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Draggin boss debunks Kevlar myth

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Draggin Jeans CEO Grant Mackintosh with Kevlar material
Draggin Jeans CEO Grant Mackintosh with Kevlar material

Australian motorcycle clothing company Draggin has been using genuine DuPont Kevlar since 1997 and CEO Grant Mackintosh has now debunked some unsubstantiated claims about the material as myths.

Those claims include that it degrades in the sun or when washed and that they get hot and burn or melt on to the skin in a slide.

Grant, who pioneered the use of the military grade ballistic material, says the claims are myths.

Grant Mackintosh enjoying a track day myth
Grant enjoying a track day

He should know. He crashed a few months ago and suffered no abrasion injury although he did suffer spinal injuries which will prevent a return to riding. (See article below “Draggin boss crash-tests his gear”.)

Grant points out that any jeans advertised with Kevlar do not necessarily offer the same protection.

“Unfortunately there are some poor imitators out there using the Kevlar name for a fibre that is absolutely not made by DuPont,” he says.

“We have developed our own lining, while many others just call up the factories in the Far East and ask for Kevlar, but they can’t guarantee what they are getting. Worryingly, some of them just use yellow cotton while others are actually flammable.”

He says the only way to be sure is if they have the DuPont logo on the label.

Dragging was the first motorcycle jeans manufacturer to pass strict DuPont criteria to attain a licence agreement and the world’s first DuPont Preferred Licensee for motorcycle garments.

MYTH 1: Kevlar has a low melting point and can burn skin in a slide.

Draggin Jeans boss Grant Mackintosh and his Next Gen jeans injuries
Intact Draggin Jeans cut off a crashed rider

“DuPont Kevlar has no melting point, so there is zero chance of it melting onto the skin,” Grant says.

“As far as heat goes, perhaps in some brands of riding jeans there may be an issue with heat transfer – it depends on the fabric and whether a liner is incorporated. Our knitted fabric, for example, produces a soft material in which the loop of the fabric faces the road.

“This is more than twice as effective at dissipating heat and resisting abrasion as a flat weave and also results in faster deceleration. Add to that an internal lining and you’ve got all the protection you’ll need from both heat and abrasion.”

Myth 2: Kevlar degrades through hydrolysis so they can’t be washed.

“DuPont itself says that fabrics engineered with Kevlar can easily be washed at high temperatures and tumble dried,” Grant says.

“In its Kevlar technical booklet it clearly states that there is no degradation to performance of the material due to water exposure – tests have even been carried out where Kevlar was submerged in ocean water for 12 months and no degradation occurred.”

Myth 3: UV degrades Kevlar.

“Everything is susceptible to degradation from UV exposure,” says Grant. “House bricks, car paint, and yes, Kevlar, but that doesn’t mean your jeans are going to be useless after a summer’s riding.

“I don’t know about other brands of motorcycle jeans that use, say, Vectran for instance, which is well known to have very low UV resistance, but from evidence we’ve collected so far on our own products we’ve been really surprised by what we’ve found.

“We recently had a pair of 11-year-old Draggin jeans returned to us for data collection after they protected the rider in a crash. The incredible thing is that they actually tested 30% better than when new and had most certainly been washed, worn with bent knees, rained on, sweated in and worn in the summer sun in Australia for over a decade.

“It’s really exciting and with our lab tests we are seeing similar improvements in performance with intense washing, drying and retesting. We continue to have fun figuring out and pushing the science behind it!”

Draggin began producing Kevlar jeans in 1997 and continues to use the material, despite a number of alternative fabrics now available.

Well known for its use in military and law enforcement protective clothing, Kevlar is a key component in body armour and flak jackets helping to protect personnel from ballistic projectiles, explosive fragmentation and other combat hazards.

It is five times stronger than steel on an equal-weight basis, yet is lightweight and comfortable enough to help improve mobility and reduce fatigue.

  1. My $250.00 Drago Dragging jeans are very comfortable and look good…..however, they are not fully lined nor do they carry any certified rating. They have no pouches for armour. I have an Aldi pair – fully lined, EN13595-1:2002. They cost $90.00. Now before anyone has a go at the quality of Torque jeans, I say rated is rated full stop. If they don’t pass the testing they don’t get this certification. Why aren’t my dragging jeans rated if they are so good?

    1. Getting things rated costs a fortune, people set up standards organisations to keep themselves in a cushy job.
      That’s why most professionals have to be nationally accredited nowdays, someone makes money out of the fees you pay for accreditation.
      Wouldn’t be surprised if this is why Draggin aren’t rated
      so I wouldn’t let that concern me. Examine the quality yourself. 🙂

      Find out exactly what EN13595-1:2002 means before you base a decision on it.

      Draggin & Torque are both respectable companies, both would have marketing hype but I’d expect they’d be truthful with facts.

      Torque at Aldi only come in 3 sizes S M L & most people buy S so it’s really one size fits all/doesn’t fit all.
      Draggin look much much much better.

      Draggin are too expensive for me, but you can only buy Torque once a year at the sale.

      Bikersworld in Briz also sell kevlar, never tried their jeans, their prices are lower than most.

  2. Maybe not melt, but Kevlar decomposes starting low to mid 400 degrees celcius, and strength is affected when exposed to temperatures above around 150 degrees celcius for extended periods. Probably not a big issue for riders – the presence of 400 degrees celcius on its own being a far bigger issue (you just hit a petrol tanker?) Kevlar can also be ignited by the presence of another ignition source, but won’t continue to burn for long after the source is removed. Same again though, parasitic combustion of the kevlar is probably not your biggest issue. Kevlar *is* affected by long term UV exposure, meaning best to close zips and buttons when drying, preferably dry indoors, or hang upside down if drying outdoors – or use a dryer only on the warm function or no heat at all, just airflow. Probably a good idea to avoid any contact with brake fluid, ethylene glycol or battery acid, and wash on cold cycle with as close to neutral pH as possible.

    1. Lead melts at 327.46 °C, so I expect Kevlar
      “decomposes starting low to mid 400 degrees celsius”
      is the most temperature resistant item you’re wearing.

  3. Having currently owned 5 pairs of Draggins and 1 pair of Drago jeans, the only quality issue I have ever had was the moleskin work pants fading in the sun. Still didn’t stop me buying a second pair after they wore out though. I dont wear anything other type of motorcycle jeans.
    I have been interested in the Torque jeans from Aldi but they don’t seem to have the same “thickness” or feel that draggin’s do.

    1. Try the fully lined Torque jeans at next year’s sale. They are thicker and heavier than Drago Draggins at least – and as mentioned the Torque jeans are EN 1 rated and my Draggins are not. I have no doubt which of the two would offer better crash protection so let’s see Draggin put their jeans up for official rating certification rather than stunts.

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