Technical motorcycle jacket and pants certification is governed by a European standard, EN 17092:2020. It makes the abrasion resistance, tear strength and seam strength of the various articles of clothing clear through an intuitive system of letters that must be clearly indicated on the various labels of the products.
Class A garments are also defined as ‘lightweight’, and are less protective than AA (‘mediumweight’) and AAA (i.e. ‘heavyweight’ garments).
To determine the resistance class, the garments are subjected to abrasion tests at different speeds on the different zones. There are three different ‘risk zones’, classified according to the risk that these parts of the garment come into contact with the asphalt during a fall. Zone 1 is the most exposed, traditionally the one covered by rigid protectors, and is made up of shoulders, elbows, hips and knees; Zone 2 includes arms, back, buttocks and the outer part of the legs. Zone 3 is the least prone to impacts and abrasions, including chest, abdomen, inner arms, inside and back of the legs.
The abrasion tests are carried out using a machine for the so-called “Darmstadt test”, which simulates the material tested sliding on the asphalt. The tests are considered to have been passed if the fabrics don’t have breaks or holes of more than five millimeters.
The Zone 1 test for class AAA garments, for example, involves simulating a fall at a speed of 120 km/h, corresponding to a speed of 707 rpm (revolutions per minute) on the special machinery used. By way of comparison, with the same risk zone, a class AA garment is tested at a simulated speed of 70 km/h (412 rpm), while a class A garment is tested at a speed of 45 km/h (265 rpm).
In addition to these tests, the garments are subjected to seam strength testing. All of this contributes to the “final judgment”.
All in all, making an extremely resistant garment is easy. You just use very thick and resistant fabrics, and forget about flexibility and comfort. So the only downside is that these jackets and pants will basically be unusable for riding a motorcycle. Riders want safety, but also comfort and freedom of movement when they travel, whether for a short distance or the long haul. Dainese has successfully identified the ideal balance between these needs through materials such as leather and other patented fabrics.
Comfort and freedom of movement can’t be considered ‘extras’. These are essential factors contributing to the active safety that a garment provides to its wearer. The innocuousness of a garment, its ability not to injure its wearer, is actually one of the criteria that contributes to its certification.
The capacity to prevent injury to professional riders is precisely what we call active safety, a foundational value for all Dainese products. You have to bear in mind that any motorcycle rider who is less tired or weighed down due to a comfortable, ergonomic garment will be less prone to lose concentration or find themselves in an emergency when riding.
From Giacomo Agostini to Valentino Rossi, for 50 years Dainese has been protecting the most decorated professional riders in the history of the World Championship and motorcyclists from all over the world with its leather garments.
As we all know, leather is the motorcycle clothing material, used from the earliest days of the discipline. It’s a natural protection that combines flexibility and abrasion resistance with comfort for the wearer. Its performance as a material can’t be reproduced artificially. There’s no substitute that can equal its properties with the same weight, thickness and flexibility. Above a certain rubbing speed, all synthetic leathers reach temperatures that cause them to melt and wear out extremely quickly.
Leather garments are the best choice for those seeking a sports garment with the best abrasion resistance properties, for both track riding and riding on the road.
For the most advanced touring suits, Dainese has engineered a particular fabric called Trixior. Developed through the knowledge acquired in aerospace studies for missions with ESA and MIT, this synthetic material was created due to virtual prototyping.
The R&D department used this methodology to develop a fabric with controlled geometry and thickness, where each zone is prepared with an weave of materials with different properties. Trixior is a combination of specific materials resistant to abrasion and tearing and particularly flexible at the same time, created in accordance with Dainese’s in-depth knowledge in the fields of ergonomics and safety. The Trixior, positioned in the most exposed areas (like shoulders, elbows and knees) combines excellent flexibility and abrasion resistance, optimizing freedom of movement for the wearer.
Materials like Trixior feature on the most advanced garments, developed for the utmost all-weather protection for riders and to allow freedom of moment, so that even a whole day riding isn’t tiring.
A garment’s certification class is an extremely important indication. As explained above, a jacket made of extremely thick, resistant material won’t necessarily be the best, because it will definitely represent a compromise in terms of weight and stiffness. It means that compliance with European regulations, like EN17092:2020 or EN1621 (the standards that regulate protectors), is an essential requirement for any protective garment, and it’s always good to be informed when we buy and when we ride, above all when our skin is on the line.