Jun 22, 2022
 in 
Guides

The Best Guide To Motorcycle Gear

 By 
Adrianna Barrera

If you’re just getting into motorcycle riding, it may be hard to fully understand the importance of gear, if you haven’t really rode around before. When you’re out on a motorcycle, the stakes are much higher. You’re more vulnerable to the hazards of your environment and because you don’t have the protection that a car may have, your only line of defenses are really your skills and your gear. 

Helmets

While all motorcycle riding gear is necessary, the number one most crucial piece of gear that you should have above all else, is a helmet. If you’re a beginner seriously looking into riding motorcycles, you should definitely budget for a quality helmet. No one ever plans on having an accident, but what you should plan on is being prepared. It has been statistically proven that helmets prevent death. 

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

  • Full Face Helmet: These are the safest helmets, as they cover the entire face, chin and upper neck. 

  • Modular Helmet: These helmets are good for people who want breathability as well as decent coverage. 

  • ¾ Helmet: Popular among the cruiser crowd; covers your head and ears, but leaves your face and chin exposed.

  • ½ Helmet: Only cover the top of your head, forehead to brows, and may offer some neck support.  

Although you can find DOT, Snell and ECE certified modular, ¾ or ½, for beginners, I would suggest getting a full face anyways. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury to motorcycles by 69%. All beginner riders are different, so below are three top rated motorcycle helmets for beginners that are in different price points; no matter your budget, all riders deserve quality helmets that will protect them. 

Best Helmets

  • Low Price Range: Scorpion EXO R420 (~$160); Snell and DOT rated; lightweight, breathable and standard comfort.
  • Mid Price Range: AGV K6 (~$500); DOT and ECE rated; extremely lightweight, comfort; five EPS liners, airflow features. 
  • High Price Range: AGV Pista GP RR (~$1,500); FIM rated, designed for stability, comfort and protection; lightweight and good visibility. 

Jackets

Motorcycle jackets give riders a wide range of protection from both accidents and the elements. To put the importance of motorcycle jackets into perspective, a human’s natural instinct when falling is to throw our arms out in front of us, to brace ourselves for impact. At motorcycle riding speeds, this impact will cause severe abrasions to arms, elbows and even your chest. Instead of having your skin come into contact with asphalt, you can wear a jacket with materials such as kevlar and leather, that will help to break your fall and absorb the impact of accidents. 

Types of Motorcycle Jackets

  • Sport/Street Jackets:  Often the more casual option of racing jackets, Sport Jackets are great for sport bike riding or even just daily commuting, thanks to their added features. These jackets are usually made of textiles. 

  • Cruiser Jackets: Classically styled jackets, that are usually made of leather. Rarely have the features and armor of the other jackets. People choose these jackets for fashion, comfort and warmth. 

  • Racing Jackets: Motorcycle racing jackets are designed with high abrasion resistant materials due to the risk of high speed accidents. Thick cowhide materials as well as some armor and other features make this a great choice for racing and high speed impact.

  • Adventure/Dual Sport: Adventure jackets are usually made to accommodate a wide range of riding styles. Usually factored into the design are waterproof/resistant materials, as well as armor and airflow. 

Depending on your riding style, climate and size, you may need a different type of jacket. If you’re a beginner you’re going to want a jacket that can get you through all seasons of riding. Above all else, I would recommend getting a jacket that will ultimately keep you safe, then of course the kind of style you like is always a good factor—get something that you would want to wear every single time you get to riding. Below are three jackets best suited for beginners that kind of encompass general riding styles, all at three different price points. 

Best Jackets

  • Low Price Range: HWK Textile Motorcycle Jacket(~$80); Mesh, All-season riding jacket; 600D Cordura construction materials; CE approved armors; great airflow
  • Mid Price Range: Alpinestar T-GP Plus R v3 Air Jacket (~$250); lightweight and versatile jacket; Nucleon Flex Plus impact armor; Hard external sliders for high abrasion resistance 
  • High Price Range: FirstGear Kilimanjaro (~$420); 3-4 season waterproof jacket; under-helmet hood, vents, pockets, reflectivity; class leading armor, ADV, Touring and more

Gloves

Motorcycle gloves are unsurprisingly one of the most important pieces of safety gear for riders. They offer protection, comfort and help with grip strength and control. Gloves also help alleviate effects from vibrations of the road and handlebars and uncomfortable tension in your hands. When you’re falling the first instinct you have is to hold your hands out to brace your fall, as stated before. 

Types of Gloves

  • Street gloves: Street gloves are best used for commuters or street riders. Usually these gloves are made of leather or textile and offer riders decent protection. Some even come with armor around the knuckles. Some styles that go over the wrist are called gauntlet gloves. 

  • Dirt Gloves: Dirt gloves offer very little protection and are typically made of textile materials and little to no armor. This is so dirt bike riders can get a more tactile feel of their bike; lightweight gloves work better for maneuverability. 

  • Race Gloves: Race gloves are often made of the best protective material such as leather and a blend of abrasion-resistant textiles. Another feature these gloves have is gauntlet fit and reinforced knuckle and finger guards. 

  • ADV Gloves: Adventure gloves are usually made with a blend of textile and leather, offer the most versatility and are typically lightweight. 

If you’re a beginner rider, you probably won’t need to buy an ultra professional and expensive pair of race gloves. So below are some of the best rated gloves for beginners, that offer some of the best in class protection and versatility, all in three different price ranges. 

