Why do we dress in all the mad leathery bits? Why do you wear that leather jacket on a hot summers day? Do you wear leathers to look cool? Why is your jacket so heavy? Are helmets really that important? I’ve been asked these question numerous times. Well here we have been provided with the answer.
In brief bikers wear a massive amount of leather not for the intimidation factor it provides but purely for the protection provided from these items. As described in the article, falls and drops etc. can be painful and leathers provide protection against road rash and the elements. Most leather jackets also contain padded sections on the shoulders, elbows, and back, these sections make a massive difference in the event if a high impact fall or skid. From personal experience I can say that decent rider apparel is definitely the best investment a rider can make.
There are also leather substitutes used in terms of rider protective apparel. Jackets can be crafted from Kevlar and other synthetic materials that provide protection when it comes to impact or skids. However it should be noted that these type of materials do not always present the same amount of protection against the elements as leather. For instance, Kevlar can absorb the brunt of almost any impact or skid, however when it starts raining it offers little protection.
Furthermore, the gloves we wear provide a little padding between our hands and the handlebars. This is very helpful as the bars are being gripped a 100% of the time while riding, which really takes a toll on a riders hands and arms. In addition it provides padding when your hands make unintended contact with the black top, as one’s first response during a fall is to break the fall using your hands.
Gloves made from a Kevlar and carbon fiber composite are an alternative to leather gloves. These gloves are usually cooler when riding on a hot summers day and the carbon fiber caps on knuckles and finger tips help a lot in terms of bug impacts and flying debris.
Helmets or ‘Do-rags’ present further protection in the event of a fall. Both having their respective pros and cons. Helmets offer great protection from impact and the elements, however, in reference to full face helmets, they can be hot in the mid summer heat. Do rags on the other hand, are generally cooler in terms of temperature but offer almost no protection in a fall. In my personal opinion a helmet, even if it is only a skull-cap helmet, is the best option for a safety conscious rider.
On another related point there exists a huge debate world-wide as to whether or not motorcycle helmets should be mandatory. I do know that several American States and countries such as South Africa have instituted laws to the effect that riding without a helmet is a punishable offence.You can cast your vote here.
So to conclude, leather apparel is worn by riders to offer them protection from the elements and accidents. There are also variations in terms of materials that offer protection. It is best to dress for a fall, rather than dressing for a cool ride. It is up to the rider to decide what would work best in his/her present situation.
Ride safe and enjoy the journey.