Leather: A Bedtime Story

Interviews -



In just a few years there is a strong possibility the traditional leather motorcycle jacket may become a thing of the past as production methods, technology and man-made materials evolve.

Portland-based ICON – one of the U.S.’s top motorcycle apparel companies – has used leather in nearly all of its bike gear for years, but it can see a time in the near future when the use of high tech materials, rather than predominantly leather, becomes the norm.

Joe Gustafson, of ICON, said: “Leather may still have a role to play as we develop new products, but we think that over time we will use it less and less. We’re always looking for new man-made materials that have the same abrasion resistance as leather, that are just as comfortable and look just as good. In the future you’re going to start seeing these high tech materials introduced on all of our gear.”


Leather has been synonymous with bike riders since the very first days of motorcycling. It’s tough, hard wearing and, providing it’s of good quality, offers a fair degree of protection. It also ages well and many people like the patina that a leather motorcycle jacket develops over time. But all of that is set to change.

Currently, ICON sources its leather for motorcycle gear from Brazil. They do this for two reasons. First, there is there is limited use of barbed wire on Brazilian ranches, where the cattle are reared so the hides do not get damaged. Second, the animals are grass-fed rather than reared on chemically enhanced feed. A grass-fed cow produces better quality leather, as its hide has not been stretched, which can be caused by man-made feed.

“The curing process for our leather starts from the moment the hides leave Brazil for Asia where the tanning process takes place,” said Gustafson. “Aside from vegetable oils we also use a proprietary treatment, which ages the leather as well as enhances it’s abrasion resistance and makes it more durable.”


ICON spends a lot of time working with its leather supplier in Brazil to ensure there is consistency in the hides and the top quality of leather its customers have come to expect.

“When you’re looking at buying new gear there are some simple clues to look for with leather,” said Gustafson.

“Check the stitching and the way it’s been put together. Does it look straight or crooked? If it’s not aligned properly then it might not be the best quality. Double or even triple stitching on a seam is even better, as it makes for far better structural integrity.”

“Always check the fit on any item of gear and see how it looks on you. Pay particular attention to the shoulders and the impact points on all gear. How well-made does it all look and feel? Check the overall craftsmanship of the item. It may seem obvious but price will also tell you a lot about what you are considering buying.”

Leather for the moment still makes up a large part of all motorcycle gear but aside from its abrasion attributes it can be uncomfortable, hot and heavy for the wearer. The production process for leather is getting more and more expensive. There are less suitable cows being raised for leather production than ever before, less grazing land available and drought in some parts of the world has hit cattle farmers badly. Plus the tanning process has become increasingly restricted by tough environmental legislation for leather manufacturers.

“We recognized some time ago that the use of leather on motorcycle gear could start to diminish due to high costs and some of the issues facing cattle farmers. Plus there are number of really good solutions available that are now man-made,” said Gustafson. “Leather won’t disappear completely but the advances in technology, production methods and these new materials means that very soon we will have gear that has all the inherent qualities of leather, that will look just as good but will be stronger, lighter and more comfortable.”


ICON currently uses high-tech materials in a lot of its gear combined with leather. In particular there’s high-build nylon incorporated into its Citadel jackets, while a combination of top quality leather and ballistic nylon fighter mesh features in its ICON 1000 line-up.

“We are a few years away from introducing high-tech materials across all our range, “ said Gustafson. “But we’ve been working with a company called D3O that does a lot of research and development work in this area. D3O currently produces high-tech polymer materials for the military, sports world and medical field.”

For example, D3O has created a polymer for a miner’s boot that can withstand the impact of a 30,000 lb bolder. ICON is currently working with D30 as it feels that polymer material has a great future in motorcycle gear as it can be adapted for a wide range of use.

“Foam armor is used a lot in the side panels of motorcycle jackets, as it offers reasonable protection but it cannot withstand constantly getting wet or too hot and over time it hardens and becomes brittle,” said Gustafson.


“We’ve replaced all the foam in our entire ICON 2013 motorcycle clothing range and use D3O’s polymer material instead. It’s flexible, a lot thinner and is far more abrasion resistant.”

