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Whether you’re a seasoned motorcycle rider, just starting to ride, or are simply observant, you may have noticed that a lot of motorcycle riders wear leather. Some people wear lots of leather, no matter the season.
A lot of people assume it’s just the culture of motorcycle riders and that’s simply what they wear. There’s actually a lot more behind the reasons why motorcyclists wear it that most may not realize.
So why is leather worn by motorcycle riders? Leather is used to protect motorcycle riders. Leather provides better protection than regular clothing when riding a motorcycle. Leather jackets, vests and chaps are worn by motorcyclists to protect their vital organs in case of an accident.
While leather can look great on a motorcycle, it is not necessary for safety. Motorcyclists over time have developed a few features to leather riding. Leather can be used for safety, as well as looking cool.
Leather Wearing Safety
It’s easy when someone says “leather jacket” It’s easy to picture a typical motorcycle rider in leather riding a Harley Davidson, complete with high handlebars and a long ponytail. Maybe there’s a bandanna somewhere in there too.
Although this may all be true, it is becoming more common for motorcyclists to wear leather. It’s not just Harley Davidson riders who wear leather. It’s also the hipster cafe racer rider or the doctor who rides a sporster.
Studies continue to show that the more protection you have while riding a motorcycle, the higher your chance of suffering severe injuries. And people are starting to notice. Now, leather apparel is being sold in stores, including jackets.
Since thousands of years leather protection has been used. Native Americans quickly discovered the protective qualities of leather and wore it often to protect themselves from cuts and bruises. Leather armor was also worn by medieval people.
Leather does a better job protecting your skin when there is an accident. It is logical that leather is made of animal skin, which is more durable than human skin.
Although leather won’t provide 100% coverage in the event of a crash or other serious events, it will cover the first few seconds of impact and sliding, which can make a huge difference to your hide.
Leather is also resistant to the elements. Leather jackets and chaps can be water-resistant if they are properly made.
Leather can be worn throughout the year. Leather can provide warmth even during winter. Special leather jackets, vests, and chops are made specifically to be worn in the summer; quality ones are made with a ventilation system so you won’t have to worry about getting too hot.
Does leather vests really provide protection?
Now that we’ve covered that leather is mostly worn as a form of protection, you may be asking yourself why motorcyclists wear leather vests. How can a vest be a form of protection when it’s not really covering anything?
Even though leather vests are not recommended for protection, they can still be useful in cases of an accident. Leather vests can still be used to cover vital body parts and prevent road rash.
While some might find it pointless to wear a vest while riding instead of a whole jacket, some riders don’t want to wear a whole jacket because it’s uncomfortable but still want some protection while they’re riding. A leather vest is a good middle ground and it’s at least some form of protection.
Other Features of Leather for Motorcyclists
Leather is not only a great protection for motorcyclists. There are many other benefits to leather while riding a motorcycle. Leather has become an integral part the riding culture. It has been modified to make riding easier.
Motorcyclists often use their leather jackets to show off something unique. This could be club colors or military patches. Others might choose to have their loved one’s name embroidered on the jacket back or wear a specific color of dyed Leather to symbolize something special.
To show support for breast cancer awareness, bikers may wear pink leather jackets because someone close to them has been affected.
Many leather jackets, vests and chaps come with durable pockets that can be used to hold various items. Some pockets are equipped with special zippers to keep water out or stop wind blowing things out.
This can be quite helpful if you don’t have much space on your motorcycle to store registration, wallet, cell phone, etc. You can find more places to store registration on motorcycles by clicking here.
Alternatives to Leather
There are many who don’t love the idea of wearing leather because of the effect it has on the environment, the cruelty it is against animals, or they don’t plain don’t like the feel of leather and it’s heaviness. There are many alternatives that offer the same protection as leather.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are “manufactured” leather jackets and chops, however these don’t provide near the protection real leather does. It is often misunderstood that faux leather and genuine leather have the exact same properties and provide the equivalent protection. Fake leather won’t save you if it is worn on a motorcycle that crashes.
Many textile pants and jackets are made specifically for motorcyclists. This material is often referred to as “ballistic nylon.” It provides almost as much protection as leather would and can also has excellent ventilation for the days it’s hot and you’re out riding.
It is not clear which type of material is best to wear when riding a motorbike. Both types of material serve the same purpose and will provide protection in the event of an accident. It all just really depends on your style, what you’re comfortable with, and what you feel will keep your the safest.
Other protective gear that you should use
A leather jacket and gloves will not provide you with the protection you require while riding a motorcycle. You can prevent major injuries by wearing other protective items.
The most important thing to wear while riding a bike is a helmet. (Click here to see my recommended helmet). Head injuries are not anything you should risk, so always wear a helmet even if you’re just going for a ride down the street. Accidents can happen in seconds and riding down the street takes a lot of time.
Iihs.org stated that “because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.”
Motorcycle safety is also made easier by the use of gloves. Humans naturally use their hands to protect their vital organs when they fall. You will notice that your hands are prone to tearing up if there is a motorcycle accident or a crash. This is where gloves can be very helpful.
It is important to wear the right riding boots as a motorcyclist. Click here to view my recommended gear. Shoes that cover the ankles are required. This will also greatly reduce the risk of injury to your feet and ankles as well as provide protection from the motorcycle, it’s hot pipes, and any rocks or debris the tires shoot up from the road.
What do bikers name their vests? “cuts”? Many bikers refer to the leather and denim vests that they wear when riding as their “biker” vests. “cuts” Because vests were often originally a full-length jacket, they were then made into vests. They are worn over the original clothing such as full-leather jackets. The badges on their vests can be easily seen.
Why do motorcycles have whips Motorcycle riders often hang a whip from the handlebars to identify their motorcycle club. This is to make it easier for other motorists to see, to remember lost friends, to look back at the past, and to protect themselves. For more information, see my article.