While getting your dream gear is step number one, looking after it is an essential step two! The maintenance and care of motorcycle clothes is as important as the clothing themselves, and failure to do so can result in damaged gear or your safety on the road being compromised. No one wants that! So this is what you need to know about taking care of your motorcycle clothes.
First things first – always follow the care and maintenance instructions on the garment. Each product has its own care instructions relating to how you should clean or take care of an item. The care instructions are especially important for motorcycle gear as it is more sensitive to washing and cleaning than casual clothing. Therefore, washing instructions should be taken into in serious consideration. If you fail to do so, there is no guarantee that the product will stay unaffected and last.
Secondly, pay attention to the product descriptions when buying. Today there are many different materials and their constructions that are used for motorcycle gear, and producers are experimenting with different combinations that would provide you with the best product for the purpose. That’s right – purpose! We cannot expect all motorcycle clothes to have the same life spam or qualities, especially if they are used and exposed to different driving and usage conditions. For example, you cannot expect great ventilation in the all-year-round or winter textile trousers that are meant to be used for a colder and more challenging weather. Or similarly – hoping to feel warm and prevent wind while riding in a mesh jacket would only cause disappointment and frustrations. Some products, or better said, materials that a product is made of, are meant to be exposed to more sun, wind, or rain than others. Therefore various wear and tear signs, such as shrinking, fading, frowning, stretching or similar might appear on some products faster than expected. If you are not aware of, or do not pay attention to such details, there is a great change to minimize the lifetime of the product or at least get disappointed with your purchase.
So here are a few examples and important aspect regarding the care of various motorcycle clothes or materials.
Leather products such as leather motorcycle jackets, trousers, gloves or shoes should not be washed or dry cleaned. It is firstly important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the specific product, as they might indicate the exact suggestible care process. But generally speaking, leather gear should be cleaned with the specialized quality leather cleaner as well as leather conditioner on regular basis to ensure the features and looks of the product are maintained.
The specifics of different leather gear and the leather used might vary in types, finishes or brands, so you should find the cleaner that suits that specific leather best. However, as a general practice it is not suggestible to use silicone or waxes which might dry the leather more than do good. Also, stay away from using animal products, as they might cause the discolor.
There are a lot of different textiles used for motorcycle clothing. Therefore, there is never a one specific correct way to look after your textile gear. You can have a motorcycle jacket made from 100% polyester (such as for example Difi Nexia)
, or you can have a mix with cotton, polyester and elastane (such as for example Louise
). Such different materials or their constructions provide the products with very different characteristics and features. For instance, in the already mentioned Difi Nexia example, the jacket is more universal, suitable for various weather conditions and easier to maintain, however it is much more stift, lacks stretch and, potentially, comfort. Whereas the Louise motorcycle jacket is the opposite – it provides great stretch and adaptability to the body forms, but due to the choice of textile used, it will require more attentive care - such as little exposure to the extreme sunlight, special washing and potentially regular decoloring - compared with Nexia. Therefore, it is important to follow the instructions and use the care based on what specific material requires and what the manufacturer of the product recommends.
Waterproofness, as any other characteristic of the motorcycle garment, might not be the same in all products. While the motorcycle jackets, trousers or shoes are considered (and labelled) waterproof, their ability to handle water might be different.
For example, if you purchase waterproof motorcycle shoes that are considered “casual”, their waterproofness capacity will likely differ from, for example, proper touring boots. Different materials and membranes are usually used in different shoes, so the same qualities should not be expected. For example, some motorcycle shoes (such as Misty, Ayda, Rebel or others) are meant to serve the needs of casual or urban rider, meaning if you get caught in rain while commuting from work to home, or during your casual shorter mc trip – not a problem at all - your feet will stay dry and comfy. But while wearing such shoes on your long touring trips where you might be exposed to hours and days of rain and wet conditions – is a different story. Such riding style and needs require corresponding foot wear, such as proper touring boots (think Terra or similar). While the first ones allow us better comfort, style and looks, the latter one ensures a better waterproofness functionality.
The same applies for motorcycle jackets, trousers or any other apparel. Some waterproof membranes or materials used in the garment might have a better waterproofness and breathability ration, meaning the higher level of water-resistance, but at the same time better ability to ventilate (for example Held jackets with GoreTex membrane, such as Tivola ST) than others (for example Difi Nexia jacket), which will also affect the factors, such as product price.
The indications that could help you differentiate from various products are the waterproofness and breathability levels that are often (but not always) indicated in the product description or information leaflet (for example, PU 10 000 mm waterproofness is better than PU 5000 mm), as well as the general usage purpose of the product (as explained above), or even the cost of it.
Motorcycle jeans & pants
While motorcycle jeans and pants can also be made from various different materials where the above discussed aspects then apply for their care, generally speaking they will often be made from materials such as cotton, nylon or polyester and lined or blended with certain aramid fiber. The aramid fibers, as great as they are in protecting our skin from injuries, are not super resistant to frequent washing. Therefore, it is, first of all, not advisable to wash your motorcycle jeans or pants too often (of course do that if needed, but do not apply the same care routinely as to regular clothing), and, secondly, it is very important to follow the specific product washing instructions.
Majority of motorcycle pants should be washed in cold or max. 30 degrees temperatures, under the gentle washing cycle (e.g. hand wash program) and dried in the shade. Exposure to the sun (especially while drying) might affect the color and qualities of the product, particularly if the garment is made from the polyester and natural material mix (e.g. cotton).
Remember to always remove all impact protectors when cleaning/ washing your mc gear, and make sure they do not get wet.