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Scratch Build – In Progress One Piece Motorbike Suit

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Moriquendi, 19 Apr 2010.

  1. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    I thought I'd post my latest project on here, it has nothing to do with computers but I thought it might be of interest to some people.

    I ride a motorbike, it's great, apart from when it rains or you fall off. To protect me from the rain and the sweet kiss of asphalt I wear an armoured jacket and trousers. These work fine except that they don't fit that well because I'm 6'5" (196cm tall) but not that broad (if you ignore my belly :blush:), they're also difficult and time consuming to put on and take off. The ideal solution to these problems would be a one piece armoured suit however if I bought a suit off the peg that was tall enough to fit me it would be wide enough to be a decent sized tent. I could get one made to measure but that would be very expensive. So, since I'm fairly handy with a needle and thread I've decided to have a shot at making one myself. The advantages of making it myself are that it's cheap, it will fit perfectly and will have exactly the features I want.

    So far I'm about 3/4 of the way through making the first prototype. I'm making this prototype out of cotton because the Cordura that I'll make the final one out of is very expensive, this way I can try lots of different methods and fittings without spending a fortune. Cordura is an nylon fibre with very high abrasion resistance, it's what most textile riding clothes are made of.

    Here are some pictures of what I've got so far.

    [​IMG]
    Front of the suit, the zips are so long because they will eventually run down the whole length of each leg to make it easy to put on while wearing boots.

    [​IMG]
    Back of the suit, the blue fabric is elasticated allowing the suit to stretch when I move about on the bike, in the final suit this will be stretchy Cordura.

    [​IMG]
    Detail of the opening, all three zips meet just below the navel (a bit like a babygrow), this allows using the toilet without removing the whole suit. This will be covered with a flap to make it waterproof.

    [​IMG]
    Please excuse the fugly model, he needs to lose weight :blush:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Moriquendi
     
  2. yatesy

    yatesy New Member

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    This is very interesting! How much do you expect it to cost in the end?
    Also, how will you know how much protection you will get from the suit? The material is fairly well tested, but your stitching and fastenings are hand made. Btw, Im not volunteering to slide down the road on your behalf :p
     
  3. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Hmm, I had the album set to private, it should work now.

    As for the stitching I intend to use kevlar fibre and have three or four lines of stitching for each seam and I'll be using a professional sewing machine so it should be at least as durable as a commercial suit. I will probably be doing some tests on samples too.

    I don't know exactly how much protection I'll get, all I can do is look at similar products and emulate them. I'll be taking the armour out of my current jacket and trousers and probably adding stainless steel sliders to the shoulders, elbows and knees so it should in fact have better protection than my current stuff.

    I don't know exactly how much it's going to cost, probably less than £300 in total (not including my time) which is about 1/4 of what a tailored (though not made to measure) suit would cost.

    Moriquendi
     
  4. M7ck

    M7ck Ⓜod Ⓜaster

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    It looks good so far, are you going to put in pouches to allow some armour to be slipped in as and when needed.
     
  5. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    This is the first prototype to see what sort of panels etc I need to fit my body, there will be at least one more prototype in cotton which will include the armour and sealing pieces.

    This is not going to be a quick project, I'm expecting it to take a few months.

    Moriquendi
     
  6. yatesy

    yatesy New Member

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    £300 is not bad at all!

    Will the suit be made entirely from Cordura, or will you have some leather patches on their also? I am not sure how good Cordura is, but leather still seems to be the material of choice. Would it not be possible to put leather on top of Cordura, to have the protection of leather and weather-proofing of Cordura?

    Just throwing my ideas out there, like I said, I find this a very interesting thread!
     
  7. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Cordura is pretty good protection wise, I came off my bike at ~60mph in my current jacket and trousers and there was very little damage, it didn't wear through anywhere just wore a bit on my shoulder and hip where I slid down the road. Leather is still the best for protection but it has some problems, namely that it absorbs water and doesn't dry out quickly and with the armour and sliders I don't think it will offer any advantages. The Cordura isn't weatherproof really, it offers some protection from the rain but the water will get through which is why I plan to have a second layer inside the Cordura made of a breathable waterproof fabric, probably Ventile.

