Most racing circuits around the world require motorcycle riders to procure a set of track-rated riding gear. This, of course, includes a helmet, riding boots and gloves, and sometimes even a full leather suit. Naturally, manufacturing a full-leather suit has a substantial impact on the environment, as leather comes from cows or other furry animals, and takes quite a lot of energy to manufacture.
With more and more people all over the world committing to reducing their consumption of animal-based products, companies are scrambling to develop new synthetic materials in order to keep up with growing demand. One such company is Spanish startup Andromeda Moto, which recently launched the NearX racing suit. The NearX racing suit is a track-rated “leather suit” that makes use of absolutely zero animal-based materials, yet provides the same level of impact and slide resistance as your conventional leather suit.
Andromeda Moto’s NearX suit is constructed from a high-strength material called High Molecular Weight Polyurethane (UHMWPE). This material is also found on astronauts’ suits—so you’re sure that if it can handle the rigors of outer space, it can surely keep you safe on a race track. What’s more is that UHMWPE is thinner than leather, offering a more comfortable fit that isn’t as restrictive to the rider’s range of motion. When paired with a full Kevlar inner lining, the NearX gets the highest AAA safety rating, and is certified for track use all over the world.
The environmental benefit of the NearX racing suit is incredibly impressive, as well. Apart from being a 100 percent animal-free product, it also requires less resources to produce. Andromeda Moto states that a kilogram of leather requires around 17,000 liters of water to produce. UHMWPE on the other hand, requires just 30 liters of water—a staggering 500 times less. The NearX suit isn’t all that expensive either. Priced at €1220 or roughly $1,450 USD for a made-to-order, one-piece suit, it’s comparable to your off-the-shelf leather racing suit in terms of price.