Production methods for motorcycle gear have also changed at ICON, which has now adopted a system called unit-fuse. In the past, glue was used to bond manmade clothing materials together. Now ICON uses a new high-tech process that effectively welds two different man-made materials together – such as a jacket panel and mesh – using thermo plastic urethane (TPU) and thermo plastic rubber (TPR). This in effect makes the jacket even stronger, flexible and improves the garment’s overall structural integrity as well as making it very durable.

“In the near future you are going to see a lot less leather in our motorcycle gear and more use of high-tech materials,” added Gustafson. “Some of them, such as polymer, have abrasion resistant properties that are better than leather. Polymer can also be manufactured to produce a jacket that is good looking, lighter and more comfortable to wear.”


ICON can’t reveal yet when these new high-tech materials will start to be introduced in all of its gear. But it says we can start looking out for it in the 2014 collection.

Related Links:

The Armor: D3O
Women’s Gear: ICON 1000 Federal Jacket
Men’s Gear: ICON Compound Mesh Jacket

  • C.Stevens

    I’ll switch to textile when MotoGP switches.

    • Sac Chin Chump

      C.Stevens • 6 days ago
      “I have a DR350. It’s like the perfect size to do everything. Highway, fire roads, dirt, all of that.”

      I bet full leathers look awesome on your DR.

      • C.Stevens

        Looks are irrelevant when you’re sliding down a freeway.

        • jefflev

          To the overwhelming majority of the more affluent jacket buyers, safety is irrelevant. They are all safe (think Vanson, AlpineStars, Dainese,etc). So it comes down to only two things, Looks and Fit. So while “Looks are irrelevant when you’re sliding down a freeway”, Looks are everything in the buying process.

          • Justin McClintock

            And all the high end stuff from Vanson, Alpinestars, Dainese, etc. is leather. Yes, they make some textile stuff….and it’s not nearly as high end or as nice as their leather stuff. For good reason.


      MotoGP uses Kangaroo leather – it’s even tougher than cowhide and lighter.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    Perforated leather in summer. Non-perforated leather in spring, fall and winter (if you are lucky to have year round riding season). I have tried textile and mesh jackets and nothing comes close to comfort and quality of leather.

  • Ben W

    I’d like to see Icon start using name-brand textiles. It’s tough to trust generic materials, let alone those with no provided specification. “Fighter mesh” and “Durable textile chassis” tells me nothing about the protective qualities of the material. How does it compare to 500D (or greater) Cordura? Kevlar? Superfabric? Or just leather? So on and so forth.

    • Kr Tong

      Isn’t cordura a name-brand?

    • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

      We already use Cordura and Kevlar in many of our garments. Fighter Mesh is a product we developed ourselves, it’s not just a label.

      • susannaschick

        I WISH someone would make “ride to work” pants in some of the awesome fabrics Schoeller makes! Breathable, waterproof, lightweight, stretch, Cold Black, AND abrasion resistant! Schoeller won’t sell me sample yardage or I’d make them my damn self.

        • Ben W

          I totally agree. There are some fantastic materials out there, though I imagine what holds them back is cost. I have a blacked-out Teiz Power Shell I wear for my commute with big Superfabric ballistics at the elbows, shoulders, and knees. Cordura everywhere else.

          • susannaschick

            Cost is fixable with good marketing and design, giving people a reason to spend more. The 1000 line is a move in the right direction, it’s just nobody is making pants we can wear all day. Especially in LA, where kevlar lining is like wearing a sauna suit.

            • Ben W

              That’s true. Good looking “jeans” that wouldn’t have the sauna effect (we also enjoy it here in Texas) would be fantastic. My wife would also request custom sizing. Ah, to dream.

              • susannaschick

                custom sizing isn’t nearly as necessary as people think. A good tailor can make anything fit perfectly, and a lot cheaper than custom. Just make sure they have a sturdy nylon thread to sew it up with. 3-cord cotton is OK, but you really want nylon.

                • Ben W

                  Thanks for the tip! Our gear shop has a fella that works on a lot of race gear – that might be just the ticket.

