When it comes to buying a leather motorcycle suit, jacket or pants lots of people get confused – what does full grain, top grain and napa leather mean, and more important which is better. First leather motorcycle clothing can be made from cow hide, or hides from sheep, lambs, horses and kangaroos. The use of kangaroo leather is becoming more popular for its suppleness, light weight and strength compared with other hides.
Full Grain Leather
In order to be classed as 'full grain', the leather must not be buffed or sanded on the top so the full natural grain, and strength, is retained throughout the tanning process. Full grain leather is typically found in the leather used to make one-piece motorcycle suits at the more expensive end of the market.
Top Grain Leather
When the natural grain of the leather is sanded to remove imperfections and an imitation grain is pressed or embossed into the surface the leather is classed as 'top grain'. Top grain leather is used by majority of motorcycle clothing manufacturers.
Napa leather or sheep/lampskin leather, is naturally one of the softest on the market. If it looks good and feels good, then it probably is, but it's not always a better or more expensive grade of leather like true Napa. Napa leather is popular with cruiser/touring motorcyclists products and it's rarely used for road riding suits or sportsbike jackets.
You best buy a leather cleaning solution, that won't shrink or damage the structural integrity of leather, they say. You can buy it for about 200 to 400 THB to wash a few pieces. We tried it out, and it works pretty good.