Grant Mackintosh has hundreds of examples of the importance of wearing the right gear. As the founder of Draggin Jeans, he often receives crash tested jeans, letters and emails even phone calls from hospital beds.
In one case, he received a message from a man who was involved in a high speed accident at 100kmh. His jeans did their job and the paramedics were astounded to find that his legs had no injuries. Once in hospital the rider in the bed next to him didn’t have the right gear and was to be there for 3 months whereas he was out and at the MotoGP races the next day. The paramedics said if he hadn’t been wearing these jeans, he wouldn’t have survived.
The correct protection can literally be the difference between life and death. But how much does the average rider actually know about choosing Kevlar jeans, armour, helmets and back protectors, for the kind of riding they want to do?
Some may spot the familiar CE (Conformité Européenne) mark on a product and be reassured by this sign that a garment will protect them. It’s a safety mark applied to a wide range of products in Europe certifying that they’ve met minimum safety standards which were created by a broad group of industry and medical consultants. However, there are situations where the minimum might not be enough.
To Draggin, CE EN13595 matters because it is the only way that a motorcycle clothing manufacturer can independently certify the performance of its products.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROTECTION
These days even if your gear is marked with the CE logo, they might only be good for gardening. The CE on its own isn’t enough because it doesn’t tell the user what it’s protecting them from and to what product standard. You need to delve deeper and find out that it’s been assessed against the appropriate standard.
To give an example, even two motorcycle jeans that both have the EN 13595 marking may not offer the same level of protection. There are two different levels of protection (with a level 2 offering double a level 1).
So for riders, even looking at the label might not be enough – as well as the different levels, on items such as leathers it may not be clear which aspects of a garment are covered by a CE rating.
“We’ve often found manufacturers with CE on their product that just refers to the armour or impact protection not the entire garment but it is deceptive” says Sales Manager, William Cope.
That’s why it’s important for you to investigate further and look at the information that comes with items of protective clothing to see exactly what kinds of things the CE rating will protect them from.
“At Draggin we really try to keep the education up so riders know they get what they pay for at Draggin and we guarantee our product too.” says Grant.
Grant Mackintosh, Draggin Founder and CEO
MAKE YOUR CHOICE
Common sense needs to be used. When you make your choice, you need to understand whether it’s fit for the purpose you are buying it for.
It’s about picking motorcycle clothing that is appropriate to the level of risk that you’re willing to be exposed to. There can be a trade-off between safety, cost and comfort. You can have the most protective product but if it’s not comfortable no-one’s going to wear it and therefore it’s not protective.
I think all riders can agree with the statement that when it comes to protection, more is always the best. But riding a motorcycle is also very demanding ergonomically, and depending on your ride you can look for products that may be totally different. A pair of Draggin offers more protection than a textile garment. But most of the range is not waterproof.
DEMAND TO BE INFORMED
We believe that, for motorcycles at least, the current set of standards are appropriate but that could change in future. The standards need to be clear enough to allow customers to understand what they’re buying.
Grant says “I’ve experienced that motorcycle enthusiasts want to stay informed so that they can make smarter choices in gear based on their individual needs, and they will continue to demand more information about materials and processes that go into a piece of apparel. With the veil on performance being lifted, the rider will demand more of apparel companies to deliver better protection and quality.”