For 8 years, Bull-it has been working alongside Covec materials to develop innovative, high performance impact and abrasion resistant materials, specifically for motorcycle use. Innovation in material design has been done in conjunction with companies such as the Satra Technology Centre testing facility, the University of Manchester, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Road safety division and Materials KTN, a UK government body specializing in technical material innovation.
With new material developments from Covec, Bull-it has put these new developments to the test, specifically the new testing standard EN17092. Currently in draft but due to roll out later in the year, EN17092 or the "Damstadt test" is the new standard set to replace the old CE test (13595). This shift in standard's is not only good for the manufacturer, but also for the end user and we'll explain why below.
The main change is the way Abrasion Resistance is tested, and for you the end user is the most important part to understand, the new incoming standard is believed to be a more accurate multi directional test and a replica of what can happen to your skin. The current CE and outgoing standard (13595) is a flawed standard, single directional testing and massive variances between testing equipment rendered the results not credible. Abrasion testing for the outgoing 13595 is achieved by using a sanding belt-like machine, used to simulate the abrasion and friction caused by going down the road, the test creates down force and forward motion at the same time. This test method abraded the material to breaking point, resulting in a result measured in time (seconds) for how long the material could withstand the applied downward abrasive force. There are issues with this method however, they're listed in pros and cons below:
- Abrasive qualities need to be extremely high to achieve a strong and respectable result.
- Due to aggressive test, heavier weight and safer materials are used, therefore the garment can achieve higher levels of abrasion.
- A sanding belt cannot be considered a substitute for asphalt.
- Sanding a material in 1 direction does not replicate how a rider would fall and slide, a rider would tumble, sliding over the surface in multiple directions. A material can be stronger in 1 direction than another for example, and is only as strong as it's weakest point.
- Variation in the sand paper grading can contribute to inaccurate testing results.
- Large variation in results is possible using this method as the testing equipment can differ from 1 test house to the next.
- A slide rating in seconds is a meaningless result to the end user that cannot be quantified to real world scenarios easily.
Abrasion testing for 17092 or as it is known, the Damstadt test, can give far more consistent and realistic results than its predecessor (13595). Instead of a sanding belt, the Damstadt test uses a large circular abrasive tile which is calibrated to have the same abrasive properties as asphalt. This tile can then be repeatedly re-calibrated so that the abrasive surface is consistent for each test.
The Damstadt abrasion testing equipment has 3 arms, each of which hold a disc of the tested clothing, these are fixed in different directions and spun on to the tiles, in textile terminology the direction they are fixed to is the warp, the weft and 45° between the warp and weft. Predetermined speeds or rev’s dictate a pass level of A, AA or AAA, originally these were identified by speed ratings, 45kph for A, 75kph for AA and 120kph for AAA, after reviewing and to avoid variances in rider weight the measure of speed is now rev’s. The abrasion result is achieved by the discs forced to a stop by the material pressure on the tile. To pass the abrasion, all 3 directions (Warp, Weft, 45°) need to survive the test without holing. Once passed we can then say that this material has achieved a speed rating, which for the end user is a more meaningful result than seconds to destruction.
A video by Ricotest showing how this test is done can be seen Here
So to conclude:
- Abrasive tile is calibrated to the same as asphalt
- EN17092 allows for the abrasive tile to be accurate calibrated resulting in more accuracy in testing
- The material is tested in 3 direction, Warp,Weft,45°. Not just 1 singular direction, meaning the material is more thoroughly tested.
- Speeds are used rather than seconds, which is a more relatable measurement for the motorcycle industry
The second part to 17092 abrasion to understand is how your garment is broken into "Zones", determined by impact and abrasion risk. These are labelled "High, Medium, Low risk. High risk zones are determined by the most likely/ first points of contact for a rider that has hit the road. These are usually for the torso: Shoulder/Elbows and for legs: Seat/Hips/Knees. For Medium risk, these are the zones in between high and low, generally this would be anywhere you'd consider as the outside faces of the body, for example: Forearms, Biceps, Back, Thighs and Shins. Low risk can be considered as primarily the inside faces of the body, these area's are unlikely to make contact with the road, for example: Inside Forearm, Inside Bicep, Chest, Inside Thigh, Inside Calf.
EN17092 also has 3 classes/levels of protection available which are labeled A, AA, AAA. They can be considered as follows:
A - Lightweight motorcycle protection.
AA - Medium weight motorcycle protection.
AAA - Heavyweight motorcycle protection.
The colour coded graphics below break down all the points above:
As shown in the graphics above, the standard breaks down a garment into zones of potential risk. Here at Bull-it, we always strive to go one step further. As pioneers of breakthrough performance, we have developed the strongest and lightest options for CE rated jeans in accordance to EN17092.
In 2019, Bull-it launches it's new AA Tactical range, offering a 75KPH rated denim all over! that is Zone 1 Protection throughout the entire jean's construction, going above and beyond the requirements of AA standard.
As always Bull-it does AAA better than ever, using the 75KPH denim throughout the jeans construction and the new LITE liner for Zone 1. We've also increased this cover to extend into large sections of Zone 2, above the requirements of the standard, offering increased safety for the user. Bull-it has possibly the lightest AAA jeans on the market.
To be approved clothing must pass all the requirements of all three parts of the standard as well as PH and Azoics.
Tear strength for 17092, is again broken down by the "Zones" of the garment and what "Class" the garment falls in/is trying to achieve.
It goes without saying that the tear resistance in zone 1 is required to be much greater than that of zone 3. Testing of tear strength is done by applying sharp force to a material sample first in the warp and another test in the weft of the sample. Each zone of a garment needs to withstand a predetermined level of force to pass, measured in N.
A video to how this test is performed can be seen Here
The grid below shows the force that is required to pass each "Class", with AAA being the most demanding to achieve. Zone 1 is Red, Zone 2 is Yellow and Zone 3 is Green.
A garment is only as strong as its seams strength. Where two materials meet this creates potential weakness in a garments integrity and so seam strength must be tested vigorously.
A video to how the seams are tested can be seen Here
Seam strength is tested once again against the zones of the garment and each level (A, AA, AAA) its own criteria to pass. A seam is tested by applying force to either side of a seam, in essence to attempt to prise apart the seam. The seams strength is calculated by the breaking force times the length of seam tested. Pass ratings for seams are displayed in the table below.
Bull-it products use Covec materials and are tested to achieve a specific level of performance, with regarding to the testing outlined above, all our 2019 products have the testing level they have achieved outlined in a small CE tag, located inside the product waistband. All Bull-it products come with a detailed swing tag, with the product features, test data and in depth details of the Covec material used in each product.