If you’ve seen quite a few movies and TV shows where someone is simply riding with jeans, helmet, a leather motorcycle jacket and maybe boots, you’re really only getting half the picture of the gear you need to ride safely.
Some might think that someone having a lot of riding gear, such as proper jackets and trousers, is being a bit fussy, or pretentious, but the critics will be the ones unprotected out in the elements or in a collision. If you’re new to biking, and you purchase what’s recommended, you will be the one riding safely.
What Types of Riding Gear Are There, And Why Wear Them?
As we’ve mentioned, you’ve probably seen some people wear only half of the safety gear required. If you truly want to be safe, you’ll want to purchase the following:
- This is a must. Anytime you’re riding without one, you’re really asking for trouble. There are many styles of helmets, from the décor, to the technical design, and if you’re new to the motorcycle gear market, you’ll want to go into a shop to try on several different kinds to make sure you have a good fit: not too tight, and not too loose.
- You might think that gloves are unnecessary, especially in the summer when it’s warm out. But wrecks don’t always happen in fall or winter. They happen in summer, too, and gloves will protect your hands in such an event. Plus, they can provide added grip on the controls when you are sweaty.
- Gone are the days when leather was the only material available to motorcyclists. It’s a popular material, still, since it provides plenty of protection in a crash. But it does get hot, so there are jackets out there made with moisture-wicking material. Additionally, there are now high-visibility jackets with different brilliant colours, usually in ‘neon’ hues. There is an ongoing debate about how effective these are, but the debate is likely opinion-based, so it’s best to decide for yourself what works for you. Even if you mostly wear the high-vis gear because you like the colours, that’s better than not wearing it at all.
- Many cyclists still wear leather pants to ride in, and that’s quite often the best choice in many cases. However, if you don’t like how hot leather can get, or object to the use of animal hide, there are other types of trousers to wear, such as jeans that are reinforced with kevlar, so you have the stylish look of denim, but are more protected in the event of a crash than regular jeans. Some people even wear leather ‘chaps’ over their jeans for protection, if they want to have the option of both leather and denim. Plus that option has something of the ‘traditional’ aesthetic most associate with motorcycle riders, if that’s something you fancy.
Regarding boots: whether you wear boots specific to riding is up to you, but we certainly recommend you wear some sort of closed-toe shoe that’s sturdy. Flip-flop or ‘thong’ sandals, for example, are not going to keep you safe.
Making sure you have the proper gear on for riding doesn’t have to be boring, or stuffy. If you do a Google search, you’ll likely find many colours and designs that not only will protect you, but look quite stylish. Plus, having gear such as proper jackets and trousers, especially the high-vis gear, will allow you to be seen on the road on a rainy day.
While it’s true that purchasing extra gear for safety is an added expense, it’s worth it if riding a motorcycle is what you love doing.