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Leather vs Textile

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by lovefist, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Hey all, newbie rider here. Got my helmet (Shoei TZ-X) and a pair of Draggins, but I'm trying to figure out whether to go leather or textile for the jacket. I live in Melbourne so the weather is unpredictable at the best of times; and I'll be using the bike (most likely a VTR250) for daily commuting and the occasional weekend ride.

    So, what is the abrasion resistance like on textile compared to leather? Taking into account all considerations, would you choose a decent textile or leather jacket?

  2. I have a textile Motodry Stealth jacket and find it good when it's warm but when it's cold and wet it's a little colder than I prefer. Even with the winter/wet weather liner in it.

    Non-perforated leather will be decent in the cold & dry. But I'm lead to believe leather will swell a little when it gets wet and will take longer to dry out.

    Perforated leather will be a little cooler but still the wet weather issues.

    Leather will last a small amount of time longer sliding down the road than the decent textile jackets. 1-2s extra apparently.

    Leather tends to be more form fitting though, so I found less buffeting from the wind flapping the jacket around than with the textile one.
  3. I think this is one of those questions which comes down to personal choice.

    I'd rather slide down the road in leather as it stands up better. So far all the textiles I have owned have eventually worn out and leather is going to last longer.

    But leather is colder and definitely not waterproof. If you are riding any length of time in cold and/or rain I would go textile.

    In the end you may go for both but if I had to choose just one I would go textile.
  4. For me it's leather. I found my shift jacket to be warmer that my RJays textile jacket. I can wear the same fleecy liner in both, an I still find the leather warmer. Does pose an issue in heavy rain as it does soak up the water, but light rain isn't usually an issue rides under 2 hours. If im oaway for a longer period ill take a rain coat for the leather. Seems like extra effort but leather lasts longer when you're sliding, based on my own experience.
  5. Allways leather because you never know when your going to need it.
  6. Personally I wear textiles for pants and jacket [am in sunny melb] leather IS better but textile warmer, as Greybm said, personal choice, if you are out and worried about rain, by plastics and cover the leather.
  7. I have both. My first choice is always leather, but when it's really hot I'll grab a textile (minus the lining).

    I just feel more secure with leather (and they look better to boot). Also, none of my textiles are waterproof, whereas I keep my leather jackets well treated with Sno-Seal so they're also useful if/when the skies open up.
  8. For commuting go the textile. Then look for a leather weekend jacket on e-bay or on sale. or vice-versa. if you get leather try and get one you can zip to pants so you can get leather pants later on. I've got both and wear textile 70-80% of the time (100% over winter). In Melbourne, leather is for spring and autumn if its not raining.
    Also textiles have better pockets.
  9. One little thing - fit.
    I found when I checked out a few choices that textile has a better fit straight off the rack and that the sizing will be more forgiving to non-standard body shapes. In it's defence leather will conform and customise itself with wear, I just wasn't patient enough to sacrifice the instant comfort textile offered.
  10. I went textile first because I think it's more versatile.

    I've got a few bucks stashed away so I can buy my self a nice leather jacket later in the year when I get to do more fun riding (might grab the jacket in Europe).
  11. Textile is definitely more versatile. Get a textile jacket first.

    I have both leathers, and textiles and it's obviously convenient to have a choice but if I only had one set of gear it would be textile. With textile, it's easier to stay dry, easier to wear clothes underneath, easier to stay cool and easier to stay warm.

    Despite all these advantages though, I only wear my leathers these days. Reason being is they're good for serious, long rides in sunny weather. These are the only kind of rides I go on these days.

    Wait till you've been riding for a while and then get top and bottom leathers
  12. There are big ranges of quality in both leather and textile, so it's worth spending some time and effort understanding what you are buying.....this might be helpful....

    Who wore it before you did?

    Leather has long been a good protective fabric. However, many variables can effect its' quality including, the type, age and diet of the animal it came from. Different methods used to clean, tan and dye the leather effect it as well. Unfortunately the best way to tell if the garment is made of good leather is to look at the price tag. Good leather costs more and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Leather should be worn snug because when leather folds it's tear strength lowers considerably. As an organic material leather dries out and looses it's flexibility over time. In fact each time leather gets wet and dries it can loose up to 20% of it's tear and abrasion strength. If a good leather conditioner is used it is still impossible to soften the inside of the leather properly unless the inner liner can be removed.

