No one buys a motorcycle because they’re safe to ride. In fact, you’re 33x more likely to get into an accident riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car.
This means you’ll want to wear the right safety gear when you’re riding just in case something happens. Without the proper riding gear your chances of serious injury increase exponentially.
Gear is just another expense that needs to considered when you start riding. Looking at the statistics it’s not a matter of if you’ll crash or get into an accident, it’s a matter of when.
Despite these grim facts you shouldn’t be deterred from riding. Using the right gear along with following defensive motorcycle riding tactics can provide you with a lifetime of worry-free rides.
Once you hop on the bike you won’t be worried about all the little things – you’ll be having too much fun!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the proper riding gear that will keep you safe and comfortable while riding. You can expect to learn more about choosing the right helmet, motorcycle gloves, motorcycle jacket, riding boots, and motorcycle pants.
Why Do You Need Good Motorcycle Gear?
It’s simple – the human body is not designed to withstand high speed impacts. We’re essentially a fragile bag of water, meat, and bones. In case of a crash or accident without the right gear the possibility of severe or fatal injury skyrockets.
You could severely hurt or critically injure yourself falling off a bicycle at less than 10 miles per hour. Imagine what happens at speeds of 50+ miles per hour or collisions with other hard and solid objects.
A helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle safety gear, but everything else plays an important role as well.
The helmet will protect your head while a jacket and gloves will protect your hands and upper torso. Without gloves or a motorcycle jacket you can expect broken bones and the skin getting peeled off your hands and exposed area.
Motorcycle pants, or jeans at the very least, protect your legs. Without them the skin will also be peeled off your body. Armored pants offer the best protection and help protect against broken bones or worse injuries.
Boots will keep your feet and lower legs safe. Without them you could suffer from broken feet or the motorcycle pegs going through your ankles. At the bare minimum you should be wearing a jacket, helmet, and boots for basic protection.
Another reason for riding with the right gear is to be comfortable during different weather conditions. At higher speeds are more susceptible to cooler weather, which can have an impact on your riding capabilities.
The right gear keeps you warm and dry while providing the comfort and ventilation you need for an enjoyable experience on the bike.
The most important piece of motorcycle gear is your helmet. This is probably the first thing you’ll buy and it’s worth investing in a quality helmet that will protect your head. Check out our motorcycle helmet buying guide to make the process as easy as possible if you’re new to riding!
While there are some places where wearing a helmet isn’t required, it’s definitely recommended for both safety and comfort. There are a number of advantages to riding with a helmet as opposed to leaving your head out in the open. These advantages include:
- Your face doesn’t get scraped off.
The first thing that hits the ground another vehicle in an accident or collision is your head, and by design your face. It’s actually your jaw that will make first contact in most cases. A full face helmet is designed to prevent injury to your head and keep your face from sliding along the ground. The bucket helmets aren’t recommended, although they’re better than nothing when it comes to your safety.
- Your brain is protected.
Apart from scraping off your face, you also don’t want your skull banging off the ground or coming into contact with a solid object. The helmet will protect your brain and the rest of your head should you ever come flying off the motorcycle. It also helps to protect your face from rocks and other debris on the road.
- You won’t be eating bugs for lunch.
Full face helmets are the safest and provide the most comfort for riding. With the face mask you won’t have bugs flying into your face or mouth while riding at high speeds. Taking a bug to the mouth or eye isn’t an enjoyable experience and can also be dangerous depending on the conditions. At lower speeds it’s comfortable to ride with the visor up, but a higher speeds the visor down is the best solution.
- You can hear your music or podcasts better.
Another benefit to riding with a full face helmet is that you can hear your music or podcasts better. Whether you’re using headphones or a Bluetooth headset, the enclosed helmet has better acoustics and less wind noise.
- The law requires it.
In almost every US State, all Canadian provinces, and in most countries around the world wearing a helmet is the law. Unless you’re exempt for a specific reason or living somewhere where a helmet isn’t required, you’re legally obligated to wear one. Since the law requires it, you’re better off going with a full face helmet for the best safety and comfort level.
The next most important piece of motorcycle equipment is a pair of proper motorcycle gloves that provide ample protection. After your head and jaw, it’s your hands that will come in contact with the ground or another object should you get thrown from the bike.
Without any gloves, or even if you’re wearing gloves without proper protection, your hands will be susceptible to serious injury. Broken and crushed bones, skin scraped off to the bone, or even losing a finger are what you can expect if you’re not wearing the right gloves.
The reason your hands are so susceptible is because you’re likely going to extend them to protect the rest of your body in case of an accident, fall, or collision. This means they’ll be coming into contact with the ground or a hard object at a high speed of travel.
