If like me you are riding through the winter, you have no doubt taken care of your bike to protect it from salt and water damage, But what about your riding gear?
It is recommended that all leather riding gear should be treated about every 3 to 4 months to help keep it in good condition. If you intend riding throughout the winter it may be an idea to give your riding gear a bit of TLC at the start of the winter and possibly a couple times during the bad weather as well, especially if you want them to stay supple, warm and waterproof.
If you ride regularly in the wet you should always allow wet or damp leather to air-dry naturally away from any heat source. You should avoid extreme heat or humidity as it may damage the leather’s natural oils and cause your gear to become rigid and possibly split. If you notice that your leathers become stiff after drying them out it probably means that your gear needs leather conditioner applied to it.
Also, if you ride through the winter you will no doubt encounter salt thrown up from the road by the other vehicles around you! If this does happen you should promptly remove salt deposits from garments by sponging with clear water, then follow with the above treatment for wet or damp leather.
Here is a simple guide to cleaning and conditioning your leather gear.
First, you must clean your leathers before you condition them. Never condition dirty or wet leathers, as they will degrade faster due to the conditioning oils trapping the water and dirt in the leather. If your leathers are not noticeably soiled, give them a wipe down with a slightly damp cloth and let them dry at room temperature overnight. If your leathers need a more thorough cleaning use a good quality leather cleaner. Regardless of how you clean them, always allow your leathers to air-dry completely at room temperature before you condition them. You should always hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to help maintain their shape.
Next, choose a good leather conditioner and apply a small amount onto a soft cloth and work it gently into the leather. Once you have applied it to the whole garment allow it to sit for half an hour and fully absorb the conditioner, if necessary apply a second coat. Once you have finished applying the conditioner and allowed it to soak into the leather, wipe any excess off with clean dry cloth.
Simple and job done..
Soft, supple leathers which will not only stay warm and waterproof, but as they are looked after properly they will stay looking good for many years to come.