The new material has a breathable waterproof and windproof membrane laminated directly to the leather outer, meaning it sheds water at first contact in a similar way to laminated textiles.
In theory, blending the superior crash protection of leather with the practicality of a waterproof and windproof membrane should make for the perfect combination.
Gore-Tex tried it back in 2008, but their laminate could only be produced in black, was very expensive and lacked flexibility.
The suits, which cost up to £2500 at a time when advanced textile combos were around £1000, made little impact and eventually dropped out of manufacturers’ ranges.
But the company behind Corium+, Barcelona-based MAT Group, say their new laminate is flexible, can be produced in a range of colours and most importantly is considerably cheaper.
Rukka’s 2019 Corium+ suit, the Coriace-R leather jacket, will cost £1750 – £900 and £850 for the Coriace-R leather jeans. That’s £750 less than their Lancelot Gore-Tex leather suit cost back in 2008. Take inflation into account and that old Lancelot suit would cost over three grand in today’s money.
And there will be a cheaper route into the Corium+ material. Rukka suit’s uses Corium+ Platinum, the higher of two grades of the laminate. SBS Mag understands another clothing manufacturer will be releasing a 2019 suit made from the regular-grade Corium+ and it will go on sale for around £1200.
MAT Group unveiled the new laminate at the recent Cologne bike show. They provided test data showing it’s considerably more breathable even than a standard leather suit, despite having the additional barrier of a waterproof membrane. It also showed it’s not far behind a top-end laminated textile suit in the battle to breathe.
Standard leather tends to have a polyurethane coating that reduces breathability, while Corium+ has either a very light outer coating (on the regular-grade laminate) or no coating at all (on the top-grade Platinum).
The tests, carried out with UK test house SATRA, involved heating up a metal form to 35°C to simulate body temperature. A variety of materials were then placed over the metal form and moisture was introduced between the two to replicate sweating. Humidity levels inside the suit were recorded and the test measured how quickly levels dropped as moisture escaped past each material.
Standard leather took the longest to return to a comfortable level of 40% humidity and the textile laminate was quickest. The Corium+ Platinum laminate wasn’t far behind the textile, while the regular-grade Corium+ was considerably more effective than standard leather.
The new material is likely to appeal to touring riders who would wear leather if only they didn’t have to carry a pair of waterproofs around with them.
Only time will tell whether Corium+ succeeds where Gore couldn’t, but the fact a top-line company like Rukka have shown faith in it bodes well for its future.
Their new suit, which looks strikingly similar to those produced using the Gore material in the late noughties, will go on sale early in the new year.