Drag Farther with DuPont™ Kevlar®
If you want to prove your jeans are rugged enough for motorcycle riders, you can always test them in a lab; but if you’re looking for something even more persuasive, you test them by the seat of your pants.
That was the idea behind the “Drag the Boss on His Arse Campaign,” recalls Grant Mackintosh, founder and CEO of the Melbourne-based Draggin’® Jeans motorcycle-clothing company.* Mackintosh agreed to head over to the local racetrack, sit down on the asphalt and grab a towrope tied to a motorcycle.
The cycle increased its speed in 10 km/h increments until it reached a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). An ambulance stood by but Mackintosh emerged from the test — and subsequent tests — without a scratch. This was indeed “daring bigger,” to use the DuPont™ Kevlar® motto.
Tougher than Steel
Motorcycle riders can now Dare Bigger™ in their own way, thanks to the Kevlar® lining in their Draggin’ Jeans. The jeans give riders protection where they need it most — in the protective, breathable lining that offers two-and-a-half times the abrasion resistance of the next-best motorcycle jeans tested. The Kevlar® lining in Draggin’ Jeans puts a unique knitted mesh of tough fibers between riders and the road to protect against road rash in case of an accident. The tough fibers are lined along all major stress points to deliver unrivalled safety, resilience and comfort.
Draggin’ Jeans was the first licensee in the motorcycle jeans category approved to use the Kevlar® Preferred Licensee logo. Kevlar® is found in other adventure sports materials, too. Recently, surfing legend, surfboard shaper and founder of the Big Wave World Tour Gary Linden partnered with professional big-wave surfer Nic Lamb to design a unique line of surfboards engineered with Kevlar® that takes the sport of surfing to new heights. “My goal was to make a surfboard that wouldn’t break as easily,” Linden says. “A broken board turns everything into a possible worst-case scenario. My surfboard is my survival vehicle.”
Today, Kevlar® is found in apparel, accessories and equipment for summer sports including biking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, motorcycling, sailing, skateboarding, surfing and tennis, as athletes, designers and engineers continue to innovate with Kevlar®.
More than 50 years ago, nylon was the original poster child of a new generation of novel materials, engineered specifically for women’s hosiery. Soon nylon found its way into every conceivable kind of garment, fashion and equipment.
Decades later, in 1971, came Kevlar®, one of the strongest materials in existence. It has since made its way successfully into a variety of different applications that require its high strength-to-weight ratios, such as bulletproof vests, aerospace construction, race driver’s helmets… and now to stronger pants for motorcycle riders.
* Draggin’® is a trademark or copyright of the Draggin Jeans company.
Indian Motorcycle Forum Interviewed Fiona Mackintosh, General Manager and William Cope, Sales Manager of Draggin Jeans
Kevlar Jeans are a must these days for any safety conscious riders. As a consumer, I found it difficult to compare a range of kevlar jeans on the market and make an informed decision. All manufacturers seem to say the same thing. To help us understand, Indian Motorcycle Forum (IMF) contacted Draggin Jeans based in Port Melbourne for an interview.
Highlights from this Interview
Origin of Draggin Jeans
IMF: Hi Fiona and Will, thanks for chatting with me today. Most riders on the Indian Motorcycle Forum would have heard of Draggin Jeans. Many probably wear one already. How and when did Draggin Jeans start?
Fiona: I will answer that one because it is my family business. My father (Grant Mackintosh) started Draggin Jeans in 1997, so this year we are celebrating 20 years. And the way Draggin came about was that my dad was jeans manufacturer in Australia and he use to make about million pairs of jeans a year for brands everyone would have heard of, such as Levi’s, Lee Jeans, Wrangler. So if you were buying jeans in the 80s and 90s, they were made by my dad.
He had motorbike riders who were keen to have jeans they could ride in, and he met with someone who had an idea of what that should be, and so dad worked on engineering the lining into a pair of jeans. That’s how Draggin jeans was born.
Wil: And Riding Jeans was born.
IMF: Oh so, Draggin Jeans Pioneered riding jeans. Is Draggin Jeans an Australian company, and where are your jeans made?
Fiona: We are an Australian business and we do make them in Australia. For exports though, we do make in other factories as well. We’re actually making one in Fiji, that (factory) also makes R.M. Williams jeans now.
IMF: Some of our members based in USA have purchased jeans from DragginJeans.com. They don't appear to sell the same products. Is there a connection between your two companies?
