Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of motorcycle racing, out of pro stock motorcycle. In the US, we don’t have the access to MotoGP that we do for Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, and the NHRA. When I get the chance to watch it, I love it for a number of reasons. I like watching a form of motorsports where I have no favorite rider, and the racing is really good.
Leather has a long history in sports. Most game balls, gloves, shoes, and some on-field equipment are made of leather, and many older uniforms, especially helmets were made of leather. Nowhere is leather more critical to the safety of the wearer than motorcycle racing. I’ve discussed it in my NHRA Uniform article, but the reality is that at high speeds, the leather will protect the rider from having his skin ripped off.
What I found interesting is that while professional riders exclusively wear leather, the weekend warriors can pick from a number of different of different fabrics, some of which you might not expect. Take this BMW City II motorcycle suit for example:
Made of 100% Nylon, this red, green, and white suit was made in the 1990’s by Dainese. The suit is multi-layered with several layers of fabric, and has pads on the shoulders, elbows, and knees. There is no padding on the back. It shows no wear at all, and is in great condition. The cuffs and collar are designed to cover as much skin as possible, but unlike a Nomex suit, this is to prevent road rash. This suit is also notable for the biggest belt I have ever seen. It is over 6 inches wide!
How well this would protect the rider at street speeds is unknown. It looks like that if you were at a stoplight, the suit would protect quite well. At 55 MPH, it might provide some protection from injury, and at 100 MPH, it would provide no protection at all. The padding area would provide more support than the cloth area. It does feel heavy duty, but I don’t think that it would provide as much protection as a leather suit.
I’ve been trying to find a MotoGP suit, or a similar suit, but they aren’t available. I bought this one because it is uniquely designed, and it does look pretty good. I hope to get a race-used suit soon.
That covers it for this week, tune in next week when I cover SFI ratings again.