Riding a motorcycle is fun, but it is a dangerous activity nonetheless. Motorcycles offer minimal protection to the rider, requiring them to wear riding gear to prevent sustaining injuries during an accident. Most beginner motorcycle riders have various questions regarding the riding gear they require.
The most common doubt they have is How much riding gear do I actually need? It is very important to protect every body part while riding a motorcycle. To prevent injuries and damage to yourself, you must wear complete riding gear such as a riding jacket, riding pants, riding boots, riding gloves, and a DOT certified helmet.
There are various kinds of riding gear for every season, type, and riding style. For summers, riding jackets, gloves, and pants are designed with ventilation pockets and lighter to keep the body cool and promote air circulation.
Riding boots are also designed for selected weather conditions. Season-specific riding boots are available for summers, winters, and even the rainy season. If you do not have a luxurious budget that can cater to these needs individually, then you can go with all-weather riding gear.
While these are slightly costlier than normal gear, it allows you to use the equipment through the year in changing weather conditions.
There are many motorcycle riders that ride without certain riding gear. However, we highly recommend that you do not follow this practice. No one can predict what can happen on the road. Therefore, wearing complete riding gear may just end up saving your life in a crash. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
It is very important that you always have your helmet on before a ride. You can skip wearing a riding jacket if it is too expensive or uncomfortable for you.
However, ensure that you purchase separate protection for your elbows and hands. You can also purchase chest protectors that can be worn in a regular shirt or jacket for additional safety.
From personal experience, separate protectors are not the most comfortable while riding. They have a tendency to slide from their original place, which will require you to stop and adjust them regularly.
My personal opinion would be to purchase an all-weather riding jacket and pants as well as two or three pairs of riding gloves.
You can wear gloves according to the season, and all-weather gear with its various layers will keep you comfortable and safe during your ride, be it during winter or the rain.
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Do Motorcycle Gear Help?
Motorcycle gears come with different levels of protection for the important joints of the body like the shoulders, wrists, elbows, and knees. It also offers protection to the chest, back, and thighs. There are three different levels of armor that you can buy separately and use with gear like jackets and pants.
Riding gear armor is made up of high-density foam combined with carbon fiber or Kevlar composite. This makes them lightweight and strong, allowing them to handle any kind of impact and protect the rider from fractures, abrasions, and impact injuries.
The famous acronym ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) is one that you must follow religiously. If you are thinking of riding to a nearby store to buy some stuff, you may feel the need to ride with minimal gear or no gear at all. However, it is more common to get in an accident in such situations than when you are on a long ride.
In an accident, your gear is the only thing between you and the hard surface you are about to impact such as the road, another vehicle, or the pavement. Therefore, ensure that you are in full riding gear every single time before you take your motorcycle out.
All motorcycle armors are certified by the government as well as private organizations to ensure the highest standards of safety. There are differences between each level of armor that you can read about in this detailed article by Wikipedia.
Some studies prove that wearing armor or riding gear can help in protecting various body parts. In the table attached below, you can see how many injuries can be prevented if you are in proper riding gear.
Wearing any kind of protective riding gear can reduce the risk of getting a back or spine injury by 116% and for the chest, it can reduce the damage by upto 23%. Wearing proper riding pants and boots can help prevent any kind of injury to your legs by 45-53%.
If you want to read a detailed study on how riding gear contributes to rider protection, then you can read up on a study conducted by Marine Corps Safety & Force Preservation. I have attached the link for the same here.
How Much Should You Spend on Riding Gears?
Budget can be an issue for many new riders when they are out buying riding gear for the first time. Many of us also get confused about how much is too much when it comes to spending on motorcycle riding gear.
There is no definite answer to such a question, as requirements and preferences vary from rider to rider. Having a higher budget or specific brand in mind can also have a big influence on the gear you wish to purchase.
Before buying a new motorcycle, you should keep around 5-7% of the total budget for riding gear. Once you purchase your new motorcycle, pick out good quality riding gear that comes with at least level 1 armor.
Get an all-weather riding jacket and riding pants if you are looking to avoid spending on two or more different jackets for different seasons. Getting a good quality product can ensure you are safe and also make your riding experience much more comfortable.
Don’t forget to buy riding boots and riding gloves as these can also be helpful during a crash. Once, I did not have my riding gloves on me while I was out riding in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, I made contact with a car that had something attached to one of its mirrors. The resulting impact fractured my tiny finger which resulted in me undergoing surgery to get it fixed.
That was when I realized the true worth of riding gloves. In short, don’t skip any of your riding gear. Remember to follow the ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) rule and wear them all.
However, this does not mean that you have to overspend while choosing your riding gear. Do your research and pick out the products that meet your requirements and budget, while being comfortable as well.
Important things to keep in mind while Buying Motorcycle Gear (for Beginners)
If you are a beginner rider, you will now have an approximate idea of how much you must keep aside to buy motorcycle gear.
If this is your first time purchasing a motorcycle, you may not have anything at all. Therefore, I thought of sharing a few points with you if you are a beginner rider looking to procure new riding gear.
Buying new riding gears can be confusing as there are lots of options out there. While some of them look really good, others are designed to offer maximum protection.