Some people will recommend leather gloves, although these are necessary for the best protection. Leather gloves are great, but any pair of armored gloves are a piece of necessary gear.
Personally, I prefer lightweight gloves with ample ventilation and armor. Leather gloves are suitable for cooler temperatures but are not comfortable to wear during the summer riding season.
Gloves with armor will protect your hands and knuckles if you happen to get into an accident. They also protect your hands from rocks, bugs, and other debris that gets thrown up on the road.
We put together a super helpful, in-depth guide on finding the best motorcycle gloves. You’ll definitely want to check that out if you’re a new rider or looking to upgrade to a better pair.
Motorcycle jackets are designed to protect your body, specifically your upper torso, from any riding mishaps or accidents. Properly designed motorbike jackets will offer ample protection and are comfortable to wear. The protection will include shoulder pads, elbow pads, and a back pad.
As for being comfortable to wear, look for jackets that are made from lightweight materials. There should also be ventilation zips to keep you comfortable and cool while riding in warmer temperatures.
Typically you can choose between leather and synthetic jackets depending on your preferences. Leather moto jackets will be heavier and not a suitable for warm weather riding. They also tend to be more expensive and better suited for a specific type of rider.
I recommend looking for jackets made from comfortable, lightweight materials such as ballistic mesh and polyester. These tend to be more affordable and they’re more comfortable to wear for longer rides.
Always check to ensure the jacket you’re interested in provides you with the proper protection as mentioned above. If you’re riding year round you’ll likely have to invest in both a summer and winter jacket so that you’re comfortable in all seasons.
While wearing a jacket isn’t always ideal, such as during the peak of summer temperatures, it’s your safety that’s the most important. At lower speeds you might be sweating, but once you reach cruising speed the wind will keep you cool and dry. When it comes to riding it’s better to be safe rather than sorry so invest in the best moto jacket that you can afford.
Motorcycle boots offer a few benefits for riding. Along with protecting your feet and ankles in case of a crash, they provide better traction on the controls. A quality pair of boots also makes it easier to shift gears and provides grip when you’re at a complete stop.
These days there are a number options for motorcycle boots depending on your preferences and style of riding. The best motorcycle boots will come reinforced, feature a sturdy design, and will have over the ankle protection.
Look carefully at the specification of any boots you’re interested in. Just like with jackets, you’ll have to buy boots that are made for different riding conditions.
For example, you wouldn’t want thick, waterproof boots if you spend most of your time writing on warm summer days. There are different boots for different styles of riding so keep this in mind when you’re looking for a pair.
The safest boots will come with a reinforced heel and toe box as well as over the ankle protection. This is important for protecting your feet it helps to prevent the bike from crushing your toes or ankles.
Avoid wearing sandals at all costs when you’re out on a ride. Not only can you suffer small injuries from bugs and rocks, but your toes and feet will be severely damaged in case of an accident or collision.
I’ll be honest with you – I don’t personally wear motorcycle pants. Each time I’m out on the bike I’m taking a risk by not wearing them, but jeans are more comfortable and practical for my style of riding.
That’s not to say that this is a good idea. Motorcycle pants provide much more protection than jeans when you’re on the bike. Jeans will get shredded up and your legs will be injured in case of an accident.
Wearing motorcycle pants is the best solution for the safest riding experience. These pants come with armor and additional reinforcements in the common impact zones, such as your knees. You can even find pants designed to look like normal jeans is looking cool is something you’re worried about.
Riders have two options when it comes to safe motorcycle pants – textile and leather. Both these styles offer better protection compared to jeans and will protect your legs and lower body in case of an accident or collision.
How Much Should You Spend on Motorcycle Gear?
Buying everything brand new will set you back a pretty penny. This is an expense that needs to be budgeted for when you’re buying your first motorcycle.
For a new helmet, motorcycle jacket, gloves, motorcycle pants, and boots you can expect to spend between $1000 and $2500 USD. Those of you on a budget will want to check your local used marketplace to see what’s available.
It’s recommended to buy your helmet brand new. You never know if a used helmet was dropped or abused. As this is the most important piece of motorcycle gear it’s best to buy it new.
Everything else can be purchased new or used depending on your budget. Some of the best places to buy motorcycle gear online include Amazon, Revzilla, Fortnine, and AliExpress. We put together a post on where to buy motorcycle gear online that you can check out.
Consider this gear to be an investment in your safety and motorcycle riding comfort. Once you have the basics out of the way there’s no need to buy anything else.
After riding for a few months you’ll eventually discover that there are other items you need or upgrades you could make. This would be the next best time to invest in more motorcycle gear.
For the best prices consider buying everything at the end of the riding season. This is when both local and online retailers will be trying to offload everything and you’ll find the best prices.