Motorcycle safety clothing and why this is Important

June 22, 2009


To improve motorcycle safety many countries order the wearing of protective clothing by motorcyclists, especially a helmet. Other protective equipment may include certain types of jackets, gloves, boots, and pants. Jackets meant for motorcyclists are typically made of nylon, leather, or Kevlar. These jackets usually include heavy padding on the elbow, spine, and shoulder regions. Gloves are generally made of leather or Kevlar and some include carbon fiber knuckle protection. Boots, especially those for sport riding, include reinforcement and plastic caps on the ankle and toe areas. A well-protected motorcyclist will wear boots with heels that fit on motorcycle foot rests (pegs) and provide good ankle support. Pants are usually leather, nylon, or Kevlar. Except for helmets, none of these items are required by law in any state in the U.S. but are recommended by many of those who ride.

Types of clothing

Leather Clothing:

Leathers are 1-piece suits, or 2-piece jackets and trousers worn by motorcyclists mainly for protection in a crash. The leather used is not fashion leather but protective leather which is stronger, rather flexible and much tougher. Both leathers and joins (seams and zips) should be officially tested for ergonomics and impact scrape, cut, tear and burst resistance. They do not have to be too heavy and there is no such thing as rivalry leather – just safe and unsafe leather and joins.

Typically, an accident at a race track will result in the racers sliding, rolling and tumbling for reasonably long distances and long times compared to an accident on the public road. This is because of the large safety run-off areas found on most race tracks; hence racers have a much lower probability of hitting hard vertical solid objects during a crash. Some racing leathers have additional protection properties to increase sliding and decrease bouncing and rotation. To decrease or prevent such injuries, most modern racing suits have an area that helps sliding at the knees, shoulders and elbows – often made of titanium or high-density plastic, so the rider slides more along the track environment and so decreases the bouncing and rotation through the air, which may cause inferior injuries from angular accelerations and rotational forces

Currently there are two major styles of motorcycle leathers: the tight fitting and sometimes colorful one or two piece suits based on motorcycle racing leathers; and the somewhat looser fitting leather trousers and jackets, usually black and often decorated with metal studs and tassels.

Textile Clothing:

Increasingly, motorcyclists are choosing protective equipment make up of man-made textiles rather than leather due to their improved weather protection from heat, cold, and water, and the increased value these garments tend to provide in terms of pockets and vents. Common materials include high density (600–1000 Denier) ballistic nylon (e.g., Cordura) and Kevlar (or blends of Kevlar, Cordura, and Lycra) and often include waterproof liners made from materials such as Goretex.

Motorcycling  Boots:

Boots are worn by motorcycle riders and passengers to prevent or diminish harm to their feet and ankles while riding and in the incident of a crash. Tough, strong, moderately flexible boots with rigid soles provide the rider protection from a number of risks. Boots with oil-resistant, rubber-based merged soles give a grip on the concrete and help keep the rider’s feet on the foot rests. If the boots have heels, they should be low and wide to provide a firm base when standing with the bike. In a crash, boots may avoid or reduce foot and ankle injuries.


A motorcycle helmet is protective head covering used by motorcycle riders. The primary target of a motorcycle helmet is to protect the rider’s head during impact, although many helmets provide additional protection such as a face shield. In some countries the wearing of motorcycle helmets is compulsory.

Helmets are made in 2 main layers: hard and energy-absorbing. The hard shell spreads an impact over a larger area, while the liner (often polystyrene foam) absorbs energy so less is transferred to the skull & brain



Motorcycling racing glove

Motorcycling gloves are typically gloves made of leather. They may have gauntlets to protect the rider’s wrists from injury, and help shrink drafts while riding in colder climates. Motorcycling gloves typically have reinforced palms anticipated to protect the rider from scratch injuries in case of an accident.

Optional characteristics include additional protection or weatherproofing. For touring gloves, such additional features may include advanced insulating materials and waterproof/breathable fabric, although touring gloves may still lack advanced armouring features used in motorcycle racing gloves.

Gloves intended for motorcycle racing typically feature precurved finger sections and the best available protection, obtained through additional armour incorporated within the glove. Although maximum tacility is an noticeable starting point for racing gloves, additional protection should not be discarded. Additional protection may involve titanium or carbon panels for knuckles and the joints of the fingers. Furthermore, racing gloves may and often do add in additional wrist and other protection panels to protect the heel of the hand, back of the hand and other easily injured parts of the hand.


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