Time tested: 2000 miles
What’s good: In 2008 the great British made-to-measure leathers manufacturer BKS created a range of off-the-peg items for the Frank Thomas Group, which included this top-spec ladies race suit. Although the Prowess was mass-produced in China, BKS’s founder Brian Sansom designed and oversaw the production of the suit so it retained the bespoke brand’s legendary build quality.
It’s seriously robust, made from 1.2-1.4mm cowhide held together with heavy, multi-row seams, with double-layered leather at the shoulders and elbows. It also has CE-approved armour in the shoulders, elbows, forearms, knees, shins and hips. Kevlar-reinforced stretch material on the insides of the arms and legs help give this suit a degree of flexibility as well as making it a fairly flattering fit. It’s tough and feels very secure, which is why I choose to race in it.
What’s not: Because it’s so robust, it’s taken literally years to break in. I’ve owned it since 2008 but have only recently persevered with it long enough to get it comfortable. Other niggles include the lack of soft neoprene material at the collar and cuffs – it’s just exposed leather here and isn’t as comfortable as other suits I have. Also, the tag on the main zip snapped off, so I had to attach a loop of cable tie in order to get purchase on the zip.