    Dupont strikes again

    In order to give it the proper motorcycle abrasion strength Kevlar must be woven together with other threads, like Dynatec and or Lycra, ei Schoeller's Keprotec. These are the only suits approved for road racing other than leather. Some gear manufacturers use small portions of pure Kevlar as a gimmick. Quality full suits of it can be found. This gear is lighter, offers greater protection and it breathes. It slides on pavement the same way as leather and dissipates friction heat better than leather. Due to its' innate toughness during construction and the fabrics limited availability it is not widely marketed so it will take a bit of looking to get one.

    Only certain grades of nylon will do

    Many names are given to types of Polyester or Nylon to make it sound impressive. Only Cordura Nylon of 1000 Denier is suitable for motorcycle gear. Denier refers to the thickness of the fibers in the weave, higher denier means higher abrasion and tear strength. Be aware that due to cost, some makers coat their nylon with a layer of polyurethane that under heavy pavement friction can melt into your skin.

    Tear and Abrasion Strength by the numbers

    Product / Material
    Pounds of force until fabric tears
    Abrasion cycles until fabric fails

    CottonJeans 4.5 pounds to tear 50 cycles to failure
    70 Denier Standard Nylon 4.5 pounds to tear 165 cycles to failure
    500 Denier Polyester 8 pounds to tear 180 cycles to failure
    200 Denier Standard Nylon 7.5 pounds to tear 275 cycles to failure
    500 Denier Cordura 22 pounds to tear 710 cycles to failure
    620 Denier Cordura 35 pounds to tear 1200 cycles to failure
    NEW Competition Grade Leather 80-110 pounds to tear 1200-1700 cycles to failure
    1000 Denier Cordura 110 pounds to tear 1780 cycles to failure
    Air Mesh Kevlar 1260 pounds to tear 1800 cycles to failure
    Stretch Kevlar Blend 420lbs pounds to tear 1800 cycles to failure
  13. Miraz that is incredibly good info - thanks for posting it up. Now I want to go check my textile riding gear and see what denier it is :)

    While we're on the subject of mixing and matching gear ... I have a question about gear that zips together (e.g. jacket and pants). Are the zips on garments from different manufacturers normally compatible with each other? What about items from the same manufacturer (e.g. Dainese) bought separately? Just curious to know whether this is an industry standard.

  14. I have a jacket made out of the Air mesh Kevlar material which is an amazing stuff - the mesh is sufficiently open that you can almost see through it, but it is incredibly tough....great for riding in the summer.
  15. Another thing with textile is that you can wear your "normal" clothes underneath. Especially good for commuting. I've got Tiger Angel stuff - not cheap but works well (and it's waterproof). I can wear the pants over my normal work pants.

    The Good Gear Gude is probably the best local publication on ithe subject of riding gear.
  16. I destroyed two good quality textile jackets in very minor offs. I wear leather now.

    The textile mobs feed the myth that textile is almost as good a leather in an off, but it is just not the case. If you could put a number on it, it's not 25% better, it's 5 times better in an off.

    Having said that, it is hot in summer and cold in winter. Get leathers with good vents and a zip out liner that includes the sleeves. I've adapted an old textile liner to get sleeve coverage in my leather jacket and it makes a big difference. I do however long for zip vents on my back in summer in order to let the heat out.
  17. I think this very much depends on the type of textile (or for that matter the type of leather) - the numbers that I posted in the table earlier in the thread are significant......good quality textile materials can hold up extremely well in a crash...very few of the big name brands are using these high grade materials however.

    I took a slide down a rough bit of concrete road last year in an Air Mesh Kevlar Jacket, Keprotec pants, Gimoto gloves and A* Tech-R boots

    The Hi-viz strips and some of the adjustment straps came off the sleeve of the jacket, but the Kevlar mesh was completely undamaged...pretty impressive considering I slide down the road on my forearm.
    The lycra components of the pants did not hold up so well, but the core Kevlar material held together without any problem. The warranty provided by the manufacturer guarantees that they will replace any crash damaged garment if it is beyond repair...repairs cost less than $150 and were turned round in under a week.
    The gloves did reasonably well, a couple of the pucks melted and started to peel off the kevlar palm patch also the stitching on one of the fingers parted - but were easily repaired.
    The boots copped a hiding, the leather on the inside of the ball of the foot wore almost through, so the boots had to be replaced.
  18. Awesome reference; heaps of good info on that site. Cheers!
  19. Whatever you do, don't get white leathers. Firstly, you will look like a Stormtrooper and secondly you'll forever spend cleaning them.

    By the way i wear a leather jacket with textile pants and had a low speed off at the weekend. Both held up perfectly, so whatever you decide just make sure you get some good quality gear.
  20. But I WILL look like a Stormtrooper...