Kevlar vs Dyneema
Everyone likes to look good when riding, but that should never come at the expense of safety. With the constant advances in textile technology looking good and keeping safe has never been easier. It’s easy to assume that higher prices mean more protection, however this doesn’t always hold true.
Denim instead of leather when riding has always been a fashion statement, however denim alone won’t be much good if you should end up on the asphalt. This brings us onto our first question…
What materials should I look for?
You don’t need to avoid denim jeans, but it pays to know how they are reinforced, if at all.
Kevlar was the poster child for the future of miracle textiles, and in a way it still is. Kevlar actually belongs to the Aramid family of textiles, which is normally found in a bright yellow colour. DuPont had a highly successful marketing campaign which saw Kevlar become the default name when referring to Aramid fibres.
Dyneema is the new name floating around the motorcycle clothing scene, and for good reason. Marketed as 15x stronger than steel, it is no wonder that more people are asking about this fibre.
Which of these fibres is better for motorcycle clothing? Lets take a look at the properties of the fibres in more detail before coming to a conclusion.
A Short Comparison
Kevlar is considered 7 times stronger than steel, whilst Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel, making it the world’s strongest fibre. Kevlar has a fibre density of 1440 kg/m3, resulting in a heavier and bulkier material while Dyneema has a density of 970 kg/m3, allowing for a lighter more comfortable fabric.
The way the stronger than steel statement is worked out is by taking an equal weight of each material. This is one way of misinforming buyers as most Dyneema clothing is thinner than their Kevlar counterparts, not the same thickness. This means that Dyneema clothing is often less bulky than those made with Kevlar.
An interesting characteristic of Dyneema is it is highly conductive of heat, meaning it helps to disperse heat from the body in warmer weather. One of the characteristics of Kevlar is it is a poor heat conductor meaning it is insulative. Whilst this is less desirable in hot weather it does mean that the friction of sliding down the tarmac doesn’t equate to a burn, whereas Dyneema could in theory get hot whilst resisting abrasion.
So which is better, Kevlar vs Dyneema?
The answer is neither.
Depending on the application and climate either would be a solid choice. Dyneema would give better protection, however you ‘could’ walk away from a slide with burns when compared to Kevlar.
Personally, I would choose Kevlar as it is cheaper, provides more than adequate abrasion resistance AND insulates against heat. If I lived in a warmer climate then Dyneema would be my personal choice.
What if I think all motorcycle jeans are ugly?
Then I would agree with you. Luckily there is a solution, provided by a company called Bowtex.
Bowtex have designed protective leggings (and shirts) that can be worn under ANY clothing, meaning you can remain stylish whilst being protected at the same time.
Priced similarly to Motorcycle Trousers the leggings are a solid option, with both Kevlar and Dyneema offerings available, allowing you to choose whichever material best fits your needs.
I have a pair of Bowtex Kevlar leggings on order, which should be arriving soon… I’ll be sure to share my views once they arrive.