In 2016, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely than car passengers to die in a car crash per vehicle mile traveled.
That statistic is scary, but many thrillseekers choose to gamble and become avid motorcyclists. Because the sport is so dangerous, it’s vital that riders take the time to research the best protective gear.
If you don’t have the right gear, can you really call yourself a biker?
If you are looking to purchase a new motorcycle, keep reading for a guide on landing the best motorcycle riding gear.
Why You Should Invest in Motorcycle Riding Gear
Riding on the highway in or on any moving vehicle is dangerous to a certain degree. But if you’re in a road accident on a motorcycle, you’re likely to sustain major injuries.
Your body wasn’t designed to withstand impacts at high speeds. In the right conditions, you can die falling off of a horse traveling less than 50 mph.
Think about how fast a motorcycle travels. You can easily hit speeds of 45-55 mph without being on the highway, where you’re more likely to be traveling 70-80 mph. Your bones, skin, and insides don’t stand a chance at those speeds without protective gear.
Even if you do survive the initial impact, you’ll have to survive abrasion. On average, motorists lose one millimeter of flesh for every mile per hour you travel over 30 mph. A light jacket and pair of jeans aren’t going to put up much of a fight against the pavement.
If you’re traveling at reckless speeds, you could lose over an inch of flesh. Losing that amount of flesh is life-threatening.
Motorcyclists must also consider the weather conditions before going for a ride.
You have to calculate windchill before you embark on a ride. The drop in temperature on a motorcycle is often extreme. You may leave the house comfortable in a light jacket and then find yourself needing a down jacket on the road.
There is even gear that will help you cool down when it’s hot by accelerating your body’s evaporative cooling effect. With the right summer jacket, your body can use sweat to cool itself as it was designed to do.
Selecting the Best Motorcycle Riding Gear
While all gear should be stylish and comfortable, it should also include a certain amount of added safety for the rider.
Here’s a comprehensive list of gear that will give you the look you want and the protection you need.
While not required by law, if you’re on a motorcycle, you should be wearing a full-face helmet. This is because most injuries to the face in motorcycle accidents occur in the areas not covered by three-quarter- or open-face-type helmets.
You should invest money into your helmet, as you will probably have it for at least five years. Whichever you choose, inspect it regularly to be sure that the layers of material are not degrading or breaking down.
Always do your search and purchase a helmet from a reputable retailer. Here are a couple of the highest-rated motorcycle helmets currently on the market:
Icon Airflite Helmet
The Icon Airflite helmet is affordable at $250 and is designed for riders of all types. If you’re just starting to bike and don’t know which style you’ll stick with in the long run, this is a good helmet for you.
Don’t let the threatening style fool you, this helmet is comfortable and functional. It meets and exceeds all safety standards. In addition to a removable, moisture-wicking liner, it has a chin vent to allow functional air flow and intake vents to suck in fresh air.
- Supervent cooling system
- Injection molded polycarbonate shell (for strength)
- Fog-free sun shield
- Quick-change fog-free face shield
- Removable side plates
Shoei RF-1200 Helmet
The Shoei RF-1200 helmet is priced at a premium ($485.99) for a reason. It is a leader in comfort, performance, and protection.
It is known as one of the safest helmets on the market, but also the most comfortable. The compact and aerodynamic shape of the shell is wind tunnel tested. It reduces noise, buffeting, and weight.
- Multiple shell sizes
- Superior ventilation
- Secure chin strap
- Breath guard and chin curtain (for increased ventilation)
- Four shell sizes
- Emergency Quick-Release System
- Dual-density, moisture-wicking EPS liner
After you purchase a helmet, you should look into a quality motorcycle jacket. The type of jacket you choose will largely depend on the climate you’ll typically ride in.
Jackets are designed to protect your skin, arms, ribs, back, and organs. It’s important that you purchase a jacket that is designed for safety, not style or comfort. However, there are some pretty awesome jackets that offer all three attributes.
When trying on a motorcycle jacket, you should make sure that it fits snug while still allowing you to move. Test the jacket in different positions (sitting straight up or hunched over) to get a feel for how it would affect your ride.