If you do your research, you will find riding gears that are good-looking and protect your body effectively in unfortunate situations.
The most important part of the body is the head that must be protected at all costs. You will need a helmet to do so and ensure that you are protected from injuries that can lead to brain damage or even loss of life.
There are many types of helmets out there such as half-face, full face, modular and ¾ helmets, as well as a few fancy models.
The most common and protective among all designs is the full-face helmet. It provides full protection to the head region, covering the entire area of your skull as well. They are more durable during a crash as there are moving parts, unlike in modular designs.
You can get any color or design you want but go for a full-face helmet with a clear visor. Clear visors can be used during the day as well as at night unlike tinted visors, which are not good for riding after the sunset.
The helmet must meet the DOT, ECE, or SNELL standards, which are safety certifications of different countries that ensure your helmet protects you during an impact. Depending on the country you reside in, ensure your helmet meets the criteria to ensure your helmet is legal and keeps you safe.
Next on your riding gear list is a riding jacket. There are many types of jackets such as mesh jackets, leather jackets, lightweight ones, and so on. You can buy whichever model suits you best, be it any design or color.
Make sure the riding jacket has Level 1 armor protection on the shoulder, back, chest, and elbow section. If it doesn’t have the armor incorporated, then make sure there are pockets inside that allow you to add armor of your choice.
You can buy this armor separately according to your budget and likes, but it must fit properly in the jacket pockets meant to accommodate them. Try the jacket and ensure that it fits you well, without being too tight or too big.
Riding jackets have straps all around them so that you can tighten them up when you are riding. This prevents them from moving around due to the wind at high speeds. Do not wear a jacket that doesn’t have any kind of protection or armor inside it.
If you are thinking of buying an all-weather jacket, then purchase a product from a good brand that has been reviewed extensively and has been purchased by many riders. These jackets come with an inner layer that you can use during winters to keep yourself warm.
A second layer ensures proper ventilation, and a rain liner layer ensures that you can wear it even in rainy conditions.
Riding pants are the most neglected riding gear that many motorcycle riders choose not to wear. However, they are not aware of its benefits, as it protects your hips, thighs, and knees.
Riding pants are more comfortable than jeans as they come with ventilation pockets. You can open them while riding your motorcycle so that there is proper air circulation which keeps the rider cool.
Many new riders think buying a pair of knee guards that they can wear above their jeans or trousers will save some money. Though I was of the same opinion while starting out, I realized that they are not comfortable and slide down after some time. The frustration of having to stop and adjust them frequently often ruined my riding mood.
Over long rides, I was fed up with my knee pads. This was especially true in the summers, as the straps trap heat and cause additional sweating.
All of these experiences led me to buy a good pair of riding pants. I would suggest the same to you to help you avoid wasting money while buying new equipment.
Riding gloves are another aspect of riding gear that many riders neglect. However, their lack of concern for their fingers is rather appalling, as they are quite sensitive and can easily bend and fracture during impacts.
If you hurt your fingers and wrist during a ride then you will not be able to control your motorcycle properly anymore and you will be forced to stop your ride.
So, get a good pair of riding gloves that offer good protection. Cheap mesh gloves come with plastics that cannot protect your hand effectively during a crash. Leather gloves are a good option for summers, as they come with armor on the palm side and above the finger.
During a crash, our hands are amongst the first parts of our body that hit the ground. The palm armor will absorb the impact and protect your hand during a slide.
You can get a longer pair that offer additional protection to your wrists and forearms. They are known as gauntlets and can be put inside the arm of the riding jacket itself. We have made a detailed motorcycle glove buying guide, that you can read to know the various types and armor levels that motorcycle gloves come in.
Many new motorcycle riders think riding boots are only needed during long rides or track days, which is not true. Riding boots comes with armor protection to keep your toes and bones in the foot safe during a crash.
There are different kinds of riding boots varying in size and design depending on the purpose they are to be used for.
If you are only going to ride on roads, then you can go with normal size riding boots that and slightly over the ankles. If you plan to go on long rides, then it is better to buy long boots that will cover your entire leg from the feet to just below the knee.
I learned the importance of long boots during one of my motorcycle tours when I was hit by a small rock that had been thrown up by the tire of the car driving in front of me. It struck me just below the knee on the bone, and it was quite an impact.
The resulting pain that I experienced was excruciating but there was no way for me to stop or even massage the area as I was afraid of losing control of my motorcycle and meeting with an accident.
I hope my unfortunate personal experience convinces you to purchase long-riding boots for long-distance rides. If you can only afford a single pair right now, you can choose these designs as they work well for short and long rides.
These boots are strong and durable. They are also rigid and maintain their shape while sliding or in impact situations, protecting your leg from fractures due to unnatural bending.
Before buying any gear, try it on to ensure you have the perfect fit. We suggest you go and complete these purchases in a physical store. Doing so will help you try out and make wise decisions when it comes to your first set of riding gear.
You can also be guided by the expert assistance of the salespersons at the store, or take a friend with riding experience to help you in such situations.
Are Jeans good for motorcycle riding? Riding a motorcycle without riding pants can be dangerous as jeans don’t come with any kind of protective armors, that can help you prevent scratches during an accident. And jeans can be uncomfortable as well to ride a motorcycle.
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