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Leather vs. Fabric Apparel. Which is better?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by Roar2Life, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. So i'm starting to look at jackets and pants ready for when I get my bike and I am confronted with the question. Which provides better protection? Leather or Fabric? Being in QLD I want a winter and summer jacket in one if possible and at the moment are really liking the looks of http://www.dririder.com.au/products.asp?menu=40&main=CLIMATE in red. But would I be better off in leather if I came off the bike?

    So, state your opinion on this matter and why.
  2. There is no question. Proper leathers provide not only the best slide protection, they usually have excellent armour and zip together at the waist to prevent gravel rash on your tummy and back when you go for a slide.

    The armour in leathers is more likely to be effective as well, as leathers are usually a tighter fit which keeps the armour in place.

    So if your primary concern is safety, leathers are the best way to go by far.

    Cordura, kevlar and particularly mesh clothing are all compromises. I've crashed in cordura and draggins; a hole was worn in the cordura in one case and in another it was torn to pieces. The kevlar draggins stood up OK but it was a low speed incident. I got unnecessary bruises because there was no armour in the draggins at that time.

    I've got a Joe Rocket mesh jacket I wear around when it's roasting hot, but I'd hate to crash in it; impact protection might be OK as it's well armoured, but a slide on tarmac would rip it to bits and it moves around freely on my body so I'm sure it would ride up in various places and expose skin. I view it as suitable for city riding in extreme heat, and that's about it.

    I know it gets awful hot up where you are; perhaps the best compromise might be a set of leathers, with draggins and a meshie for when it's just unbearably hot? Get a zip from the back of your jacket to your draggins too, a very cheap alteration but one that makes a big difference in the unlikely event...
  3. I had a couple of relativley low speed crashes in a good quality fabric jacket and was underwelmed by it's performance.

    I'm currently buying some leathers.

    some leathers can be very cool. Lots of vent holes and I think Kangaroo skin is cooler too.
  4. Go the leathers. Chicks look so much hotter in leathers. ;)

    Look for something in perforated leather or has a few zippered vents.
    Only downside is leather aint rain proof but who rides in the rain anyway? :p
  5. Queensland weather is kinda similar to Perth, so i know where your comming from.

    You def need a vented mesh summer jacket for those 35-40 degree days when it is just bloody stupidly hot. Ive got some Ixon one for those days. Rest of the time (which is most of the time) i wear a leather jacket which i bought off a website in the US and A (Borat reference there) www.newenough.com they are really good to deal with. Obviously you need to go try on some jackets to get a feel for sizes before you order online.[/url]
  6. Ok. I'm still undecided. Had thought leather now i'm thinking with the heat-maybe not. Damn what a had decision to make. Obviously availablility will also play a part. I have thought of getting a leather jacket and textile pants and then when I can afford them some leather pants and then a textile jacket. Do you think wearing textile pants instead of leather would make much of a difference in the keeping me cool? Perhaps I should have also said that the bike will be my main mode of transport and I don't plan to ride on the track but I guess safety's still important. As far as leather suits go has anyone had any experience or heard anything about this one:
  7. Suit looks nice can't tell you much about the brand though. If you plan to ride around the hills a lot then the leather suit will be great for protection. Could be a bit of a biatch to chuck on when you're just going to run a few errands or meet friends.

    Why not start with a pair of draggins' or similar and a waterproof cordura jacket. If you're likely to ride in all weather then just get some cheapie nylon pants to go over top. It really depends on what kind of riding you see yourself doing?

    I currently have 2 pair of cargos pants and a cordura jacket great in all weather. got caught in rain once pants got soaked, (now keep some plastics under my seat) Jacket dried off in an hours or so. Looking to get a leather jacket soon and maybe another pair of jeans. I don't commute, but do some running around on the bike. And chuck on some extra armour underneath for ride days. I had an off while wearing draggins and textile jacket... both are still wearable. Please please pleeeease budget for some proper boots and always wear them...

    Textile pants are great for commuting, can be waterproof, have knee protection, have removable liners but can get warm and don't look so :cool: when you're just chillin' off the bike.

    Leather Jacket too hot? look for one with preforated panels, and lots of zip vents, choose something not black. Some brands I've been looking at Teknic, Shift, Joe Rocket, Icon. Icon make some nice looking chicks gear. Good Luck.
  8. In the end it's going to come down to what fits, what is available and how much things cost. As you say im.on.it, having a suit may not be the most practical thing for a commuter. All I plan to do on the bike is ride it to school, friends places and things like that. And I do plan to get a good pair of boots.
  9. Please save a few $$ for gloves. Hands are pretty important and if left uncovered will be hurt in any off.
  10. If I had to buy one suit for all conditions, I'd buy a TigerAngel Guardian Suit. In fact I did.
  11. I agree with G.

    The Tiger Angel Guardian is the ultimate suit. Leather, warm, waterproof, washable, vented....... perfect.

    Cheaper in the long run than Textile suit and draggins and ride day leathers and coffee shop jacket and waterproof oversuit for your draggins or coffee shop jacket etc
  12. Motor racing, cars and bikes, has always been at the forefront of safety developement.

    Things like disc brakes and seat belts that we take for granted these days all came into place due to racing.

    If you want to race a bike full leathers are compulsory.

  13. Fabric or Leather

    If your commuting around Brisbane Mesh fabric with a water proof liner or cover for the jacket, Good heavy weight denim jeans (quality Levis!). Decent quality light weight boots or stout ankle covering trainers or shoes (Dr Martins) but keep the laces out of the way. Plus decent summer weight gloves, Joe Rocket or more suitable the Dri-Rider Mesh backed with leather kevlar palms ($60-80), How ever there is some great ladies stuff at the independant scooter shops (e.g. not Team Moto or Pro Whatever).
    Most Leather stuff is from Europe or Vic and is not sufficiently well ventilated for Qld.
    There is a lady in Brisbane who has been making motorcycle leathers for a long time, my wife and I had her make us Jackets, to say they are fantastic is an understatement and they are made to measure, she might be able to be talked into making some more.
    Note. that most of the people advocating leather are from down south where it's only warm some of the time.
  14. Re: Fabric or Leather

    If you want to be safe, I could not agree. Denim jeans are no good at all on bitumen, even at low speed, they rip thru in the first few meters. At a minimum you should have kevlar lined jeans (like Draggin jeans). Also, one problem with the mesh jackets is that they do not hold the "body armour" in place well. Chances are, of hou hit and slide on your elbow, the armous will twinst off your elbow, and your end up sliding on your elbow.

    You have a choice of being safe or being cooler. Hard to do both on Queensland.
  15. Textile gear is getting better all the time though. In fact I will go out on the limb and say, man-made materials are the future - it won't be long before they outstrip leather in resistance to abrasion and friction.

    Arguably, some materials achieve that already.

    For example, check out the story in onewheeldrive about jeans made of new material called Armalith that are supposed to be superior to Draggins...