Arlen Ness 5908 leather suit, £395 (new old stock)
Time tested: 5 years
What’s good? It is with great regret that I call time on this – my favourite leather suit ever. I got the smallest size I could get away, and then did the old trick of gradually breaking them in over time. After just a few months I was left with a perfect fitting suit that was as comfortable as my own skin. It’s been crashed in more times than I can honestly remember, I’ve even saved it from being cut off me once, and the leather has never holed through abrasion. I put this down to the combination of tough cowhide construction and the soft CE-approved armor in the elbows, knees and shoulders. The main reason they’ve been pulled out of service is because they no longer pass scruitineering at race meetings. This is because the weaker perforated leather around the inner calf area has torn (probably through getting caught on footpegs). As you can see, I’ve tried quick, scruitineer-pleasing fixes such as gaffer tape and even lock wire, but I don’t think they’ll pass anymore.
What’s not? The inner mesh lining. Although removable (and therefore washable – which is a good thing), the Velcro securing it always comes unstuck at the wrists and ankles, making it ruck up and get caught on your hands and feet when you’re trying to put the suit on in a hurry.
Quality rating: 5/5
Value rating: 5/5