Have you ever wondered how motorcycle jeans can feel so soft and comfortable yet be highly protective and abrasion-resistant in case of a crash? Motorcycle apparel manufacturers use several different fabrics and combinations of fabrics to achieve this, but one of the most versatile materials used in riding gear is Dyneema® Although it is rarely used as a standalone fabric – most of the time, it’s either blended or uniquely meshed with other fabrics – Dyneema®is one of the highest-quality materials used in motorcycle jeans and other protective gear.
So what exactly is Dyneema® how is it unique, and why should you choose gear that uses it?
Material Properties of Dyneema®
First things first: Dyneema®is a result of innovative engineering rather than a natural fiber, so much so that it’s often dubbed space-age fiber or space fabric. There’s nothing otherworldly about it, however: Dyneema®is made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), which gives it extremely high tensile strength and lightweight: Dyneema®is fifteen times stronger than steel, but it can float on water. Dyneema®is also known as Cuben Fiber (CTF3), but don’t mistake it for carbon fiber – Dyneema®is a different animal altogether. It is considered to be one of the strongest materials in the world frequently used in military and law enforcement armor, sails, outdoor gear, and, most recently, protective motorcycle apparel.
Dyneema®fiber can be used in a multitude of different ways: as a laminate, as a standalone fabric, or, in case of riding gear, in combination with other fibers and fabrics to create the unique blend that offers exceptional protection while the garment remains soft and comfortable rather than heavy or rigid. Dyneema®is incredibly versatile and can be manipulated and integrated in different ways to produce different results.
Here at Pando Moto, we have two unique methods of using Dyneema® the double-face technique and the Armalith-spun yarn where the UHWPE core is covered with cotton. This is what makes your riding jeans so comfortable while providing high levels of protection in case of a crash. And it’s not just a few buzzwords: our unique UHMWPE and Cordura combination has received AAA+, the highest safety grade out there.
Who invented Dyneema®?
The original material was invented as early as the 1990’s by the Cuben Fiber and Cubic Tech Corporations. At first, it was developed for the military, sailing, and fishing industry; in 2015, Cubic Tech was acquired by Netherlands-based DSM. Cuben Fiber was officially renamed “Dyneema® Composite Fabric”, and this is the name DSM uses for all their products that are based on the UHMWPE technology.
How Is Dyneema® Made?
Dyneema® is made by laying the UHMWPE fibers on top of each other in a grid, then melding it between layers of the polyester film resulting in the so-called “sandwich laminate”.
Some Dyneema® materials are made even stronger by adding ripstop nylon, and the toughest version of Dyneema® features woven fibers which are then fused to the primary “sandwich laminate”. Because Dyneema® has different uses and purposes, each final product may have its own unique properties and a different process of manufacturing.
What is special about this fabric?
Often called “miracle fabric”, Dyneema® is fifteen times stronger than steel while remaining 30% lighter than nylon and polyester and 45% lighter than aramid, which is what makes it so desirable in manufacturing motorcycle gear. In addition, Dyneema® is abrasion and tear-resistant, and because it’s so much lighter and softer than other high-tensile fabrics like Kevlar or Cordura, it makes for a perfect addition to motorcycle riding jeans, jackets, and other gear. It also features extremely high heat conductivity, which, translated into human language, means that if you crash and slide, your jeans will absorb and pass the heat instead of burning your skin.
Where Is It Used?
Some of the first adopters of Dyneema® were climbing rope, protective armor, sail, and tent manufacturers looking for industrial-strength materials to reinforce their products. However, because Dyneema® is so versatile and can be easily worked into other materials and fabrics, it soon began to be used in outdoor gear and motorcycle riding apparel. One of the most unique properties of Dyneema® is that it doesn’t need to be used as an additional layer but can be seamlessly combined with other fabrics like cotton: Dyneema® fabrics are woven in rather than layered on top, which gives the end product a much lighter, better feel.
How Can Dyneema® Improve Protection for Motorcycle Gear?
Motorcycle gear has a very specific set of requirements: first and foremost, it has to offer a high level of protection in terms of abrasion, tear, seam burst, and heat resistance. Next, it has to allow for freedom of movement and be as comfortable as possible for a variety of different riding conditions. Dyneema® ticks all of these boxes: when it comes to Dyneema® vs Kevlar or Dyneema® vs Nylon, as an example, Dyneema® tends to come out on top because it’s stronger, lighter, and more breathable than other materials. Dyneema® jeans and Dyneema® body armor will have a high level of protection and abrasion resistance, but it will always feel better than more rigid materials.
Sometimes, gear manufacturers use a blend or a combination of all of these materials, but if you see Dyneema® on the label of your motorcycle jeans, you know you’re getting a high-quality product that will protect you well, feel great, and last no matter what you throw at it.