Speed and Strength Twist of Fate Race Suit
Speed and Strength, one of Tucker Rocky Distributing’s in-house apparel brands, likes to use bold, swashbuckling names for its products, like Moment of Truth, Hang’em High, Call to Arms and Hell ‘n Back. The one-piece leather suit tested here is called Twist of Fate, which seems freighted with dire predictions about the future. Wikipedia says the expression twist of fate means “an unpredicted or random occurrence with far-reaching consequences.” Hardly the sort of monkey I want on my back when testing the limits of traction—or my courage—at the race track.
Marketing aside, the important thing is how these leathers work. Though Twist of Fate gear is available separately a jacket ($499.95) and pants ($299.95, knee sliders not included) with a 360-degree zipper attachment, I opted for the one-piece suit ($799.95, knee sliders included) because I planned to wear it primarily on the track. Sliding unexpectedly across the tarmac at speed isn’t the time to test the resilience of a large zipper, so racers and track addicts wear one-piece leathers almost exclusively.
The Twist of Fate suit is constructed of 1.2-1.4mm premium cowhide with multiple safety-stitched main seams and perforations over the entire front torso. Thick, heavy stuff, exactly what you want between you and the ground. Since leather doesn’t give much, Speed and Strength used flexible accordion panels above the knee, on the shoulder blades and across the lower back. In a further concession to comfort, the insides of the arms and legs and the crotch are made of durable, stretchy nylon. Those parts of the body rarely make contact with the ground, so the trade-off seems reasonable. Lined with athletic mesh, the suit is anatomically cut in a racer’s crouch. That means the suit isn’t very comfortable unless you’re wrapped around a sportbike.
Climbing in and out of the suit takes a bit of work, but then again it’s designed for a day at the track, not dashing-out-the-door commuting. Fit was good off-the-rack except for one area: the torso is rather short, which sometimes put my minerals in a bind. I don’t have a freakishly long torso (Tuttle is the one built like Michael Phelps…sort of). And this isn’t an isolated complaint; I heard the same high-pitched comment from a couple guys I know with the same suit. But again, the suit isn’t made for standing around with perfect posture. Once on the bike, fit wasn’t an issue.
To back up the leather and dissipate impact energy, the Twist of Fate is armored with a removable, dual density back protector; removable, plastic-reinforced CE-approved shoulder and elbow armor; thermoplastic external shoulder protectors; removable and replaceable knee sliders (attached with a large patch of hook-and-loop); foam padding at the hips and tailbone; and an aerodynamic padded back hump. All good stuff, though I’d recommend going with a CE-approved, hard plastic back protector—standard equipment among track riders.
I chose the white suit with silver and black accents, but other colors are available (black, red and blue). As far as I know, custom sizing isn’t an option, so you’re limited to sizes 38-54 (some colors not available in small and large sizes, so check the Speed and Strength website). Also note that the suit is emblazoned with Speed and Strength logos on the thighs, forearms and lower back, and a large SS logo on the chest and a smaller one on the race hump.
At $799.95, this is a solid, functional piece of protective riding gear at a decent price. It held up well when too much throttle on cold tires at Streets of Willow left me on my back, staring at the clouds. Just a short slide, but my body was well protected and the suit was barely scuffed. Can’t say the same about the CBR600RR I was riding (sorry, Honda!).
Remember, sticks and stones (or pavement) can break your bones but words will never hurt you.
For more information, visit Speed and Strength’s website (www.ssgear.com) or see your dealer.