Best Gloves

  • Mid Price Range: Indie Ridge Full Gauntlet (~$80); Reinforced impact protection at the knuckle and fingers; crafted with vintage leather; touchscreen tech and airflow
  • High Price Range: Klim Induction Gloves (~$100); External seam stitching for optimal comfort; mesh and perforated leather; impact protection at knuckles; zipper for easy entry

Boots

Motorcycle boots offer protection to riders feet and ankles, from heat and potential accidents/injury. 30% of all motorcycle injuries were reported to happen to the lower extremities and feet, according to the CDC. Despite these statistics, motorcycle riders usually don’t invest much into boots as much as they do helmets, jackets and gloves. That is because you don’t necessarily need motorcycle boots; any sturdy, generally protective, supportive boot that goes around your ankle will do you good. However, motorcycle boots are the best. They are specifically designed to protect those that ride motorcycles. 

Types of Boots

  • Street/Cruiser boots: These are your typical leather boots with silver studs or buckles. Offer great ankle support and are heat resistant. 

  • Riding shoes: Riding shoes offer a more comfortable and casual look. They can be worn even off the bike and give riders protection and style. 

  • Racing boots: Racing boots go up the ankle and to the lower shin. These are for high performance racing and give riders ultimate protection at high speeds. 

  • Touring/ADV boots: These are similar in look to sport boots, however are shorter and give riders a versatile range of protection against the weather and obstacles. 

Much like gloves, beginners don’t need to worry about getting a very high-end type of boot. Especially when just starting out. However if you’re looking for some of the best motorcycle boots for beginners and want to opt out of using your average sturdy boot, here are some options tailored specifically for motorcycle riding in three different prices. 

Best Motorcycle Boots

  • Low Price Range: IRON Jia Streetbike Casual (~$95); Casual sneaker style; waterproof; lightweight and versatile; PP protective shell on ankle
  • Mid Price Range: Indie Ridge Crow (~$175); Protected reinforced heel, toe and ankle; no-slip traction, waterproof; comfortable on and off the bike; full-grain protective black leather
  • High Price Range: Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Vented Boots (~$290); Versatile for sport riding or street riding; flexible foot panels; perforated leather for airflow; shin and calf protection; medial side entry

Riding Pants

If you’ve taken an MSF course, they may have mentioned that riding with denim jeans would suffice for the purpose of the course. This may even hold true to your everyday riding, and many riders would agree. However, based on motorcycle accident data, the place where riders have the most injury are the lower extremities. So with that knowledge in mind, maybe getting actual riding pants isn’t such a bad idea.  

Types of Riding Pants

  • Street Pants: Street pants are usually made of denim, kevlar or other protective textiles that give riders protection and comfort on a more casual level. 

  • Racing Pants: Racing pants offer riders premium protection, and are good for sports riders and track riders who are more likely to experience high-speed abrasions. 

  • Touring Pants: Touring pants are usually made of weatherproof materials and give riders optimum comfort for long days of riding. 

  • Off-road Pants: Off-roading pants are designed for flexibility and protection and offer riders the movement to get through obstacles and trails they encounter. 

For beginner riders, you may not even need to get riding pants when you’re just starting out. If you’re riding at slower speeds and are taking it easy, some nice durable jeans will do you just fine. I would say if you’re riding at higher than 30 mph (50 kph), consider getting riding pants. For those who like the extra protection and have the budget, here are three motorcycle riding pants that are great for beginners, in three different price ranges. 

Best Riding Pants

  • Low Price Range: Street & Steel Oakland Jeans (~$140); All-day comfort, denim and elastane; casual style in three colorways; heat and tear resistant
  • Mid Price Range: Klim Dakar In The Boots (~$200); Versatile and durable; 840D Cordura; breathable stretch panel; good for both street and off-road riding; DWR for weatherability
  • High Price Range: Dainese New Drake Air Textile (~$270); 750D textile pants great for multi-season riding; flip-up vents perfect for airflow; industry leading protection and comfort

Buying Second-Hand

Sometimes, we might even need to find cheaper options for our needs. Outside of motorcycle riding, I would never discourage buying second hand. But, for some gear, you absolutely need to have it new, so as you don’t get the leftovers of a helmet that could potentially have a history of damage to it, for example. But, if you see a riding jacket that is in pretty good shape, then second-hand might not be that bad and could even financially benefit you. The same goes for pants and boots. However for gloves, hygiene and fit might be at stake. 

Conclusion

Style of riding can determine what kind of gear you will wear. As a beginner, you may not have the experience to know what to buy, or even the wide ranging budget to get really nice gear. And, while there are many other types of motorcycle gear that you may see, such as ear protectors, anti-theft devices and more, for beginners, the gear that really matters the most is the ones that will save your life and help reduce injury. Once you get to riding more and get deeper into the motorcycle community, then you can make purchases that make sense for your needs. 

I wouldn’t be too concerned about trying to buy the absolute best gear that is highly priced, especially if you need to buy other gear. There are plenty of options for budget-friendly gear online, and you can even do some research on YouTube and find detailed information about your gear needs. That being said, what is important is wearing gear that is of good quality, value and will protect you.

Note: RumbleOn is an Amazon Affiliate, dedicated to reviewing the best and safest gear and more, for riders everywhere. We may receive commissions if products are purchased from them.

Note: RumbleOn is an Amazon Affiliate, dedicated to reviewing the best and safest gear and more, for riders everywhere. We may receive commissions if products are purchased from them.