                • susannaschick

                  glad I could help! None of my pants are unaltered, I even had to fine-tune my “custom” Vanson suit. When I have more money than time, I hire the brilliant tailor at my local dry cleaners.

                • stever

                  Have you had problems convincing them to stitch it very strongly?

                • susannaschick

                  any stitch is only as strong as the thread and the fabric. Even if you set the tension way too loose (something no pro would do), it’s the thread’s tensile strength that matters. If you topstitch it with all the seam allowance pressed to one side, that gives an extra level of strength. When doing alterations, this can be hard, especially on sleeves or pants, because it’s just hard to get it to fit in the machine once the pant leg is already sewn up. This is why almost all of your jeans have topstitching on one leg seam (usually the inseam) and not on the other (side seam).

                • Piglet2010

                  Best $75 I spent on gear was getting side gussets added to my Roadcrafter – solved all the comfort and mobility issues I was having on the bike when wearing it.

        • BenCarufel

          Susanna, have you taken a trip down to Motoport in North County, San Diego? My jacket, pants, and gloves come from them and it’s the best stuff in the world in my opinion. All of it is Schoeller stuff. The jacket is Cold Black “mesh kevlar” which I describe to people as like “riding in a t-shirt, under an umbrella”…I’m most comfortable between 70-90*. Anything above 90* and I have to keep moving to stay comfortable (I rode through Vegas last year at 104* in it, and was fine as long as I was moving). Below 70* and I throw a thin fleece on under it.

          Anyways, their stuff isn’t the most fashion-conscious, but since you’re in SoCal you could easily make a trip to their offices/factory and have it custom altered for style and fitment…

          • susannaschick

            that’s the problem… it needs to look good at the office too. I made myself a suit in Schoeller’s stretch kevlar like seriously, almost 20 years ago. It’s comfy, but not nearly as nice for daily wear as their newer textiles.

            • BenCarufel

              Gotcha. I like the way they have them set up — as overpants/jacket. That way I can wear jeans and a polo under and when I get to a meeting with a client, the gear comes off and I don’t look like I’ve been riding a motorcycle.

          • Piglet2010

            Hold down the CTRL key and type 0176 on the keypad. ° ° ° °

      • Ben W

        Neither Cordura or Kevlar are mentioned anywhere on rideicon.com. If Icon uses Cordura and/or Kevlar, please point that out where applicable on the site.

        As a consumer, I want to make informed choice even the cool looking gear. I’m not able to do that with Icon’s textile gear. There’s no way for me to know how “Fighter Mesh” compares to ballistic panels, Aramid reinforcements, coated denim, “Highland-Coated Canvas” or any of the other in-house or generic materials referenced on your site. It’d be great if Icon would provide detailed information on the protective qualities of the textiles used.

        If it’s any consolation, my wife has her Icon 1000 Federal jacket, catwalk gloves, and Sauvetage helmet on the way, so there’s still much love from this household.

        • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

          Cordura is used in the stretch panels of the Hella 2 and Hooligan female jackets, and will be heavily featured in upcoming product. Aramid is a Kevlar equivalent featured in our pants, and we have a few Kevlar products coming down the pipe as well.

          Fighter Mesh is not as abrasion resistant as Ballistic Nylon impact panels, but like the Hooligan and Anthem jacket show, the impact panels are often overlaid with Ballistic Nylon for extra reinforcement.

          And we do thank you for at least reading the bullets. We often strip info out since in most cases they aren’t read and confuse customers.

          We will definitely look at developing more web tools to communicate the different parts and composition of garments.

          • Ben W

            Thanks for the response, Mysterious ICON person. You’re right in that it’d be easy to be overwhelmed with information. Most people don’t research the snot out of gear like I do. I hope you find a way to get the info out there, though, both the relative performance (like you provided here) and the much more specific performance testing details.

            I applaud the heck out of the full D30 (including back) in many of your jackets. That’s awesome.

          • runnermatt

            Thanks Icon, I would only have one request for gear, although I don’t know how possible it would be or how it would look. I would like a pair of dress protective motorcycle khakis. Sort of like Dickies brand work wear. That would be awesome. Thanks again for making great gear.

