No doubt motorcycle leather suits are must while riding either on track race or street biking. Motorcycle Leathers keep you safe in case of crash and drag. Here we will summaries the factors & features of the leather suits that will keep you safe and also make your investments safe.
Motorcycle leathers safety features
It’s safe to say that a majority of street motorcycle riders ride with less than ideal riding gear. Given that fact, riding with any real protective gear other than a helmet is a step above the rest. Nevertheless, our opinion is that you should own and use the best quality riding gear that you can afford. Beyond that, your gear should fit your needs, your riding style and most of all it should fit you. When talking about the leather suits the first question comes what is the difference between the low end and high-end suit. Well, it comes directly from the features the suit has, the quality of the leather, quality of interior, quality of the armor, type of armor and stitching of the suit. The features, materials and time needed to make the suit will make up the cost of the suit. Safety Features to look in a suit includes;
- Leather Type and Leather Thickness
- Internal Protection
- External Protection (if the suit features any)
Features for comfort;
- Size & Fitting
- Accordion Leather Stretch
- Stretch Materials
- Internal Lining & removability
- Ventilation or Perforation
- Suit Weight
Leather Type and Leather Thickness
The first and most important component in Motorcycle Protective gear is Leather (Cowhide Leather or Kangaroo Leather), is always more protective than any type of fabric material currently available. The quality of the leather makes it a very difficult material to burn, tear and abrasion resistance in case of crash or drag. This is the main feature that textile garments lack. Cowhide or Kangaroo Leather has the capacity to fulfill the required safety for motorcycle protective garments.
“Cowhide Leather is most common type of leather that is tough and durable. Cowhide leather is what is used to make 95% of all leather garments for Motorcycles.” “Kangaroo Leather is a strong light weight leather derived from the hide of kangaroo. Kangaroo leather is lighter and stronger than the cowhide. It has 10 times the tensile strength of cowhide. Kangaroo leather is favored by some motorcyclists for use in motorcycle leathers specifically because of its light weight and abrasion resistance.”
Motorcycle Leathers are best protective if Top-grain leather is used to manufacture the garment.
“Top-grain leather is the highest quality for Motorcycle Leathers. It has had the “split” layer separated away, making it thinner and more pliable. Its surface has been sanded and a finish coat added to the surface, which results in a colder, plastic. It has greater resistance to stains than full-grain leather, so long as the finish remains unbroken.”
Various types of leather and a wide range of leather thickness is used across all manufacturers. The recommended thickness for Cowhide leather is 1.2 mm thickness to 1.5 mm thickness and Kangaroo Leather 1.0 mm thickness to 1.3 mm thickness. The thicker leather tends to heavy garments and rider need to compromise on comfort. Tanning process plays a vital role in making the leather more protective and easily wearable. Higher end leather tends to be thinner and soft, therefore lighter and more comfortable for the rider than heavy weight leather. Leather suits are typically offered in “one piece” and “two piece” varieties. One-piece suits provide the best protection of the two types, due to the fact that there are less seams that can be subject to tearing during an impact situation. A two-piece suit is slightly more versatile than a one-piece suit, since it can be unzipped at the waist and be ridden as a jacket alone. Usually, however a riding jacket zipped to a riding pant does not zip all the way around the waist. Do for Motorcycle Leathers
- Cowhide Leather (1.2 – 1.5 mm) or Kangaroo Leather (1.0 – 1.3 mm)
- Only Top Grain Leather processed for resistance abrasion
Don’t for Motorcycle Leathers
- Goat Leather or Sheep Leather
- Split Leather
Three major components Leather, Armors & padding are being used for internal protection that keeps rider safe from crash impact and resistance abrasion. Protective zones for internal protection are • Shoulders • Elbows • Spine • Hips • Knees • Shins • Chest • Thighs Leather: High-tech leather suit comes with additional layer of protective leather on shoulder, Elbow, hips and knees. This extra layer of leather doubles the safety against abrasion resistance. Armors: Increasingly, high tech suits combining leather protection with impact absorbing body armor. Body armor is the part of the suit designed to protect the rider’s body from hard impact with the ground or other objects. “CE Approved” hard plastic and/or multi-layered memory foam armor inserts at these impact areas. Padding: Utilizing various types of foam and padding, creates an energy absorbing zone through out the suit, protecting the rider during heavy direct impact crashes.
