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CE Testing


For three years, Bull-it has been working with Covec materials, the Satra Technology Centre testing facility, the University of Manchester, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Road safety division and Materials KTN, a UK government body specialising in technical material innovation.

CE – Testing ‘Approval’ or marking is frequently promoted in the motorcycle clothing industry’s marketing of its products; however, it often applies only to the impact protectors fitted to garments, with the garments themselves not being CE approved. Its use is therefore intended to be, and is misleading.

Many clothing brands use the CE logo when the garment merely offers armour as included or optional. There is a European Standard for armour – CE EN 1621 – but this only covers protectors in specific zone areas; the elbow joint for example. The garment may not have been tested at all, the fact is that clothing is normally made to ensure the lowest production cost can be achieved.

So, to be clear: if your clothing had a CE marking, make sure it applied to the garment and not the protectors

The tests for individual garment performance relating to the CE EN standard 13595-1 are:

Abrasion resistance

EN 13595-1 Clause 5.4

Cut resistance

EN 13595-1 Clause 5.5

Burst strength

EN 13595-1 Clause 5.6

Combined report for full CE approval

EN 13595-1

To be approved to CE EN 13595-1 and the accessory level of protection (see below), clothing has to pass all the requirements of all four parts of the standard. In isolation, use of test data for the abrasion, cut or burst tests can only be referred to as ‘Tested to’ that part of the standard and not CE approved. So, we refer to our jeans as:

  • SR4 range – Tested to and certified CE EN 13595-1 Level 1 Clause 5.4 for Abrasion resistance with 4 seconds in all relevant zones
  • SR6 range – Tested to and certified CE EN 13595-1 Level 1 Clause 5.4 for Abrasion resistance with 6 seconds in all relevant zones
  • VoloCE range – CE EN 13595-1 Level 2 – This garment is CE APPROVED TO LEVEL 2.

The figure that drives consumer understanding and consequently sales is the abrasion test, CE EN 13595-1, clause 5.4 (test method specified in CE EN 13595-2). This correlates with four areas of the garment, or “zones” which describe the areas at:*

  • high risk of impact and abrasion (shoulders, elbows, forearms, hips, buttocks, sides of legs, knees and shins – Zones 1 and 2)
  • low risk of impact and abrasion (the front of the chest, under the arms, the insides of the elbows, the front of the abdomen and groin, the inside of the thighs, the back of the knees and the lower legs which are ordinarily covered by boots – Zone 4)
  • moderate risk of impact and abrasion (everywhere else; e,g back of torso, side front chest, back and front of thighs, etc – Zone 3)

*Note: Zone 1 sits within Zone 2 and is the area of coverage provided by impact protectors (shoulders, elbows, hips and knees) tested and approved to European Standard EN 1621-1.

A manufacturer might quote a CE EN 13595-1 level 1 pass with an abrasion resistance of only one second, but this would be misleading as it only applies to Zone 4 and would ensure the garment fails a FULL CE test. A pass for Zone 4 is pretty meaningless for the risks faced across the remaining majority of the garment as Zone 4 areas are those least likely to be in contact with the road when you crash. See Table 1:

Once you have decided your garment should be made fit for purpose then check its time rating against the requirements in the abrasion chart, above. You need to achieve a minimum average of 1.0, 1.8 and 4.0 seconds, in zones 4, 3 and 1+2 respectively, for a Level 1 pass and 1.5, 2.5 and 7.0 seconds, respectively, for Level 2 (see table above). This will ensure your most likely contact areas in a crash have a pre tested level of protection.

4 and 7 seconds are long times for any one part of the body to remain in contact with the road surface during a crash. Our work with Hampshire Fire and Rescue road safety confirms the view most accidents are a collision with something, kerb, car or other inanimate objects, producing varied and chaotic movements.

Bull-it products use Covec materials and are tested to achieve a specific level of performance in areas we believe are important to the rider, that’s pretty much all the usual impact areas and not just the zones required for certification.

This is already over and above the amount a lot of bike jeans have, some of the competition use as little protective material as they can get away with, some use even less just to say its in there at all.

Bull-it jeans VoloCE range are the first approved CE EN 13595-1 LEVEL 2 jeans in the world. To achieve CE – Testing Approval the garment construction as well as the materials have to achieve performance levels, just 3 of many are mentioned above; abrasion, cut and burst. This will give you peace of mind the whole garment has been tested and all of the garment is lined with a safety protection liner, it makes the garment around 0.5 kg heavier but offers protection of the highest level.

webBikeWorld also published an interesting article about CE Testing and Approval, you can read it here