Fiona: Unfortunately there is no connection any longer. Back in the day, it was my dad and Hal Baxter. They brought the riding jeans to the world. Unfortunately Hal has passed and we don’t have any relationships with them now. So in the USA, our company is called Drayko, and Drayko means young dragon. We established Drayko over there about 5 years ago. It’s still a growth market because there is no (universal) helmet laws there so riding jeans are not high on the list yet.
Wil: But it is increasing… all the big stores sell Drayko.
IMF: I have heard of Drayko brand but I didn’t realise they were your brand.
Fiona: Drayko has a different look and feel to it. So, products in the Drayko range are Americanised and they are targeted at kind of younger crowd.
Will: We have expanded the range to include some of the really, really popular jeans from here but it’s mainly American style jeans.
Fiona: And the fit is also American.
IFM: Generous fit? In terms of style, would you consider bringing in some of the more popular Drayko jeans into Draggin?
Fiona: We do.
IFM: Are they sold under the Drayko brand or Draggin?
Fiona: Both. We call it Drayko but lot of the stores just say Draggin.
IFM: That’s not confusing at all...
Not All Kevlar Jeans are Created Equal
IMF: Let’s talk about the kevlar jeans. Looking through your website, words like Dyneema and Roomoto appears frequently. Could you explain to me what they are?
Fiona: Roomoto is the brand of lining that we use in our jeans. Roomoto came about because we wanted to have a name for what the technology is. ‘Roo’ being Kangaroo, is obviously Australian but it is also the toughest leather and ‘moto’ obviously cause it is on the motorbike. We developed it so people understood that when they are getting a Draggin product, Drayko product or Harley-Davidson product, they are getting the Roomoto lining.
IMF: When you say ‘Harley-Davidson product’, are you saying that...
Fiona: We make jeans for Harley-Davidson.
IMF: Oh, I see.
Fiona: And we would love to do that for Indian Motorcycle. Not a sales pitch at all but we would love to…. (laugh)
IMF: So then, what is Dyneema?
Wil: Roomoto have different fibres in it. Predominant one is kevlar…
Fiona: And it is DuPont Kevlar that we use. It is very important that people understand that.
Wil: Kevlar is an aramid and there are other aramids. So when you see aramid fibres, that’s people using a generic version of the original kevlar by DuPont Corporation in America.
Fiona: Roomoto only has the genuine DuPont Kevlar in them.
Will: If you go to the DuPont Kevlar website, Draggin is the jeans you will find there. Dyneema is a totally different fibre. It’s basically a high density polyethylene. We have been using Dyneema for about 8 or 9 years as part of our lining. Other brands are starting to use Dyneema now. Dyneema has some great properties and also has some weaknesses. Dyneema is made by a company called DSM from Holland. We use that genuine Dyneema. There is also generic product similar to Dyneema. Our products only has genuine Dyneema fibres in them.
The fibres all have different properties. So, kevlar has no melting point, it is very, very, very, very strong. Dyneema is even stronger. The genuine Dyneema is 3 times stronger but has low melting point. About 125 degrees C before it melts. But it starts to weaken at 85 degrees C. So you can see why you wouldn’t want just that (Dyneema).
IMF: So it is little bit like reinforced concrete. Concrete alone is strong against compression but weak against expansion. Embedded steel counteracts that weakness. Best of both worlds.
Fiona: That’s exactly right. Also, there are other fibres in our Roomoto.
IMF: So that’s your secret herbs and spices!?
Fiona: That’s right.
IMF: Does the Roomoto lining ever get updated?
Will: We are always upgrading the technology in our lining. We have incremental improvements all the time. So riders can take advantage of that newer technology - be it the lining is bit lighter, cooler or stronger.
IMF: How often does your Roomoto lining get updated?
Fiona: It’s been updated all the time. We never pinpoint to ‘when’ but… if we told everyone every time there was an update, stock on shelves become outdated. But we are working on it, and so improvements are being made all the time.
Range of Draggin Jeans, Tested Personally by the CEO
IMF: According to your website, you sell 21 styles of men’s jeans and 10 styles of women’s jeans. Which is your top 3 best seller jeans for over 50s for men and women?
Fiona: For men, it will have to be our Classic Black, which has been in existence for a very long time.
Will: It was our founding jeans.
Fiona: Then the Next Gen. Next Gen incorporates our lining which is seamless. Visually from outside, you cannot tell it has the protective lining in it. Because we put another lining in there to hold the protective lining. That makes it really comfortable to feel against your skin.
