It is important to study riding gear that has been crashed. Impact location as well as tear/abrasion/seam strength of the apparel can be seen. When seams fail it is necessary to improve the seam strength. When holes are worn through it is necessary to improve the abrasion strength of the material. When similar abrasion and impact areas become common after studying thousands of crashed suits those are the areas that should have armor for impact protection. Safety improvements to Motoport’s apparel were made primarily from the gear failures witnessed from 1965, when Motoport started operation, up until 1988.
But what about the riders that crashed? What type of injuries did the riders experience? What parts of the body sustained the injuries? When a rider crashes, usually only the friends or immediate family know of the injuries or the details of the tumble. In the majority of cases, even the apparel that was worn is thrown away and not studied. Studying suits, testing materials are all important. Studying the injuries the rider sustains is, by far, the most important factor in designing protective motorcycle apparel.
In 1985, Motoport, in conjunction with the West German government, started the most in-depth study of motorcycle injuries. The directive of this study was to develop the first motorcycle apparel designed using the medical- and science-perspective. One of the main Engineers in the study, Dr. Dietmar Otte, head of the Department of Accident Research at the Hanover Institute of Medicine in Germany stated:
“The development aim was to systematically convert all accident research into actual practice, resulting in a safety concept which protects the statistically most endangered body regions. As a passionate motorcyclist myself, I can confirm that the Body Guard System is an excellent fulfillment of the aim.”
During a four-year period, Motoport studied the injuries sustained in over 500 crashes. These crashes were serious, resulting in severe injuries or death to the riders. The crashes that were studied in Germany occurred on the autobahn, rural areas, and in cities. Four doctors analyzed and recorded all the details of each injury. Autopsies were performed on the riders, documenting injuries that resulted in death. The details of the crashes and the apparel worn were also studied.
The study’s finding were alarming. It was revealed that the most serious injury to the body was the initial impact area. In 83.2% of cases, the initial impact was below the waist. The main initial impact was the knee/shin and full front-to-back thigh area. Over one third resulted in broken-bone injuries. Well over half of the victims (59.4%) suffered arm injuries. Other body regions that received frequent severe injuries were the shoulders, chest, and collar bone.
To understand the percentage ratios, it is important to know that after initial impact, other areas of the body were also damaged.
Placement of the armor was no longer an uncertainty. Motoport learned from this study the most endangered regions of the body. Motoport also learned more about seam and material failures.
There have been three other major studies on motorcycle apparel involved in crashes since the Motoport study completion in 1988. It is interesting to note that these other studies’ results were almost identical to Motoport’s. Yet with all these studies, Motoport is the only company to directly apply the knowledge learned into manufacturing the most versatile/protective motorcycle apparel.
No other leather or synthetic motorcycle apparel has anything like the tear/abrasion/seam strength found in Motoport’s apparel. All four of the major studies show the initial impact below the waist in the majority of crashes. The two highest impact areas below the waist are the knee/shin and full-thigh area. Yet Motoport is the only motorcycle apparel company that has full wrap-around thigh armor in our pants. The chest area is a critical area of the body for protection. Broken ribs, punctures in the lung area can be fatal. Again, Motoport is the only company that has full chest armor standard in all the apparel. If the seams in the rider’s gear don’t hold up, it doesn’t matter how strong the suit material is, or how good the armor is. If a panel comes apart, or sleeve rips off, both the armor and suit material are not going to help. Even with all the seam failures found in the four studies, Motoport is the only motorcycle apparel to provide over 2000 pound seam-tear strength in all the apparel made with blended materials.
Motoport didn’t reach this level of protection last year or even five years ago. Motoport reached this level of protection over 30 years ago.
The Anatomy of Safety
To protect the rider from abrasion and impact injuries, a unique combination of special materials was required. In 1988 Motoport introduced the Body Guard System. Underneath the thick cowhide exterior of the suits, in Velcro-secured pockets, Motoport placed the Body Guard Armor. In 1988 thick animal skin was the only known material that would provide adequate tear/abrasion strength. Impact resistant plates consisting of 1/8” thick, hard Polypropylene shells backed with nearly ½” of impact absorbent foam, were used for armor. In the event of an accident, the shells spread the blow across their entire surface area – very much like how a modern bulletproof vest works. Once the initial shock has been transmitted throughout the shells, the residual impact force is greatly reduced by the thick absorbent foam, drastically lowering the risk of traumatic injury to the rider. These Body Guard suits made in 1988 would protect the rider better than the highest rated EN Certified Motorcycle apparel made today.
