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How Do You Maintain Your Leathers And Boots?

26 posts in this topic

Hey Guys,

 

I am finally getting a full kit of gear.I wanted to ask you all how you maintain it.Anything specific you do to your Helmet, Leathers, Gloves or Boots to keep them in good shape?

 

I was thinking of some kind of leather conditioner and waterproof for the leathers, gloves and boots to start with.Any suggestions?

 

Anything else i should know of? I ride in a hot climate, quite dusty also.Any deodorizing agents or something you guys use? Please advice as i am in the dark regarding this.

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I don't do a lot to mine. I try to keep the dead bugs off of them. About once a year I clean them with a cloth with some mild detergent and then use leather conditioner on them. If they start looking icky I'll clean them and condition them ahead of the once a year schedule. Using an under garment keeps the sweat away from the suit and makes it more comfortable to wear. I have yet to have to pull a mesh liner out and wash it and I don't think I'm stinking up the track. :)

 

Mine stay pretty clean from rash but that's something to think about as well after a crash. There's a number of companies that deal with repair and reconditioning. Barnacle Bill's is pretty good from what I hear. They can dye, repair, sew and pretty much anything else you might need.

 

http://www.racingleather.com/

 

If you are running "older" gear replacement of armor might be a good idea. Knox sells a pretty large selection of replacement armor for the inside of suits. The foam that is used in suits is "similar" to that of helmets. It looses it's energy absorption capabilities over time just like a helmet.

 

One other thing to think about. You may want to consider investing in a back protector. Many track organizations require one and it's not a bad idea really even if it's not required. I used to detest wearing one myself until I bought a Knox Aegis vest. You can't even tell you are wearing it. :)

 

http://stores.sportbiketrackgear.com/Detail.bok?no=15532

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+1 on getting a good underlayer. I use UnderArmour for my underlayer (shirts and pants), they help keep you cool (or warm if you use the ColdGear), make it easier to get in and out of leathers, and don't bunch up at the elbows and shoulders. They also prevent chafing from the leather or mesh liner at elbows and knees. The underlayer keeps the inside of the suit clean, and like Robert I just gently clean and condition my suit about once a year.

 

I do find that I have to wash and condition my gloves more often, and I use a mild leather cleaner or diluted Murphy's oil soap, then condition with Lexol.

 

Helmet liners can usually be removed and washed, check the manufacturer recommendation on that.

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I see.I will be using my jacket [ have procured a 2 piece suit ] daily.So i think i will need to take care of it more.Any inexpensive undersuit you guys recommend for the track?

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Any tight fitting lycra based garment. For a while I wore some inexpensive two piece shirt and pants that I obtained at a local sporting goods store for about $30. I saw 1pc lycra undersuits at a track day vendor and bought one. I prefer the 1pc garments because they don't move around as much as a separate top and bottom. Here's the one I bought at the track. I liked it so much that I bought a second one after the first day riding in it.

 

http://www.motodracing.com/coolmax-motorcycle-undersuit

 

As Hotfoot mentioned this does a few things for you. It keeps sweat away from your suit. It helps you cool faster and helps the sweat evaporate. It also makes your gear "float" on top of the undergarment avoiding a lot of the pinching and bunching when you are actively moving around on the bike. Staying cool and eliminating distraction helps immensely.

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It's held up pretty well. I have had them for about 6 months or so. Just be sure to zip it up before washing. It gets a bit tangled with other laundry otherwise. Having more than one is helpful too for multiple day events. A fresh clean one for every day. :)

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+1 for the base layer, I've only pulled the mesh out of my leathers for cleaning one time in the few years i've been using them,

 

I have a 2 piece set from A Stars and from Under Armour, I prefer the underarmour one myself, but sure why just do.

 

also a trick I have for cleaning it at the track when i'm there for 4 day stints, I use 5 gallon buckets of water for canopy weights, one has a small amount of laundry detergent in it, hand wash in one, rinse in 2 others, then hang dry overnight, fresh base layer every morning

 

as for cleaning my gloves and suit, I use simple green and a rag, it cleans just about anything

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Still reviewing what's good for gloves and such...going to try simple green.

