For the most comprehensive coverage and protection, many motorcyclists still default to leather gear. However, textile alternatives have come a long way in recent years. Idaho-based Klim released the first CE AAA-Rated textile adventure kit in May, 2021. Just one month later, in August, 2021, Italian gear maker Virus Power launched a textile race suit touting leather-like protection with the added bonus of breathability.
Now, industry leader Gore-Tex rolls out a new ePE waterproof membrane that’s not only stronger and lighter, but also reduces the brand’s environmental impact. By blending expanded polyethylene with polyurethane, the company has created a membrane that’s waterproof and windproof yet also breathable. The highly porous fabric allows interior heat and moisture to escape as vapor through billions of tiny holes while protecting the user from the elements.
"The membrane material is the functional foundation of a broader system," says Gore-Tex innovation and technical leader Matt Decker. "It is a microporous material that is a wonderful scaffold as a base material for creating waterproof and breathable fabrics."
Of course, motorcycle gear such as jackets, gloves, pants, and boots already feature waterproof, breathable materials, but GoreTex’s new ePE membrane achieves the same feat with half the width. The thinner material retains its durability all the while, delivering a high strength-to-weight ratio previously unseen on the market.
The ePE membrane also allows Gore-Tex to mitigate the environmental impact of its production process by reducing the PFCs (per and poly-fluorinated chemicals) at use. The highly fluorinated chemicals are hazardous, as they widely disperse in water and remain for generations. In addition to minimizing PFCs, the thin and lightweight construction also reduces Gore-Tex's overall carbon footprint.
The Delaware-based brand plans to release the new membrane technology by fall/winter 2022. While brands continue to develop cutting-edge materials to provide comprehensive coverage and protection, it’s good to know that Gore-Tex is taking the extra steps to push the industry forward in a responsible manner.