MotoCAP, the world’s first safety and comfort ratings system for motorcycle clothing, uses a secretive system for buying and selecting gear for testing to guarantee integrity.
The Australian ratings system for motorcycle pants, jackets and gloves launched in September 2018 and has attracted a wide range of support as well as criticism.
Deakin Uni Institute for Frontier Materials Senior Research Fellow Chris Hurren says they have so far not been supplied with any test products by any manufacturer.
“At this point the scheme is totally funded by Australian State Governments, some of the auto clubs and insurers and the NZ ACC,” he says.
“All garments are purchased from retail and online without the manufacturers knowledge or involvement.”
Secretive buying system
Their sourcing system is quite secretive with one of the two garments used for testing bought in stores in Australia and New Zealand.
“We never buy more than one garment type at a time so a typical buying run may consist of one leather jacket, one textile jacket and a pair of denim jeans,” Chris says.
“Another buying run may be a textile jacket, a pair of textile pants and a pair of gloves. The person doing the in store purchase is a rider and they try on the garments like a normal buyer so almost impossible to detect.
“We then use the same covert purchasing system for an online purchase of a second garment generally of a different size and/or colour if available.
“The delivery address is changed regularly and never to the University.
“This is all done to ensure that manufacturers can not trick up the garments to get a higher score. The only time industry knows that they have been sourced for testing is when the results are displayed on the website.”
However, manufacturers have been invited to submit rider gear for testing and rating.
“There are two methods for manufacturers to organise for their product to be tested but neither of these have been utilised yet as the program is still in its infancy,” Chris says.
“A manufacturer can pay for a garment to be purchased using the above method and added to the testing program.
“A manufacturer may also get their product tested before it enters the stores by providing a number of boxes (50+ garments depending on the product and size of company) of their manufactured product in a warehouse where it is randomly sampled for three garments.
“Two of these garments will be tested and the third held to be compared with retail stock when it arrives in store. If what turns up in store is different to what was tested then their rating will be rescinded and they will be prosecuted by the ACCC for false advertising.
So far, MotoCAP has tested 18 textile and leather jackets, 18 pairs of jeans and leggings and eight pair of gloves.
The last ratings posted were for textile pants about five weeks ago.
In the next few weeks MotoCAP will post ratings for seven pairs of leather pants and an additional posting of gloves, textile jackets and textile pants.
That means they will have every product class covered: gloves, leather jackets, leather pants, textile jackets, textile pants, ladies leggings and denim jeans.
Chris says they will have more than 150 products on the website by June 30.
“We have purposely targeted only 10% of the market in the first year so that manufacturers have a chance to come along with the scheme,” he says.
“We do not want to put a manufacturer out of business as we want them to improve their products and think about protection and thermal comfort in their design.”
“If they follow this path like car manufacturers did for ANCAP then the rider will always be the winner.