    Here are some pics of my tailors dummy, MiniMe
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    He's made of duck tape, I had my mum wrap me in three layers of duck tape while I was wearing a set of full length thermal underwear. Then we cut it down the back so I could get out, taped up the cut and stuffed him with polyfill (the stuff pillows are stuffed with) then I put a tee shirt and pants on him so i would have something to pin too.

    Moriquendi
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2010
  8. Big Elf

    Big Elf Oh no! Not another f----ing elf!

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    Have you thought about titanium sliders? Lighter weight and better sparks :D
     
  9. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    And lighter bank balance, I'll stick to stainless for now, perhaps later.

    Moriquendi
     
  10. aradreth

    aradreth New Member

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    It really depends on the Cordura used, 1000 Denier Cordura has very similar abrasion and tear resistance (I can't remember the exact numbers but if you want I'll go dig them up) and doesn't deteriorate with age unlike leather. The real problem is a lot of manufactures don't use 1000 Denier to save money :sigh:. Anyway it is best to stick with stuff that has been CE certified (CE-2 is preferable) to be sure it'll save your hide.
     
  11. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    the arms look a little thin IMO, you can see right though the material and tell your wearing a black t-shirt.

    If i was to come off a bike at 60 i wouldn't want to slide in that my friend.


    Edit, just noticed that's the prototype made from cotton.
     
  12. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Small update, the prototype suit is just about finished now, I may do some playing about with the sleeves, maybe put stretch panels in the elbows like the legs have.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see that the natural position of the leg is bent, this should make it more comfortable when I'm on the bike.

    [​IMG]
    Excuse the myspace mirror special, I'm home alone at the moment so nobody else to take pics for me.

    I'm planning to use 2000D cordura for high risk areas, front of the knee, outside of the elbow and shoulders. The rest of the suit will be 1000D at least or maybe 1680D, I need to get my hands on some samples. Unfortunately it's pretty difficult to find heavy cordura that isn't polyurethane coated, for my purpose the coating would be a bad thing as I need the suit to be breathable and the waterproofing will come from an inner layer.

    Moriquendi
     
  13. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Aradreth, if you could dig up the numbers or better still, a link to the source that would be great.

    Moriquendi
     
  14. aradreth

    aradreth New Member

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    Right I couldn't find the numbers I was thinking of any more but I did find some others:-
    http://www.motoport.com/save-your-hide (they sell textile MC gear so take it with a pinch of salt also don't detail testing method)
    from Cycle magazine in 1988! (I found a pdf version of the article but I thought html would be better for most people)
    http://www.trainwreckstudios.net/abrasion/road.html
    http://www.trainwreckstudios.net/abrasion/taber.html
    I'm not sure what type 440 cordura relates to in terms to denier

    Something you might like when choosing what to reinforce... the lower the number the high the abrasion resistance requirement per CE (pinched from here)
    [​IMG]

    All said though there is very little on the abrasion resistance on MC gear which is what I found last time I dug into it. If I had the money and time I'd set up a site and do it myself.
     
  15. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Great find, lots of useful info in there. Do you have some experience in this field?

    Moriquendi
     
  16. aradreth

    aradreth New Member

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    No experience just curiosity at what protects my skin.
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2010
  17. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    Yup, same here. One thing I find slightly confusing though is the differences in reported abrasion resistance compared to my experience. For example they talk about the cordura sample (which works out at 8oz/sq yard ~800 denier ish) wearing through after only three feet at 50mph but when I came off at 60mph and slid down the road there was no wear through. I suspect that maybe their methodology is a little off in that they had too much weight on too small a sample compared to actual conditions.
     
  18. drjaydee

    drjaydee New Member

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    what's your experience in stitching? as from a few articles i've read on leathers, the stitchings outlined as a weak point. don't want to be coming off at 50mph and having your suit falling to pieces around you
     
  19. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    I won't be hand stitching the final suit I'll be using a professional overlocker sewing machine and using several lines of stitching in kevlar for each seam, I'm not that bothered about the stitching.

    Moriquendi
     
  20. drjaydee

    drjaydee New Member

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    good news :D looking forward to seeing how this project goes. when do you expect it to be finished?
     

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