Tag Archives: motorcycle safety gear

Determining the Grade of Leather

When an animal’s skin becomes leather, i.e. the decay process has been stopped, there are a number of ways it can be finished that are suitable for a variety of uses. A single hide can be split into several hides of different thicknesses, which is but one factor in determining the riding grade of the material.

Leather can be buffed with abrasives to create a very soft and pliable material we call suede, or you can add some coats of urethane to make some shiny patent leather shoes. None of these methods would be considered riding grade.

The most important thing to remember at this point is that leather gets its strength, durability, pliability and breathability from the outer skin, the epidermis of the animal,  commonly referred to in the leather apparel industry as the “grain”.

In the motorcycle leather clothing industry there are typically three grades of leather (buffalo or cowhide) that are prevalent throughout.

Split Leather

Starting at the bottom, split leather, or splits, are made from the bottom part of the hide. Remember one hide can be split at least twice to produce the desired thickness. Split leather has a smooth surface quite suitable for stamping or embossing. Alternatively, splits are also used to produce suede.

Keep in mind that being from the bottom part of the hide, split leather has no grain. Split leather motorcycle jackets, chaps, pants and vests will typically have a pattern embossed on them to mimic the natural grain of the animal.

Splits are thin and lightweight, probably making them more appealing in warmer climates, but don’t count on them for any kind of protection in a road slide. They are the cheapest grade offered to bikers, so just be sure you know what you’re getting into. Split leather, for our purposes, is not considered to be riding grade, and therefore should not be purchased as motorcycle safety gear.

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Motorcycle Safety Gear from Head to Toe

Leather motorcycle apparel, along with a DOT approved helmet will go a long way in saving you a lot of pain and suffering. Indeed, they can save your life.

But what to do about the extremities? Many of us have become attached to our hands and feet and would like to keep them! Broken bones and amputations can and do occur as the result of a serious motorcycle accident, but there are things you can do to minimize the injuries.

Rule # 3: Protect the Extremities

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Motorcycle Safety Gear

There is an inherent danger in the riding of any two wheeled vehicle that increases exponentially when a motor is thrown in the mix. It is not so much that “Speed Kills” in the case of a motorcycle accident as it is colliding into an object at a high speed, something that any sane motorcyclist would like to avoid.

As automobiles and trucks have evolved to include a number of built in safety features, by nature, the motorcycle itself is limited to loud pipes and a good set of brakes. Seat belts for motorcycles are deemed inappropriate, as no ones wishes to be tethered to a 300 pound object sliding on its side on a trajectory leading to the underside of a sixteen wheeler. The idea of an air bag deploying from the dashboard of a motorcycle…well, you get the picture.

In the case of an imminent collision between a motorcycle and a car or truck at high speeds, the best outcome a motorcyclist can hope for is a mangled sacrificial vehicle that he manages to bail out of in the nick of time, suffering only some minor cuts and bruises. That’s a best case scenario, and it can and does happen…with the help of the proper motorcycle safety gear.

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