Kushitani Phantom

Quality Leather Protection Power!

When it's time to head for the track (or just look the part at your local hangout) a proper set of leathers are what's needed. No time for jeans, shorts, bikinis or even our beloved Aerostich.

Kushitani has been making leathers for a few years now and have quite a storied past. Kevin Schwantz, Randy Mamola, Rich Oliver, Norifume Abe and Aaron Slight are all top riders who prefer to have Kushitani-cut cow cover their body at speed. The good fellas over at Kushitani here in the US decided that we, too, were worthy, and sent over a very tasty-looking silver and black Phantom suit.

The majority of the suit is made using perforated Holstein leather that varies in thickness from 1.5-1.6 millimeters. Th e arms, crotch and calf area feature a Zylon knit that all ows ease of movement and gets rid of those annoying bunches of leather found on other suits whenever you bend your arms or legs. The whole suit is lined with 100% Polyester mesh.

The suit features detachable and adjustable leather-patched "K-Foam" (varying in thickness from 1.5mm-10mm) in the shoulder and collarbone area as well as on the elbows and lower back. In addition, the suit features "Trans

-Foam" in the back-bone area though it is devoid of any real back protector. Detachable and adjustable plastic-plated urethane foam covers the knees.

Kushitani's leather is "grown" for them them in Japan using cows bred specifically to protect your ass when you go sliding down the road. Kushitani claims that only 60% of the hide is used from one-and-a-half Japanese cows. It's this attention to detail and the use of the best leather that makes their suit so supple yet able to provide high levels of protection.

Once we had a chance to don the suit we noticed that it was a bit of a squeeze to get into, even with our svelte, girlish figures. We were told, however, that the suit would soon loosen up and begin to form to our physique. And, sure enough, after wearing the suit two or three times for a few hours at a time, the suit began to feel really nice.

While we (thankfully) didn't have the chance to sample how this suit performs whilst doing the Horizontal Mambo into the desert off of Willow's turn-eight. However, we did get the opportunity to wear it on both track and street, through hot and cold, in the US and even in Spain. And, sure enough, after wearing the suit two or three times for a few hours at a time, the suit began to feel really nice.

One problem we had with the BKS suit we sampled recently - other than being heavy, which this Kushitani suit is not - was that the leather would bunch up in the knees while aboard bikes with a rather tight seat-to-footpeg relationship. With the Phantom suit, however, this never proved to be an issue. Maybe that Zylon stuff actually works.

As do the perforations, actually. On one particularly brisk morning the perf's flowed so much air that we covered our upper torso with a Tourmaster Core-Tech jacket over the leathers to keep from freezing. But those same holes in the leather that you're swearing at in cold weather are the only thing that keeps you from sweating off pints of water in the warmer climes. In fact, during one particularly warm outing to Willow Springs, we were perfectly comfortable in our Kushitani suit while a number of people wearing something else were downright miserable.

The suit got more and more comfortable the more time we spent in it and we came out with only a few complaints about the suit. The first gripe is about the thin foam liner that acts as a pseudo back protector. Over the course of a day at the track, taking the suit on and off, the foam gets twisted up and forms bulges. This became such a pain that we ended up removing the entire piece and, instead, wore a strap-on back protector.

A related gripe is that the liner - while effective at keeping you cool and the leather from sticking to your dermis - would sometimes tangle up in the back and add to the confusion back there. A simple change to a real back protector would eliminate most if not all of this mess.

The only other nag we have is that the suit's sizing system, while convenient, doesn't allow for as much of a custom-type fit as the more stepped numerical system. This wasn't really a problem for us, but it has the potential to hinder fittment of others. Priced at $1,650 it's in the upper-mid price range, though not completely out of reach.

Other than that, there was no real gripe about the suit, though it did make Minime's butt look big - and he hates that. The leather was top-quality and everything fit nice, so the Kushitani Phantom quickly became one of our favorite suits.

Colors: Red/Wht/Black, Green/White, Black/Silver
Sizes: XS,S,M,L,XL,XXL
Motorcycle Online Rating:****

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