          • Chris McAlevy

            You guys deifinitely have an interesting market position. To a LOT of riders, ICON gear is “those retarded vests and the helmets that look like clown faces” so your gear gets associated with squids quite a bit.
            That being said, it’s not squids who buy lots of gear, so you guys need to be able to market to the people who buy lots of jackets and pants and own six pairs of gloves. Those people (I’m one of them) LOVE reading about all the technical specifics of gear.

          • Piglet2010

            Kevlar™ is simply a DuPont™ brand name for aramid fiber.

  • Will Mederski

    Sorry, but as far as I can tell, textile has a LONG way to go. (slide? ;o)

    New, 100% Cotton Denim Jeans ———————– 3′ 10″
    Senior Balistic Nylon ————————————– 3′ 10″
    Leather, Lightweight, Nude Finish, 2.25 oz/sq. ft. — 4′ 3″
    Leather, Fashion Weight, 1.75 oz/sq ft. ————— 4′ 4″
    Two-year-old 100% Cotton Denim Jeans ———— 4′ 5″
    Cordura Nylon Type 440 ——————————– 18′ 3″
    Kevlar 29 Aramid Fiber, Style 713 ——————— 22′ 1″
    Leather, Competition Weight, 3 oz/sq. ft. ———— 86′ 0″

  • Brian

    My big thing is this, unless the company making the textile product does repairs, then a textile product is good for 1 fall/crash. Example, Aerostich, they will repair anything from their product line that gets damaged, or look at potential replacement if it is beyond normal repairability. I am not willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money for a textile based product that does not have an offering of repair in the event of having to use/test it’s crashability. If I do crash in it and I haven’t spent a ridiculous amount of money and it is shredded and performed it’s duty as per advertisement and design, then I have no problem justifying its replacement. Most textile gear nowadays though is either obscenely expensive, or ridiculously cheap. The former being of the identity where I generally question wearing it though, and leather products seem to fill that middle ground more often than not when it comes to marginal questionability.

    • Jeffrey Behiels

      I crashed in my Richa-pants which is textile, still looks as new oO

      • Brian

        depending on the circumstances though, most times that is the exception and not the rule. I agree that Richa, Klim, Motoport, Dainese, and a few others make some very well made and engineered textile garments. Some of the highest end in fact, both in terms of quality, and in price.

      • Mr.Paynter

        Yep, I’ve gone down twice, once at highway speeds and my Richa Magma gloves are only now starting to show their age and abuse after 3 years+ of daily commuting.

    • runnermatt

      From what I have heard the insurance company will usually pay for replacement gear. I haven’t had to test that claim yet.

      • susannaschick

        I have, and it’s true. The crash damaged only the helmet (they’re all single use only!), everything else was just a little scraped up, even my fashion stretch leather pants. The damage the EMT’s did, however, was astounding. You know it’s a bad concussion when this fashionista doesn’t wake up until well after all her clothes have been cut to ribbons. Insurance gave me a check for replacement value for all my protective gear, including the fashion boots (which did a GREAT job, I broke my ankle the last time I highsided, wearing Sidi race boots). With that money I found the exact same jacket on eBay for $100, making me kinda glad that some people give up on riding too easily.

      • Brian

        1st, insurance will pay you some money towards gear and accessories when you make a claim “IF” you pay for full coverage and have that rider included on your policy. 2nd, they generally only cover up to a specified amount ( usually about a $1000 max unless you have that rider specifically itemized for an additional fee) which means if you just crashed in a $600 helmet and an $800 textile outfit, and $80 gloves, and $250 boots, and you trashed it all, you are going to be out some $$$.

        • stever

          It all depends on your state and your policy. Progressive in California just gives everyone complimentary $3,000 accessory coverage.

        • Chris McAlevy

          Progressive in Oregon covered me for up to $3000 as an automatic inclusion in my policy. I didn’t even know about it until I wrecked and they paid for my dainese boots, jacket, pants, a* gloves, and Arai helmet. I still wear everything but the gloves and helmet.

  • 200 Fathoms

    What, did you guys just copy and paste an ICON press release?

    • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

      Unlike many outlets, RideApart asked questions from us about our materials for this article. We both applaud they’re journalistic integrity, and enjoy working with them since we can discuss our products with riders that have preconceived notions about our brand.

      • Justin Christenson

        Do you foresee in the future a track suit made from exclusively synthetic material? I would see this as an attractive product since racers and track junkies are always looking for ways to cut weight.

        • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

          Forsee it, absolutely – anything is possible. Near term, leather is still the most abrasion material, and on a track environment where comfort, weight, and price are put on the backburner full leather suits will be the norm for some time.

          However, most of the GP suits you see are kangaroo for the lightest weigh, not cowhide garments (which is why most suits weigh a ton). Different animals have different applications, and kangaroo thickness for thickness is the most abrasion resistant. We use it in our Overlord gloves and our ICON 1000 Hella Kangaroo gloves.

          Race suits are a great example of the games being played with materials and cost because many companies have them, but they are not all the same caliber. You could tear open a cheap suit and find horrid material and build quality, but it “looks racy” so it must be better than an Overlord two piece that we offer. Not the case.

          • jonoabq

            Can you make another blacked out one piece like Wes’s? I find it near impossible to be protected and stealthy while covered in manufacturer’s logos (insert any brand here). Its sort of comical, but I’ve asked companies that make full custom track leathers for a “style x in all black with logos removed” and been told without exception “no”.

      • 200 Fathoms

        OK then. My original comment was unnecessarily snarky.

    • Tim Watson

      Please expand further and explain precisely how this story is a press release. I’m interested to hear.

      • 200 Fathoms

        Since you asked:

        • It seems obvious that an article on the future of leather might merit input from at least one other leather manufacturer (who would undoubtedly have been just as eager as ICON clearly was to talk to you) or a textile expert.

        • Extensive quoting from a single source. That’s why it sounds like a press release. Manufacturers fill their press releases with quotes in the hopes that a small portion will get picked up. You use so many quotes that it starts to sound like a sales pitch.

        • Adoring and extensive references to that single manufacturer’s proprietary technology, processes, and apparent superiority of their product over competitive products. You posit in another comment here that this is an objective article, but the source’s constant references to “our gear,” “our range,” “our leather,” etc., makes the reader think otherwise.

        • Finally, the extensive commenting at the end of the article by the single manufacturer that was featured in the article doesn’t help the reader to shed the feeling that the writer-manufacturer relationship is a bit too cozy.

        • Tim Watson

          Hmm…not sure I agree with you at all. What about when we review a motorcycle and only mention just that model and what the manufacturer says at the launch? Is that showing favoritism to one manufacturer? I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

          • 200 Fathoms

            The difference to me is: you were reviewing “the future of leather,” not a specific model. Anyway…yes, agree to disagree. No offense intended. My initial comment was a bit harsh.

            • Tim Watson

              No offense taken at all. Thank you for the feedback – and for expanding on your initial comment.

              • luxlamf

                the 1st item I bought 9 years ago when I got my 1st bike was a pair of the Original Icon Timax Gauntlet gloves and I still have them today (as well as a shortie pair) and after 130k in miles the palms state red to wear through a bit so I had them repaired at a local tailor. My main jackets are Vanson and Schott but anything I have with the Icon name on it has been quality above and beyond, Please bring back the Original Timax Gauntlets!!!

      • John

        I appreciate your article. I don’t see any intentional bias or “press release” parroting on your part. It would probably be helpful to include more perspectives, whether manufacturers, experts, racers, riders, lay riders, or others. The danger, I suppose, is that the article reads more like an op-ed. The strongest complaint is that there doesn’t seem to be a manifest effort to hear from “all sides.” No worries. I know how to keep my own mind. :)

    • imprezive

      I’ll disagree with you here. There is actual insight into the future of the garment industry that you don’t see in press releases. I appreciate that we get a bit of an inside look at where things are headed. I also appreciate that ICON is an American brand whereas most of the high end mainstream brands are European. They make nice stuff but not all of us are built like Europeans.

      • Piglet2010

        Alpinestars in particular has weird sizing – the gloves and boots fit me fine, but are marked one to two sized larger than the other gear I have with similar fit.

  • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

    Usually, we don’t post up our own comment threads, but respond to others singularly, but in this case a statement is in order.

    There is a lot of discussion about GP suits only, repairable garments, and products in a price range far outside the budgets of many riders as the only choice for motorcycle gear. Those products have their place and their purpose, and we have those too, but for the vast majority of riders if they’re not buying something they can afford, they will go without.

    Go to Daytona, go to Bike Week, go anywhere in America in the 31 states without mandatory helmet laws and you will barely see gear period. Brands and riders can make a choice to continue preaching from the rooftops about people’s gear choices, or engineer gear people want to wear and offer choices of pricepoint.

    We chose the latter and continue to engineer industry leading product for the most at-risk group of riders. There’s many more than you would think. Even in Portland we see legions of “respectable” riders that wear their track suits to bike nights, but nothing but a helmet once the weather turns nice.

    Engineering more textile garments maximizes effectiveness and comfort for when you’re most at risk – on the street. It’s not about offering gear that’s “cheap” it’s about offering gear that will be there when you hit the ground, and comfortable so you want to wear it.

    If you can afford to buy the most expensive gear in the market, we have that and will continue to offer it, but we will also offer something that may not be to the caliber of protection, but is much better than skin and cotton t-shirts.

    • michaelmatos

      Well said! Getting people to wear gear, any gear is a huge step forward. Now take that forward thinking 1000 line and continue to bring us subtly designed gear that infuses safety with everyday wearability and style.

      • E Brown

        Agreed. We’ve got no helmet law in IL and over 80% of the other riders I see aren’t wearing helmets, much less any other gear. So many ATGATT proponents say hundred dollar helmets are crap, but they’ve got to be better protection than a backwards baseball cap and a pair of shades. Someone in an open-face helmet, textile jacket with foam armor and $100 Kevlar denim jeans has made a HUGE leap forward in safe riding and should be applauded, not dissed.

    • V Twin

      Totally agree! Advancing rider gear to a protective lightweight level, could encourage the ‘tee shirt & shorts’ riders to better protect themselves.
      I personally, look forward to improvements in all riding gear, but I still won’t be putting my Leathers to Bed!

    • Cyberwarrior

      hey, a lighweight jacket and a decent pair of pants will always be interesting to me.
      I don’t like to ride without at least a jacket (and obviously a helmet) but in the summer it’s damm hot on a motorcycle…that’s the biggest problem with gear. Sometimes it’s just too hot to wear it and thermal overload is a bigger problem. Hard to stay on two wheels when you’re overheating and passing out. Then of course I want a solid jacket in cold weather with good sealing around the wrists and neck.


      I agree. My first reaction to this was to rail on about leathers superiority – but I ride at the track, and most guy don’t – and textile is probably good enough for the street. So Indeed.

  • Mark D

    D3O is really a great product. Just seems very futuristic. I would love to see Icon bring the fashion sense of its 1000 range to its lower-price point gear. Their Brawnson jacket is nice step in that direction (though a bit baggy on me). Ditching leather for more high-tech synthetics seems like the way to go.

  • Corey Cook

    I was really impressed by the quality of leather used for the Icon1000 series, but my only question is when (or if) ICON is going to make a jacket or any product with an actual sport oriented (form fitting) cut and fit? The stuff looks great but all of is far too big and baggy even in the smallest sizes available. I have no problem paying premium prices for premium products, which the 1000 line definitely is, but I won’t even give it a second look if it doesn’t fit right. So for now I’ll stick to my Dainese jacket and goves, which by the way are in the exact same price range as the 1000 series…

    • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

      Have you seen the Overlord series? It’s attack fit, and not baggy at all. However, we don’t have a piece that is Attack in the 1000 line just yet.

  • stephen

    as an aside but related to Icon, you guys doing a review of the beltway gear form Icon?

    • Mr.Paynter

      I’d be keen to see that too.

    • http://www.rideicon.com/ ICON Motosports

      We can definitely make that happen. Would like to hear their thoughts on the Beltway.

  • john munro

    Oh please… This is such a marketing article.
    Surely everyone can see the this is a glorified advert masquerading as an “article”?
    And if you can’t then please don’t be so gullible in the future.

