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Leather Jacket vs Textile for Motorcycle Riders

Posted by Avi grondin on


Leather Jackets vs Textile for motorcycle riders

Safety for the motorcycle riders is the primary concern for the designers and manufacturers of motorcycle gear. Unfortunately, this simple fact is overlooked by quite some riders, yet it is an essential necessity for their wellbeing. It may sound cumbersome, awkward and sometimes intrusive but a stitch in time saves nine, the gear is the ultimate choice for the rider's safety at the time of an accident.

Importance of Wearing Safety Gear While Riding

A golden rule should be, 'never expose any part of your body while on a bike,' and this rule should be reinforced with wearing safety gear. It costs less to keep yourself safe than losing part of your body or rather your life for just ignoring a simple task. From head to toe, we have a breakdown of necessary safety equipment; the helmet, eye protection, ear protection, jackets, gloves, pants, boots neck protection, elbow, shin, and knee guard, and chest guards. Every equipment plays a crucial role in keeping motorcycles riders safe and sound.

  • A helmet protects the head from physical injury at the time of an accident and also provides shelter from wind turbulence.
  • Eye protection, as the name denotes, blocks the wind from causing tears streaks down the face as well as protecting the eyes from all kinds of debris from flying into the eyes.
  • The ear protection is vital for checking wind noise while riding.
  • When it comes to covering the upper body, a variety of jackets are available at the disposal of the rider. They range from armored race gear to ventilated summer wear, and they come in the form of leather or textile. Besides offering protection against abrasion, they make the rider look fashionable.
  • Gloves protect the hands against abrasion at the time of crushing.
  • Pants are well designed and fitted with kneecaps that are vital in ensuring that the rider is protected from knee bruises in the course of an accident.

What Makes a Motorcycle Jacket Safe?

As stated earlier, the motorcycle jacket plays an excellent role in the safety of the rider. They come in many styles and are made from many different materials. The most common are leather, mesh, and textiles. The riders' preference of the custom biker jackets should be those that contain armor in the shoulders, elbows and at the back and must be CE-approved. CE is the standard set by the European Union for impact resistance garments. However, there are two categories; for shoulders, elbows, and knees and the second one for spine protection which determines the size and the position of the pads and the ability to cushion shock and penetration.

The secret behind the armor's protection is the way they are made. They are made from closed-cell foams of different thickness and density to allow the absorption of crash energy through a series of gradual compression of the armor. The back area is another place of safety concern. Basically, there are two types of spine protection, soft pads, and stiffer pads. The former is meant to help in distribution of the impact force while the latter is designed for protecting against penetrating objects. Apart from safety, the armors make the jackets durable and stylish.

Pros and Cons of both Leather and Textile Jackets

  • Resistance against abrasion: It goes without saying that the leather jacket is likely to prove its worth at the time of an accident. Why? At the time of the crash, it will abrade gradually without gaining heat due to friction. In theory, textile jackets are at a higher disadvantage compared to the leather one. It doesn't imply that the textile jacket does not possess the ability to protect. At lower speed, it is more useful just like its counterpart.
  • Care: Textile jacket has more advantages when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Leather needs a lot of attention to prevent it from drying out. On the contrary, riders would prefer leather for the simple fact that it can be wiped and polished thus saving time and effort.
  • Feel and texture: The leather jacket carries the day, but the advantage of textile is that it can assume a desirable feel and texture by simply washing it.
  • Protection from weather conditions: The fact that leather is an excellent insulator, it does not mean it is waterproof. For the all-weather protection, the textile is the best choice.
  • Wear resistance: The leather jacket can last a lifetime if treated well and the good news is that leather jackets with light colors can often be dyed again.
  • Repair: The leather jacket has an advantage over the textile one when it comes to repairing. The textile jacket can be fixed, but the cost could be almost or same as the buying price.
  • Weight: Textile materials are lighter and a strong and durable leather jacket can be heavy. In this case, the textile has an advantage over the leather jacket.

The Kind of Leather Used

Use of leather materials has been there from time immemorial, and it is still accessible to this day. It is long lasting, strong and comfortable. The source for making leather items comes from the animal skin and treated in a chemical called tanning. The chemical makes the leather materials strong and flexible. It is quite a process; curing of the hide in brine for not more than 16 hours, soaking in water for a couple of days to remove salt and dirt followed by removal of the hair from the skin and finally, tanning. The skin is dyed and treated to give a pleasant finish. Therefore, the strength and resistance of the leather material are determined by the thickness and type of leather used. You can read more about how leather is tanned here. 

Full grain cowhide is the recommended choice of leather for motorcycle riding due to its high resistance to abrasion and its tensile strength. Kangaroo leather is becoming popular in racing suits as its just as strong as cowhide if not more and much lighter weight. This gives it a huge advantage over cowhide. 

Custom Fitted Jackets

Custom fitted leather jackets can be made in a wide range of colors, styles, and sizes. They are stylish and give a better fit because the jackets are tailored to fit the person's body perfectly which is imperative in protection. A loose Jacket can cause more damage than not wearing one. Lastly, they are long-lasting, easy to handle and maintain.

Safety when riding a motorcycle is paramount, a reason why regulations about that are in place to avoid bodily harm or worse still, death as a result of motorcycle crashes. Custom fitted jackets along with other safety gear, are highly recommended.


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