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Keeping cool in summer riding

MBW beats the heat in his BMW Coldblack Airflow suit cool
MBW beats the heat in his BMW Coldblack Airflow suit

Spring is here and hot temperatures are just around the corner, but cool relief is on the way, thanks to German and American scientists.

Harley is now following BMW with the use of Schoeller Textile’s Coldblack fabric from Germany that reflects the sun’s rays to keep riders 5C cooler and provide up to 80% UV protection.

Surprisingly it comes in black which normally attracts the sun’s rays. However, it’s great news for Harley fans who love black!

We tried Harley’s new long-sleeve T-shirt on the recent Touring range launch in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, but the temperatures were too low to detect any benefits.

However, I have tested the BMW Airflow 4 suit in 38+ degrees and can attest to the cooling effect of the Coldblack material.

The Harley Colblack range features long-sleeve T-shirts, pit shirts, polo shirts and come in a wide range of men’s and women’s sizes and prices from about $100 to $146.

It would be great if Harley could also introduce this fabric to trousers and jackets.

Meanwhile, we could one day be riding around in plastic material to beat the heat.

Scientists at Stanford University, California, have developed a low-cost textile made of plastic that uses a combination of nanotechnology, photonics, and chemistry.

They claim it is almost four degrees Fahrenheit cooler than cotton clothing, but that is less than 1C.

Still, any cooling effect is better than none when riding a motorcycle in summer.

There are many different fabrics used in modern motorcycle clothing that cool the rider by wicking away the sweat which draws heat out of the skin.

However, they don’t start working until you start working up a sweat.

This new material functions differently.

The Stanford scientists re-engineered polyethylene (plastic) so that it is breathable and lets out infrared radiation.

It’s a long way from fully developed and the scientists are still trying to make it feel more like normal material, but it would be a welcome addition to the rather limited summer motorcycle clothing range.

  1. I have long wondered about the practicality of so-called summer jackets which are mostly coloured black. The Aldi summer jacket is just one example. I imagine that whatever mesh and venting there is, when on the move, is reasonably effective, but what happens when you stop at a set of lights? And when the jacket is weighed down with CE armour?
    I’m not sure why non-black attire is so offensive to some riders. Would a light grey material be so non-tough-guy looking?

    I have to wonder what prompted those German and American scientists to make a cooler black material. My guess it was military and law enforcement requirements that dangled the money originally and that Schoeller Textile’s Coldblack fabric is now filtering down to us civilians to expand the market and further capitalise on whatever patents were created.

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