Whatever the weather, you should make sure that you are wearing leathers (or a vegetarian substitute) whenever you go out on your motorcycle. Even if you are only planning on going for a short ride, you should still put full leathers on to protect yourself, and if you have a pillion passenger they should do the same.
Motorcycle leathers are designed to balance flexibility with protection. Jackets and trousers should be supple enough to bend sufficiently at the knee, shoulder, elbow and hip joints. An appropriate degree of flexibility is very important, because it allows you to control the bike properly when you are riding it. Leathers which are too stiff will put you at risk whilst you are riding.
Types of Leather
Although cow leather was previously the most popular choice for outerwear, other materials are now gaining more traction in the motorcycling world. Kangaroo leather is becoming an increasingly popular choice for bike gear. Although Kangaroo leather first took off in Australia as you might expect, it is now gaining popularity around the globe. It is widely chosen because it is durable, lightweight and flexible. Synthetic alternatives are also available for riders who would prefer not to wear an animal by-product, however these alternatives are not considered to be as good.
The durability of motorbike leathers is also essential. If you come off your bike, it is likely that the leathers will be subject to high levels of friction. Without leathers this friction is likely to cause severe abrasions to the skin. Even if you are wearing hardwearing clothing like denim jeans, they will probably rub through within a few seconds of beginning to slide across the ground.
Durable motorcycle leathers should be able to withstand highly abrasive conditions. Although you may need to replace your leathers after a particularly high speed slide, it is better to have to replace your biking leathers than to have to deal with severe abrasion injuries to your skin.
If you are planning on riding much in warmer weather, you should invest in leathers which have an integrated cooling system. Whilst some leathers use carefully placed vents, other types of clothing are perforated to allow airflow without compromising on durability. Free-flowing air also encourages evaporation which helps to take sweat away from the body.
Buying your Leathers
When you are buying new leathers you must take care to buy good quality leathers or you may find that they do not offer sufficient protection in the event of an accident. It is very important that you take the time to look at the quality of the stitching on the clothing, because bike leathers are only as strong as their weakest component. If the stitching on the clothing tears during an accident, the clothing could fall apart and leave you at risk from harm. Good leathers will have very little stitching, but the stitching that it does have will be doubled up for strength. The best leathers in the UK are awarded a special standard by the European Commission. Look for this standard on any new bike leathers.
Your leathers should fit you well in all areas. If possible, you should get your leathers tailor-made for you, so that they fit perfectly in every area. If the clothing is too loose then it is unlikely that it will offer you adequate protection. On the other hand, if the clothing is too tight it is likely that it will start to chafe over the course of the day. Irritation from chafing leathers can reduce your ability to concentrate whilst riding. In addition to chafing, leathers that are too tight will offer a far lower degree of flexibility than those which fit properly.