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Spidi , technology at the service of bikers

At Spidi , we work without ostentation to develop the most advanced motorcycle equipment possible. However, with a well-established tradition and so many efforts made to improve the safety of its products, the Italian brand deserves to be looked into! Come, Spidi opens its doors to us.

Sarego, Venice region, Italy. In a building that hides its heart beneath the anonymous exterior of an industrial zone, the world of Spidi flourishes. Once through the door, there is no excess, everything is on a human scale, like the good-natured, almost family atmosphere that you feel upon reception.

Well, all the same, the numbered Honda NR 750 topped with a splendid MV Agusta F4, displayed right in front of the counter, reminds us that it is the motorcycle virus that is mainly responsible for what is going on here!

One of 322 Honda 750 NRs ever produced is on display at Spidi

One of 322 Honda 750 NRs ever produced is on display at Spidi

A coffee later, I get to the heart of the matter. They send me to the Safety Lab, the research and development department of Spidi . It is in this space filled with devices identical to those found in approval laboratories that the Italian brand develops the protection of its equipment. The manufacturer clearly places the safety of its customers on a pedestal, which is confirmed by the surface area allocated to this laboratory, which is significant on the scale of the premises.

Pietro Zanetti, site manager, adds that the protection must be as transparent as possible for the biker: “A back protector, no matter how effective, will end up being removed from the jacket if the customer feels any discomfort. For us, the first safety measure is not to fall! And for this, comfort is the best ally, because by delaying fatigue, it improves alertness. In other words, security goes beyond the simple dimension of protection. »

The impact test bench, led by Pietro Zanetti, Spidi R&D manager

The impact test bench, led by Pietro Zanetti, Spidi R&D manager

Motorcycle gloves, Spidi ’s historic core business

In the beginning was the motorcycle glove...

The Carbo Track, a high-end glove from Spidi , is 173 pieces per hand

The Carbo Track, a high-end glove from Spidi , is 173 pieces per hand

A philosophy that dates back to the creation of the brand, in 1977. The Italian has forged his aura as a technical equipment expert on this essential element that connects us to the motorcycle: the glove. Spidi gloves, well thought out and comfortable, are quickly recognized as the best on the market. Many drivers from the 80s as prestigious as Freddy Spencer and Kenny Roberts preferred Spidi gloves. Although the range has subsequently expanded – and will continue to do so in the future – gloves remain the Venetian brand's area of ​​expertise. Its Carbo Track today embodies the pinnacle of its know-how.

It goes without saying, technology has evolved a lot in the meantime. When in 1977 a racing glove consisted of 64 parts, today there are more than 173... Before my eyes, several generations of protections arranged on the large central table also bear concrete witness to the evolution of the equipment. A knee shell from ten years ago provides protection that is still up to date, but great progress has been made in terms of ergonomics, particularly in terms of lightness or finesse.

Different generations of Spidi protections

Each practice has its own protection

A quick examination of this small retrospective of Spidi shells also shows that they are designed for a specific use: the racing reinforcements thus provide much more coverage than their road equivalent and have a rigid external part to facilitate gliding, when the “road” hull emphasizes comfort and flexibility.

The work carried out by Pietro's team in recent years has highlighted that the semi-rigid design in thermoformed cubes on the exterior part offered excellent performance in terms of impact absorption and shock wave distribution. And the impact tests carried out before my eyes on a Warrior back protect this theory: the reinforcements which use this pattern claim a level of damping higher than that imposed by the approval standards. All while offering greater resistance to perforation and hyperextension than flexible protections! I admit that this little demonstration convinced me of the merits of this common denominator of Spidi protections.

Spidi 's most comprehensive chest protection, still available as an option
The Cube 3D format developed by Spidi for its protections

The Cube 3D format developed by Spidi for its protections

SPIDI , unique solutions on the equipment market

The Spidi Full DPS airbag , mechanical and protective

As you can imagine, leathers and textiles must also go through a battery of tests before being designated as suitable. Abrasion, puncture, tearing, etc. are all tortures to which the contending materials are subjected on dedicated benches. Combined with the appropriately placed protective shells, safety will be there. In this regard, it should be noted that most of the jackets in the range can be fitted with a single-piece chest protection reinforcement. Uncommon, this element is nevertheless very useful: on a motorcycle, frontal impacts are not uncommon...

