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The Tough Turban: Freedom of Expression for the Modern Motorcyclist

A Canadian Sikh trying out the Tough Turban

Freedom of expression is so incredibly important to the motorcycle community – without it, riders wouldn’t be who they are today. 

Vic Bath, a Sikh, Canadian motorcyclist and creative lead at marketing firm Zulu Alpha Kilo, grew up with a father who saw the Harley Davidson motorcycle as a symbol of that freedom – and as a Sikh, he was well aware of the rules of his religion.

No removal of the turban in public.

It was an issue that has deterred many of the faith from motorcycle riding, and he knew that safety was just as important to the Sikh as keeping respect for their belief.

Armed with this knowledge, Bath set out to create a traditional headgear that would protect riders worldwide, together with the support and contributions of a team of experts and consultants, as well as Spark Innovations and Pfaff Harley Davidson.

A Canadian Sikh trying out the Tough Turban

The Tough Turban, an open-sourced design that took two years to create, is a unique cloth with some pretty clever concepts woven into the fabric.

Charnjit Singh Dhillon, a Sikh consultant and contributor to the creation of Tough Turban, explains the heritage of the turban’s original armor.

“When Sikhs used to ride into battle, they used to have chain mail and then tie the turbans on top of that.  And so we took a look at some plastic options to be able to create a chainmail-like matrix that would be able to be incorporated into the traditional feeling turban.”

A Canadian Sikh trying out the Tough Turban

Chris Pearen, the design Director of Tough Turban, also mentions more on the unique materials used to protect the rider:

“The Dyneema is used in bulletproof clothing. We also started to look at non-Newtonian foams. One of the really exciting aspects of the foam is that it hardens on impact, so it really helps dissipate impact and protect the rider.”

According to a report from CVTNews, the Canadian-based company consulted with the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario, with the head of the club admitting, “the idea needs to be developed further and tested for practical daily wear.”

Members of the Sikh Motorcycle Club
Members of the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario

Although no plans have been made as to a production release date, designers of the Tough Turban are optimistic. In the meantime, riders can surf over to Tough Turban’s website and download the “open source” documentation for the design – a gift from the designers and one that will hopefully generate the level of interest that will allow for mass production. 

Shamsher Singh Sidhu, a Sikh Motorcyclist trying out the Tough Turban

“Tying a turban to me is more than just a fashion statement,” admits Shamsher Singh Sidhu, a Sikh motorcycle enthusiast. “It’s a whole heritage, it’s your freedom to express yourself, your identity. And that’s what riding is to me – being on an open road, feeling the wind on you, it’s just freedom.”

We couldn’t agree more.