Imagine motorcycle jackets made using a material that is stronger than steel, but also extremely flexible and almost weightless. With the recent introduction of graphene into the apparel and outdoor gear market, you may not need to use your imagination for very long.
Graphene is a relatively new material that was identified and isolated within the last 15 years. Speaking simply, this material is comprised of carbon atoms arranged in a specific configuration that allows it to be flexible and able to be bonded to other materials (such as fabric and other clothing materials).
It features many other unique qualities as well, which makes it useful for a wide variety of applications. Batteries and small electronics have been constructed with graphene due to its highly conductive nature. The material is also transparent, which means it can be used in the production of touch screens, LEDs and other smart technology.
Recently in 2016, graphene research partners from the Italian Institute of Technology and Italian design company Momodesign joined forces to produce the first motorcycle helmet to feature graphene technology. The flexible graphene composition allows the helmet to better distribute impact forces and makes it less susceptible to overall damage and wear than typical motorcycle helmets. The conductive nature of graphene also allows heat to more evenly distribute across its area making for better overall comfort and less potential for overheating.
Graphene furthered its incorporation into the clothing market last year when London-based fashion company Vollebak produced a reversible jacket that features graphene composition on one side. Despite the steep price point of $695, the first run of the jacket sold out. Beyond the durability and lightweight construction, graphene also features antimicrobial characteristics, which means bacteria won’t grow on it and make it smell. Graphene is also antistatic and hypoallergenic, meaning that it won’t cling to you or other clothing and won’t cause any unwanted allergic reactions.
Given the proven capabilities of graphene in both clothing and motorcycle gear, it likely won’t be long until we start seeing this material incorporated into jackets, chaps, boots, gloves and any number of other motorcycle rider accessories. For more news and tips for bikers, check out our Current News for Riders page on hupy.com.