it’s whether it will do the business when you really need it.
“A car pulled out of a junction and I hit it at around 70mph. The impact wrote off the bike and car, throwing me over the bonnet, and sending me tumbling down the road for a distance of around 100 feet.
“We've all had the odd tumble, but I had time to realise this was a big one. When I finally came to a stop, I got to my feet and walked to the pavement. The scene was like a bomb had gone off, with bike and car bits littering the road for a distance.
“I was obviously in shock, not only that this lad had pulled out but that I was able to walk away from this one when I really shouldn't have.
“A trip to hospital and a few x-rays revealed no broken bones. What's more incredible was that I didn't have a single scratch, or scuff, on my elbows, knees, hips etc. I landed heavily on my back before flipping end-over-end and tumbling. I was obviously bruised and sore, and suffered a soft tissue back injury that still gives me trouble. But I walked away.
“One of the first things I did was email my heartfelt thanks to the team at Hideout, and then ordered a replacement suit.
“Hideout asked to see the suit, as they obviously wanted to give it a full inspection to see how it faired for R&D purposes. It was scuffed all over, and the outer lining was holed on one arm. However, the internal aramid lining was not even marked. This hole was patched, the suit was given a clean bill of health after a thorough check, and is now back with me as a spare. It’s travelled more than twice around the world in mileage, it's grubby, it's scuffed, it's definitely a bit smelly, and I love it.
I have no doubt that this suit saved me from serious injury or worse. Being tailored to me meant that all the D3O armour stayed where it should and did its job. I now won't wear anything else.
I'm puzzled as to why people will spend more money for an off-the-peg suit with a fancy name on the chest than a custom-made suit, to your own specification, that out-performs it on every level, and is made in England!”