Syed Leathers

story by Motorcycle Online Staff, Created Oct. 09, 1998
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LOS ANGELES, December 4, 1998 -- Skin. Twelve thousand years ago, when frigid masses of glacial ice began to recede from the vast landscapes of North America, noble savages roamed the continent. They competed for control of the mastodon herds and covered themselves with the thick, pliable hides of grazing mammals for protection both against the elements and the stony weapons of their fierce rivals. At the time there was nothing better for protecting your own vulnerable hide than another tough, tanned skin hewed roughly from the subsequently devoured carcasses of herd beasts.

Enter Syed Leathers, the solution for any heavy-browed speed savage, even those with a primitive budget.

Twelve thousand years later, at the dozens of race tracks dotted across the same North American continent, motorcyclists scream around dime-tight turns and long, sweeping stretches of foreboding black asphalt. These savages still protect themselves from both the elements and their fierce rivals with suits of thick leather, but with the decline of the mastodon herds and the onset of modern philosophical institutions like capitalism, leather has become a little expensive for the average Neandercyclist, with custom suits from top manufacturers hovering at $1,500 on up.

Enter Syed Leathers, the solution for any heavy-browed speed savage, even those with a primitive budget.

With a suit like this you can ride fast -- or suck in your gut and pretend you're a superhero!

Syed's stock in trade are one- and two-piece custom leather suits, but they also offer off-the-rack suits, jackets, and gloves. Custom ordering is a snap. Thirty designs are available to chose from or a template is provided on which you can sketch your own design. Specify colors and custom lettering and fill out a form requesting between fourteen and seventeen measurements, depending on the garment ordered, complete the pricing page and voila! It's easier than a stoppie on an R1.

Internal back protector -- cool feature. Strap-on protectors are also available
The suit that Syed supplied for review was custom made and would have normally come in at a remarkable $918.00. Every suit that Syed manufactures features 3.5-4.0 oz. top grain drum-dyed cowhide, double leather at the elbows, shoulders and knees, and an inside jacket pocket. The interior is lined with mesh, the zippers are heavy-duty brass, and the whole suit is stitched with heavy nylon thread.

The review suit is fully featured, specified with a mandarin collar (bead collars are available) that fastens with Velcro, full protection including a seven-plate back protector, and full ventilation for Southern California summers. Body armor is constructed of high-impact plastic with closed-cell foam padding and the back protector on this suit was designed to fit inside the suit itself (a strap-on back protector is available as an option), although the piece is somewhat easily removed.

Summer at Willow Springs is a better testing ground than most, and Syed's suit performed as admirably as can be expected without experiencing a get-off, meaning that it was very comfortable, offered confidence-reinforcing protection, the ventilation worked splendidly, and it wasn't too difficult to doff and don. Syed's own literature is rounded out with customer testimonials touting the reliability and durability of suits that have experienced the less-than-silky-soft touch of scalding blacktop. Considering the quality construction of the suit, it isn't difficult to believe.

Niggles? The red-dyed leather bled a little during one hot outing in the Malibu canyons. That was annoying, but the dye washed out just fine. One or two observers have noticed that the leather isn't perhaps quite as supple as samples found on a few name-brand manufacturer's suits. Also, cuffs aren't reinforced as well as they could/should be.

These minor observations are overshadowed by the price point of Syed's products, which also begs a question: Why can Syed produce a quality, measured-to-your-specific-butt suit for under a grand, while other name brands need a grand more in some cases to do the same? On the other hand, who cares? If you want the protection that only the hides of grazing beasts can provide, but you have a pre-Homo sapiens pocketbook, then call for a Syed catalog right away. Four and one-half stars.

Syed also manufactures one- and two-piece touring suits, dirt-track suits, jackets, and gloves, all with a variety of custom options.

Syed can be reached at 1 (800) 486-6635.

Motorcycle Online Rating: ****1/2


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