When you buy motorcycle protective clothing with a CE sticker, are you getting proper riding gear or something more suitable for gardening, asks an industry leader.
Draggin CEO and founder Grant Mackintosh says Australia will introduce a five-star rating system for motorcycle protective clothing within the next couple of years, but riders meanwhile remain in confusion or are being purposely misled by labelling.
He is calling for the Australian star rating system to be introduced as soon as possible to end confusion over the current European standard.
“The confusion is extremely difficult with the European standards,” he says. “I’m in the industry and even I find it complicated!”
Current European standards are being reviewed after 20 years, but it seems there is pressure on the reviewers to lower the testing standards because many manufacturers cannot meet them.
“This is not fair on motorcyclists and we are fighting this,” Grant says.
He says the French have already issued a new protocol with lower standards so French companies can claim a CE label. (CE is French for Conformité Européene which means European Conformity.)
It includes an “urban level” with 0.5 seconds of abrasion resistance which is less than standard denim.
“Just because an article of motorcycle clothing has a CE label, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fit for the purpose of riding,” says Grant.
“I was in Europe and there were motorcycle gloves being sold with a CE certification but when you read the number they were certified for gardening, so what chance does the motorcyclist have in that confusing environment?”
He says the Cambridge testing machine developed by a Cambridge University researcher is the proper standard for testing and certifying protection. It has formed the backbone of the British and subsequently the European standard for more than the last 15 years and is widely accepted as the best method for evaluation motorcycle clothing.
Cambridge abrasion machine tests recently featured on an episode of the ABC’s Catalyst program. One of the products tested was Draggin’s Roomoto material which had the highest abrasion rating at more than six seconds.
“If Draggin Jeans in Australia can pass the CE tests at the highest level you have to ask why the big brands can’t or won’t,” he says.
“The sooner an independent testing regime is introduced into Australia with appropriate labelling so riders can make informed decisions, the better.
“It is way overdue for motorcyclists to have proper information.
“Australia led the world with ANCAP safety ratings in cars and it should be the same with motorcycle clothing.”
Until the star rating system is introduced, Grant suggests riders check the CE labels carefully, then go online and research which country they are certified in, for what purpose and to what level.
He says Draggin hasn’t had all their clothing tested in Europe as it is expensive and time-consuming, but they have one garment with a level 1 CE label and two certified at level 2 which is the highest.
However, Grant is confident that Australian testing will certify all Draggin clothing as either four or five on the star rating system.
“If you are in the business of providing protection, it’s got to be about the motorcyclist. That’s got to be the priority,” he says.