- Body Guard Worldwide Patents:
- Europe patent – 0083454
- U.S.A patent – 4,538,301
- Japan patent – 65205
Since 1988, the Body Guard System has undergone constant improvement. The impact protection, comfort, weight of the armor and suit, have all been improved. Motoport realized that for the Body Guard System to protect the rider, it must be worn. In order for it to be worn, it must work well in hot/cold/wet weather, be lightweight, and be comfortable. Therefore, Motoport had to consider the suit’s comfort, as much as its protective qualities, so riders would wear the gear.
Current Gear Improvements
The initial Body Guard Suit offered the highest level of protection to motorcyclists. The main problem Motoport had was the suit’s comfort. The Body Guard Suits were too hot to wear over 80f. They were heavy and restricted mobility. Only extreme safety fanatics would wear the initial thick leather Body Guard Suits. It was very clear that Motoport needed to improve the Body Guard Suit so more riders would wear it.
To improve the Body Guard’s comfort/versatility/weight/breathe-ability, Motoport needed a different suit material. Motoport had too many problems with leather. Leather didn’t work in hot/cold or wet weather. Many variables can affect leather quality, including the type, age and diet of the providing animal. Other affecting factors include: area of the body the skin is taken from, as well as the different methods used to clean, tan and dye the leather. The most serious problem is, each time leather gets wet and then dries, it can lose up to 20% of its tear/abrasion strength. Even when a rain suit is used in the rain, leather will dry out from sweat or simply from exposure to the outside elements.
Motoport has received leather suits back for repairs/alterations that are, in some cases, less than one year old. These one-year old leather suits can be torn like paper. Conditioning leather will help extend the tear/abrasion strength, but in almost every case, it is impossible to condition the leather completely. Unless the inside liner is removed only a thin portion of the outer leather skin is softened.
The Cordura- and blended materials Motoport uses are all machine washable and do not need to be conditioned to maintain performance. Moisture doesn’t affect the tear/abrasion strength. Every square inch has the same tear/abrasion strength with no other negative variables like leather.
Ultra II Jacket Made With 1000 Denier Cordura
If you attend any of the larger road races it is possible to find a leather company or a person that repairs leather gear at the track. If you were to ask the question: “What is the most common failure with leather suits?,” the company or individual repairing the leather suits would report: “The most common problem of leather suits at road races are seam failures.” Unless a complete seam fails, in a tumble, this usually doesn’t result in serious injuries to the road racer. Most tracks are designed so that, when a rider crashes, there is plenty of run-off room before any fixed objects can be hit. In the majority of road racing crashes the rider tumbles and slides. Combining the fast-forward speeds along with the rider tumbling, it makes low impact to the suit and seams. The priority of road racing suits is the abrasion resistance that good leather can provide. Tear-, seam-, and puncture-strength of the suit material are far more important for street riders. In a 10mph crash, hitting a fixed object, (car, guard rail, tree etc.), there can be more impact to the rider than crashing at over 100mph on a road-racing track. Even the best leather cannot provide adequate tear-, seam-, and puncture-strength for street-riding protection.
Synthetic materials have advanced over the years to provide more comfort/protection/breathe-ability and ease of maintenance over leather. See: “Save Your Hide” on the Home Page. After seeing Save Your Hide, readers should be shocked by the lack of performance of the majority of other motorcycle apparel’s materials. The next sections discuss the three main materials Motoport uses that will perform better than leather when used for motorcycle riding apparel:
- 1000 Denier Uncoated Cordura in a special weave – 110lb tear strength, equal to the best new competition grade leather for abrasion. Matches the highest grade new leather for tear strength.
- A weave Stretch – 420lb tear strength, equal to the best new competition grade leather for abrasion with far more tear strength.
- A weave Mesh – 1260 lb tear strength, equal to the best new competition grade leather for abrasion. Motoport’s Mesh gear is the most versatile and protective.
Note: The best new competition grade leather tears between 80 to 110lbs.
Motoport first started with Stretch in 1988. Today, this is still the only synthetic material approved for road racing. Stretch breathes better even than perforated leather. When exposed to direct sunlight, all the blended apparel does not absorb heat like leather or nylon. Other synthetic motorcycle apparel contains plastic Polyurethane coating; Motoport’s does not. Gear made from Stretch, on average, weighs 48% less than comparable-sized leather suits. The four-way Stretch blend is comfortable to wear and has up to five times the tear strength of the best leather. The four way stretch blend allows the rider to wear full body armor under the suit in more comfort when compared with leather.
