Leathers are phenomenal pieces of kit. They have the ability to keep you cool when it’s hot, dry when it’s wet and warm when it is a bit nippy outside. But most importantly; they can save your life in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Safety is of paramount importance when riding a motorbike, and bike leathers are a major aspect of bike safety. So, here are five tips on buying bike leathers to ensure you have the right pair for you.
- Don’t just buy the first thing you see – look into quality materials
First thing’s first, your health is your wealth, so don’t rush into buying what looks like the best deal without conducting the research in advance! High quality jackets will offer a solid crash resistance when in an accident and offer good injury protection.
If you opt for a calfskin or goat leather jacket, the recommended thickness is 1.2 to 1.4 mm. Any thinner and the safety properties are somewhat limited.
If you prefer a thinner material, kangaroo leather might be for you. It has a more compact structure where you can get a jacket safe enough at just 1 to 1.1mm.
- Choose the leathers to match your riding style
It is fundamental that you pick the right leathers appropriate to your riding style.
The one-piece suit provides full body protection tapered closely to your skin. This would perhaps be more suitable for those wishing to be more active on their bikes or potentially those involved in racing.
The two-piece suit is perfect for the more casual rider who opts for a more comfortable ride. In addition, it provides the opportunity for pockets, so one has easier access to a wallet or purse.
It is essential that motorcycle jackets worn on the road should have integrated protectors. These are sectors of protective padding typically on the back, chest and arms of jackets. It is key to ensure that your jacket conforms to European standards by being “CE approved”.
- Get the right fit
Motorcycle jackets are largely sold with varied sizes available for both men and women. A jacket needs to be safe and suitable with proper fitting rather than just a piece of clothing to allow you to look like a suave James Dean!
Here are the key points, but always ask a shop assistant for advice if you are unsure what is suitable:
A motorcycle jacket needs to fit your body properly while you’re standing and in riding position. So, make sure you are aware of this when trying on your leathers, move around and get a real feel for them!
Sleeves need to be long enough to cover your full arm!
It is imperative they reach the wrists when you have your arms extended as well as when you are in the seated riding position.
- Care for your bike gear
It is vitally important to regularly clean your leathers, this may have some effect on the type of leathers you choose to buy. Looking after leathers will see them last longer and furthermore, it will help them retain their functional properties. It will also help them look good for longer.
Leathers must be moisturised! It is key to have them regularly treated with a leather balm, leather oil, or Vaseline. If the leathers are not cleaned and moisturised, the material can become dry over time and the stitching can deteriorate. Invest in a maintenance care kit to have at home when treating your leathers.
Helmets are also incredibly important as a legal requirement to bikers.
Carole Nash also looked into the safety of helmets on the road, for more information check out the campaign – How safe is your lid?
The Government has also provided a very useful safety rating service on the Sharp website helping to find the best helmet fit for each person. It makes finding a good helmet easier; though fit is crucial.
The accessibility to high quality bike training has been made easier recently. The UK now has a register of accredited motorcycle training schools and you can find the closest one to you, using the MCIAC website