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. Still, one of the most versatile materials in motorcycle gear is Dyneema®. 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?
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. However, there’s nothing otherworldly about it: Dyneema®is made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), which gives it extremely high tensile strength and lightweight: Dyneema® fabric 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 one of the most robust materials in the world. They are frequently used in military and law enforcement armor, sails, outdoor gear, and, most recently, protective motorcycle apparel.
Dyneema® fiber is used in many different ways: as a laminate, as a standalone fabric, or, in the case of riding gear, in combination with other fibers and materials to create the unique blend that offers exceptional protection. At the same time, the garment remains soft and comfortable rather than heavy or rigid. Dyneema®is incredibly versatile and is manipulated and integrated into different ways to produce different results.
Here at Pando Moto, we uniquely use Dyneema®. We adapt the double-face technique and the Armalite-spun yarn, where we cover the UHWPE core 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.
The original material was invented as early as the 1990s 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 became “Dyneema® Composite Fabric.” And this is the name DSM uses for all their products that are based on the UHMWPE technology.
Dyneema® is made by laying the UHMWPE fibers on top of each other in a grid. And then melding it between layers of the polyester film resulting in the so-called “sandwich laminate.”
Some Dyneema® fabrics are made even stronger by adding ripstop nylon, and the most rigid version of Dyneema® features woven fibers which are then fused to the primary “sandwich laminate”. Dyneema® is very versatile, so each final product has its unique properties and a different manufacturing process.
Often called “miracle fabric,” Dyneema® is fifteen times stronger than steel. But it is 30% lighter than nylon and polyester and 45% lighter than aramid. Which makes this fabric 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 highly 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.
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, it soon began to be used in outdoor gear and motorcycle riding apparel. One of the unique properties of Dyneema® is that it doesn’t need to be used as an additional layer. But it 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.
Motorcycle gear has a particular 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 various riding conditions. Dyneema® ticks all of these boxes: when it comes to Dyneema® vs. Kevlar or Dyneema® vs. Nylon. For 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. Still, if you see Dyneema® on the label of your motorcycle jeans, you know you’re getting a high-quality product. It will protect you well, feel great, and last no matter what you throw at it.