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MotoCAP gets tougher on ratings

Researchers tweak testing regime

Motocap Motorcycle clothing rating system launched target
MotoCAP testing equipment at the Deakin Uni Geelong campus

The award-winning Australian MotoCAP website has updated its safety ratings on jackets and pants and made significant changes to how they rate gloves.

The MotoCAP safety intitiative launched in September 2018 and is the first of its type in the world.

It is based on evidence from crash injury research and the test protocols of the current industry standard.

Deakin Uni Institute for Frontier Materials Senior Research Fellow and Honda GB400 rider Chris Hurren says the changes are the result of “ongoing tweaking of the system based on new research conducted by Deakin University”.

Dr Chris Hurren explains use of one of the uni’s testing machines ratings
Dr Hurren with clothing testing machine

A summary of the changes and information on the research that informed these changes can be found here. The updated protocols are also available online and can be viewed here.

MotoCAP released a statement saying they are “continually monitoring and researching ratings and comparing them to industry standards”. 

“After real-world research indicated that our current ratings were too high, we have adjusted these and reassigned ratings to current in-market gear,” it says. 

Jackets and Pants

Chris says Deakin University research into the abrasion of test samples on actual road surfaces shows the relationship between the abrasion tester and roads in Australia and New Zealand. 

“This identified that the setting for the performance levels for the lower star ratings were correct but the higher star ratings were slightly too high,” he says.

“The performance level requirements to achieve two stars and above were slightly lowered accordingly. There have been a moderate number of two-star and above jackets and pants that have improved a rating by one star.”

He says there has been an increase in the number of five star jackets and pants on the website.

There were no changes to the lower performing garments.

One garment had its protection score reduced but not due to the change in ratings, Chris says.

“The Draggin Next-Gen denim jeans were resampled for testing. They did not come with impact protectors fitted like they did the first time they were tested,” he says. 

“Without impact protectors fitted, a garment cannot have a score higher than 2 stars hence they were reduced to two stars. Their performance would have remained at four-stars if they had been supplied as standard with knee and hip impact protectors like the Draggin Holeshot product is. 

“The Revit Lombard pants were also retested at the same time however their score did not change. They also would have scored significantly higher if they had been fitted with Rev’it hip impact protection as standard.”

GlovesGloves fail MotoCAP safety ratings

MotoCAP has also made changes to their glove-rating system based on new research on impact damage.

Chris says these changes mean that accurate ratings are assigned to gear based on the latest research and testing, allowing consumers to make informed decisions on their purchases and increasing their protection on our roads.

“Hand injuries have not previously had the level of scrutiny that the rest of the body has received by researchers worldwide,” Chris says. 

“They are just listed in most research as hand injuries regardless of the injury type.”

The original MotoCAP ratings were developed with the limited information at the time of the risks involved for the hand. 

Dr Liz de Rome and Chris have conducted research into this area to determine the injury risks to hands to fill the previous lack of information and provide the appropriate advice to riders. The glove ratings were revised accordingly. 

“The majority of gloves will have stayed the same or improved in rating however there may be a small number that have reduced in their protection scores,” Chris says.

MotoCAP testing

All gear tested and rated by MotoCAP is bought covertly.

In 2019, MotoCAP, has won a Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) road safety award.

MotoCAP is a partnership between Transport for NSW, State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), VicRoads, Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC), Lifetime Support Authority (LSA), the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, Western Australian Police: Road Safety Commission, Department of State Growth, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Australian Motorcycle Council and Accident Compensation Corporation in New Zealand.

Testing is carried out by the Deakin University Institute for Frontier Materials on behalf of the MotoCAP partners.

All gear rated so far has been obtained through a secretive buying system to guarantee integrity.

In 2019, MotoCAP won a Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) road safety award.