As Australia’s internationally awarded MotoCAP safety and thermal comfort testing and ratings system for motorcycle clothing has surpassed 200 tested items, there seems to be a paucity of women’s gear.
The safety intitiative, launched in September 2018, is the first of its type in the world and has now rated 202 items of clothing, including 105 jackets, 50 pairs of pants and 47 pairs of gloves.
However, in women’s gear only eight leather jackets, eight textile jackets, seven textile pants and three gloves have been tested.
The lack of women’s gear is a common criticism we receive here about the MotoCAP testing.
However, it should be pointed out that the testing is actually quite representative of the proportion of female riders in the community which is estimated to be about 10-12%.
In fact, the women’s gear tested represents 12.9% which does not account for the fact that gloves are often sold as unisex, rather than for men or women exclusively.
Dr Chris Hurren*, a research scientist at Deakin University in Geelong where he and his laboratory work on protective motorcycle clothing, explains the MotoCAP methodology for selecting gear for testing.
“We have all of the instore women’s gear in the purchasing database alongside the instore men’s gear,” he says.
“The algorithm determines what will be purchased and it does not discriminate between men’s and women’s apparel.
“Appropriate proportions of both are being purchased.
“We have tested women’s gear in each of the categories of MotoCAP.
“If you compare the percentages tested with what is hanging in store the ratio of men’s to women’s is quite similar.”
In the past 24 months, all garments reported on the MotoCAP website have been purchased covertly by MotoCAP purchasing staff.
None has been supplied by distributors or manufacturers.
* Dr Hurren worked with Dr Liz de Rome and others to produce the protocol that is used by MotoCAP for their testing regime. He has also written a series of four articles for Motorbike Writer on the new European clothing standard which you can start reading by clicking here.