Safety Lock Stitching (Five Threads Woven Together on the Inside)
Shows the Outside (Double Lock Stitching over the Top Side)
With Motoport’s synthetic apparel, all construction seams have five threads woven together on the inside (Safety Lock Stitching), and then Motoport additionally has double-needle stitch over the top of the same seam on the outside of the suit. Each of these seven threads has more than 100lb tear strength. With the blended apparel all construction seams provide over 2000lb tear strength. In the last 21 years, Motoport has not had one seam failure—no seam failures even with many suits that were crashed at over 100mph. It is not possible to Safety Lock Stitch Leather. Poking seven needle holes through leather will ruin the material. Water or exposure to the elements does not weaken Motoport’s synthetic materials. Even if Motoport materials fade from sun exposure the tear/abrasion strength does not diminish. Stretch is the most expensive material ever used for overall suit construction.
GP 1 Road Racing Suit
The first gear made with Stretch was called the GP-1 Suit and GP-2 Jacket/Pant. The GP-1 is a one-piece road-racing suit and the GP-2 is a two-piece outfit. These suits were accepted by the FIM for World Championship Road Racing, AMA, WERRA and many other race organizations. Motoport has had two decades of excellent performance from the Suits. Motoport placed third in the FIM World Championship. Many of the World Champion Side Car Racers have been wearing the Suits. Some of the top Luge racers in the world currently wear a One Piece GP-1 Luge Suit. Thousands of racers and street riders all over the world have been using Motoport Suits with not one negative report after a crash. Motoport’s apparel is beyond the necessity of proving protective abilities. Many riders still today use the same suits made in 1989.
In 1991 Motoport started to expand the Blended apparel, making the Ultra II Jacket/Pant. This was the first motorcycle apparel in the world that provided a comfort range from -20f to 120f, without compromising protection. Also, Motoport was the first company to make zip-out Aero-Tex Liners that made the suit 100% Waterproof/Windproof/Breathable. These liners can be removed when the temperatures get warmer (Patent #: 5,774,891). Waterproof/Windproof/Breathable gear is too hot to wear over 85 F, if the Waterproof membraned cannot be removed. The Aero-Tex Liners can be found in the Product Section.
Motoport continued to expand the blended apparel line and now carry these items, all made from the Stretch blend:
- One Piece Ultra Trek Suit
- Riva Stretch Jacket (waist cut)
- Stretch Shirt
- Ultra II Stretch Pant (over pant)
- Stretch Street Jean
- Stretch Pant
- GP-1 One Piece Road Racing Suit
- GP-2 Road Racing Jacket
- GP-2 Road Racing Pant
- Stretch Tech Hoodie
- Marathon Stretch Jacket
In 1993, to offer more affordable protective gear, Motoport developed 1000 Denier Cordura. This material is on par with the best leather in the world. Cordura gear can be washed in a machine. Cordura can get wet and dries in minutes without losing any strength. Motoport’s 1000 Denier material was developed in a special weave. This was the first nylon motorcycle apparel made without the plastic Polyurethane coating. See more on Polyurethane in Motoport’s “Dictionary” found on the Home Page. Without the Polyurethane coating the 1000 Denier Cordura is 20% stronger, feels softer, and is more comfortable to wear than all the other coated materials. This uncoated material also breathes better than leather. Motoport has many testimonials from riders who are still wearing the Ultra II Cordura Jackets/Pants made in 1993.
In the 1000 Denier Cordura, Motoport makes:
- Ultra II Cordura Jacket
- Ultra II Cordura Pant
- One Piece Ultra Trek Cordura Suit
- Riva AX 1000 Denier Cordura Jacket
- Cordura 1000 Denier Street Jean
In 2003, Motoport was finally able to obtain an open-mesh weave blended material. This was the first mesh that was on par for abrasion with the best leather in the world, and has 10 times the tear strength. This open weave material works better than any of Motoport’s solid woven fabrics when:
- Temperatures are over 100f.
- Temperatures are over 85f riding at slower speeds.
- Riding motorcycles with windshields or fairings at over 85f.
- Riding off road at temperatures over 85f.
- Riding with high humidity when over 80f.