Will: It also adds a benefit in terms of safety. In a crash, people sometimes hear about Kevlar burn. It can happen with anything, leather, textile... basically it is the outer fabric gripping your skin, the mesh lining eliminates that from occurring.
Fiona: Twista Blue is our other popular jeans for men.
IMF: And for women?
Fiona: For women, Classic, Twista Blue, Slix.
IMF: In regards to those ‘best sellers’, why do you think they are so popular amongst the over 50s?
Fiona: In terms of fit, as I touched on at the beginning, we had a background of making jeans and it means that we know how to make jeans. So the fit is right. It doesn’t feel like a pair of motorbike pants. It feels like a pair of regular jeans. So, I think that the comfort and fit.
Wil: We are unique in that we come from a jeans background, we don’t come from a making motorcycle products and decided to add jeans in to our range.
Fiona: And when my dad started Draggin, he was over 50. And he himself wanted the jeans to fit right and so did my mum so...
Will: Then last year, he (Grant) tested them…
Fiona: My dad had a really bad motorcycle accident last year in Adelaide hills. He broke 16 bones, 2 skull fractures, broke his spine, so really significant accident. He was wearing Draggin Jeans Next Gen and Draggin Denim Jacket. He had no abrasion injuries at all. So our products did exactly what it says and it did stop him from loosing any skin. So unfortunately, he did test them properly.
IMF: I’ve heard a story of one rider coming off wearing a pair of Draggin cargo pants. Unfortunately, the loose fit pants twisted during the slide and exposed an area that was not protected by Roomoto. They were not injured in the slide but they were concerned and switched to better fitting Draggin jeans.
Fiona: One of the things we caution people about when they are wearing looser fitting pants is that they do need to wear good boots. The reason a lot of our jeans do have that extra room is so that they can fit a proper motorbike boots underneath.
Will: As you said, they weren’t injured. The challenge is, you’re not aware what’s happened in a crash. In the crash, there may have been some abrasion or impact in those areas, but you don’t know what has actually occurred.
CE Approvals vs False Claims in the Market
IMF: Coming back to six most popular products from Draggin, do they offer the same level of protection against abrasion?
Fiona: They do. They all offer the same level of protection. One that is level above is jeans called, Holeshot. They are fully CE2 Approved jeans. All of our range share the aspects of Holeshot. The lining and seams are all made the same. But Holeshot is fully lined.
IMF: You mentioned CE approval. Tell us bit about the CE and why that is important?
Will: With our Holeshot, there is a CE badge that goes on them, and CE EN13595, which is the motorcycling apparel standard. Behind that achievement, there are 10 seperate tests you have to pass. It is a process.
Fiona: With that process, we can produce certificates of those different tests. So if you are a motorbike rider (evaluating a product), and you want to know that they are going to work, ask to see their CE EN13595 Approval Certificate. If they can’t produce it, they haven’t don’t it.
Will: If you get a CE Test Report, that’s one thing, but to get an Approval Certificate is another.
Fiona: And we have them hanging up on our wall. Cause that’s how proud we are of our achievement.
IMF: In regards to your CE2 rated Holeshot. How different are they to your other range?
Will: The key difference between our Holeshot and regular Draggin is that they are fully lined. So, most of our Draggins are lined in key crash points. And those key crash points are defined by the CE standards. They break up the body in to zones 1 to 4. Zone 1 is “Have impact in a crash”. Zone 2 is “Likely to”. Zone 3 and 4 are “Unlikely to have impact or abrasion”.
Fiona: And in 20 years, we haven’t had anyone outside those (Roomoto coverage) zones get injured.
Will: So, we use zone 1, zone 2 and some.
Fiona: Those zones we cover are the backside, the hips, side of the leg and the knee.
IMF: How does it feel to wear a pair of Holeshot compared with regular Draggin?
Fiona: It feels little bit warmer because it is fully lined. But when they put them on, they are surprised how comfortable they actually are.
How to Assess Quality Kevlar Jeans on the Market
IMF: As a consumer, when assessing kevlar jeans on the market, how can we assess which advertised ‘figures’ most realistically reflect the real world abrasion protection? Some brands talk about protection in seconds and others in metres.
