A motorcycle owner does not give a second thought to proper maintenance of their vehicle. This maintenance is essential to insure a safe ride and avoid taking a spill or becoming stranded. However, this type of maintenance also needs to extend to the leather used in the rider’s outfit.
Properly protecting motorcycle leather should be done as faithfulyl as maintenance of the machine itself. It all starts with the type of leather that is selected. The most popular type of motorcycle jacket is made of cowhide. These hides are top grain, finished split, full-grain and naked leather.
Finished split leather can look good but is not considered the best grade for riding. It is made of the lower section of a hide which is split into layers with a polymer coating applied and pressed to look like it has a grain finish.
Top grain leather has a thickness of 1.23mm which makes it exceedingly strong. This is leather which has the scars or other imperfection removed by sanding and given a uniform look by spraying or pasting.
Motorcycle Leather Maintenance
Full-grain and naked leather receive the highest ranking in motorcycle leathers. These hides are used in the jacket’s construction and no sanding has been done to remove imperfections. Other than dye, nothing else is applied to this leather. The hide is approximately 2mm thick and is incredibly soft, which makes for comfortable wear from the time of purchase. These hides wear extremely well and actually improve in appearance over the years.
After selecting the motorcycle leathers of choice it is time to think about maintaining their appearance. It must be remembered that when on the animal there are natural body oils that keep the skin soft and subtle. For proper leather maintenance the first step is knowing the type of hide involved and the tanning process that was used. Pigmented leather is much easier to care for than aniline, nubuck, or suede.
The steps for proper motorcycle leather care are as follows:
• Clean the surface carefully to remove dirt, oils, and UV damage, using a pure cleaner free of silicone oils, petroleum solvents or gloss agents
• Do not scrub. Rub softly over the outside of the entire garment
• Wipe away the dirt and body oils that will rise to the surface
• Apply an appropriate leather conditioner that is water-based and has a pH-balance
• Gently wipe off any excess conditioner
With proper care good motorcycle leathers will retain their original appearance and last approximately ten years.
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