Motorcycle gear tips and advice for new motorcycle riders.
So you’ve decided to buy a motorcycle, huh? That means it’s time to get your starter motorcycle (one that's good for beginners), gear up, and hit the road. Before you do that, though, here are some things to keep in mind when picking out motorcycle gear. Let’s make sure you make it home safe.
Go ATTGAT or go home. Here are some tips for beginners, and check out more on the Brain Bucket Blog, like this article which has a bunch of recommendations of motorcycle gear for women.
While there are tons of helmets out there on the market, it doesn’t mean you should just pick the first one you find on sale. This should come as a no-brainer, but, no matter which helmet you choose, make sure it provides the protection you need to survive a crash. Style comes as a second priority. I mean, you only get one brain for your head, it’s a good idea to protect it.
Helmets on the market today are made from lightweight, modern material that is designed to be strong and comfortable at the same time. Helmets have offered highway protection against impact, penetration, vision, and retention, and have had to pass USDOT standards since the early 1980s. Make sure the next brain bucket you’re getting is DOT-certified, and look for the DOT label of Snell Foundation certification sticker on the back. If there’s no sticker, it should be a no-go. I don’t care how sick the helmet is.
Motorcycle helmets should fit correctly, too. What good is a badass, DOT-certified helmet if it flies off your head as soon as it’s needed most? Here are some tips to make sure that the helmet fits the way it should (courtesy of helmetcheck.org)
- The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without pressing uncomfortably.
- There should be no gaps between your temples and the brow pads.
- If the helmet has a neck roll, it shouldn't push the helmet away from the back of your neck.
- On full-face helmets, press on the chin piece. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin. If it does, it will surely do so at speed from wind pressure.
- With the helmet still on and the straps securely fastened, move it from side to side and up and down with your hands. If it fits right, your skin should move as the helmet is moved.
Picture this: you’re flying down the road on a bike. Your bike has a small windshield, and your helmet doesn’t have full-face coverage. You’re taking the back roads at dusk. Bugs, dust, airborne debris, and the sun are just some of the things that are wreaking havoc on your eyes. What’s wrong with this picture?
Right, you forgot to wear some motorcycle goggles or protective eyewear. Even though some bikes have adequate windshields, they won’t fully protect your eyes. Without protective eyewear, you run the risk of not being able to see the road. I don’t know about you, but being able to see the damn road is pretty important. But that’s just my opinion.
When you are looking for motorcycle goggles, be sure to choose ones with plastic or safety lenses. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight and strong material meant to block UV rays, absorb high-energy impacts, and protect your eyes. It won’t shatter and is amazingly flexible. Lenses should be treated to be scratch-resistant, and your goggles should also have proper ventilation to prevent fogging.
Motorcycle gloves aren’t only for keeping your hands warm (although heated motorcycle gloves are pretty legit for those riders who don’t believe in an offseason), they help you grip better and will protect your hands in the event of a crash. Leather gloves or fabric gloves with leather palms and finger grips are probably your best choice, just make sure you have knuckle protection.
Jackets and Pants
A good motorcycle jacket is a must-have as far as your gear is concerned. Not only do they look awesome, but they let everyone know exactly how you rode in (by way of a badass machine.) They’re also instrumental in protecting your soft, fleshy exterior against being eaten alive by the pavement. Motorcycle airbag jackets are also a newer introduction to the motorcycle gear family to keep you safe.
Motorcycle jackets and clothing should be made from leather or ballistic nylon because that stuff is tough as hell. Fun fact: the term ballistic nylon was initially invented to protect against flying debris and fragmentation caused by bullet and artillery-shell impacts in WWII. Long sleeves and pant legs are a must, and the clothing should not be baggy unless you want them to get tangled on things such as the chain or footpegs. Ouch.
Footwear and Motorcycle Boots
Yeah, they're cool, but we bikers also wear motorcycle boots for a more practical reason. As a new rider, you should definitely get your feet in some quality motorcycle boots that protect your ankles and provide good support. You see, the shorter the boot is, the less protective it will be. Think about it, a protruding, unprotected ankle bone will probably be the first thing to hit the pavement if you slide out, and that just doesn’t sound like a good time.
Also remember to look for non-slip soles, as they will make sure you have sound footing on the roadway or pegs. Always pick out a pair of motorcycle boots that fit the particular type of riding you plan to do, and comfort is also key here. If you get some hella protective, kickass-looking boots but never wear them because they are uncomfortable, what’s the point?
If you are looking to up your gear game and bike accessories with the latest tech, we have some ideas for you in this ultimate list.
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