CE armour is found all throughout motorcycle apparel.
But what does it really mean?
Back in the “good ol’ days”, motorcycle riders wore whatever they wanted…they didn’t even wear helmets! (That thought gives me the shivers.) If they wore a jacket, it was their favourite leather jacket. Usually their work boots adorned their feet, and whatever pants they pulled on in the morning. No gloves unless it was cold, or just some fingerless leather gloves because they looked cool.
The roads were also a lot quieter, bikes were slower and people had a bit more respect to their fellow road user.
Nowadays, the roads are always busy as hell, the bikes are faster and respect has gone out the window. Helmets are now a legal requirement and all motorcycle jackets come with armour. The question remains, what makes the armour in motorcycle gear more protective than say the armour you used to wear skate boarding as a kit?
Women were badass back in the 70s (we still are!)
None of these jackets passed a safety standards, but they sure looked cool!
Enter CE armour. This is something you would have seen on the labels of your favourite motorcycle apparel.
CE is the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which means “European Conformity”. The updated standard is EN17092.
There are 3 different terms with CE, they are
There is a significant difference between the 3.
This term normally implies that the manufacturer tested the whole or just a piece of a garment within their own facility that might meet certain standards. However, the garment is not necessarily tested in a certified testing facility to meet officially accredited standards.
This term is more secure, as it states that the garment samples were tested in certified testing facilities. In this case, you need to find out which part of a garment was tested.
This term means several parts of a garment were tested in certified facilities and are accredited to meet or surpass the required standards in all zones.
When looking at catalogues, many brands like Macna and Merlin are moving toward CE Approved garments, and they are distinguishing between approved armour and approved garments.
CE markings on knee armour from a pair of Merlin Jeans
CE markings on the top of shoulder armour...
...CE markings on the bottom of shoulder armour of a Merlin Leather Jacket
An information booklet on a pair of CE approved jeans
All gear that claims to be a motorcycle protective garment should have armour at a bare minimum. It should also be made of a tear-resistant material, whether it is lined with Kevlar, or made with leather, Cordura, carbon fibre coated cotton or rip-stop nylon (to name a few). The armour may have CE stamped on it, but don’t be fooled. Anyone can stamp 2 letters into their armour, but they can’t stamp the standard (EN17092 for example) on it without actually passing the standard. There will be information on the tag somewhere if it is the official CE approval, or nothing else visible if it is just a copy. Then there is armour that has nothing stamped on it, and therefore hasn’t been tested at all.
One thing to look for as well, is if the entire garment is CE approved, or if it’s just the armour in the garment that is CE approved. This will make a difference in the protection.
Some garment companies go one step further, and have the entire garment CE approved. This is a more lengthy and expensive process for the company, but results in a higher level of safety and peace of mind for the wearer. It is slowly becoming the new standard in good quality motorcycle apparel.
The updated standard has set the benchmark for seam strength, burst, tear and abrasion resistance, impact absorption and cuff, hem and sleeve sizing and closure restraint as well as chemical testing for pH, Zinc, and Chromium levels. Not op of that, all materials including buttons and zippers, must be from certified supplier.
Two companies who are well known for this is Merlin and Macna, and not just their jackets! Macna’s jeans and gloves are fully CE approved garments too. Their tags clearly state the protective level and they are always updating their apparel to the latest CE standard.
An example of a CE certified tag on a pair of Macna Jeans, showing that the entire garment is CE approved.
Macna are making the move to fully CE Approved Motorcycle Apparel
Now while CE approval is not a legal requirement in Australia, I think it should be. I’m a bit of a safety crazy lady I’ll admit, but I like my skin and bones just where they are thank you very much! While yes these garments are not the cheapest on the market, I’d happily pay more for quality that will keep me in one piece.
So next time when you're looking for some great quality, protecting motorcycle apparel, you know how to tell the difference!
Ride safe and have a good one!
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