The Mesh has all the same other advantages over leather: machine washable, dries in minutes after getting wet, does not degrade from exposure to moisture, weighs less, breathes better, etc. The Mesh gear is Motoport’s most versatile apparel. In the Mesh we make:
- Ultra II Air Mesh Jacket (3/4 Length)
- Ultra II Air Mesh Pant (over pant)
- Air Mesh Jacket (Waist Cut)
- Air Mesh Street Jean
- Air Mesh Police Pant
- One Piece Ultra Trek Air Mesh Suit
- Riva Air Mesh Jacket (Waist Cut)
- Air Mesh Shirt
- GP-2 Air Mesh Pant
- Marathon Air Mesh Jacket
The initial Body Guard Suit’s armor finished in 1988 is very protective. This same armor today would still exceed any other brand of armor-protective abilities. The initial Body Guard Armor has more coverage of the body with greater impact protection than the highest rated EN-Certified Armor. The main problems with the initial Body Guard Armor were that it was:
- Too heavy
- Too stiff and uncomfortable to wear
- Too hot, with no perforation for breathing
Over the years Motoport’s Armor has improved. To make the armor weigh less Motoport started using a Closed Cell EVA Foam. This EVA foam matched the impact absorbent level of the heavy foam used the in the first Body Guard Suits. Motoport also noticed more abrasion damage in the thick leather when the 1/8” thick hard Polypropylene shell on the outer section of the armor was used. This hard surface of armor would cause excessive abrasion to the leather garment. The main purpose of the hard shell was to spread the impact over the entire armor section. After extensive testing Motoport found the best impact and abrasion resistance was achieved by taking a pliable plastic and inserting it between two layers of Closed Cell EVA Foam around it. This new armor was named Tri-Armor. The new Tri-Armor was perforated to allow breathe-ability. During the last six years the Tri-Armor was improved and made even lighter by using a thin dense Closed Cell EVA Foam in the center. This thin dense EVA Foam spreads the impact the same as the plastic. It helps protect the rider from broken bones. Tri-Armor that covers more of the body than any other motorcycle apparel now weighs less than one pound for the entire jacket/pant. The thicker EVA Foam actually molds to the individual’s shape in 30 minutes or less, when worn the first time at room temperature, making the Tri-Armor comfortable to wear. All of Motoport’s synthetic apparel is machine washable—the Tri-Armor can also be left inside the suit. There is no need to remove the armor for washing in a machine. Read more about both the Tri-Armor and the new Quad-Armor in the “Quad-Armor” Section.
Photos of Tri-Armor
Materials, stitching, armor, no PU coating etc. covered under Patent #: 5,774,891
How does Motoport know so much about the properties of synthetic materials? Motoport tests both in Europe and by two independent companies in the USA. One of the machines Motoport uses in Europe is by far the best simulation of crashing a motorcycle. If only machines were used for this testing it would still be incomplete. Machines don’t test:
- Riders crashing when wearing clothes underneath outer motorcycle apparel;
- Riders crashing wearing armor, suit lining, double layers of material in portions of the garment.
- Material tear/abrasion when hard armor is used in suit construction.
- Different crash surfaces, speeds at contact to stopping point, different weights/heights of riders, weather conditions etc.
All the above and far more will affect the suit material tear/abrasion/seam strengths that machines don’t measure.
On average, Motoport has four riders returning gear per week for repair and inspection after crashing. Thousands of riders have crashed wearing the different suits made from 1000 Denier Cordura, Stretch and Mesh. These crashes along with the riders’ injury reports, give the final confirmation of the suits’ armor protection along with material tear/abrasion and seam strengths. Spend some time reading the Testimonials found on the Motoport Web site. Not all of Motoport’s customers that crash will write a testimonial. Even with this small amount of riders reporting, no other motorcycle apparel company has a record of crash testimonials like Motoport. With the guarantee on our suits, riders return them if repairs are necessary. Other synthetic motorcycle apparel is usually thrown away even at a 20mph tumble.
Falling Stimulation Machine
Comparison Falling Simulation Machine
To test material’s crash protection, Motoport uses a Falling Simulation Machine. The machine is enclosed in a 10’ square room. To allow viewing there is a one inch thick bulletproof glass surrounding the front. Witnessing a test is a unique experience. Five material samples are tested at the same time. Each piece of material is clamped to one of the five legs. The Falling Simulation Machine drops from a 2′.5″ height spinning at 76 miles per hour. The weight on each pad is 176 pounds. All five legs are spinning simultaneously on a rough concrete pad. Computers measure revolution on the concrete pad before a hole is worn through the material. All five samples are studied and recorded to give an average cycle to failure.
