Most bikers are keen to wear helmets whenever they ride, but a helmet is only the first of several protective accessories that you will really need.
Among the top motorcycle safety gear every rider should have is a pair of good riding boots and gloves, as well as jackets and pants.
Boots safeguard your feet against crippling injuries while gloves keep you comfortable in cold or rainy weather and protect your hands in case of a fall. And both let you operate your motorcycle controls with more dexterity.
I want to enjoy my rides in safety and comfort as much as the next biker, but finding gear that works and fits can be a chore, which is why I have prepared this guide on essential safety wear. I also explain why you must get your tires right, as a suitable set is very critical to your riding safety.
Always wear one. Riders who neglect to wear a helmet tend to be involved in more fatal accidents or prone to more concussive injuries. Even on the shortest runs, remember to wear yours.
Wind noise will be much reduced and you will end up less tired after long journeys. Avoid buying a half-helmet as these provide much less protection than modular or full-face models. Also, a helmet that is loosely secured can be almost as useless as not having one on during a fall, so ensure yours is properly strapped before you go.
DOT-rated models that cover your whole face are highly recommended. Further safety certifications like Snell are indicators of good designs that are still comfortable to wear.
Motorcycle boots do more than shield your feet from water and mud spray; they’re an important line of defense as a good set of boots will stay on your feet in the event of a fall, where that pair of sneakers will just pull right off, leaving your feet exposed to the elements. Shorter boots made of perforated leathers or microfibers help to move air while vented models with mesh uppers are appropriate for warmer climes.
Look for heavy-duty stitches on uppers and soles, the areas that usually fail first on motorcycle boots. Abrasion- and impact-resistant inserts and sliders that go over the ankles and heels as well as armored toe boxes provide useful safeguards. Designs with grippier soles and straps work to stop laces from migrating onto moving parts.
Be aware that a good pair is normally more difficult to pull on than to take off, although the tighter fit ensures your boots will stay put during mishaps.
Gloves designed for bikers often are armored to shield the rider’s hands from severe twisting and cutting during tumbling slides. Gloves also shield against road debris and water, and let you grip the bars and manipulate controls with more ease.
Designs with shorter cuffs usually have perforations and mesh materials to expel heat and bring in cool air during warm days. Gauntleted winter models have insulation to trap the warmth, with waterproof shells to keep out onrushing cold winds and moisture.
As with boots, there should be double- or even triple-stitched parts in areas most likely to fail during use or on impact, such as the soles. Leather or nylon is commonplace and many designs have armor on the knuckles.
Abrasion-resistant materials should cover the palms. The better gloves feature contoured wrist and finger shells to prevent them from bending too much in a bad tumble. Some have slider or puck material on the palms to let riders control low drags and to lessen sliding injuries on pavement.
Clothes and eyewear
Good clothing with a tough shell will stop wind and airborne debris like insects and stones. A pair of lightweight goggles can also provide eye protection and better visibility. Most pants and jackets have cushioned armor inserts or fibers in their knee and elbow as well hip areas for impact and abrasion protection, and some have detachable liners to adapt to colder weather.
Look for waterproofed shells to keep rain out. Pricier multi-season designs have breathable shells that cool in the heat and warm in the cold, wicking moisture and drying out in the wind after a drenching shower on the road.
Bright-colored clothing and accessories definitely aid visibility. It’s a common refrain of drivers to say that they never saw the biker coming before the crash: Black looks cool, but it’s not always the best choice.
Changing road and weather conditions test a rider’s skills and equipment. Dual-sport tires feature a good balance of performance and flexibility that enable you to handle a wider variety of situations. Their excellent traction and self-cleaning properties both on and off the road usually come with decent cornering ability on pavement.
You should consider swapping out worn-out tires if you’re heading out on a long trip. Figuring out which designs are appropriate can be difficult without some reviews, so here’s a short list of proven dual sports tires.
Safe riding in enjoyable riding
I depend on my skills and equipment to stay whole and happy on the road, as every biker should. There is a wide variety of motorcycle gear suited to bikers of all disciplines and budgets, so there’s simply no reason to skimp on safety.
If you are at all serious about riding, you will gear up every chance you get with the best protective gear available.
With 10 years of riding under his belt, Lucas Knight is a passionate motorcycle rider and now writer, creator of MotorManner.com, where he directs his passion to supply useful and interesting information for the motorcycle lover.