A new Australian organization called MotoCAP has begun testing and rating motorcycle gear. Identifying themselves as an organization of government and private organizations and motorcycle “stakeholders,” they are using a 5 star rating system to rate each piece of gear that is tested. The organization tests motorcycle specific jackets, pants, and gloves. They do not test motorcycle helmets, deferring to Austrailia’s existing helmet testing website called CRASH. The tests examine and rate each piece of gear in two specific areas: safety and comfort. Their safety rating is based upon testing of three major components: Impact Protection, Burst Resistance, and Abrasion Resistance.
MotoCAP’s impact protection testing assesses three important areas. Test criteria examine the impact protector’s ability to:
- provide adequate attenuation of energy
- be correctly sized and positioned to provide protection to vulnerable parts of the body
- remain in place during a crash.
Garment comfort is rated for the garments ability to:
- provide vapor permeability (breathability)
- provide dry heat insulation
This rating is based upon how effectively a garment allows sweat to leave the body. MotoCAP states:
The evaporation of sweat is how the body maintains a stable core temperature. If sweat cannot escape, the level of humidity within the garment will increase, restricting the loss of excess body heat. Even relatively small increases in core body temperature can result in physiological heat strain with potential safety consequences for riders including distraction, fatigue, mood change, and reduced levels of attention and alertness.
While I agree with heat being a significant consideration, I was surprised that the comfort rating did not take more factors into consideration. It would be nice for MotoCAP to have tested things like range of motion, seam construction, and armor placement (as they relate to comfort).
Finally, there is also a separate rain protection score for wet weather gear.
All in all, the concept seems to be pretty good. It’s in its very early stage of development, and perhaps they will reconsider some of their test parameters as time goes on. Currently, very few pieces of gear have been tested, so it’s not presently a wide ranging resource. MotoCAP anonymously purchases the gear and tests it as it becomes available. As a result, only gear that is available in Australia and New Zealand is tested. So if you are looking for gear sold exclusively somewhere else, it is not on MotoCAPs rating site.
Limitations aside, it’s nice to see that someone is looking at gear and doing more than just “certifying” it. As time goes on, we will have the ability to know the differences between gear, not just that it meets a certain standard.