Fiona: If you are looking at the slide time we advertise on our jeans, what it means is, if you come off your motorbike at 60kph - 70kph, on average you need 28m to come to a complete stop, if you don’t hit something in the meantime. In our jeans, the time they last, you can slide from one end of a soccer field and pass the half way mark… about 6 to 8 metres past the half way mark. Some other jeans on the market will only last little over their own goal… like just over the goal square.
Will: Potentially, some of them still in the penalty box (on the starting side).
IMF: That surprises me.
Fiona: So the minimum you need them to last is 28 metres. And our’s last double that.
Wil: The difficulty is, there is no requirement to test any motorcycle gear in Australia. Actually, anywhere in the world except France.
IMF: So it is voluntary for manufacturers to conduct testing?
Fiona: Completely voluntary.
Wil: And it is not common. And because it is voluntary, there is no checking. And even with the CE Approval, once you are approved, there is no requirement to ever test that product again.
IMF: Even if the company switch manufacturing facility or change suppliers of their fabric?
Will: There isn’t batch testing like motorcycle helmets. There isn’t any requirement to re-test.
Fiona: It means that companies can use in their marketing, test results that are not relevant to motorcycle accidents. So we have seen some use Martindale Test. Which is basically a trouser test to see how long a fabric will last (Martindale Test is abrasion resistance test used on textiles, especially upholstery to assess wear and tear). That's not really relevant to a motorcycle crash. A lot of brands (motorcycle jeans) in the past have advertised their results on that test. Right now in the market, there is jeans that's using the Wear and Tear Test, which is a Cut Test, again that is not relevant to what happens in a motorcycle crash.
Wil: They are using Martindale Test under a different brand. So CE EN388 Test is Martindale Test.
IMF: So, if CE Approval process is voluntary in Australia, why does Draggin do it?
Fiona: The reason we did it is because we wanted to be able to sleep at night. To know that, when we are putting people in our jeans, if they did come off, they are going to be okay. That’s why we did it.
Along the way, we have had a lot of suppliers offer us cheap alternatives, and while they look great in margin dollars, the longevity of our company is testament to the fact that our jeans do actually work.
We have so many stories at (motorcycle) events where a rider has come off (in other brand of jeans), they come to our counter and say, “I need to buy a pair of your (Draggin) jeans. I don’t know why I didn’t do it the first time around” while nursing his wounds.
We have to stand for something, and we stand for offering motorbike riders safe jeans to ride in. Protection is our number 1 thing.
IMF: In the world where most businesses are more concerned with their profits then to provide quality products, that is Fantastic.
Single Layer vs Dual Layer Riding Jeans
IMF: It appears most of Draggin Jeans utilise dual layered fabric (Denim over Roomoto), whereas companies like Saint with their Unbreakable Jeans utilise single layer fabric and still rated as CE 1 with 6 seconds and approximately 75 metres slide protection. Has Draggin explored single layer fabric?
Fiona: First of all, I don’t know where they get those numbers from. Cause they are now testing on CE machines and seeing 3.14 seconds. There is no product on the market right now that I would recommend that is a single layer product. We have looked at what Saint is selling… we actually helped invent it. But for us, we wanted to be able to sleep at night. So, right now, there is nothing in single layer that we would put our name or recommend.
We started that (single layer) project with Dyneema and we haven’t stopped developing something… there is more to come, basically. (Grin)
IMF: Can you tell us a bit more about the single layer fabric Draggin developed?
Fiona: One of the things that we would like to achieve is even more comfort. So we worked with Dyneema to see if we could come up with a single layer garment. As we mentioned, Dyneema has limitations. And one of them is melting point. That is not the only one (limitation) but that is a significant one. When we saw the test results of the Dyneema, this is before it was made into a Saint garment, we chose not to proceed with that product. But it does not mean we’ve stopped working on something ourselves.
IMF: ‘Watch this space’, it seems...
IMF: Just to clarify, are you saying that all single layered kevlar jeans, be it Saint or other brand, have the potential to melt during the slide and cause injury to the rider?
Will: Saint is not kevlar.
Fiona: Saint doesn’t use any kevlar.
IMF: Oh, I see...
Will: The Dyneema denim they use in their (Saint) top products is about 70% Dyneema, with melting point starting at 85 degrees C, going up to 125 degrees C.
Fiona: We went to the International Motorcycle Show last year in Germany. Everyone, including Kevlar… they are all trying to hunt down the technology that is this single layer product. They are all working on it. There will be something announced in the short future. Something that will work in a motorbike accident. And these manufacturers know it as well… there is nothing on the market right now that could achieve CE Approval and is safe for motorbike riders.
