Carbon fibre is often used in reinforcement applications, but mainly in a composite form of hard plastic coating. This gives added tensile strength to items like motorcycle body parts and other shell-type uses. Its use in clothing is unnecessary, no better than expensive plastic even if used in hard armour etc, giving no added advantage to impact protection (see section for armour). BKS uses soft PVC-coated Carbon Fibre purely for cosmetic effect, as an option on torso pads and glove cut-outs. They are no less effective at abrasion resistance than leather, but do not add any advantage other than colour and trim.
Cleaner, Conditioner and Protection Wax
As part of the guidelines needed to satisfy our Instructions for Use document and maintain recommendations in line with maintenance for CE Approved PPE, the methods for cleaning your protective leather motorcycle suit should involve nothing more than cool clear water. However this guideline stems from the fact that some leather care products (some that might contain solvents) can cause harm to the stitching of your suit. It is commonly regarded that leather needs feeding to maintain good condition and suppleness but there are so many wax and conditioning products using solvents to help carry the waxes into the leather, care must be taken when choosing what to use. Leather footwear subjected to extremes of wet and dirt and other items such as saddlery all need leather care to a greater extent to guard against these. However, the leather motorcycle suit relies on its construction so much more than just the quality of the leather itself to stay together in accidents that attention to leather care is somewhat more critical. Therefore if you are going to go against manufacturers instruction on leather food and cleaning products, make sure they are water based ones at very least.
BKS Leather became the first company in the World to gain CE Approval for the Leather Motorcycle Suit and its Impact Protectors. Understanding CE Approval MOTORCYCLE LEATHERS ARE PART OF THE PPE DIRECTIVE Since July 1st 1995, it is unlawful to offer clothing as “protective clothing”, unless it has met with the specifications of the PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT DIRECTIVE (PPE). This sets out the official requirements for products to meet with the type approval standards relative to their usage. Compliance is ensured through rigorous sample and garment testing by an official notified body (e.g. BSI, SATRA or SGS Yarsley etc.), then independent certification of the CE Mark. BKS made the decision to put their range of motorcycle leathers through CE Mark accreditation to satisfy both legal and moral obligations. It seemed ridiculous to design and offer products providing a protective function and then ignore a European Directive on Personal Protective Equipment. We were also aware of the potential marketing advantage to be gained by showing the consumer our products had gained independent approval. With this in mind, we worked with Cambridge University to ensure our suits offered the highest possible level of protection. This was confirmed when BKS Leather became the first company in the European motorcycle clothing industry to be awarded the CE Mark. We qualified in July 1994, meeting the: ‘Cambridge Standard - High Performance Classification’ Cambridge University has a Protective Clothing Research Facility, headed by Dr. Roderick Woods. Dr Woods has performed extensive research into motorcycle clothing and its performance in accidents. The Cambridge Standard was developed from this research and has become the benchmark for motorcycle clothing protection standards. In fact, since the ‘Police Act 1997’ was passed, all UK Police forces and Ministry of Defence riders can only be issued with CE-approved, High Performance garments. The Cambridge Standard complies with - and exceeds - the Health and Safety elements of the PPE Directive for motorcycle clothing. In brief, the Cambridge standard uses approved test methods for all materials, seams and impact protectors to establish performance criteria for burst and tear strength, impact cut and impact absorption. The surface area of the body is divided into 4 zones, with Zone 1 being the minimum area of suit to have coverage from impact protecting materials. Zone 2 is an extension of zone 1 and is the minimum area to give coverage for severe abrasion protection. Zone 3 covers the remaining area of the suit with Zone 4 limited to the areas that require least protection, (such as armpit, groin, front torso - generally areas that rarely come into contact with the road surface.) Each zone has a specific performance criteria for the tests. E.g. a seam featuring in zone 1 demands much higher burst strength than a seam in the groin area, zone 4, as less strain and damage can be inflicted. Some clothing avoids the need for CE Marking, but only if it does not claim to offer protection against anything other than adverse weather conditions. As soon as it advertises accident protection, claiming features such as abrasion resistance, burst strength and impact protection, then it must comply in one of the following ways: If the entire garment offers protection, the entire garment needs to be tested for CE accreditation. If the impact protectors alone are the only advertised protection, then only the impact protectors need testing. DO NOT BE ASSUME THAT A LEATHER SUIT FITTED WITH CE MARKED IMPACT PROTECTORS IS THE SAME AS AN ENTIRELY CE MARKED SUIT. The entire BKS suit is officially CE Approved and manufactured to comply with the European Personal Protective Equipment Directive (EN 13595 PT. 1-4), and this allows us to openly promote the protective qualities of our armour, leather and seam construction in relation to impact, abrasion resistance and burst strength. Customer feedback has shown that CE Marking remains one of the major reasons people choose BKS, confirming the demand for an industry standard that consumers can trust. Don’t just take our word for it! The British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) and Paul Varnsverry from the industry’s leading independent consultants (PVA) deliver the story in a succinct manner very worthy of reading.