External Protection (if the suit features any)
Most of the Leather suits, now offer exterior protection (Hard Shell Plastic or Metal reinforcement) in certain areas. This serves to protect the rider even more by putting the protection inserts as the first point of contact with the impact object. Next to protection, what any suit or jacket spends most of its time doing is keeping you comfortable. Mainly, this means that the suit should fit you well, so that you will want to wear it. An overly heavy suit with no Ventilation on a hot day, won’t be your first choice when you go to suit up for a day’s ride in the street. An overly uncomfortable suit will also have the affect of being a distraction to your riding when you are on the bike. You want your suit to fit as good as possible.
Size & Fitting
Sizing questions are one of the first things on people’s mind and correct sized suits provide best comfort and also plays role in protection. Even the high end suits with wrong size fails to protect in case of crash or drag because the protection installed in the suit will be not on the right place to protect you. It is recommended to go for a custom suit if a standard size does not fits you well. Motorcycle leather comes in three types of fitting Snug, Regular or loose. The selection of fitting depends on your riding style. If you are participating in track race then it is recommended to go with custom size (made to measure) as it gives you best fitting that will lead to comfort with protection and you can be able to focus on race.
Accordion Leather Stretch
A high stretch protective fabric is stitched with the leather in multi parallel row stitching to make leather accordion stretch panels. While in an aggressive, tucked riding position, accordion leather stretch inserts on knee and rear allows for superb flex fit.
Now a day’s technical textile materials (Schoeller®-Keprotec, Schoeller®-dynatec, DuPont™ Kevlar®, Kevlar) are used in parts of the suit that rarely experience impact or stress such as under the arms and crotch. Fabrics under arms and crotch enables stretch and add comfort for the rider. The technical fabrics Schoeller®-Keprotec, Schoeller®-dynatec, DuPont™ Kevlar®, Kevlar are fire retardant that provide protection in case of fire due to crash.
Internal Lining & removability
Comfortable interior lining is the other qualities of motorcycle leather suits. Most of the Leather suit has micromesh internal lining. Some high-end suits come with the technical fabrics that evaporate Sweat. Removability of lining is an added feature that let you remove the lining, wash it and rejoin with the suit.
VentilationVentilation or Perforation
The riding conditions not same for through out the year, instead of have multiple suits for hot and cold weather, you need proper ventilation system. To make the suits wearable through out the year, Ventilation zippers are installed on front and back side so that rider can adjust the gear in accordance to the weather conditions. Leather suits are not wearable in those areas where the weather is hot. To overcome this, some panels of leather are perforated that enhance airflow within the suit, let the air comes in and flows through the body and keeps the riders cool. The proper vented or perforated leather suits are wearable all day long.
The main factor that makes a suit heavy is the thickness of leather and while racing on track, the weight can matter for your win or loose. Thin leather also takes less time for the suit to break-in than heavy weight leather. Thin leather, taken to the extreme may be ultra light weight, but can also no longer be fully protective, or if it is, is only a ‘one-crash’ garment. If you are racing on track and need light weight suit, instead of going for thin Cowhide and compromise protection, Kangaroo leather must be used that is lightweight and 10 times the tensile strength of cowhide. When considering the features of a suit, you’ll realize quick that the higher cost suits offer the most advanced features. If you can’t spring for the big buck suit, you can still get a quality protective suit that fits, without having to settle for a low end suit that will come part on you while riding, or just plain be uncomfortable while riding. The full range of Leather Collection and Moto Speeds suits is designed to fit within most riders’ budgets and still offer world-class features and multiple options available to configure the gear in accordance to your need and budget limit, such as Top Grain Leather (Kangaroo or Cowhide), CE Approved armor, Regular or Custom Size, Stretch Fabrics, Ventilation, Perforation, interior lining and much more.