I was also looking for a set of leathers and a helmet. Which companies should I go with? Thanks
HJC is the cheapest of the decent helmets($140ish). I have one and can live with it. Protection as good as any, and I have no complaints with comfort, noise, wind etc. I may be easy to please though. I crashed one in 1997 and walked away with no injuries. My ZX11 was totalled. (hit from behind)
Arai, AGV, Shoei all make very good (better than HJC) helmets(up to $500ish).
For leathers, Fieldsheer, AGV, Alpinestars, Spidi, Teknic, and Joe Rocket come to mind($400-$1400ish). I have a Joe Rocket onepiece speedmaster leather. It is more appropriate for the track than the street, but is very comfortable on the bike. Off the bike is another story. I wear it while riding on the street, and don't care about overkill..
Generally, onepiece leathers are designed track only, with a 90 degree bend to them. Two piece leathers are high end for street, providing nearly the protection of onepiece leathers when zipped together, resulting in 70 degrees of bend. Off the bike they are more comfortable than onepiece, and also offer the option of using the jacket seperately. Many leathers are available in one piece and two piece versions of the same leather. For track days you'll generally be required to have either a onepiece leather, or a two piece leather that zips together using YKK zipper more than halfway around the circumference. Good gloves and boots required.
Z custom is probably top of the line for leathers. Again, more appropriate for the track than the street. More $$ ($1600ish).
Don't forget good gloves and boots. I like the Alpinestars SPS gloves($70ish). All of the above companies make gloves and boots as well. Think about it, if you crash your bike, your hands will almost certainly hit something. Hands are important. I'd go so far as to rate hand protection higher than leather pants. I'm a critical care nurse and frequently take care of motorcycle trauma patients. Hands are almost always chewed up due to lack of gloves or gloves that are not up to the job.
I'll post a link to convey the need for gloves in more detail: http://zrxoa.org/03Z1Rthreads/hitandrun.htm
I've been using USGI boots, but finally ordered some decent boots from Joe Rocket yesterday. I'll comment more when I have them.
I'd stay away from Kneedraggers.com. I ordered from them and heard back later the next day that my stuff was backordered. I canceled my order with them and placed my orders elsewhere (metricbikes.com and newenough.com) and they both shipped the same day. I had my stuff in hand two days later.