We carry the Forecfield range of Chest protectors. Usually worn loose, (or with elastic straps) the close fit of the suit is sufficient to hold it in place. Available at Level 1 performance only, these PVC Nitrile foam based protectors come in 3 sizes.
Collar styles are one of your design options:Rim Collar; Mandarin (race) Collar; Sports Collar; Touring Collar. One-piece suits work best with our Mandarin style collar. It has no fastening at the front and has an elasticized stretch insert at the rear. Rim collars are useful for those who have a large or short neck, as these have a simple rim-bound edge to the neckline. Two-piece suits work well with the Sports Collar if you want to complete the look of a jacket and trouser suit. The Mandarin can be used to make your two piece look more like a one-piece suit, with its minimalist style. Our 100SPS and 100SPL require the touring collar, due to the design of the zip front fastening and are essentially a Sports collar, only 10mm higher.
BKS has over 30 leather colours, although some special finishes are best used for finishing touches. We will advise accordingly if you are concerned with the longevity of certain colours. Leather is usually dyed throughout, but some colours are completed using surface pigments that do not wear as well. Although very stable, once the seal has been penetrated, colour rub may be experienced and raw leather from inside will appear. This is more apparent on areas where the suit rubs against the bike or itself. BKS offers a full repair service for when suits and leather colours age.
Main leather colours:
BLACK (in Matt, Gloss and Metallic finishes in a selection of Cowhides and Kangaroo)
GRAPHITE (Cowhide and Kangaroo)
GUNMETAL (Cowhide and Kangaroo)
WHITE (Cowhide and Kangaroo……Regular finish and Pearlescent)
METALLIC NAVY (Kangaroo only)
All BKS suits are essentially made the same way. We have standardized the main seam construction, cover the same internal areas with equal amounts of double leather reinforcement (or Ballistic Nylon layers) and start from a basic pattern design for all main panels. The BKS 100R is the basis from which every BKS suit begins. Every other design is an extension of this, using stretch panels, Kevlar inserts and other design features to enhance the suits’ appearance and functionality. Essentially each BKS suit is as protective as the next. However, there are some features suited to certain designs, which might help you choose one over another:
Leather stretch panels in additional areas to give a better range of movement
Kevlar stretch inserts to increase comfort
Torso pads and coccyx pads and other areas of secondary impact protection, over and above the normal limb and back protectors.
Graphics to increase aesthetic appeal All of these are found throughout our range of designs and are the reason some suits cost more than others. Essentially every BKS suit is the same underneath.
This fabric is used in situations where the textile application requires high levels of wear resistance. Although seen in many motorcycle garments as an outer fabric, the use of Cordura in BKS suits is limited. We use a branded fabric called Keprotec, which is a blend of Cordura, Kevlar and Lycra. Manufactured by Dupont, these three fibres are combined to produce an extremely strong fabric - ideal for use in low risk areas to allow suits to be more flexible. It features in all our comfort inserts including the groin, inner arm and calf. Other areas where it is used include the chest and collarbone area and the back of the neck. Cordura alone (at a substance of 500 denier) is used to line suits around the reveres and inside facings where safety is not affected. This keeps the bulky areas of the suit to a minimum and reduces the overall physical weight.
The cuff of one piece suits and jackets is cut to go inside the gloves. Choices include a raw edge for fine comfort, or bound edge for enhanced cosmetic effect. Both are very neatly finished with the Velcro attached linings recessed up inside the sleeve, out of sight. Depending on arm length, 5” or 6” zips are used to close the cuff neatly to a secure fit. This is designed to ensure that the sleeve cannot travel up your arm any more than 60mm which would contravene CE Approval.