Rossi retires, and now there's vegan motorcycle leathers
I'm sorry, motorcyclists. I know you've already had a bad day. Valentino Rossi, the Michael Jordan of MotoGP racing, has finally put an end to his awkward Washington Wizards phase and announced his retirement from a sport he took to new heights. And if that wasn't hard enough to take, I'm now going to tell you about a set of vegan leathers.
In days gone by, the worlds of veganism and motorcycling could not have been further apart. Motorycles were for hairy-chested head-kickers, wild men, rattle-eyed weirdos and the women that put up with them. You could go for days at a biker event without seeing a vegetable – at least, one that hadn't been fermented or grown in an unwashed body crevice.
But the world is changing. The church of motorcycling long ago threw its musty doors wide open, and started offering a large range of bikes in many pretty colors that don't even actively try to kill you any more. When I see a Harley these days, I don't think "roadkill-roasting outlaw," I think "accountant who likes cosplay." There are motorbikes with three wheels. There are motorbikes with traction control that won't wheelie even if you want them to. There are motorbikes that run on electricity and unicorn farts and barely make any noise at all.
And there are vegan leathers.
Now, let's be honest. Vegans were pretty annoying back when we first started encountering them in the 90s, demanding special consideration at dinners and staking out separate plots of real estate on the BBQ. But anyone who still hates the concept in 2021 should be forced to tithe 10 percent of their wages into an investment account, so their grandchildren have a hope of paying their air conditioning bills.
Meat isn't just murder, it's part of one of humanity's existential problems. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, meat and dairy production account for 14.5 percent of a global greenhouse gas emissions total that we need to get down to zero by 2050 just to give the next few generations a chance.
The average one-piece motorcycle race suit uses about 3 kg (6.6 lb) of leather. The average kilo (2.2 lb) of leather represents about 17,000 liters (4,490 gal) of water across the short life of the cow, its feed stock and the production process. So the average set of bike leathers uses 51,000 liters (13472 gal) of water. Lord knows how much my leathers use, vast as they are.
Andromeda Moto's NearX suit uses about 90 liters (24 gal), or some 566 times less. Instead of leather, it uses ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, which is typically used in personal and vehicle armor, cut-resistant gloves, parachutes, yacht rigging, often under the name Dyneema. The high-impact areas are reinforced with textured Superfabric claiming five times the abrasion resistance and fourteen times the tear resistance of leather. Andromeda claims it's lighter and more comfy than leather given the same protection.
It's got a hump on the back. It's got knee and elbow sliders, a 100 percent coverage inner kevlar layer, and level 2 SAS-TEC armor all round. It's got YKK zips, a factor nobody thinks is important until they buy gear without YKK zips. It's got venting, and it repels water much like my biker friends used to repel water offered to them at country pubs. It's got the top AAA crash rating from EU regulators. Most importantly, it's the right color.
Andromeda will build you a one- or two-piece vegan NearX race suit, custom tailored to your own manly or womanly curves, if you send them 27 key measurements, excluding the one you're thinking about. The price is €1,220.66 (US$1,440) – by no means expensive for a race suit – and delivery takes 10 weeks.
Motorcycling, like every other human endeavor on this planet, will need to evolve as humanity faces the challenges of the 21st century. It'll have to eat some lumps along the way; we'll lose our nice shouty noises, for one, and that's probably the #1 fear for a lot of future-phobic bikers.
But at least these sustainable vegan leathers look pretty sweet. If they're lighter, comfier and better in a crash than leather, they'll do just fine. And hell, they look for all the world like any other set of leathers. How would you ever know they were vegan? ... Don't worry, they'll tell you. (Enjoy the roast beef, folks).
Enjoy the video below, featuring a narration I'd describe as waaaay too sensual for the given material. Stick to feeeeeling the road, fella.
Source: Andromeda Moto