The biggest benefit of motorcycle racing suits are that they allow the rider to slide on the ground after a crash, preventing road rash. The second biggest benefit is that the armor built into racing suits often prevents more serious bone damage when contact is made with the road after a crash.
The leather used in racing suits is different than leather used in fashion, as it is thicker, stronger and more flexible. Kangaroo leather has become increasingly popular in recent years because it is lighter, more supple and stronger than cowhide. Regular clothing material, such as denim or cotton, is thinner than leather, causing greater traction when a rider makes contact with the ground and increasing the chance of road rash. Road rash is a skin injury caused by abrasion with road surfaces, such as cement, gravel or dirt.
The armour that is built into racing suits is designed to spread and dampen impact and strains to the wearer. The armor is made out of high-density foam, hard polymers, carbon fiber, titanium and other materials. The armor is placed at major impact regions such as the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and back. While not technically part of a racing suit, a helmet protects against major head trauma, and gloves protect against road rash.