    • Tim Watson

      Please expand. I’m interested to hear how you think this is an advert. That would suggest that it was paid for by Icon, which is untrue. It’s a story relating what that company’s perspective is on future high tech materials. How does that make it an advert? No prices are listed, or ratings on its products are listed – just facts on what it sees as the future. How does it differ from any other news story we carry? How is it an advert because we mentioned the company’s name? Tell me more. I’m genuinely interested to hear.

      • E Brown

        It’s hilarious that you’re crediting these posts with some sort of thought process by asking people why they think that. They DON’T think that – these posts are a knee-jerk reaction to seeing a brand name on the internet, and are likely sent before the people read the content of the article. Thinking isn’t involved.

        • Tim Watson

          Ha! It’s worth asking the question though.

          • charlie

            Trolls do exist on this site unfortunately

      • _dc

        The title of the article is “Leather: A Bedtime Story” and is prefaced to be about textiles and man made materials replacing leather in the motorcycle apparel industry’s near future.

        But then the article only discusses one manufacturer’s insight. This is why it reads like a press release, because more diligent journalism would involve including a broader spectrum of several manufacturer’s insights.

        A better article title would have noted that only one manufacturer was being discussed.

        While I really enjoy reading articles at RideApart, I’m never under the illusion that the level of journalism here is above a certain waterline. I’m not against this style of reporting, and it is very common so it does not come as a surprise to me.

        Is there potentially a lot more story here, and in many of the other articles? Sure, but it would seem that the comment section exists at least partially to bolster each article with:

        - Questions that should have been asked by the article in the first place
        - Answers to said questions
        - Additional insights, links and data

        In this way the community helps the article writers, who can lay out a article-as-a-summary and watch as the community does the rest of the work.

        Not that I’m complaining, it is a pretty good system. Just don’t be surprised when the community takes notice and points it out to the writers.

  • Chris Cope

    I find the “better leather comes from Brazil” argument a little weak. I suspect the truth is more along the lines of it being cheaper to clear a load of rainforest and ship cow bits to Asia than it is to adhere to US labor and quality standards.

    • Mr.Paynter

      It really is, between Brazil and Pakistan they are the best leather producers in the world, costing more actuially as they have less nicks/scratches/scars in the leather yielding a higher quality.

      I’ve come across this in a recent business plan study of a local shoe-manufacturer and in my personal life when looking at cow-hide mats for my living room.

  • Justin McClintock

    While I readily admit I use a Cordura jacket in the winter, it’s got something like 6 layers of fabric between me and the road. Summer? I want leather. If a company stops making leather jackets for the sake of some other (in all likelihood inferior) material, they’ll lose me as a customer.

  • Ben W

    As an add-in: my wife just called. On her lunch break, she stopped by the dealer to pick up her new red Icon 1000 Federal jacket, Catwalk gloves, and Sauvetage helmet. As best I’m aware, the local shop hasn’t brought in any of the Icon 1000 gear before and they were really impressed with the quality of the jacket. I can’t wait to see it all myself, especially comparing it side by side with items from Roland Sands, Dainese, RS Taichi, and more.

  • Piglet2010


    Starring in the new horror movie, “The Mountains Have Eyes”.

    As for a certain brand of motorcycle, the attitude of so many of their cult* followers is enough to turn on off, even if one liked the product.

    *W.G. Davidson called them a cult, and whom am I to argue?

  • Piglet2010

    “Leather: A Bedtime Story” – I was expecting something quite different from the title. ;)


    Sorry, for sport/track use nothing comes remotely close to leather. The random arrangement of leather’s collagen fibers gives it a micro structure that is far more abrasion resistant than any textile currently available. A textile suit might be fine at 60mph but at 180mph? Fuck. That.

    Of course that may be what he’s saying. For 8/10 guys textile gear is starting to get to the point where it’s good enough for the street. However we’re more than a few years away from textiles that can match leather on the track – more like at least a decade.

    Remember, cowhide isn’t even good enough for some racers – they step up to Kangaroo hide which is more abrasion resistant still (and lighter to boot.)