You need to start researching motorcycle gear when you decide to get a motorcycle. The options can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to protective gear. When it comes to gear, factors include the level of protection, what you’re legally required to have, price, style, and functionality.
There are trade-offs you need to consider based on your environment and plans. When you decide to buy stylish riding denim instead of regular jeans for the greater protection, this won’t work well when you’re in a rainy environment. The cheapest motorcycles helmets may let you meet the minimum legal requirements, but it may not keep your head cool when the sun is beating down on you. You can balance this by knowing the must-haves for your gear and then selecting among the remaining choices based on what you want. Here is a beginner’s guide to motorcycle gear.
Helmets can be seen as the minimum motorcycle gear, though it is unwise to be riding around helmet-only to meet the minimum legal requirements. Helmets are essential biking gear since it is hitting your head on the concrete that is most likely to kill you. Slide along while your head bounces like a ball and you risk a lifetime of brain damage. So, buy a decent helmet, and always wear it. Here is a helmet buyer’s guide so you know what to look for.
Does quality of the helmet matter? Cheap helmets are just as safe as expensive helmets when it comes to impact protection. Their visors, too, have to meet the same performance standards since this prevents road debris from flying up and blinding a rider. Helmets vary on how much air circulation they provide, style, and aerodynamics. Let’s be honest: most beginner motorcycle riders aren’t racers who need to pay twice as much for a slight improvement in aerodynamic drag. The more important issue is the helmet’s fit. Put the helmet on and turn your head. It shouldn’t rotate. Also, make sure the helmet’s design doesn’t impede your vision in any way. You learn that from trying it on, though reviews in a helmet buyers guide help you make your choice.
Look for motorcycle gloves designed to protect your hands in extreme conditions; not fashion gloves or general winter cloves. They’re assembled differently and have much more durable material. The best gloves will protect your hands from both abrasion and impact. You want gloves with a retention strap that keeps the gloves on your wrist even as you’re crashing. Palm sliders, which let your hand slide on the pavement instead of grabbing it, preventing the force of contact from radiating up your wrist, will save you from a broken wrist in an accident.
Your gloves also need to be windproof and waterproof. Insulation is ideal.
A one-piece leather suit offers significant protection from scrapes and even impact, though that’s more applicable if you’re on a sports bike than the average cruiser. The solution for most motorcycle riders is a separate jacket and pair of pants. A leather jacket of some sort offers some protection. Heavier materials and thicker (or stronger) leather provide greater protection. This is an area where price is correlated to the degree of protection.
Armor on the jacket is what protects you in a crash. Cheap jackets have elbow armor. Better jackets have armor that extends down to the wrist, offering more protection. You want armor that is CE rated; CE2 is twice as protective as CE1.
Waterproof membranes should be something you look for in a motorcycle jacket. Gore-Tex keeps you dry through a hurricane, while other materials get you through a light shower. If you will be riding through heavy rain often, look for jackets with storm flaps and multiple zippers that seal up the jacket, keeping out water.
Don’t order jackets a layer up, with the idea that you’ll wear layers under it. The jackets are actually designed with that in mind. And if you buy something too big, the armor will shift so that it doesn’t protect you properly, so order your size.
Many new motorcycle riders don’t realize the criticality of wearing protective pants until they hit something or tip, skidding along the ground. They lose an inch of flesh when they slide on the pavement at 55 miles per hour if they’re lacking any type of protective clothing. Jeans offer a little protection compared to riding in a pair of shorts. Riding jeans have slightly more protection while providing a similar degree of breathability as jeans. Leather chaps worn over the jeans offer more protection at an increased cost. Leather riding pants offer the most protection, though they cost even more. And leather is notorious for trapping heat in unless you pay for top-notch leather that lets your body breathe.
You want pants that contain armor, such as protecting your knees. And you want armor that provides as much coverage as possible, such as protecting your hips and lower back.
Choosing the right gear is essential for a comfortable ride. It’s also important for your protection. So, make sure that you invest in the proper gear for your safety if you want to make the most out of your motorcycling experience.