Motorcycle Clothing Construction
Over the last 40 years we have seen huge advancements in the development of motorcycle clothing. Not least in 1995 with the advent of CE marking for this type of protective clothing.
Cambridge University played a huge part in this development, which we had the privilege of observing closely. This helped increase our knowledge of the intended CE personal protective clothing regulations.
It has never been possible to make it law that every motorcycle garment had to be produced to this standard (due to the fact it wasn't compulsory to wear a protective jacket or jeans). This would have meant that huge changes had to be made to the materials and construction methods used. So many companies, even well-known brands, have never used the construction methods recommended.
Many companies actually put disclaimers in their motorcycle clothing to state that it was not designed to be worn as protective clothing whilst riding a motorcycle.
A great majority of garments pre-1995 used mainly top stitching where panels were placed on top and either sewn with one row or two rows for strength and, of course, decoration. This includes inner arms where this would usually be a flat seam sewn internally.
Some of the type of thread used could eventually rot or was too thin in the first place and not strong enough for the leather used. If not nylon bonded, the tanning chemicals in the leather would have an adverse effect on the thread.
It is quite easy to imagine what would happen to this stitching when sliding down the road in the event of an accident, even at low speed the thread disintegrates with the abrasive effect of the road. The result of this would be the panel completely coming open and the flesh of the rider rubbing on the road (gravel rash).
In order to alleviate this problem, internal stitching should be used on all seams before single or double top stitching (one of the construction methods you never see as it is inside the garment). This holds the garment together even though the top stitching has failed, thus allowing the leather to do its job and protect the body.
We even count the stitches per inch.
Bearing in mind the leather is the strong part of the garment (not the seams) it also makes sense that the less panels there are in a garment, the better the protection. Leather is costly and many companies put fancy designs all over the leather which is ok if it is sewn on the top of the original construction.
However, in order to save leather, many companies sew these panels as part of the construction of the garment, creating more vulnerable seams and many are without internal stitching. Again, something you don't see.
Genuine cowhide has proven itself to be the most durable and abrasive resistant leather for skin protection over the years and should be around 1.2mm minimum thickness for everyday use. Kangaroo leather is deemed to be stronger which enables the rider to wear thinner leather with the same protection.
Materials like acrylic and nylon shouldn't be used as lining for motorcycle clothing. These start life as liquid and very quickly go back to liquid form with friction, leading to skin burns.
The answer to this is a high cotton content lining next to the skin (something else you may not notice, initially). Bikers Paradise motorcycle clothing use lining with a very high cotton content, unlike many other brands.
The fit of the motorcycle jacket is also very important. Years ago they would only fit where they touched, with cuff diameters virtually the same as fashion jackets. Cuffs of that diameter do not fit snugly around the wrist, which not only restricts gloves going over but upon contact with the road they can easily slide up the arm showing bare flesh to the road. Aaaaagh!
Leather motorcycle clothing is best bought slightly tight, not loose and any garment with hard moulded armour should be a tight fit with the armour in exactly the right place.
For road use, CE impact memory armour, preferably adjustable, is found to be more comfortable and less obtrusive than hard moulded armour and absorbs the shock of impact. A much better option than hard armour (something else you don't see?).
Whether classic, touring or sports motorcycle clothing, it can and should still be made to the standards described above. Unfortunately, even many higher priced garments do not have these safety features so even price does not necessarily mean you have the full protection you could have.
We don't believe in charging you more than we need to in order to give you the best possible motorbike clothing we can manufacture.
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