Here are a few of the most popular jackets to consider:
Alpinestars GP Tech Leather Jacket
Don’t let the $999 price tag scare you away, because the Alpinestars GP Tech jacket is full of features.
It offers a removable windbreaker, which means you can wear it in any type of weather situation. The washable inner liner contains 3D inserts for comfort and ventilation.
The GP Tech jacket’s sleeves are pre-curved, which helps reduce riding fatigue in your arms.
- Soft 3D mesh collar and cuff
- Velcro and D-ring waist adjustments
- Interior waterproof wallet pocket with Velcro
- Internal waist connection zipper to use with pants
- Reflective detailing
First Gear Kathmandu Jacket
The First Gear Kathmanu jacket is a textile jacket designed to provide riders with ample storage and easy access to the things you need.
It is lightweight and comfortable with a removable insulated liner and underarm vents.
- 300D high-density nylon shell
- Abrasion-resistant impact panels
- Two vertical chest pockets
- Waist and cuff adjusters
- Removable hydration pack with reservoir
- Underhelmet rain hood stows in collar
- Reflective accents
Pants are also protective gear that is worth purchasing, but you should probably purchase ones that are made by the same manufacturer. You can often buy them as a set.
A sturdy pair of boots is an essential asset to your riding gear.
You’ll have to support the weight of your bike with your legs, ankles, and feet. This is especially true in hazardous weather conditions such as rain or unexpected snow.
Bikes weigh hundreds of pounds, so you should protect your vulnerable ankles in a crash. When searching for a riding boot, select a shoe with a sole that won’t twist. Think about it: whatever happens to that shoe when it twists is what will happen to your foot and ankle in an accident.
If you’re considering a motorcycle boot, make sure it laces above the ankle. You should be able to pull the laces tight so that the boot won’t fly off in an accident.
Here are a few fan favorites that are guaranteed to protect your ankles and feet in an accident:
Harley-Davidson Men’s Brake Light Boot
Harley-Davidson has been a leader in the motorcycle industry since the beginning. No wonder so many people prefer their Brake Light Boot.
The Brake Light Boot offers a rugged look but doesn’t skimp on quality. They are waterproof and abrasion resistant and made of full-grain leather. These boots will set you back $150-200.
- Full-length cushion sock lining
- Goodyear welt construction to bond sole to boot
- Locking twin zippers (to keep your boots zipped)
Bruno Marc Men’s Stone Motorcycle Combat Boots
These affordable boots are only $35, but they offer supreme comfort and a non-skid outsole. These combat boots are stylish while providing the support your ankles require when operating your motorcycle.
- Non-skid, rubble sole
- Stylish platform heel
- Faux fur lining
- Flexible comfort
The last item that should be vital to your motorcycle riding gear kit is a good pair of gloves.
Operating a bike safely requires the use of your hands. They guide your experience, but they are also the first body parts to suffer an injury in an accident.
Your hands are fragile. Protect them with gloves meant for biking that cover your skin and support your wrists with retention straps.
Search for gloves that are made out of tough, abrasion-resistant material that will slide easily across pavement. Above all, make sure you’re comfortable operating your bike while wearing the gloves you choose.
An added plus: gloves are good for riders with sweaty hands.
Here are a few popular glove options for motorcyclists:
BMW Rallye Gloves
The BMW Rallye gloves are considered some of the best summer weight gloves to buy.
They are made of a mix of leather, goat’s leather, and spandex, so they keep a grip on anything. They’re also impact-resistant, making them perfect for offroad touring.
- Kangaroo leather palms for abrasion resistance
- Mesh material at the base of fingers for ventilation
- Special seems to prevent pressure points on fingers
- Cowhide pads with foam padding in fingers
If you’re serious about biking, you should add this motorcycle riding gear to your wish list.
Other items to consider are eyewear protection (if not offered by your helmet), long underwear, earplugs, and body armor.
Yes, motorcycle riding gear is an expensive investment, but your safety is vital! Plus, most gear comes with a warranty should anything go wrong. You should factor in the cost of gear into your budget when purchasing a bike.
So, which motorcycle riding equipment are you purchasing next? Comment below and let us know!