The first motorcycle kidney belts started being seen on the American marketplace in 1919 after the GREAT WAR. Motorcycle kidney belts are the canvas of America in the late 1920s to the 1950s as a form self expression folk art to the function of safety of the rider.
The first customer kidney belt were racers, who required waist and back protection, As motorcycles and tracks got faster the racer looked for a way to protect them self, from damage organs either from strain or shock. The kidney belts were also used for long-distance motorcycle riding over the bad roads of the 1920s by the average motorcycles. These kidney belts were nothing new, having been used by weightlifters and manual laborers.
By 1927, accessories catalogs from the big motorcycle companies start showing up everywhere. Some of these early belts are the best one ever made. By the time of the 1930s to the early 1950s every motorcyclist used one.
Yes, the kidney belt is great for some rider protection, but one of the big reasons these items became extremely popular was “fashion.” Kidney belts were super-cool accessories during the golden age of the motorcycle club boom years.
Kidney belts came in many styles from ones made with spot of every size to basket weave and spot belts, ones with little zip pocket too. Even 6” tall belt buckles. You could even go so far as to buy kidney belts to match your saddle bag, vinyl welting, and a patterns of overlay flowers. No motorcycle rider was complete without his belt, hat, shirt, pants, and boots all matching his motorcycle.
Kidney belts became more fashion than protective as roads got better and styles were changing. The kidney belts still have their place today. They just need to get back to the function of protecting our backs and made in heavy leather like the first ones and not some imitation elastic nightmare.