EN 17092:2020 was approved and published in March 2020. The UK and Europe currently leads the world in the setting of safety standards for motorcyclists’ protective clothing, and there is a technical committee that is devoted to this specialized work. All bike clothing placed on the market will now be deemed PPE. You do not have to buy it, and if things stay as they are you won’t be forced to buy certified motorcycle gear. These days though, most sensible bikers will ask about the safety, and generally buy gear based on performance level and class achieved. Protective clothing standard, EN17092, has five test levels defined based on performance, covering three testing zones.
Class : AAA Standard: EN 17092-2 The highest level of protection specified by the standard. The highest level of protection with which to take on the highest level of risk. Garments classified as such offer maximum protection, but are also heavier and less comfortable to use.
Class: AA Standard: EN 17092-3 These garments are expected to have lower ergonomic and weight penalties than class AAA. More suited to touring gear. The second highest level of protection with which to take on the wide range of risks that motorcycle riding presents.
Class: A Standard: EN 17092-4 Garments are expected to have the least ergonomic and weight penalties. Also, for Urban riding but including Impact Protectors. Is the third highest level of protection. Garments are lighter and more comfortable to wear on a daily basis.
Class: B Standard: EN 17092-5 Where the level of protection against abrasion is equivalent to Class A, but without the impact protectors. Jeans without protection fall into this class for example.
Class: C Standard: EN 17092-6 Garments are designed to offer supplemental impact protection only. In the least protective class, we find so-called “protection containers” that resist impact but not abrasion.
GARMENT RISK ZONES
(EN 17092:2020 (1-6)) Samples are taken from each zone to be tested for seam strength and abrasion resistance, for instance. A company using the same materials and construction methods in two or more jackets, for example, could meet approval with one test, as long as the tested parts are put together in the tested way within the tested zones, and subsequent garments are added to the certificate. Once these materials and construction methods are approved, they cannot be changed, and that includes the specific supplier of the material.
Zone 1 Has the highest level of injury risk. These areas need impact protectors and highly abrasion-resistant material. The European standards for jackets and pants require a minimum of 4 seconds abrasion resistance: that is 4 seconds of sliding across the road surface before your gear wears through.
Zone 2 Also has a high injury risk and needs highly abrasion-resistant material but no impact protectors. Multiple layers are more likely to be effective.
Zone 3 Has a lower injury risk and requires only moderate abrasion-resistant material
JACKET AND TROUSERS MARKINGS
Approved motorcycle jackets and trousers can easily be identified by their label:
JACKETS AND TROUSERS TESTING
Certification to prEN17092 – the set of testing standards established in order to certify products for a ‘safety rating’ – also requires tests for impact protection, seam strength, tear strength, innocuousness, dimensional stability, performance after cleaning, restraint, additional constructions and fit/ergonomics; only with all this information can you make any assessment of the potential safety on offer.
The way the fabric is used, and many other elements of construction, come together to determine the final rating. EN 17092:2020 is the newly published motorcycle protective clothing standard. It covers protective garments – including jackets and trousers, as well as one- and two-piece suits – and features a wide variety of tests intended to assess the protection and integrity of the clothing ensemble.
Testing includes the following:
Dimensional stability If the manufacturer’s instructions indicate that a garment can be washed or dry cleaned, the test procedure for dimensional change for washing of protective clothing material is to be carried out in accordance with EN 13688. Changes in dimension due to cleaning of must not exceed ±5 percent.
Impact energy absorption Elbow, shoulder, knee and hip impact protectors are to be present in Class AAA and AA garments as a mandatory requirement, with the hip protectors being optional in Class A garments. EN 1621 impact protectors must be positioned in the garment so that they cover the appropriate body part, according to the relevant impact protector standard.
Class B garments are designed to provide the equivalent abrasion protection of Class A garments but without the inclusion of impact protectors. Class C garments are designed to provide impact protection for areas covered by the impact protector(s) only, and they do not offer minimum abrasion protection. Class C garments are intended to be worn with and supplement the protection offered by Class AAA, AA, A or B garments.
Impact abrasion resistance This test simulates the stress that is placed on the protective garments when worn by an average rider (with a body mass of 75kg and a height of 1.75m), when sliding from variable initial speeds to standstill on a real concrete road surface.
All removable liners (for example, waterproof or thermal) are removed from the garment and the weakest combination(s) are tested. In one run, three specimens of the material(s) are mounted in holders in warp, weft and at 45 degrees. They are then attached to rotating arms positioned above a concrete tile. Once the desired speed has been reached, the specimen’s impact on the surface and come to a natural stop. If the specimens do not hole, the test is repeated a further two times. To pass, no holes with an opening of 5mm or more in any direction are to be present on the layer closest to the body.
Seam strength and structural closures Each different seam type, zip fastener and protector pocket seam must be assessed for seam strength in accordance with the applicable zones as detailed in EN 17092-1:2020. Seams and structural closures are tested in accordance with EN 13594:2015.
Tear strength For textile garments, three specimens are taken from the warp direction and three from the weft direction of each material forming the structurally strong layer and impact protector pockets. These are then tested in accordance with EN ISO 3377-2:2016. For leather garments, three specimens taken from both parallel and perpendicular directions are tested in accordance with EN ISO 4674-1:2016. Materials are evaluated individually and may not be tested as part of a combination.
Two-piece suit and garment sleeve restraint Two-piece suits are engaged and a force of 100N is applied for 60 seconds. A visual assessment is carried out to ensure that no gapping or connection failures have occurred. Cones are used to exert a circumferential force to the mandatory sleeve restraint systems. A force of 50N is applied to the cone for 30 seconds when all restraint systems are correctly adjusted. The cone must remain satisfactorily within the sleeve.
Fit and ergonomics Garments are to fit in accordance with the manufacturer’s size labelling and with the fit information supplied. The assessor must be able to carry out all the essential movements while wearing the garment, and all responses given by the assessor to the series of questions detailed in EN 17092-1:2020 must be positive.