Motorcycle gear: No Matter What Bike You Ride, This Is For You
Every new bike we get is another chance to have the perfect riding experience with the right motorcycle gear. It is another chance to turn an industrially-designed canvas into a personalized masterpiece. Although it is true that much of the additional gear you can add to your everyday riding can be aesthetic, there are pieces that really make a difference. Your motorcycle rides can become longer, safer and more comfortable with the right motorcycle gear on you. We are going through the best options in the market for each riding style. On top of that, I'm going to tell you all about a set of accessories I discovered and changed my riding life.
Are you ready to have the best riding experience yet with your motorcycle? Strap on that helmet and let’s do it!
Introduction to motorcycle gear
Motorcycle gear is a very broad concept that sometimes gets confused. Although very similar, it is important to separate motorcycle gear with motorcycle apparel. Yes, you will look very cool with your Harley Davidson t-shirt and your jeans but that won´t save your life. Let´s take a look at the difference.
Motorcycle gear involves all the pieces of gear needed to ride comfortably and safely. For example, your helmet, your gloves, and your body protection. You can also include padded jackets and dedicated boots. Motorcycle gear is the product of years of research and perfecting prototypes to extend the life of riders. Moreover, every piece of motorcycle gear is essential for the safety of the rider.
Motorcycle apparel is radically different from motorcycle gear because its design does not include any kind of research towards safety. In fact, you can wear as many motorcycle apparel you want without ever sitting on a bike. Although it might look very cool, motorcycle apparel will do nothing to save your life.
The fact that their design and colour choice of motorcycle gear is a trendy response to improving sales, manufacturers realized that people actually base their choices on how they look wearing motorcycle gear. Despite the fact that it is not its main use, the biggest manufacturers in the world hire clothing designers to make it cool. On the other hand, apparel is meant to be “only cool”. In sum, while motorcycle gear is mandatory, motorcycle apparel is not.
Motorcycle gear for beginners
Starting from the beginning is always the best way to do it. If you are a beginner, you need to cover the basics first:
- Helmet – Your helmet as a beginner needs to save your life and be comfortable. At first, you need nothing fancy or super technologic, just a good helmet that covers your entire head. Make sure it covers your entire skull and that it has a good non-reflective glass at the front.
- Jacket – This is a non-negotiable item regardless of the weather. The primary function of the jacket is not to look good; it is to protect you in case you fall. Believe me, because I´ve been there and peeling your skin to the asphalt is painful… for months! In fact, your skin might never completely recover. Get a well-padded jacket to roll and wear it every time.
- Gloves – These are very important not only for cold but for taking good care of your hands. As a matter of fact, most motorcycle gloves come with hard knuckles for you to save your hands in the case of an accident. Remember this is not a car, and your hands are your first protection always.
- Boots/shoes – Going on your bike on flip flops is not an option. Your feet can get severely damaged if they are not properly covered. Moreover, one of our first instincts in a dangerous situation is to put our feet on the ground. You need either shoes/sneakers or some good boots.
In the case of pants, as long as you don´t ride around in shorts you can wear jeans and protection over them. Also, you can buy specific pants for riding although it is not a must.
Motorcycle gear for Street and Café riders
This is definitely my favourite category; it´s time to get creative! Yes, café racers and street bikes are for daily commuters and casual riders. Once you abandon the beginner label, you are a little freer to roam around at will. In this case, you can choose based on how much you like the pieces of motorcycle gear rather than so specifically because of its use. It is time for the motorcycle-specific jeans, padded woollen, denim, leather, and fabric jackets. Some of them are reversible and dismountable so you can take the specifics out of them and go around just being cool. Also, the helmet you wear can be a little more trendy and comfy. This is the moment to mix motorcycle apparel and motorcycle gear looking cool.
There is no real specification in this category and can be thought, together with Motorcycle gear for Women as a free will choice. In fact, in the case of women’s motorcycle gear, you can surely find items in each category for you. As long as you cover the basics, be as creative as you want.