IMF: I’m sure this will come as a big surprise to many of our members. It sure surprised me.
Will: One of the worst ones, to name another brand, is Ixon. It s a French brand. They do a single layer kevlar blend denim. It tested on par with regular denim. 0.74 seconds (of protection).
Fiona: There is nothing out there right now.
IMF: How can a typical consumer figure out what is relevant and what is not?
Wil: That's the hard thing.
Fiona: Each laboratories around the world tests slightly differently. We choose to test at the hardest ones. Because we want to make sure we are doing the right thing, but lot of them just want to test at the ones that will give them the best results.
Fiona: We will always put ourselves under the microscope. Because we know that, anywhere between 2 to 3 seconds, you do get severe abrasion injuries if the product only lasts that long.
Will: And majority of products (on the market that we have tested) won’t last really more than 1.5 seconds of abrasion resistance.
IMF: So how do we choose the right product?
Fiona: This is when you have to trust the brand. That is why we are sitting here talking to you openly about what we have achieved. We have been around for 20 years, we have won many awards. We have won Red Dot Award, International Arch of Europe Award, we are the only preferred licensee of DuPont kevlar... we were part of their "50 Years of Kevlar" celebration. We are in their Top 50 Kevlar Products ever made. So anything that we launch, we would have tested and met the minimum requirements.
Wil: (Pulling out a large book) This is 'German Design Awards'... the performance and design of Draggin product is recognised Internationally by design experts as being the best in the world.
IMF: If you can talk about the next big step in the evolution of Draggin jeans, what would that be?
Fiona: We are going to make our jeans lighter, more breathable and more comfortable… that is what we are working on all the time. Whether that is with lined product or a single layer product. That’s what we are working on.
IMF: Thank you very much for your time today.
Saint Jeans was contacted at the same time as Draggin. Mr Xavier Unkovich, the Marketing Director of Saint replied and offered to provide us a pair of Saint Unbreakable 6 jeans for review. We replied and asked for CE EN13595 Approval Certificate for their Unbreakable 6 jeans instead. Saint stopped responding to our emails. Melbourne, Victoria
Aussie Mike Jones is ready for his Aruba.it Racing International Debut
2015 Australian Superbike Champion Mike Jones has now settled in Bologna, Italy and is gearing up for his Aruba.it Racing international debut scheduled for April 2nd at Aragon, Spain.
The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team have recently been presented to the international media at its season launch for the2017 European Superstock 1000 campaign.
The bikes and the leathers look incredibly professional and Mike looks right at home on the Ducati Panigale R.
Draggin CEO Grant Mackintosh is delighted to be continuing the support of Mike Jones and said “Draggin Jeans has been a long time personal sponsor of Mike, actually since he was 16 years old and racing in the Australian Superstock 600 Championship. He is on a bike I love to ride…We wish him all the best for the new season!”
The transition to the new bike has been very smooth for Mike, he said recently “Despite the different technical specs, it wasn’t difficult to adapt to the bike. The electronics, in particular, are so advanced and represent another weapon in our arsenal. Now we’ll work on fine-tuning, and I can’t wait to race in Aragon”.
Draggin is incredibly proud to continue being a part of Mike’s racing career as he now steps up onto the international platform and we are all very excited to watch Mike debut in April at Aragon as we continue to support and follow his international racing career.
GO MAD MIKE!
Look out British Superbike the Aussies are coming.
Australian Champion Brayden Elliott has made the monumental move from Australia to the United Kingdom to launch his international racing career with CF Motorsport team.
The opportunity arose in 2016 for the young rider to make the move to the UK and now Brayden is settled into his new digs and has been testing on the R1 in Calafat, Spain.
Draggin is looking forward to continuing to support Brayden as he makes his racing debut in the UK and is excited to watch this young champion let the world know the Aussies are coming!
Draggin has been working on the exclusive sponsored rider uniform for Brayden and this will be ready for the start of the season.
Again he will be looking super professional in the Draggin gear and keeping the bar raised nice and high.
Brayden has recently been presented with his 2017 race leathers with the famous Young Bull on the rear.
This is what the rest of the field will be chasing!
Draggin is proud to be supporting Brayden and will be cheering loudly for the first round at Donnington Park GP March 31st – April 2nd 2017.
GO BRAYDEN! Aussie Aussie Aussie!