 

I'd heard some mixed reviews about Lexol...anyone used it long term?

 

I did try mink oil on leathers. Reversed them and washed them, then mink oil and alchohol from the inside. Let sit in a large trash bag for a few days...wow, worked great. But, I want a day-to-day one that works well, still looking.

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I have a secret formula I don't normally share but you guys are friends and have helped me a TON with riding questions so I'll share...

 

My Range Rover has original Connolly Leather inside. When I bought it the leather was nearly ruined. I used a product called Leatherique and afterwards it looked like I had gone to an interior shop. I have used it on my suits with pretty decent results.

 

There's two products a cleaner and an oil. You can probably get away with just the oil and use detergent and water as the cleaner. It's expensive but it's worth it. It's a pretty "committed" treatment process with a long soak time. You can't just use the stuff and go out on an afternoon ride afterwards. It's pretty amazing stuff though as it soaks in and "feeds" the leather. A friend bought an old 1990's vintage suit that had been sitting for years and was pretty "crispy". We used Leatherique on it and it brought the suit back to presentable useable condition.

 

http://www.leatherique.com/

 

For day to day stuff I use ZEP leather conditioner and cleaner. It's Silicone based and is a good protector and brings shine back. It's quick and easy to use but it's not a deep conditioner. It's great for gloves and other stuff.

 

http://www.amazon.com/oz-Leather-Cleaner-Conditioner-Furniture/dp/B00NI1CZQA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414878804&sr=8-2&keywords=zep+leather+cleaner+and+conditioner

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Pecard's leather dressing and Skidmore's Leather Cream are at the top of my list after some research as far as leather conditioners go.There are also some equine products - Effax Lederbalsam and Passier Lederbalsam which are highly thought of.Others like Oakwood conditioner and Obenauf's are also spoken highly of.

 

Pecards makes a motorcycle leather kit you might want to check out.

 

http://www.pecard.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=Pecard&Product_Code=MLK-L&Category_Code=mleathdress

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We had tried Pecards, heard good stuff about it...that was a few years ago. Don't recall the results being outstanding, maybe time to give it another shot.

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Hey Guys,

 

I am finally getting a full kit of gear.I wanted to ask you all how you maintain it.Anything specific you do to your Helmet, Leathers, Gloves or Boots to keep them in good shape?

 

I was thinking of some kind of leather conditioner and waterproof for the leathers, gloves and boots to start with.Any suggestions?

 

Anything else i should know of? I ride in a hot climate, quite dusty also.Any deodorizing agents or something you guys use? Please advice as i am in the dark regarding this.

 

I do a lot of track days here in Texas, usually in temps over 100 degrees. I wash my Dainese suit after every use. I soak the suit in clean water then drain repeatedly until there is no smell of sweat. Then I set it on a towel in front of a blower until its dry enough (light enough) to hang up without stretching the shoulders then I leave the fan running until the suit is completely dry. At this point its stiff as a board so I then wipe it down with as much Lexol as it can take. As a result the suit still feels like new after 10-15 track days a year for 6 years, and looks like it could easily last another 6. And most importantly, it doesn't stink!

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Very interesting. How long does it take for the suit to be flexible again after "washing"?

 

Might have to try the washing thing sometime just to see how well it works. Sounds a bit scary though. Could be useful though for "breaking in" a suit. On a hot and dry day wet leathers might be like built in A/C at 100mph.

 

I use a lot of standby suits and lycra undergarments to keep my gear fresh and clean. I'm also rather lucky to have virtually no body scent at all. I could forget my deodorant and ride all day and nobody would notice. Comes in handy in hot humid 100 degree South Georgia track days. :)

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It can take all day for the suit to dry out. And its important to let the suit dry in the shade - drying it in the sun will cause it to fade.