As a word of advice that you should not overlook: don´t ever ride your bike with exposed skin. I know it looks awesome, but the danger you are exposing yourself to could potentially be huge.
Motorcycle gear for touring rides
When choosing the motorcycle gear to go touring with there is one thing you have to aim for: comfort. Touring rides are supposed to be as long endeavours. Visiting some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth on your two-wheeler is always a pleasure. You can just grab your favourite big bike and go for an adventure. This is to say you will spend hours inside your outfit.
- Helmet – The helmet you choose has to not only fit you perfectly but also be safe. You are going to be riding at highway or motorway speed and need to protect your most important asset: your head. Other than that you can look for Bluetooth-audio helmets to enjoy some music on the ride. Finally, some helmets can help you communicate with fellow riders as well.
- Jacket – There are two things that are super important about your jacket: it has to be waterproof and very warm. You might go out on a sunny Sunday afternoon and hit a storm with wind and pouring rain in the middle of the way. The speed and being wet are not best friends. Some jackets can even warm themselves up through a 12-volt mechanism. If you live in a cold place, this is a must.
- Gloves – The same as with the jacket: aim for the warmest or even those that warm themselves up. In fact, gloves in this kind of rides play a major role, don´t overlook them or you´ll have a really bad experience.
- Pants & boots – Not going on a touring trip with the right water-proof pants and boots is a very risky choice. Again, if you encounter the scenario mentioned above you´ll freeze on some regular jeans. I know that they look way cooler than motorcycle gear specific pants, but these can save you from pneumonia. In fact, you can get some 12v heated pants as well.
Motorcycle gear for Adventure and Dual Sport riders
Being into an adventure motorcycle means you like going out of the beaten path and into the dirt. In fact, adventure or dual motorcycles can handle on-the-road and off-the-road adventures equally. Although you might choose a different style for it and combine some of the items above, I recommend a suit. You can just wear it on top of your regular clothes and be safe, warm and clean the entire day. Moreover, you can just add some extra protection for your knees and elbows just in case.
- Suit – This piece of motorcycle gear will replace pants and jacket. Truth be told, you only need it once you hit the off-track part of your adventure. Keeping yourself warm, clean and dry is a must to focus on the terrain and not have to worry about being cold or wet.
- Helmet – The proper helmet for this case scenario is definitely one that keeps your entire head protected. It should also cover your eyes from the sun. For this reason, you should not get any helmet, but an adventure one. They have different features tested and working for many years. That is exactly what you should get.
- Boots & gloves – Boots and gloves need to be waterproof to the extreme. You´ll probably go through the mud to make things more fun, your feet have to be warm, dry and safe. Bear this in mind before you make the purchase.
Motorcycle gear for Sportbike riders
This category might very well be the most extreme in terms of protection. The one thing that all sports bikes have in common is speed. These speed demons take on streets and highway looking for adrenaline, lots of adrenaline. Hence, this is the category with the most extreme gear in protection and aerodynamics. Riders need to defeat the wind and couple up with a machine designed to be as fast as it can possibly be. Let´s take a look at some of the specifics.
- Helmet – Look for the most aerodynamic and comfortable helmet you can find. They usually sell for a little more and get a hi-tech treatment. This is because you will notice that they are a little sleeker, more defiant with aerodynamic details. They usually feature some extreme graphics as well.
- Tracksuit or jacket and pants – You can wear a tracksuit and solve your entire body with one piece. This is great if you are hitting the track but is not so comfortable for street riding. In that case, I would recommend a light-weight, super durable jacket with matching pants. You might notice they seem very tight and close to what scuba divers look like but with armour. It is important to protect elbows, knees and other parts of your body when riding at such high speeds.
- Boots & gloves – These are a definite must when riding a sports bike. Maybe you never noticed, but motorcycle gear for sports bikes includes aerodynamic boots. Yes, it sounds crazy, but they are sleeker, tighter and yet super comfy. Although they don´t have any walking grip, they excel at gear changing, brakes and such. As the song goes, those boots were not made for walking. As for the gloves, they have way more armour than regular ones and usually go up to half the forearm.
