So you have your new bike and you’re almost ready to hit the road, all you need now is some durable riding gear. We’re going to go over what you need to be comfortable, safe, and prepared for your ride.
Having the right gear is incredibly important when riding a motorcycle. The damage that can be done to your body when an accident occurs can be serious and life threatening. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself, other than driving as safely as possible, is wearing the best gear. Since you aren’t fully enclosed and protected while riding a bike, the gear you purchase is that much more important and priceless.
Let’s start with helmets. Helmets are not required in every state. However, they are by-far the most important safety feature you can have. According to multiple studies, full face helmets will provide the most protection. Most studies show a large amount of impacts to motorcycle helmets occur around the face in an area that would only be covered with a full-face helmet. When choosing a helmet, be sure it is marked with a DOT-approved sticker and regardless of cost, be sure to buy new. A used helmet is extremely dangerous as it is difficult to tell if it is damaged or not. Each helmet is made from a hard outer shell that envelopes a layer of expanded polystyrene, so you will not be able to tell if the polystyrene has been compressed or not without cutting open the helmet to view that layer. Because the polystyrene layer can easily be compressed from various damaging elements, you should replace your helmet every few years. Snell and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation both recommend replacing your helmet at least every 5 years to be sure it is providing you with the safest protection possible. Whatever style you choose, be sure to try out a variety to find the helmet that fits the shape and size of your head best.
Next on our list of important gear to keep you protected is a motorcycle jacket. A jacket will do the duty of covering other important parts of your body. Motorcycle jackets usually fall between two categories: leather and textile. These materials work best to protect your body as they are durable and work as an armor to absorb impacts and cushion your fall. When purchasing a motorcycle jacket, be sure it comes with a “CE” safety rating. When sizing out your jacket, find a jacket that fits snugly, but leaves your arms space to move around freely. Before choosing a jacket, be sure to consider the type of bike you ride with and the weather you typically ride in to find a jacket that will work best for you.
After you nailed down a jacket, it’s time to find riding pants. Pants are available in leather and textile materials just like your jacket. You also want to look for pants that have a “CE” safety rating. You may be able to find a combo that zip together, creating a full body suit for complete protection. Wearing regular denim jeans will not protect you in an accident. Jeans that are made from or include Kevlar can offer you slightly more protection, but do not provide as good of protection like true riding pants.
Now let's move on to pick out boots and gloves. You want to find a sturdy pair of boots to support the weight of your bike and yourself. Look for boots that are oil-resistant with non-slip soles and have good ankle support. Motorcycle boots are important for protecting you from the elements and the possibility of a foot or ankle injury. When purchasing the perfect boot for you, consider numerous factors including the height of the boot, the types of material in the boots, construction of the boots, the closures on them, and the style of riding they do. As there are different styles of boots, including off-road motorcycle boots, racing boots, touring boots and cruiser boots, the rider should choose boots that fit their style of riding best. Once you find a boot that fits snugly and works best for the type of riding you do, be sure to take extra care of them to preserve their longevity.
Lastly, you’ll be searching for the perfect riding gloves to complete your riding outfit. During an accident, your hands are usually the first body parts to touch down. You want to find motorcycle gloves that fully cover your fingers, palms and the back of your hands and wrists. When shopping for the perfect glove, choose gloves with a retention strap that are made with abrasion-resistant materials and a strong stitching. When you find the gloves that fit you best, be sure to take good care of them so they last a long time. Caring for gloves includes cleaning them to get rid of the road grime and sweat. Washing with a light soap and allowing them to dry naturally is recommended.
Other items you want to consider purchasing include a full head-to-toe motorcycle suit, body armor, long underwear, earplugs, and eye protection. Full body suits can be pretty expensive and if you’re just starting to ride, you may want to look towards finding a jacket and pant set that can zip together for now. You may also want to look into buying armor, which can protect you from the impact of a crash by absorbing the fall. Long underwear is available to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We recommend earplugs as the inside of a motorcycle helmet can be as loud as a jet engine while riding on a highway. Last but not least, be sure to take care of your eyes and wear protection, whether you use a visor attachment or sunglasses.
Once you’ve protected your body properly, you’re ready to head out. Be sure to check the weather before starting and ensure you have everything you need. Remember to drive safely, be seen, and wear the right gear at all times.