This simulation is the best machine currently used to test material’s tear/abrasion/seam strengths for motorcycle riders. No other machines used for testing these features accurately simulate crashing. Motoport knows that the best final confirmation is studying the actual riders and suits that have crashed. There are always many variables with each crash—type of crash, speeds, ground or other impact surfaces, weight of rider, weather conditions, etc. With Motoport’s Simulation Machine all these variables are constant, with no changes that will affect test results. Without all the different variables found in motorcycle crashes, Motoport would get a uniform result from all the different materials tested.
Our material abrasion rates are also tested with the Martindale Abrasion Tester Method ASTMD4966-98
In the USA Motoport uses two independent companies to test tear/abrasion strengths of materials. Both companies use a Wyzenbeek Abrasion Tester. This machine is the most widely-used test apparatus for determining the abrasion resistance of woven textile fabrics in the USA. Other materials such as leather, automotive and home upholstery, and other applications are tested using the Wyzenbeek Abrasion Testing Machine.
Wyzenbeek Abrasion Machine
The Wyzenbeek Tester is a four-station abrasion device. It abrades the surface of textiles or leather to determine the amount of marring and wear of the surface finish.
Each sample is held under the measured tension and measured pressure. Securely fastened, the samples are subjected to the abrasive material clamped on the oscillating drum operating underneath the samples. Cycle speed is adjusted with the variable speed control on the front panel. The number of test cycles desired is entered on the preset cycle counter built into the machine. Two slotted vacuum pipes are suspended over the abrasive drum. The large volume of air being sucked over the abrasive surface keeps it free from lint and dust during operation. When high abrasion-type materials are tested, the abrasive material located on the heads is changed before any wear on the abrasive material is detected.
- Five samples of the material are cut 3″ X 8″.
- A 3″ (1/8″) slit is cut lengthwise in each specimen.
- Specimens are placed in a Instron Tensile Tester
- Each specimen is pulled at a 12″ per minute speed.
- Tear strength is measured in pounds and the average Tear Strength is taken from the five samples.
Another machine used for testing Tear (ripping apart) or Tensile (pulling apart) is used. Motoport has noticed during testing that even though there are many different machines along with many different methods, the results are for the most part very uniform. Complications arise when a material has poor testing but actually performs well in crashes. This is due to all the different variables found in motorcycle crashes mentioned, that machines don’t measure.
Found in “Save Your Hide”, located on the Home Page, all Motoport materials’ tear/abrasion strengths are shown. The materials used by Motoport competitors are also shown. Riders that want protective gear should always know what materials are used to make the gear. Motoport is the only motorcycle apparel manufacturer in the world that goes into detail on all the materials used in its gear construction. Alarms should go off when a company will not provide information about the materials they use. Red flags should go up when names are used to describe materials like, Armor-Link, Ballistic, Rocktex, Hypertex etc. Ask these companies using names like this: “What is the material”? If you live in the USA and have a synthetic motorcycle jacket/pant made in another country, the company selling the gear must have content shown on a permanent tag. It is against the law to omit content labels. Look at these tags for material content. By law the company also is required to show the Polyurethane (plastic,) coating content. During the last five years, Motoport has noticed that many companies know the problems with Polyurethane and have omitted this on the content labels. It is not easy to use uncoated materials. The material, weave and construction methods are different when apparel is made without the plastic coating. This creates a higher cost for both the materials and a greater amount of time to sew.
Motoport was the first company to build protective apparel that worked in cold/hot/wet weather and was still comfortable to wear. This gear was first available in 1989 with the suits made in Stretch. These suits built in 1989 offer more protection/versatility/comfort than any of Motoport’s competitors gear made today. No other motorcycle apparel company can provide the testimonials seen here on the Motoport Web site and also on many other sites. No other company can provide a history of protective/versatile motorcycle apparel like Motoport.
Read more about the gear made with these three materials in the Description of each item found here on this web site.
Finally, there is still more to know that goes into making motorcycle apparel protective. Many companies provide CE or EN-Certified Armor in a jacket or pant but make the gear from inferior materials. Some companies use good materials for construction and then have improper seam strength. Many companies currently use too many panels of material sewn together. Seams can cause the rider problems in a tumble. Seams can cause the suit material to catch, rip and tear. Motoport uses large panel construction to eliminate as many seams as possible. Proper placement of seams or zippers has been learned over decades of experience. To complicate matters, for street and dual sport riders to wear the gear, it must be comfortable, lightweight, perform in cold/hot/wet weather and look good. And to cap off the list of necessities, the apparel must be priced fairly, have long-lasting wear, and be able to be repaired/altered and have a good guarantee. The only final conclusion that can be made is: “Motoport is the only company that meets and exceeds all the requirements to be the best motorcycle apparel in the world.”