Jump to content

Can mesh clothing melt??


Recommended Posts

On another board I frequent, the members whom are fond of loud pipes and black leather, there seems to be the belief that mesh jackets are unsafe because they will "melt into your skin" in the event of a slide.


Does anyone know if this has ever actually happened or should it be put in the "helmets will break your neck" category?

Link to comment

Can they melt? Absolutely! Natural reaction of two objects sliding along each other, thereby generating friction.


Can they melt into your skin? Are you naked under there? blush.gif


You can have a tendency to slide more due to a lower coefficient of friction but I highly doubt you would melt it into your skin.


I had a high speed get off (about 100 mph) on the race track once (Willow Springs turn 9). I was knocked out and therefore could not roll off the hot spot created on my right shoulder.


Although I was wearing leathers, the inner liner was mesh. This liner melted away but never got in to my skin as I was wearing a t-shirt underneath. I did receive a third degree burn from the heat to my shoulder, but no other damage. And I found no residue on the t-shirt form the mesh liner.


I suppose one could look at the alternatives. Don't bother to wear ATGATT and have SERIOUS road rash, or wear ATGATT and MAYBE have to scrub a wound clean of a bit of clothing debris. I, for one, will gladly take the latter!


Add this one to the "loud pipes save lives" and "helmets will break your neck" categories.


I don't understand how individuals would find argument against wearing ATGATT, regardless of the material, as long as that material or article of clothing stands up to reasonable amounts of force as experienced in a get off. Afterall, no one wants to spend good money on a piece of clothing that doesn't stand up when needed.


I would retort with the benefits of mesh type clothing being the reduced fatigue factor due to not gettting as hot. It is lighter, typically, than cow. A better ability to move around while wearing the clothing, etc. All this can aid in lenghtening your safe sddle time and reducing fatigue.


My .02 cents worth! grin.gif

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday
On another board I frequent, the members whom are fond of loud pipes and black leather, there seems to be the belief that mesh jackets are unsafe...


Unsafe...compared to what?


Everything I've ever heard says that if you want maximum protection, real leather is hard to beat. Pro racers wear full-body leather racing suits; I've never seen them wearing textiles.


As to mesh versus solid-weave...no doubt mesh gear will take less to wear through, since there's less material there, which means you'll be more likely to sustain road rash with mesh gear than with solid-weave textile or real leather. But will mesh gear actually "melt into your skin," whatever that means? I'm speculating here, but I'd say no. the lack of crash reports describing this phenomenon seems telling.

Link to comment



I doubt that would happen due to friction burn. I get to see the results of aircraft accidents where fire is involved. I would say that if there was a post crash fire, the mesh would absolutely melt, and if in contact with the skin, would become one. The temperatures that we are talking here are pretty extreeme though.


I think that excuse you hear is justification for them to look "cool".

Link to comment

I would have to agree with the responses you've gotten. It seems quite possible for a textile to melt as it slides along a surface and heats up, but pretty unlikely that you'd ever experience a sustained period of abrasion at a single point that would lead the material to melt into your skin. I think it's more likely that you'd simply wear through the material.


In 30-plus years of riding, during which I've more often than not worn textiles, I've never never heard of it melting into anyone's skin.


My approach is to wear the most crashworthy material I can, given the anticipated weather. If it's not going to be terribly hot, I'll generally wear all leather. If rain's somewhat likely, I'll wear my Aerostich or Darien. If it's too hot for them, I'll toss on my FirstGear Mesh-Tex suit. As I move down this continuum, I recognize that I'm giving up some level of protection for the added degree of comfort. One thing I never worry about, though, is having nylon melt into my skin.


I think what you've been told is a combination of urban legend and, as Steve noted, a justification for the Standard Cool Guy Uniform.

Link to comment

Here's one source of the "Melting mesh" information...




(Not an endorsement, just saying that here's a vendor publishing information)

See bullet #2.

"...any materials that have a Polyurethane coating that restricts breathing and can melt into the skin when sliding on asphalt. "

Link to comment

Here's a quote from Aerostich's Roadcrafter Owners Guide:


Because a great deal of heat can be generated by the friction of a long slide, you

should always wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants under your suit to provide additional

thermal insulation between the suit and your skin.

If the suit’s fabrics do become hot enough from frictional heating during a slide,

our research indicates there is a possibility that they may melt or cause burns.

Although several hundred crash experiences have been reported by suit wearers, in

actual use no burns have occured.


They're not talking about mesh, but my guess is that the "wear through" time of mesh would be less than that of the Roadcrafter material, and therefore the heat generated before "wear through" would be less for mesh.


In other words, mesh isn't going to melt into your skin because your skin will be gone before it gets hot enough.


But that's just my guess.




Link to comment

Makes no sense at all. If made from synthetics like nylon, yes, the mesh can melt. But melt into your skin as a result of sliding along the road?




The same sliding action that is creating the heat, is also instantly wiping any melted material away instantly. Remember that the hottest part of the mesh will be that which is in contact with the pavement, hence that surface will be the one that is melting. It will be impossible to have the inner mesh surface that touches your skin to melt(assuming you are naked except for the mesh!!), and not the mesh that is closer to the pavement.


