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Motorcycle Leathers - Cost vs Beneft Analysis

Motorcycle Leathers are interesting pieces of gear. We often only think of leathers and by that, I mean the classic motorcycle racing suits, if we think in terms of motorcycle racers. They obviously wear those armor-clad leathers get-ups, because they know that at any moment, they are likely to be un-ceremoniously ejected from their motorcycle at a high rate of speed.
Of course, if you are that guy, has something for you. Our suits are worn by racers around the country, and a few overseas who value leathers that will serve them well without killing their tire-buying budget.

But what about the rest of us? If we are not doing trackdays or racing, is there any reason to wear leathers?
To answer that, let's do a brief Cost vs Benefit analysis.

Motorcycle leathers are in essence, insurance against road rash and joint injuries. Of course, if the human body hits a solid object hard enough, it doesn't matter if you're wrapped in 5 foot thick bubble-wrap, it will do damage, potentially serious or even fatal damage. But for everyday crashes [Oops, I guess I WAS going too fast around that turn], they can be instrumental in reducing the amount of damage to your body in a crash.

An inexpensive set of 2-piece motorcycle leathers might range anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on how good you are at shopping the sale/closeout racks.

Let's look at some hypothetical scenarios that might make leathers worth it, or not. Of course, actual costs will depend on your health insurance plan [You DO have insurance, right?], but this will give us an idea.

Scenario 1: You low-side your bike, and slide 20 feet on asphalt.

Cost Without Leathers:

    Road rash down your thigh, arm, and upper back.
    Ambulance ride? Add $500
    Emergency Room Visit? Even with good insurance, count on at least $100 deductible for ER visits
    Nurse scraping gravel out of your skin? Add $400
    Medication? Gauze packs? Ice packs? Cost Varies
    Pain? Absolutely Free, but how much would you pay to make it go away?

Total cost? I would guess a minimum of $1000, if you're fortunate. Maybe less if you have very good insurance, but either way, you end up with a nice hamburger texture on your leg, arm, and back.

Cost With Leathers:

    Leathers - $500 [Average cost of inexpensive leathers]
    Some light bruising - Tylenol might cost you a buck.
    A little sweat - Free!

Total Cost? $501. And you have no rash, no pain, no suffering, and didnt just spend the last 14 hours in the ER waiting room. And, if you buy quality motorcycle leathers, like those sold at, you can probably keep wearing them, which makes your next crash even cheaper.

All it takes is one crash, and you have by far outweighed the cost of your leathers.

Let's look at another scenario:
Scenario 2: You get run over by a garbage truck.

Cost Without Leathers:

    What do you care? You're dead!

Cost With Leathers

    What do you care? You're dead!

Yeah, it's a little crass, but it illustrates that riding motorcycles is a somewhat dangerous activity, and no matter what we may do, or wear, or prepare for, that unforseen accident can make it all for naught. So ride safe, kiss your loved ones, AND Gear up. Wearing gear every time you ride can save you a lot of misery, and cash to boot. So invest in your skin. It's worth it.



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