Getting your first motorcycle or a newer, bigger bike is an exciting time in your life. But it doesn’t end with just the bike. There are other accessories you need to consider, and motorcycle leathers are an important one.
Let’s face it, motorcycle leathers are a biker staple. But it’s not just about looking like a quintessential biker, because that’s really just a bonus. Leather is first and foremost about safety and security. If you think you are fine without them, or another protective alternative like Kevlar, think again.
Even just a quick trip to the store or off to pick up a friend, you just can’t predict when accidents will occur. It’s cliche to say ‘you can never be too careful’ but when you are on a motorcycle, it needs to be a mantra.
If you are considering getting a motorcycle, let’s look at why you need to get protective gear, as well.
Truthfully, leather just protects you better. Quality is important too. If it’s made by a reputable manufacturer it will offer protection, comfort, and style. Leather has the ability to keep you warm when it’s cool out, keep you dry in the rain and cool in the heat.
It flows well with the body’s movements and has the ability to breath, to avoid overheating or excessive perspiration. It is certainly more durable than other natural or synthetic fabrics and promises you a long life of use.
Leather’s durability is also great if you want to add any kind of decorations or accessories to it. If you don’t care to use leather for ethical reasons, look into some other sturdy and more than acceptable man-made materials that will still work.
Different types of leather have varying strengths and durability. If you feel you need extra protection, you may need to shop around.
There Ought To be a Law!
Many countries have laws about protective gear. Wearing helmets is usually the main one, and is intended to protect that noggin of yours. While helmets are a given in many jurisdictions, it only makes sense to protect the rest of your body while you are at it.
Off-road bikers wear all the protective gear and to be honest, their landing is a bit softer than a road biker. Highway burn, even the slightest bit, is painful and can take a long time to heal.
The worse cases require surgery and/or skin grafts. Consider the potential loss of income or time off due to missing work. That’s not to mention the time not spent on the bike, and the fact that the procedure itself can be as painful.
The Safety of Motorcycle Leathers
Let’s take a look at some of the basic pieces that you need for protection.
While no one ever expects to have an accident or incident, it’s always best to take precautions. A broken arm will hurt but it will hurt much less and heal much faster than losing large patches of skin.
Even just riding at higher speeds can cause injuries to the bare skin. Bugs can hit you, and at high speeds, that hurts. Loose or flying rocks, and other debris can cause painful injury and damage, even at slower speeds.
Pants will protect your legs, your lower back, your ankles, and knees. Not just in a fall or crash but also from flying debris, loose stones and riding too close to vehicles, fellow bikers, and other unavoidable objects.
The motorcycle leathers also protect from sun and wind burn, insect bites, tall grass or the heat and possible injury form your actual bike parts, like muffler pipes and protruding bolts or wiring.
Gloves are also an important part of motorcycle leathers. They provide comfort, grip, and protection. A good pair of gloves can help numbness in your hands on longer trips caused by the constant need to grip the handles and the vibration.
It’s a good idea to look for gloves with not just knuckle padding and protection, but palm protection, as well. When you are falling, the natural instinct is to put your hand out to brace your landing and then can really do some damage to unprotected hands.
They also provide protection from the things already mentioned, like weather and insect bites, but your hands are more important to your being able to ride the bike safely.
A good sturdy boot is well worth its price. Boots protect your feet, the skin, and bones and your ankles. They provide traction for stopping, in particular, sudden stops and can be a great comfort in a spill.
They are weatherproof, and keep the elements out, like rain, bugs and keep your feet and ankles safe from the parts of the bike that may have the potential to cause minor injuries.
Not only do they look cool, they can be very comfortable and used for everyday wear.
Back in the day, goggles were made of leather and they look super cool! You can still get them and we think you should.
Made for aviation and motorcycles, you can even dress up a regular pair of goggles to look vintage. They have a nice coverage of your eyes and you will look awesome.
A kidney belt is actually preferable to a back protector alone. But you can use one with a good back protector for that extra security around the lower back and tailbone.
The Fashion of it All
There is no reason why your motorcycle leathers need to be solely functional. Why not dress them up a bit? You spend time and money customizing your bike, why not dress up your leathers?
There are companies that will do it for you, right from the bottom up, where they build your motorcycle leathers from scratch to your specifications, or just add a few colors or accessories to jazz it up a bit.
For those who like to accessorize, why not get the motorcycle and the motorcycle leathers to match? You can add a few items yourself, or get someone you know who can sew do it for you.
Even if you can’t sew, you can paint, glue, pin or any number of other ways to dress up a new or old jacket or pants. You can also get your bike’s brand name on your jacket, which is commonplace with companies like Harley Davidson.
The best part is you have a lot of choices. From colors and styles to functionality, you can have them tailor made or mix and match different pieces to achieve the ultimate look and still get the best protection available.
There are other items available, like rain gear and protective vests. You can decorate your helmet, your cover or raincoat and have it all looking sharp while it keeps you safe, dry, and alive.
If you have never shopped for motorcycle leathers before, it shouldn’t be too difficult but there are a few points to look for. As the old saying goes, ‘wear what you want to crash in, not what you want to ride in’.
Good quality materials with solid stitching and workmanship. Look for padding where you need it–knees, hands, shoulders, and elbows. Basically, anyplace that may have to take the brunt of the fall if there is one.
The motorcycle leather needs to be strong and durable. Assuming you are in a fall, particularly a skid, you want the leather to take the punch for you and protect you from serious injury.
The fit is important, make sure you can get clothing underneath your choices. The jacket shouldn’t be too loose and the pant legs need enough room to cover your boots.
Wind and rain proof, comfort and breathability, you can easily have it all. Either by shopping around, having your motorcycle leathers custom made or just dressing them up yourself.
Hellbent For Leather
Motorcycle leathers have come a long way. They started as long duster coats that would drag on the ground and get caught up in the wheels and cause injury. Then came the shorter jacket and all of a sudden, everyone is Henry Fonda!
Leather chaps were once worn, moving on from cowboys and their horse to the motorized horse. But the same issues came up as the long flowing jacket. Plus, chaps didn’t protect all of the lower body on impact so, short of looking cool, were not a lot of help.
The best part of advancing technology is that it improves our lives. There are motorcycle jackets and other protective gear that have extra padding, built in armor and even airbags and other padding with foam that spreads and expands on impact for more protection.
Get There Safely and in Style
Once you have yourself looking sharp, you need to get out there and show it off! Check out some biker events around the country, you can make a day of it, a weekend or a full motorcycle holiday.
Today’s protective gear is not just functional but it is styling as well. Don’t worry, you look cool in your motorcycle leathers, so wear them for your own safety and style.