Today we have a very special equipment comparison: to analyse how the different motorbike Racing equipment has changed through the years. To do that, we have the Jonathan Reas' suite and another from Alex Crivillé from 2001.
One thing is for sure: the races are the best environment for testing new technologies and improve new materials. And there is not a better way to see these improvements than a comparison between the Rea's equipment and the Crivilles' leather suite from 2001.
Frontal view of Alex Crivilles (left) and Jonathan Rea's (right) leather suites.
If we take both suites, we will realise that the main material is the kangaroo leather, a very resistant material and in Reas' suite we also find cowhide inserts in some areas. The anti-wear treatment is different, more developed in the Rea's leather suite. There are also microperforations in wider areas on the Rea's Alpinestars suite than the Criville's one, where are placed in the chest and legs.
Detail of the microperforated area placed on the Alpinestars GP Tech from Rea.
The tecniques to get these tiny orifices has been developed as well. Now there are in a larger number but smaller, according to get more ventilation and the same resistance to the wear. The quality of sponsors in the suite has improved too.
Flexibility, the main objective
The leather in accordion areas have also changed. Now we find them in larger areas: in Crivilles' suite we find them in knees and elbows, while in the Reas' suite there are in elbows, knees and the back sides.
Detail of the leather in accordion, now microperforated, placed in the back side area.
But there is much more apart from leather. Now the suites have flexible materials according to provide the flexibility a racer needs on the motorbike. In the Rea's GP Tech we can see how the internal side of the legs and arms, knees and huckle feature this material. The Criville's one uses this material on a timid way.
Protections, the main step ahead
The protections are the most visible feature we see at a first sight on both suites. That is because the new leather suites include external protectors that did not exist on suites from fifteen years ago. As we can see on Criville's equipment, its protections, all internal, were placed on the elbows, knees and shoulders. On the other hand, Rea's GP Tech includes all these protections and also sliders and external protectors in shoulders and knees.
Comparison between the knee protectors from Crivilles'suite (left) and the Rea's one (right).
And there is another point: last technology on bikes and tyres allow riders to tumble on unbelievable areas and now the elbows areas need sliders! This is another change we see on Rea's leather suite. On the Criville's one we see sliders only on the knees.
Electronics have arrived
We can see that the electronics occupy more importance through the years and now many electronic components are placed inside the aerodynamic hump, an element we cannot find on Crvilles' suite. Actually, in 2001 some leather suites began to include the first hubs. On these areas we also find the hydration bag.
Comparison between both leather suites on their back: one does not include the aerodynamic hub (left).
And now we can see how nowadays suites can include airbags as standard elements. This technology, fifteen years ago, was only a simply draft on the R+D departments.
Summarising, fifteen years is a lot of time for racing equipment. And it is the best way to see how important is changing periodically your motorbike equipment, according to get more quality, usability and protection.