Choosing the right bike is obviously an important and personal decision, and what’s right for one person might not be right for another. While most riders understand this, the same is true for your apparel and gear. Having the right motorcycle gear is necessary for safe, comfortable rides, and will ultimately help you get the most out of your bike. So, we’re going to talk a bit about why having the right gear matters, the essential apparel and gear items, quality brands and some newer products that are making a splash
Why Good Gear Matters
Let’s address the obvious: when riding, you’re going much faster than the human body is really built to handle, sometimes exceeding 80 miles per hour. Even if you’re just an around-town rider going 30 miles per hour, that’s still fast enough to cause life threatening damage in the case of a crash. The body simply isn’t built to handle that level of impact. Luckily, having the right apparel and gear can help absorb some of the blow and often lessen injuries sustained.
As experienced riders know, the right gear might not only make you safer, but also just more comfortable. When you’re on the road you’re pretty exposed to the elements, so weather plays a big role in the kind of ride you have. Even on a mild day, when you’re going at high speeds 55 degrees F can feel more like 30 degrees F. The proper gear can even help your body cool off during a ride on a brutally hot day.
And that’s just the temperature—then there’s rain, wind, and sun factoring in as well. Especially with the volatile nature of weather, it pays to have the right gear and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
Must Haves in Gear and Apparel
While there is tons of cool gear out there that can make riding safer and more enjoyable, there are some items that many riders view as essential. Helmets, jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and armor all feature very prominently as must have riding accessories.
It should come as no surprise that a helmet is often considered the number one and most important piece of gear for a rider to own. It is an indispensable way to give your head—likely the most vulnerable and important part of your body—the protection is needs and deserves. Thankfully, you won’t need to break the bank to find a protective helmet, as plenty of good ones are made at affordable prices.
Jacket and Pants
Your jacket and pants will serve as another line of defense for some of the other fragile areas of your body, like your arms, ribs, skin, and internal organs. Just as with a helmet, the best motorcycle jackets are specifically designed to minimize your injuries in case of a crash. Jackets and pants can be made out of leather—for the classic biker look—or textiles. Both are capable of offering quality protection.
Protecting your hands is one of the most useful things you can do. In the case of a crash, your hands are often the first things to touch down, and are usually essential for getting yourself back up. Good motorcycle gloves should cover your entire hand, overlapping with your jacket, and come with a retention wrist strap to ensure that they stay on. Different materials are used, with abrasion-resistant materials being ideal.
Brands To Look For
Many people believe Shoei produces the world’s premier motorcycle helmets. The company has a long, trusted reputation as the leading producer of high-end motorcycle helmets. While they don’t exactly have a cheap price tag, they are high performance helmets, and may be worth the extra investment if it means protecting your head. Go here for details on some popular Shoei helmet models. If you can’t afford to go for a Shoei, there are plenty of more affordable helmets on the market.
As for the other gear and apparel, there are a lot of quality brands out there, and sometimes it is best to head into a retailer and talk to someone to ensure you’re getting the items that are right for you. However, Victory Brand is a longstanding producer of all things motorcycle-related, including pretty much all the gear and apparel you could conceive of needing.
Alpinestars J-8 Shoes
Boots tend to be the go-to for most riders, as they are sturdy and offer decent protection to your feet and ankles. However, sneaker-lovers will be stoked to see these new riding shoes. Branded as “street bike protection, designer sneaker style”, these shoes give you the protection you’re looking for, but with a more modern and fashionable vibe.
Saint’s Model 1 Jean
Presented as “the world’s strongest pair of single layer jeans”, these pants are equally committed to comfort and function. Along with the included hip and knee armor, the Model 1 Jean is made from a single-layer abrasion-resistant material, making them functional but also breathable and able to be worn comfortably all day.
There’s a lot to consider when picking out the motorcycle gear and apparel that will perfectly complement you, your bike, and your riding style and preferences. But it’s worth it to do your research and find exactly what’s right for you, because a good ride, needs to be a safe and comfortable one as well.