Motorcycle gear for V-Twin riders
A V-twin motorcycle is, to someone like me, the most exciting ride of the pack. It is like a café racer on steroids and hence, shares the same freedom of choice for motorcycle gear. The big difference between one and the other is the speed. Most V-twin bikes are a mix between a tourer, a chopper, and a street bike. You will come across V-Twin bikes on the streets, highways, roads… everywhere. It is a tried-and-true motorcycle disposition with thousands of examples around the world.
So, what should you do differently than café racers? Very simple, you need to add more padding depending on the size of your bike and the max speed you are planning to achieve. Bear in mind that it is not the same to gear up for 50km/h on a street than 150km/h on the highway. Nevertheless, the same brands that offer café racer motorcycle gear offer similar models with extra padding for V-Twins.
Choose wisely, be creative and show off with your style. Moreover, this is another great chance to mix motorcycle gear and motorcycle apparel to look your coolest.
Motorcycle gear for Dirt bike riders
The secret word for this final category is guards. You should buckle up all the guards you can before hitting the mud head-on. First of all, they are what you need especially over articulations like knees and elbows. Beyond that, you also need to protect other parts for possible falls like getting a vest (chest protector) and state of the art enduro boots. If you are into colours, this shall be Disneyland for you. The most extreme graphics are always a characteristic that sports and dirt riders share.
You´ll realize right away that although it is very padded, all the clothing made for dirt bikes is super easy to wear, stretches a lot and is very comfy. Also, get an enduro or dirt specific helmet as well as specific gloves. If you have been riding dirt bikes for some time you know by now that you will very likely fall. Better be padded and guarded than sorry.
Smart motorcycle accessories for better safety
These are not pieces of motorcycle gear but surely blew my mind since I discovered them. I wanted to share them with you; they will improve your riding experience as much as they did mine.
The Vigo Smart Track is the essential motorcycle accessory, which will give voice to your bike. It namely features an advanced anti-theft notification, with which you’ll be able to prevent motorcycle theft. Vigo is also the perfect gadget for those, who like riding solo. Namely, if you happen to have a crash, your emergency contact will immediately be notified about it, and help will be sent to the accident location.
To point out, the app will also save all of your rides, to which you’ll be able to access at any time.
The acronym stands for Smart Turn System and does a very simple task (I cannot understand it is not a factory standard). It is very simple to install and use and disengages your turning lights as it senses you have completed your turn. I mean, if you drive a car as well (I take my kids in the family van in the morning), you get lazy because the car does it for you. I usually end up going around with an engaged turning light. Since I discovered this little gadget I feel much safer because I know I am not giving false info to other riders and drivers. Needless to say, I installed it in all of my bikes.
The second acronym stands for Smart Brake Module and what it does is also utterly simple. Whenever you do those smooth as butter transitions on a big bike without touching the brake, the gadget engages the brake light. This is crucial for moments in which we are riding on the highway because without the rear brake light on, other riders and drivers have no clue you are speeding down. This is to say, you have no way to let them know of your maneuver without the brakes.
Needless to say, I installed both on most of my bikes and feel twice as safe now.
Motorcycle gear is something many people get confident about and overlook. If it wasn´t because of the police stopping people, most of the riders would drive around with no helmet. The gear we just reviewed in each of the categories is mandatory and minimum. On top of that, there are a ton of things you can buy but those cannot go unattended. This is true especially in categories like dirt, sports, and adventure bikes.
All things considered, motorcycle gear is not optional. It is mandatory to protect yourself and always have a great experience. Take it from a guy who once rode 200km with a wet pair of jeans freezing and got pneumonia. Don´t overlook your motorcycle gear, pay attention, spend some money and be happy, safe, warm and dry.
Did you like our take on motorcycle gear? Is there anything we missed out on? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share this post with fellow riders; let´s generate some awareness on safety together.