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 summarize the factors & features of the leather suits that will keep you safe and also make your investments safe.
Motorcycle Suit safety features
It is safe to say that most of the street motorcyclists wear less than minimum riding gear. Given that fact, riding with required protective leather gear is a step above the rest.
In our opinion, you should own and use the best quality riding leather gear that you can afford. Beyond that, your leather 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 the 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 riding suit must have;
- Leather Type and Leather thickness
- Impact Protectors
- External Protection (if the suit features any)
Comfort Features a leather suit includes;
- Size & Fitting
- Accordion Leather Stretch
- Stretch Materials
- Internal Lining
- 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 fabric material currently available. The quality of the leather makes it a tough material to burn, tear and abrasion resistance in case of crash or drag, the main feature that textile garments lack.
Cowhide or Kangaroo Leather can fulfill the required safety for motorcycle protective garments.
Cowhide Leather is the 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, lightweight leather derived from the hide of kangaroo. Kangaroo leather is lighter and stronger than the cowhide. Kangaroo leather has ten (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.”
Leather Gear will provide best protection only if top-grain leather is used to manufacture the garment.
Top-grain leather is the highest quality for Motorcycle Leathers. A layer split ways making it thinner and more pliable. Its surface 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.
Numerous types of leather and a wide range of leather thickness used across all manufacturers. The thickness, recommended for Cowhide leather is 1.2 – 1.5 mm and Kangaroo Leather 1.0 – 1.3 mm. 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.
Motorcycle Leather Suits typically offered in “one piece” and “two pieces” varieties. One-piece suits provide the best protection because there are fewer seams that can be subject to tearing during an impact situation. A two-pieces outfit is slightly more versatile than a one-piece suit, as it can unzipped at the waist and can ridden as a jacket alone. 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, and padding, are being used for impact protectors that keep the rider safe from crash impact and resistance abrasion.
Protective zones for impact protectors are:
Leather: High-tech leather suit comes with the 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. Impact protectors are the part of the suit designed to protect the rider’s body from the impact with the ground or other objects. “CE Approved” hard plastic and multi-layered memory foam inserts at these impact areas.
Padding: Utilizing multiple types of foam and padding, creates an impact absorbing zone protects the rider during head-on 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. External Protection protects the rider even more by putting the protection inserts as the first point of contact with the impact object.
Next to protection, Manufacturers of motorcycle racing leathers spends most of its time doing is keeping you comfortable. Means the racing leather should fit you well so that you want to wear.
An overly heavy suit with no Ventilation on a hot day, would not be your first choice when you go for a day’s ride in the street or on track. An overly ill-fitting suit will also have the effect of being a distraction to your riding when you are on the bike. Your suit fits as good as possible.
Size & Fitting
Sizing is one of the first things on people’s mind, and correctly sized suits provide the best comfort and also plays the role in protection. Even the high-end suits with the wrong size fail to protect in case of crash or drag because the protection installed in the suit will be not in the right place to keep you safe. It is recommended to go for a custom suit if a standard size does not fit you well.
Motorcycle leather comes in three types of fitting Snug, Regular or loose. The selection of suitable fit depends on your riding style. If you are participating in the track race, then it is recommended to go with custom size motorcycle suit (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 allow for superb flex fit.
Now a day’s technical textile materials are used in parts of the suit that rarely encounter impact or stress such as underarms and crotch. Protective Fabrics underarms and crotch enables stretch and adds 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.
A comfortable interior lining is the other qualities of Leather Motorcycle Suit. Most of the Leather suit has micro-mesh 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, wash it and rejoin with the suit.
Ventilation or Perforation
The riding conditions not same for throughout the year, instead of have multiple suits for hot and cold weather, you need a proper ventilation system. Ventilation zippers installed on front and back side makes the suit wearable throughout the year. The rider can adjust the gear according to the weather conditions.
Leather suits are not wearable in those areas where the weather is hot, some panels of leather are perforated that enhance airflow within the suit. Perforation 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 primary factor that makes a suit heavy is the thickness of leather, and while racing on the track, the weight can matter for your win or loose. Thin leather takes less time to break-in than a professional motorcycle racing suit. Thin leather no longer is fully protective, or if it is, is only a ‘one-crash’ garment.
If you are racing on the track and need light weight suit, instead of going for thin Cowhide and compromise protection, Kangaroo leather must be used that is lightweight and ten times the tensile strength of cowhide.
When considering the features of a leather motorcycle suit, you’ll realize quickly that the high-cost Leather Suit offers the most advanced features. A low-cost suit will be able to protect your skin and bones in crash impact or can cause uncomfortable riding.
The range of Leather Collection and Moto Speeds Leather suits are designed to fit within most riders’ budgets and still offer distinctive features. Multiple customization options are available to configure the gear following your need and budget limit. Customization features are Top Grain Leather (Kangaroo or Cowhide), CE Approved armor, Regular or Custom Size, Stretch Fabrics, Ventilation, Perforation, interior lining and much more.