|My experience with:
Cordura, Nordura, Fabricoria, etc....
Some years ago, the AFM racing organization allowed the new, tough fabric based racing suits - in
addition to traditional leather.
Advantages to woven fabric suits with plastic cups and plates installed for impact distribution?
They are much cooler and more flexible to use and wear, as compared to leather - and you can throw them in the washing machine to clean them.
And they should cost less, as the material requires much less skill to produce.
How do they work?
Gennady, my racing buddy, was one of the first to use a set.
Yep, he was cooler and lighter and more comfortable and I was hotter and sweatier in the 105f/40c weather during that blistering summer season.
When he pitched his Yamaha in front of me in turn 8 at Sears Point and slid into the tire wrapped
Armco (I never wanted to do that, myself - I didn't and I won that one easily), he emerged almost unscathed, except where he managed to "punch" the steel
Armco barrier between the tires with his fist and broke a couple of small, insignificant bones on the back of his hand. Lucky
guy and a pretty good testimonial for the Cordura suit material.
Next race? He slid off again (yep, I won that one, too!). BUT -
The tough fabric pretty much ground through and ripped apart in multiple places. Luckily, Gen managed to roll around and keep his unprotected parts mostly off the ground.
The suit looked really bad!
The AFM rescinded the rule allowing non leather racing suits.....
The woven fabric suits are cooler, more flexible and potentially smell better and can be kept cleaner with less work, but if you fall at high speed, slide on and abrade the fabric significantly, If it were mine, I'd seriously look at replacing the jacket or replacing tha damaged areas on the suit or jacket. The second or third time you slide on the damaged area, it is more likely to grind through, losing
garment integrity. Just so you know, I'd be happy to wear a new fabric suit or jacket, though.
Leather is heavier, hotter and less flexible - but more durable over the years and crashes.
Which did I feel better and more confident in?
Leather. Even when it's hot. There's a certain amount of comfort knowing that the leather wears through slowly and linearly and if a decent set of thicker leather, doesn't usually rip.
When I was racing, a guy named Bob Agness would hand select hides for suitability for different parts of the suit. He used thicker hide on the impact body points and thinner in the "protected" areas. The leather was good enough the protect me in
innumerable, uncountable incursions into gravity pockets during my racing period - even without plastic inserts!
I had 2 sets of leathers.
A new, "European style", thinner set and the thicker "American style" thicker set. I used the thinner set, usually, because they looked better - but - when it got down getting into a race that I knew would be tough to win?
Into the gear bag and out came that set of scuffed up, thrashed, thick
set of "American" leathers and my visually clashing, lucky blue Yamaha MX socks.
In hindsight, I suppose that, if I saw a guy that I raced with start preparing for a crash before the race even started, I would at lest mentally note that, too. Psyche! But, I felt better with what I knew would protect me better when I fell.
Max. protection, lucky socks, meditation, visualization.....
That didn't stop me from crashing, though.....
Clean leather smells good.
New Cordura and similar fabrics smell like that fabric store your mother used to drag you go into when you were a little kid.
Leather feels better than Cordura.
There's something about that that is innately human about that.
Witness "Wilson's House of Leather" stores in the US - the prototype "Bob's House of Cordura" floundered early in testing......
Leather is sexier, if you care. Proof?
Any guys ever say "Hey, check out that babe in the Cordura pants!"?
Any women here who are find that they are visually primarily drawn towards guys in Cordura suits?
We think we look better in leather.
Probably true. People do look better in tasteful leather.
Leather lasts a long time with a little, loving care.
A 20 year old set of leathers or leather jacket is entirely likely to hang around. An evening of nourishment with mink oil or similar will bring back the suppleness. Now if you still fit in them.
Leather seems to be an "alive" material with personality and end up developing a personality.
"I remember this scuff - Bolinas Ridge Road in 1985 on the RD. This part here was Mt. Tamalpais, Fairfax-Bolinas Road, 1990 on the 550 Seca"
So, for long term, I like leather.
For day to day, back and forth to work? Cordura is great.
For blending into the general population, Cordura is better.