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Motorcycle undergarments make comfort the bottom line

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

When Shawn Lupcho switched back to riding motorcycles after a couple decades of bicycle racing, he took his bike-racing shorts with him, hoping they’d be just as effective at making the hours in the saddle more comfortable.

Shawn Lupcho’s line of undergarments are designed to put proper padding and support where needed for riding specific types of motorcycles.

They did not.

“They had padding where you didn’t want it and not where you needed it,” Lupcho said. And they were “way too tight” for all-day rides.

Lupcho, who got his first motorcycle when he was just 11, tried to cobble together solutions. He applied things he’d learned from his day job, which was selling medical equipment — everything from operating-room lights to breast implants.

“I tried sheepskin. I tried gel pads,” said Lupcho, who even tried using bubble wrap as padding in his quest for an effective undergarment for motorcycling.

Lupcho not only was trying things on his own, but was doing research into the exotic clothing designed for Tour de France athletes. He was able to track down the few companies in Italy and Switzerland which had been doing pressure-point research for three decades and used it to produce undergarments for world-class bicycle racers.

“I wanted something for myself, to improve my riding comfort,” Lupcho said. “I wasn’t going to compromise. I was going to use the absolute best technology.”

The result is Moto-Skiveez, a growing line of motorcycles undergarments not just for Lupcho but available to anyone. The line includes three specific styles of underwear, socks — and next, a shirt.

Launched in 2014, Moto-Skiveez not only produces underwear specially designed for motorcycle riders, but three versions — Cruiser, Adventure and Sport — because of the difference in the riding position on various types of motorcycles. There also is a style designed for women riders.

Each features various but carefully designed shapes and thicknesses and textures of different foams and fabric. For example, 6 mm reticulated high-density foam to cushion pelvic and tail bones in Cruiser; convex and concave corrugations with vertical ribs to impede irritation in Adventure; convex corrugations and horizontal ribs in Sport.

On a cruiser bike, Lupcho said, the rider is “fairly stationary,” while on a multi-purpose (adventure) bike, “the knee is lower and the leg is over the saddle and the pressure is on the inner thigh, and you’re moving on the seat.” On a sport bike, “your head isn’t up over the pelvis, it’s forward and the pressure is on the inner thigh and groin.”

“A lot of companies focus on outerwear (for motorcyclists),” Lupcho said. “Our space is what you put next to your skin to improve your riding comfort, and it’s designed to the specific needs of the motorcyclist.”

And thus, after a British study that linked long-distance motorcycle riding with lower-leg vein disease, the Moto-Skiveez sock provides light but not medical-grade compression and is made with 40 percent aloe vera fiber woven in the cloth.

Moto-Skiveez is based in Park City, Utah. Its products are sold online and in some motorcycle specialty shops. The undergarments have a suggested retail price of $60; socks are $24.95.

For information, visit the www.motoskiveez.com website.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.