There is some great looking motorcycle clothing on the market today, but believe me, not all motorcycle clothing offers as much protection as you think. In order for motorcycle clothing to be legitimately sold as “safety” clothing in Europe it has to meet a set of European standards which are quite lengthy but are available on my website. The standards cover the clothing’s performance in abrasion, tear and impact tests and when they passed; They are sold with the CE mark. However, there is no such rule in the US, so what should you look out for?
Protection in the right places…
Not many people know that most motorcycle injuries occur below the waistline. Your legs and feet are extremely vulnerable so make sure you wear a decent pair of tall boots and protective pants. Pants should be reinforced at knees and hips; Ideally, they should be zipped to your jacket. Boots should be thick leather, with a sole that can flex with the foot but is resistant to crushing over the foot.
The traditional material for motorcycle clothing is leather, but thick nylon and other synthetic materials also work well. Kevlar reinforced jeans are better than regular jeans. Regular jeans last 0.6 seconds in the European Standard Abrasion Test, while protective motorcycle pants last 5 seconds or more. You don’t want to rip your skin out in less than half a second after falling off your bike, do you? Didn’t think so.
The same principles apply to jackets. Make sure they are durable. If it’s leather, make sure it’s thick leather and not fancy leather like some jackets. Seams should be even, with no dropped stitches, and all your “sharp parts”, your elbows and shoulders, should be reinforced, ideally with some impact protection.
A decent pair of gloves is a must; Your palms are at risk in an accident; You instinctively stretch your hands palm down to stop yourself from slipping, so the palms of your gloves should be reinforced with patches. Knitted Kevlar lends itself particularly well to this type of abrasion resistance, but reinforced leather also works well.
Impact protection can be bought separately like back protectors and whatnot, but keep in mind where your most vulnerable areas are. And make sure when you buy crash protection that you actually wear it! When in doubt, it might be better to opt for motorcycle clothing with some impact protection so you know the protection is always there when you put on your jacket and pants.
Last but not least, choose a helmet that you can wear and wear it at all times. While the risk of injuring yourself below the hip in a motorcycle accident is greater, the consequences of an accident without a helmet are simply unimaginable….
So the next time you’re shopping for motorcycle clothing, think a little about the protection it offers before you buy it. You never know it could save you a lot of unnecessary pain!