Colour and style used to come into play but now I look more for black/grey with some accent as all the flash looks so bad after a few trips through the bugs. Well executed low key still can sway me. The Japan suits we get here still are very speed racer, not bad looking but not what I'm after myself.
Design for sure, it may seem funny but the hump's a big deal. So may suits seem to have a badly made gigantic hump sewn on for looks. All it does is create a huge pressure point that makes the whole deal a do go. A comfortable collar, good tab to secure the zipper, removeable liner, soft pads in the right place and real not for show sliders tie in too.
Dealer support, repairs and fine tuning also play in. Clover let me order plain or punched also so getting a vented suit helped balance out the solar heat of it being black/grey.
Dainese does seem to suffering a bit from their own success. When I got my suits from them they were really the only choice for an off the rack race suit. Since then choices have opened up and with that more riders will buy the name on the suit vs. what you get at the end of the day.
You make some valid points. I researched things like the hump on many levels and I agree some manufacturers have missed the mark on this feature. I won't name names, but some can actually be detrimental to your health. Much like any other field, the global economy, economies of scale, and opening markets have opened this market to many other entrants - thus Dainese find themselves competiting these days. However, quality is still quality and you get what you pay for. Also, name still plays a major part in buying decisions. Also image. A good example is Fieldsheer. They have an interesting history, but... they have always used high quality materials, but sadly, their image and name was built on selling to more the cruiser and sport touring crowd and thus their racing gear is not as popular.
With houses like Dainese, Alpinestars, Spidi and higher end suits, their design also have to meet form in function and application. Their suits may sometimes appear boring, but it is because of certain functions and features they aim to preserve. I adopted a similar design ethic when it came to Veloce.
I'll hit the other end of the spectrum on this one - I'm a price buyer, largely. I have a Frank Thomas Strike that I purchased because it was on sale. That and the fact that at the time I was having a hard time getting a good fit, since I was 240lbs at only 5'8". I seem to have it a little easier now that I'm around 190.
But really? I'll buy $400-$500 suits all day long. I had an expensive Vanson suit many years ago, and frankly, other than some minor nits, I've been satisfied with the cheaper stuff.
John - You do make an interesting point on the other end of the spectrum. Can a $500 suit save your life? Yes, of course it can. It if a question of things like survivability of the suit, comfort features of the suit, level of quality of the raw materials. Not to say less expensive leather is not good, but then you start to differentiate between the types of leather and what you get. Higher levels means more supple and softer, and also retains richer colors and what nots. You are also right on the issue of fit. Sadly, off the rack suits have to be built to fit a broad range of measurements.
In my order due to my fit issues and timing. I'm a last minute shopper most of the time and want it now.
So, my order would be as follows:
1. Quality for the dollar
2. Time to deliver. This is not a dig in any way. I would live to see a custom or semi-custom suit deliver in a few days.
3. Features is third because I believe a basic suit should have all the basics.
4. Price. This is subjective. I believe a good product can be had at a good price. A good custom or semi-custom with a few "bonus" features should be in the $750-$1000 range for me.
I'd like to see the Honda Accord of suits. You have everything need and a few things you'd like in a semi-custom package. You know it's reliable and a great bang for the buck.
$750 to $1000 will buy you a good suit. But to get a good custom suit in that range means something has to be cheap on the suit. A basic suit sadly conforms to that term "Basic". And being basic means it is there to just perform that basic function of saving your behind. No frills, no thrills, etc. What makes a custom suit expensive - much like a business suit is that the manufacturer has to make a one-off template for you. In other words, the leather panels are cut against a design template. To make your suit, a template has to be made to accomodate your measurements into a particular design accounting for the trimming, colors, etc. Also, making it in a few days is near impossible due to the amount of work involved. I have seen and experienced low priced custom suits and the compromises made to meet price make the excercise a lesson in failure.
I don't know that there is one suit that can be considered the Honda of all suits. But there are quite a few out there close to the mark. However, once you look to that kind of suit, you will always have the issue of fit.