Dainese Racing P. Lady One-Piece Leather Track Suit Test
The last thing that should be on your mind when racing a motorcycle around a track is whether or not your suit will protect you if you fall. The Dainese Racing P. Lady track leather suit is the perfect partner for allowing you to stay focused on the race line and perfecting apexes, as it does its job seamlessly–and that’s not always easy.
It’s one thing to provide impact protection and abrasion resistance, and quite another to package that into something comfortable enough for yoga-style body positions. Dainese does both, and it does it with a characteristic Italian flair with the Racing P. Lady professional one-piece suit (MSRP: $930).
Constructed from cowhide leather, the ergonomically designed Dainese P. Lady riding suit includes generous elasticized panels. A full-length section runs along the backside of the legs, then transitions inside and over the groin. Accordion stretch inserts run across the top of the knees, as well as along the lower back and side waist, allowing easy bending of your body into that tight racer crouch.
Though the Dainese P. Lady has an elasticized section along the back of the collar, stretch across the front would also be welcome as I find one-piece suits, by their very nature, pull a bit at the neck when I’m tucked close to the tank.
Yes, snuggling yourself into a one-piece suit is still a bit of a gymnastics performance, but zippers along the calves assist in getting your lower half inside. Shrugging into the shoulders without a friend to tug it up and over is quite doable with the P. Lady, and once you’ve gotten your limbs inside, zip down the lower sleeves and tidy up the Velcro tabs at your wrists and collar. You’re locked in, snug as a bug, and ready to hit the track–figuratively speaking, of course, though the Dainese Racing P. Lady is a designed to keep you safe should you literally land on the tarmac.
The professional Dainese women’s suit has the technical features you would expect — shoulder and elbow armor, knee sliders, hip padding sewn into the lining, and an aerodynamic hump. The shoulder and elbow armor is a two-layer construction — the plastic outer shell disperses energy upon impact, while the Pro Shape inner foam layer provides cushioning and adapts to the rider’s body shape.
With the Daniese Racing P. Lady suit, the shoulder, elbow, and knee protection is EN 1621.1-certified, which is a European standard based on the amount of energy absorbed and disbursed during impact. Bottom line: the suit has the benchmark protection for track riding. The shoulder armor is removable, as are the knee sliders. A separate spine protection can be worn inside the suit.
Racing suits are meant to be form fitting, and the Dainese P. Lady is no exception. The body-snug fit is reassuringly secure; you don’t want the pads, pucks or armor to pull against your skin should you find yourself sliding down the tarmac. The byproduct of the body-hugging fit is a flattering profile.
In early springtime temps at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, Calif., I paired a base layer with the P. Lady for a little extra warmth. Once I slid a leg over the Yamaha YZF-R3 and took my first lap around the track, I forgot about the suit. The strategic stretch panels enable you to move comfortably with the bike, shifting across the seat, leaning into turns, tucking low over the tank. The Dainese Racing P. Lady moves with you, not against you, so you’re not fighting friction.
The P. Lady also comes in a perforated summer version, which would have been a bit more comfortable in the mid-90-degree temperatures at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in Central California when I was enjoying track time on a Yamaha YZF-R6 at Ultimate MotorCycling’s mid-September 2015 track day with Jett Tuning.
I wore three-quarter length running tights and a short sleeve compression top under the P. Lady, which is lined with a bacteriostatic yarn. According to Dainese, this appears to mean you won’t smell on hot days and the non-removable liner will hold up better to washing. Presumably this means via sponge bath.
While riding in one’s favorite worn out jeans would be more comfortable than a one-piece leather suit, I’d never feel secure enough to ride at speed. The Dainese Racing P. Lady suit has all the technical features you would expect, as well as the form fit you need to take on track days with full confidence.
Photography by Brian J. Nelson and Don Williams