I wear leather, even in the canyons of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Someones trying to talk me into a Joe Rocket mesh jacket for the summer riding season, but I mentioned Jesus and he scuttled away with a shriek. Evil bastard.
Leath-ah, bubba, leath-ah! Now, really, if you're commuting, the Aerostich stuff is excellent quality, and the lighter weight and multi-weather options are worth a strong, long, serious, studious, vigorous, squinty, aggressive, browbeating, guava-jelly-on-toast-with-a-cafe-con-leche-momentious look.
I think you should consider the experiences of those giving the opinions.
I own a leather suit and a Aerostich. I wear the leather for racing and track days. I wear the Aerostich for everything else. I haven't taken a tumble in the 'stich, but my wife did... ran wide in a sweeping corner, dropped the front wheel into the dirt, lost it, and slid over asphalt, dirt and grass from 60 mph to a complete stop. No injuries, and no damage to the suit. Unbelievably good stuff, those Roadcrafters.
I would not recommend any other textile suit over leather.
I said it before and i'll say it again. As far as me personally If it's too hot to wear the leather then it's too hot to ride. I stlole this little tidbit of info just FYI.
Abrasion resistance is important, possibly more important than protecting against impact - low siding off the bike only drops you from about a metre anyway... There are a few different types of material that you can wear:
[ Leather | Kevlar | Waxed Cotton | Nylon/Cordura | Denim | Price ]
Leather is still the king. Has been for years and is unlikely to lose the crown in a hurry. Lorica (an artificial leather), as used on mostly Italian boots, is not very good at all. Leather breathes, abrades slowly (depending on type) and is more or less showerproof. Great against the wind, but is hot in summer. Can be dyed to almost any colour, and there are a number of places around that make to measure. And it never seems to wear out (except against a road) - old jackets are just as good as new ones.
Close weave kevlar is effective but doesn't slow you down (the world is waiting for a kevlar suit with little moulded rubber lumps on it for braking). Unfortunately, most of the kevlar used in protective clothing is loose or open-weave type. This is not much good because the first impact with the ground destroys the weave of the kevlar and there is little left to protect the skin. If there are two layers then the performance is much better because the first layer protects the second layer which does the sliding.
Good for sliding on once, possibly more. Warmer than leather and more waterproof, but gets dirty when hot. Can leave stains on other clothes. (more detail needed)
OK for strength, but the weave in the nylon can snag on rough surfaces and tear. Is waterproof, but doesn't breathe. Good for winter, Dri-Riders are made from this. A good range of colours too.
Not really a protective material. If you fall at 60km/h, denim should protect you for about 1.3m, after that you're on your own. Interestingly enough, older jeans are better (as long as they have no holes) because their material is smoother and slides better. Jeans with 'fashionable' holes in the knees are no protection at all, and if you fall off with these on you'll get no sympathy from me.
In studies of 'survivability' of various garment materials to a 50 MPH ride on asphalt, for example, denim lasted no more than FOUR FEET before wearing through. Kevlar, on the other hand, lasted EIGHTEEN FEET. But standard motorcycle quality leather (about three times heavier than fashion jacket material) lasted EIGHTY-SIX FEET. That's more than 20 times as effective as your jeans in protecting your hide.
Thanks for the reply everyone. I was looking for a new riding outfit. I was shocked to see Textile wasn't much cheaper than leather. I decided on two piece leathers for riding what twisties and 205mph straight-a-ways here in Minnesota. I'll order up my one piece when I (if I that is) go do a track day. I wore a one piece Spidi when I lived in NorCal but found it a pain if you want to go out after riding the backside of Hwy 9.
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