Originally Posted by DBrentMiller
That was a very interesting read. But, I would have liked to see a little more about their methodology for testing. Here's what I'm thinking:
If a rider goes off the bike at 60 mph, he/she does not slide continually at 60 mph until the fabric wears through. They are probably going 60 mph only at the moment they hit the pavement. From that point, they are slowing down dramatically until they come to a stop. The study above does not appear to account for this variable. I think the studies suggest that leather and kevlar fabrics are better. I certainly would not dismiss the studies, but a better method of testing is probably warranted.
The poll I am taking on my web site
is very close 50/50 armored pants vs. jeans. I should have thrown leather into my poll. Remember, my poll is not scientific, but rather a survey of interested readers.
Back then they basically owned up to the lack of scientific nature and more to the sheer curiousity. I guess they couldn't get any volunteers to slide off the back of the truck.
Still, I think most any falling object would slide pretty close to whatever speed they departed at for at least the first ten to twenty feet in close to one position... and that's plenty of time for those general clothing fabrics to crap out. That was part of their thought process. They also wanted to see how some of the "motorcycle" quality materials wore.
I didn't read the whole posted articles, but I can remember that the problem with most fabric was that they are uniform in grain pattern, making them susceptable to ripping once an opening occurs. Leather has no grain pattern per se and usually won't rip once a hole forms. That was why the motorcycle quality leather would do better than Kevlar or the heavier synthetic fibers. Still, it is good to know that those fabric motorcycle outfits aren't that bad, especially when additional armor is present in impact and slide areas. That the material will probably hold up fairly well considering a downed rider won't usually slide in one set position.
From what I've seen the article is accurate in the general conclusions. I've seen nonmotorcycle gear wear through in no time where motorcycle gear wil protect very well. Happened to a friend who went down in a corner when his front wheel washed out on glass bead from the road line painting process. He was doing about 60 mph, sliding only about 30-40 feet. His nylon jacket pretty much shreded and slid up his arm, his gloves held up, and his jeans did okay. He had major road rash on one forearm. If he'd had on a bit heavier coat with positive closure sleeves instead of knit cuffs he might not have had quite the injury. But he got treated and we continued on our merry way.