With massive thanks to our friends over at Drop your Gear, here's an easy run through on how to look after one of the more expensive items in your biking wardrobe - your leathers.
All bike gear has its purpose. As well as protecting us all from a possible mishap, weather and the grime, stone chips and whatever else being a biker brings our way. It also had to look good and be well maintained.
We can spend anything from £100 to over £1000 on our gear, whether it’s leathers, boots, gloves, helmets or even textiles.
It’s all bound to get dirty or scuffed at some point, so here are my tips on keeping it all in top condition.
Gloves can be pretty easy to look after, the trouble I find is if you get caught out by rain and end up with drenched hands. Most people tend to dry them out on the radiator and wonder why their gloves are stiff for a few days afterwards. If you’re going to do that, my tip is to rub some baby oil on to your hands once the gloves are dry and stiff, put the gloves on and repeatedly make a fist, the straighten your hand out, do this for 10-15 minutes and they should be as good as new. It’s also healthy for the leather to absorb it too.
Boots are a bit trickier, a bit more patience required due to the road grease and oil etc, even more so if you have white boots. I use a product called Vulcanet on the plastic areas of my boot’s as well as my whole bike. For the stubborn areas on the boots, I use a hard handle part of a scrubbing brush and wrap a vulcanet cloth around it and scrub, I use a microfiber cloth to see where I have been and what I am happy with until I’m happy with it all, as for the leather part of the boot, I use Kleers leather cleaner with a clean microfiber cloth and finish it off with leather protector.
Textiles can be tricky as finding the right product and tools will take time and patience. I’ve had to clean textiles that hadn’t been properly cleaned in 3 years, only put in the washing machine every now and then. After experimenting on one of my old textile jackets, I found using either upholstery cleaner or even carpet cleaner works best. I also used a clean scrubbing brush and worked the cleaner in using circular motions to get in all of the tricky areas and pores.
I’ve found Vulcanet works pretty well with a microfiber cloth on the exterior of my own helmet. As for the removable padding inside, I take them all out and hand wash them in either diluted fabric cleaner or even carpet cleaner. Instead of using pegs to hang dry them, I tend to place them on a radiator or let them dry naturally as using pegs will change the shape of the pad slightly.
Much like the boots, I tend to give everything a quick wipe over with Kleers leather cleaner and a clean cloth to get rid of the worst of the road grime and bug splats. With the more stubborn bits, I soak my trusty scrubbing brush in leather cleaner and gently scrub away any bits I need to, followed by another wipe down with the cloth and microfiber. I then wait for it to dry and finish it off with leather protectant and restorer.
About myself and Drop Your Gear
First off, I’d like to thank you for reading my how to guide. Also a shout out to Vulcanet and Kleers for supplying me with great products to work with and make my job easier.
I run a small business called Drop your Gear. It has been running since May 2017 and already has a big and growing client base.
I valet and restore all motorcycle gear and have big plans for the future including learning zip repairs from hideout leathers. It all started after I was knocked off in January 2016, after which I was unsure if I’d be able to ride again. My wife knows how much bikes mean to me and suggested that I do something involving bikes just in case I’m unable to get back on two wheels. Early 2017 I randomly had a thought of running my own shop, cleaning and repairing bike gear, so the next day I put a feeder out to my friends on facebook and the response was fantastic. So from then, Drop your Gear came to life.
As well as my customer base, I have also managed to sponsor racers in various championships, one of which is even a sidecar outfit run by Paul Jeffrey and his passenger James Caswell who managed to finish 3rd in this years F1 sidecar championship in the BMCRC series.