Likewise, Spidi was one of the first brands to offer an airbag for motorcyclists, in the form of a universal vest to put on over the jacket. The formula has evolved: the latest generation of DPS is more covering and better thought out. Spidi has preserved the mechanical trigger for its reliability and ease of reloading (can be done by the customer), while others swear by electronics. Triggering allowed me to see the effectiveness of the system, which remains under pressure for a long time. The inflatable cushion covers the most critical parts of the bust and prevents rabbit neck by blocking the helmet. It is completed with a Warrior backbone.

Spidi has the equipment to make custom motorcycle boots for its riders

Spidi has the equipment to make custom motorcycle boots for its riders

At the center of all attention, leather

We leave the R&D room and enter the manufacturing workshop. As at his neighbor Dainese, only the equipment of the pilots sponsored by Spidi is made on site. Here the leather elements of the suits and gloves of Tito Rabat, Hector Barbera and Scott Redding are cut and sewn by workers who are experts in their trade. Part of the workshop is even dedicated to the manufacture of XPD boots. The brand was in fact founded by Spidi in 2000. In short, here you will find everything you need to equip a tailor-made track rider from head to toe! Pietro then crosses the area where the prototypes are made, based on old-fashioned cardboard patterns. This workshop smells of leather craftsmanship…

Making a Spidi suit for Hector Barbera, MotoGP rider at Avintia

Making a Spidi suit for Hector Barbera, MotoGP rider at Avintia

Cut out the leather pieces using the pattern

Emiliano Busacchi, chief designer, explains to me how Spidi 's DNA is closely linked to its geographical location. Veneto has always been a leather production area. So the tanners who supply the skins to be transformed into gloves, jackets and other Spidi suits are neighbors. When he needs leather with specific characteristics, Emiliano goes there and describes his needs. The tanners will use the different tools in their possession to best meet these specifications: chrome treatment to make the skin rot-proof, mineral or vegetable tanning depending on the desired properties and appearance, surface treatment to visually homogenize the skin , application of a polyurethane varnish for protection…

The cult of detail

All these parameters open up a very wide range of possibilities, perfectly exploited by the brand. So, in the showroom, this majestic space whose contemporary design elegantly highlights the collection, Emiliano presents to me the new products that will punctuate the 2017 Spidi catalog. From high-end racing suits to vintage jackets and urban equipment, leather will present a spectacular number of facets! Cowhide leather, certainly the majority, rubs shoulders with lamb, calf, goat, and even deer...

Some special finishes even involve finding a specific supplier for a single model.

But product identity goes well beyond the choice of leather and its cut. Looking at the vintage Spidi collection, I noticed that the designers sought to make each model unique down to the smallest detail. Imagine that all the linings of all the jackets are different! Here a felt, there an aged cotton, elsewhere a patterned textile... Major work of aesthetic research, which demonstrates a keen concern for quality. We don't know the standard at Spidi !

The variety of leathers, cuts and finishes is impressive in the Spidi range!
Felt lining in a vintage Spidi jacket

SPIDI , advanced motorcycle equipment

The secret of Spidi lies in a clever alchemy. Knowing how to keep one foot in a rich history and at the same time deploy a lot of energy to develop your motorcycle equipment so that it is as reliable as possible. However, I will especially remember from this visit the die-hard side of the Italian brand. It thus refines its products to the extreme, at the cost of a certain profitability, so that the equipment that you receive at home corresponds perfectly to the initial concept, designed to meet your expectations. A formula probably made possible because Spidi knew how to keep a human dimension. At Spidi , passion trumps volume and marketing. An approach that deserves to be applauded!

Emiliano Buzacchi, Chief Designer, talks to me about the evolution of Spidi gloves since 1977

Emiliano Buzacchi, Chief Designer, talks to me about the evolution of Spidi gloves since 1977

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Editor and tester for Motoblouz , I am an unconditional fan of roads with bends. For me, the motorcycle is a means of escape as well as a means of transport.

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