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MotoCAP ‘important but too complex’

Motocap Motorcycle clothing rating system launched target canstar choose textile pants covert secretive
Motocap ratings

MotoCAP, the world’s first safety and comfort ratings system for motorcycle clothing, is important but may be too complex and not comprehensive enough, says a British motorcycle manufacturer.

The Australian ratings system for motorcycle pants, jackets and gloves launched in September 2018.

Since then, MotoCAP has copped some criticism for “faulty comfort ratings” and for only targeting 10% of rider gear for testing and rating per year.

However, many Australian rider representatives have supported the service for reminding riders about the importance of having quality safety gear.

MotoCAP is important

Steve Franklin, major shareholder of Manchester-based Merlin motorcycle clothing company, agrees that MotoCAP is important and should not be underestimated.

Merlin's Steve Franklin with their flanno leisure gear
Merlin’s Steve Franklin with their flanno leisure gear

He says he misjudged the importance of the British the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) which is a similar system to MotoCAP, but for helmets only.

Merlin’s $300 Everson textile jacket rated only two stars for safety and half a star for comfort in the MotoCAP ratings.

MotoCAP rates eight textile jackets complex
MotoCAP textile jacket ratings

Complex testing

Steve says he has concerns that the MotoCAP the rating and testing regime is too complex for consumers to understand.

“It needs to be more simple. Customers want proper and simple advice,” he told us while in Australia recently to meet retailers and distributors Link International.

“There is nothing wrong with trying to improve road safety.”

However, he says the complex MotoCAP rating system could give consumers the wrong impression.

“If we give consumers the wrong info, we lose their confidence,” he says.

Click here for the Merlin catalogue.

Testing times

MotoCAP has also copped criticism for only targeting 10% of rider jackets, pants and gloves testing and rating per year.

Steve says it is “early days yet” for MotoCAP, but is concerned that boots are not included.

Meanwhile, helmets are covered in SHARP and Australia’s CRASH testing.

Helmet still crash tested in Australia rotation
CRASH testing

“While MotoCAP is evolving, at least we know that our CE standards are right,” he says.

“The tricky part is giving consumers info that they can understand.”

  1. How is it too complex? This is never explained in the article. It would be interesting to know exactly why Steve Franklin finds it too complex. If hes going to make claims like that it would be interesting to know exactly why he holds those views.

    Personally, I thought it was pretty simple. In fact, it can be as simple or as complex as you want. You can view the overall star safety rating, and that can be further broken down into abrasion, impact, and burst scores. If that information isn’t enough then you can download the actual report which is very detailed.

    My only criticism of motocap is that it’s all a bit arbitrary for some measurements. For instance, they cant tell you what speeds a jacket might protect you from abrasion, were you to come off. Draggin has a time based rating system, which has its merits in being more realistic e.g. Jeans will give you X seconds of slide time on a road surface. This doesn’t work so well for burst and impact, as its not as easy to quantify exactly how much force protection would be deemed realistic. But what Motocap excels at is providing a comparison of safety between various garments.

      1. “Steve says he has concerns that the MotoCAP the rating and testing regime is too complex for consumers to understand”

        Hey Mark,

        So we are both in agreement that the rating system is simple, but Steve believes the rating and testing regime is too complex for consumers? I’d like to see what suggestions he has for simplifying the testing regime.

        Personally, I don’t think you can get simpler than using a belt sander to see how long a piece of material lasts before it gets hole in it. That actually seems pretty low-tech in our day and age. You do this for the major abrasion risk zones for a garment and you have it’s score. Done.

        I also think it’s pretty groundbreaking to have something like MotoCAP in Australia. For the first time, motorcyclists in this country have more to go on when assessing the gear that they’re purchasing to protect them, than just a sales rep going “yep….. that jacket’ll hold up in a slide mate, no worries, that’ll be $700 thanks, no refunds”.

  2. Item doesn’t rate well, manufacturer criticises “complex” testing.

    Item rates well, manufacturer praises “comprehensive” testing.


  3. …“While MotoCAP is evolving, at least we know that our CE standards are right,”…

    Er, which CE standards and which parts or components of the jacket?

    He’s criticising a comprehensive test that gave a low rating because he has an unspecified “approval” from another system?

  4. It would be great if Mark was to visit the MotoCAP test laboratory and do a comprehensive article on MotoCAP. It appears from the other comments here that this level of information on protection is long awaited and it would be great to hear Motorbike Writers views on what is being done.

    I personally like to know what I am buying before I shell out my hard earned cash.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I’m surprised by the “secrecy” of this system.
      I have difficulty getting someone to act as a spokesperson.
      I have also asked to view the testing, but have failed to get a response.
      I will continue to ask, but it seems strangely secretive.

  5. No surgeon wants motorcyclists in the burns ward due to loss skin from abrasions caused through no rider protection or sub standard gear that is unable to provide protection in a ‘get off’.
    No rider wants to be scarred for life, or subjected to the pain and suffering that resulted from skin on tarmac or gravel.
    Governments are all over the motorcycle community re the insurance costs to the resulting from motorcycle accidents with a fair proportion resulting from no gear or poor gear. Better equipped riders will benefit us all.
    MotoCAP is a great initiative and will be appreciated by those of use who ‘got off’ and found what we we were wearing was crap.
    As for the comfort factor, probably a secondary factor and one of personal choice. All riders would have experienced discomfort with some articles of apparel the bought in the past.
    Quit any criticism. Many manufacturers of motorcycle apparel need a wake up call. I’ve seen the testing. It will stand up to any scrutiny.

  6. I like the testing but I think the rating system is too simple. For example, a garment can do well in abrasion but poorly in limb impact. If I just looked at the stars, I’d ignore the garment. However, if I delve into the report , I can see that I just need to add or upgrade the armour. I’ve got quite a few garments that do very well for abrasion but had old, outdated or crap armour. So I’ve simply fitted Knox microlock or Forcefield isolator 2 armour into the armour pockets. Voila! I’ve made a 2 star safety rated garment into a 5 star one.

    One thing I’ve noticed is some mistakes in the PDF reports. I emailed motocap but got no reply or fix.

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