Once its dry the leather is very stiff, but thats where the Lexol comes in. It restores all the natural oils and also cleans off dirt and bugs.

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Just to confirm...no soap of any kind?

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You can use Murphy's oil soap for cleaning leather. It is very gentle and helps prevent drying out of the leather; it's a lot less drying than plain water. A little goes a long way and it is inexpensive. You still want to use a leather conditioner afterwards.

 

I've used Murphy's oil soap and Lexol conditioner for years on leather horse tack.

 

I think the easiest way to maintain motorcycle leathers is to wear a washable underlayer (I like Under Armor) so you don't have to clean them as often. :)

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Just to confirm...no soap of any kind?

no soap at all.

The purpose of the rinse is to remove all the salt and ammonia that soaks into the leather. Soap has too many chemicals that do as much damage as the salt over the long term.
Once the suit rinses often enough there will be no smell of sweat which indicates that the leather substrate is about as clean as it can get. We're not concerned about the surface of the leather at this point, the lexol will take care of that during the wipedown.

 

After rinsing the leather is stiff and coarse but that all changes with enough lexol. As I said above, add lexol until the leather stops soaking it in. The result is the leather gets all the oils and preservatives that are normally broken down by sweat and soap.

 

(FYI i worked in a furniture restoration shop in college and my job was repairing and restoring leather furniture. It was this experience that allowed me to change the color of my suit and then keep it in good condition for so long despite heavy use and a crash)

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I've tried a few things over the years, didn't have the greatest results with Lexol...but maybe it was the fact I used a mild soap, not the lexol.

 

Our leathers get intensive use...the lower arms and legs have had so much salt they never really seem to come back all the way.

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I have to admit the same not so great results with Lexol. Full disclosure though my leathers only see water when I'm riding in the rain. Might have to get brave and try that sometime. It just seems WRONG to dunk a 2K suit in water. :)

 

I used Leatherique conditioner on a few of my suits but it's more suited to automotive applications. I tried Pecards through advice here in this thread and that's some AMAZING stuff.

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Wanted to touch on this again, as the coach leathers get very well used, salted, sweat in, like just about nothing else.

 

I recently came across a product, Aussie Conditioner. Got this at my local Tandy leather shop.

 

So far, it's been good, but the jury is still out.

 

Anyone have any experience with this, or another product that works well for extreme use leathers?

 

CF

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I've read that There are 2 types of Lexol and unless you READ the label carefully you, the consumer wouldn't know that you're buying the one they make in China vs the one made in USA. Same distributorships and all. It's an "authorized" point of manufacture from what I understand and they claim same ingredients, but people get different results.

One guy who reported on this in a MC Facebook group I'm in said that he will soon do a suit with 1/2 of each and do a side-side comparison.

On another note: another guy said he uses a Lexol Cleaner product in a front loading washing machine!!! Then he puts the conditioner in the softener bucket!!! Says he's been doing it for years but cautioned against suits with questionable threads or certain types of logos. I'm too chicken to try it but others have with good results.

We just got our 4-yo a used suit for Birthday next week (and a PW50) and it's got a lot of surface dirt. Mommy is going to try to revive it with some cleaner and conditioner.

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Second that on the Murphy's oil soap and Lexol conditioner. I also can't say enough good things about D-Moto's Baselayer and Coolmax Undersuit - both are superb with leathers to keep you cool and warm. I have both and wouldn't be happy without them.

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I started using a conditioner that I got from Tandy Leather, called Aussie Conditioner. So far it's working quite well. Our suits get so dried out from sweat, been very hard to find anything that will replace what is lost. Whatever is in this stuff is working pretty well. I think there are other Aussie Condtioners out there too.

 

I'll be interested if anyone else uses it, and the results.

 

Best,

Cobie

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I use products by Anthony's Leather works http://anthonysleatherworks.com/leathercare-products. I have experience with all but the salt remover as I wear an undersuit so my 1-piece have never gotten in that condition.

 

In my opinion they work very well. Leathers look (and smell) great.

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