Posted by Matt Finn on June 04, 2012
Insight / Comparison: Split vs Topgrain Cowhide
Watch out for Split leather its not suitable for motorcycle apparel
Motorcycle leather apparel is designed to protect you from the natural elements outside as well as protecting your skin & joints w/ armour if the worse is to happen. From a safety point of view purchasing a jacket is like insurance you have it just in case, some insurances offer a cheaper rate but if you read the fine print you might not be covered as well as you hoped. The same applies for leather jackets except there is no fine print, its upto the consumer to study the jacket/seller/brand/price and work out if its for them.
We have started to notice a lot of really cheap leather motorcycle jackets coming into the Australian market. I hope this information will help you make an informed purchase for your motorcycle jacket.
Top Grain: Cowhide starts off as 5mm thick, its then split into layers:
The top grain side: is the most sought after & expensive for motorcycle leathers. The fibres at the top are very compact & with the grain it’s the strongest. Used for protective apparel, car interior, expensive lounges etc.
Split: As you go through the skin the fibres get looser and looser, the middle & lower layers are defined as “split”, which is used for items that don’t need much durability or strength such as fashion apparel, bags, wallets etc. This material is very cheap because in a way its seen as scrap. They give it a grain look by heavily stamping the surface to give it that top grain look.
Split leather has nowhere near the same strength or durability as top grain.
With material being the main expense in jackets the “Too good to be true prices”can only be done by using split leather unless the seller is liquidating & selling the gear at a loss. Here is an example of what the prices would be for our products in split leather.
*Products price would multiply by 2x that price if it’s a international brand with mass employees/advertising etc.
Because split is so cheap, manufactures will cut corners, possible scenarios:
Where it starts to cross the ethical line for split leather is when manufactures / importers advertise them as motorcycle apparel.
Motorcycle apparel brands/importers that use split and sell them as motorcycle jackets obviously don’t care about your safety, if they cut costs through the leather grade it starts to make you think what else have they compromised to get the jackets prices this low…?
In our case the only difference is the leather, we also realise a customer wearing split is better than cotton/nothing.
Who buys split leather:
Other riders that find themselves wearing cotton jumpers or nothing at all can justify this quality (something is better than nothing).
Will it hold up?:
Why are we even offering this quality?
We feel that customers are ill informed about leather so we hope advertising this low priced item will grab your attention & you realise the $198 option is much better value.