Besides, why is it that mesh will somehow melt into your skin, but non-mesh clothing made of a similar material won't?


Just old wives tales!



Link to comment

Good mesh jackets usually have CE armor in the places where contact happens (shoulders, elbows, back). The armor offers protection even when the mesh melts or disappears. And a fallen rider rarely slides, he rolls and bounces. Not nice but less likely to generate the kind of abrasion that melts synthetic fabrics.

In Florida, mesh jackets are a God-send. thumbsup.gif

Link to comment

DonQuixote's description supports my experiences.


Just over a year ago, I took a long slide on the bitumen at 100km/hr. I was unconscious and didn't roll during the slide so the friction was limited to only a few contact points on my BMW Airflow jacket.

Most of the damage to the jacket was abrasion with no melted edges on the holes. There was no residue of the fabric anywhere on my skin.


The major points of skin damage under the jacket were from heat and not abrasion. At those points, the jacket had not worn through but the heat generated had cooked the skin underneath. Friction burns even occurred on my wrist and hand through leather gloves that had not worn through.


I don't think that there's any reason to believe that the mesh jackets are any less safe than other jackets. I'd be more concerned about friction melting the garments worn under the mesh.

Link to comment
I don't think that there's any reason to believe that the mesh jackets are any less safe than other jackets. I'd be more concerned about friction melting the garments worn under the mesh.
The biggest problem I see with mesh jackets is they're flimsy. Yeah, they usually have some armor and yeah, they're breezy when it's hot (could be a negative when it's over 95*F), but especially as they age they get even more flimsy/brittle and most of the riders I roll on have very little of it left on their body to cut off by the time they've come to a stop. What happens to their skin during the remaining 20-40% of their slide/tumble is not very pretty. tongue.gif
Link to comment

Understand that all textile jackets are made from man-made fibers. Among these, the two most common are nylon and Cordura. Such specialized materials as BMW's Dynatek (developed along with Swiss adventure-garment specialty company, Schoeller) are more rare. Dynatek is used in the BMW Savanna, Airflow and Santiago apparel.


Man-made materials can melt. As for melting into your skin, everything has to have a scary aspect to it when you're trying to use it to argue a point you want to justify. Same goes for the Helmets Can Break Your Neck (contribute to a whiplash-type injury, yes, but break your neck?...at those forces you probably would have suffered a basal skull fracture anyway).


Back to textile jackets. Melting to your skin is a theoretical possibility. However, as has been pointed out, a simple layer of clothing will help prevent that, although the heat burn from the friction is another story.


Cordura and its derivatives and copies (like Carbolex) are the most common these days. Nylon is used more in mesh jackets as Cordura Mesh is very pricey (check out any Rukka Jacket). Nylon as most commonly used in motorcycle jackets has a friction-based melting point of around 290 degrees. For Cordura 500, it's about 410 degrees. For Dynatek it's 572 degrees (as best I recall from BMW Apparel Technical Training). Regardless, all will melt at some point if enough friction and force is applied.

Link to comment
John Ferris

The perfect gear for riding is-

Silk tops and bottoms, this is to protect you from the itching from,

your wool long johns. Those will not melt and provide a good breathabe insulation layer.

Then a full set of black leathers.

Not recomended for summer use.

Link to comment

Protective gear is always a compromise. I choose to wear the mesh textile gear because when it's hot in the summer, being cool and confortable will keep me safer than hot and better protected. This geat is also inexpensive and most have a waterproof/windproof removeable liner making it good for cooler rides as well. I also ride in jeans, not textile pants.


I also ride bicycles, where I have no padding, a bicycle is much less stable and less visible ot cars. I regularly see speeds exceeding 35mph downhill (have reached 65mph once) but while I do wear a helmet, I'm no about to wear protective leather gear. Broken bones and road rash heals... smashed brain tissue doesn't.... wear a helmet, everything else is somewhat optional.


Am I worried about it melting. Not really.

Link to comment

Leather vs synthetics? I read as much as I could on this before springing for gear. I know this is an arguable subject but I did read that some guys were wearing sysnthetics on the track and they were safer. Less friction= less tumbling and that is were you get hurt more often than actually hitting something.

Link to comment

That was interesting---may have to quit wearing jeans. dopeslap.gif


They list a kevlar mesh but not nylon mesh. Wonder how it stacks up ??

Link to comment


Jeans provide superb protectin against both impact and abrasion, for about 0.0005 seconds. tongue.gif


After than, you are pretty much on your own. I wear them when riding although my AirFlow II pants or BMW summer pants are much more comfortable and have padding. There are times I just don't want to look or dress like a motorcyclist. Wouldn't consider them for corner strafing or even a trip down the drag strip but, for casual wear? Sure, why not.

Link to comment
I get to see the results of aircraft accidents where fire is involved.


Same here Steve.


I was also involved with testing of aircraft interior materials for burn and self extinguishing characteristics. It's amazing how much of the flying public dress themselves in flammables; It's not pretty.

Link to comment

Last summer,I rode down to the MOA rally in Lima,and then to Dayton,it was so hot,I thought my Airflow was gonna melt!!!

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...