Motorcycle Safety Gear & Protective Clothing Guide
Investing in high-quality riding gear, in turn, guarantees an enjoyable ride, safety, and protection from injury. During cold weather, safety equipment will keep you warm. In dry weather, the gear will give you relief with its coolness, and during an accident, keep you safe and alive.
Motorbike enthusiasts should observe speed when riding. Many motorcycles exceed 50 mph speeds on highways. Human bodies lack the additional protection needed to absorb an impact at such a speed.
Any rider should expect to lose one millimeter of flesh for every additional mph if riding above 30 and involved in a grisly crash. A person riding at 80 mph should expect not one but several serious injuries.
Regardless of your skill or experience level, it would be best if you put on all the necessary gear before speeding on the road. Even a seasoned rider can crash into a ditch or roll over a cliff.
However, your choice of gear will likely affect the outcome and fatality of your crash. Sometimes riders who crash at 35 mph suffer worse affliction than those exceeding 60 or 70 mph.
If you pick a high-quality set of equipment, you’ll most likely come out of an accident unscathed. Besides, choosing a quality set of gear will save your life.
Before picking any safety gear, make sure you carry out adequate research on the different gear types, the materials used, quality, durability, and functionality.
This article discusses everything you need to know about protective gear, how to differentiate quality equipment from sub-standard ones, and tips to follow if you want to make the smartest choice.
Why you should purchase high-quality safety gear
Aside from making a good investment, purchasing quality gear for your motorcycle gives you more confidence on the road.
Many manufacturers offer cheaper alternatives for riders, but how affordable should safety gear get? Besides, should you purchase costly gear as a guarantee of quality?
Anyone can quickly find affordable and quality gear because industrialists desire to serve clientele with dedication and utmost satisfaction.
Sometimes you’ll find that a cheaper gear provides better protection than an expensive one. Brands don’t matter much nowadays, but quality means everything.
Reflect on your riding demands
You should clearly understand your most preferable riding style to narrow down and make better choices quickly. Do you ride for long hours? Do you get on and off the road frequently or put on the gear during the entire ride?
Some enthusiasts prefer to ride in cold weather while others enjoy feeling the hot sun on their faces during summer. If you plan to ride during winter, make sure you purchase heavy gloves and thick fluffy jackets that will protect you from frostbite.
Riding during summer will only get fun if your gear can keep you cool and fresh in the hot weather.
Know your key priorities
You should evaluate your gears based on style, levels of safety, functionality, and value. If you purchase any gear today, you will probably notice that even your best pick lacks one or two perfect qualifications you look for in safety gear.
However, don’t despair if you hardly find the perfect item. When browsing for gear, take note of your primary goals – what you want the most in safety gear, and list your choices in your order of priority.
If you embrace convenience or style, for example, you would somehow compromise on functionality. One priority means sacrificing one characteristic, so choose your priorities wisely.
Material begets quality, functionality, and durability. The material used to make your gear should offer resistance to friction. Leather prevails as the most suitable material for pants and jackets. Besides its toughness, a leather coat feels smooth to wear and allows free movement.
Other manufacturers prefer to use synthesized fabrics such as Cordura and Kevlar. A synthetic material creates a unique sense of fashion and provides comfort because of the lightweight construction.
A synthetic can also provide water resistance and keep you cool during hot weather. However, ersatz fabrics come with one major downside; they last for a short time and can’t provide better durability than leather.
In every motorbike forum, motorcycle helmets often slip into subjects of discussion.
A helmet protects the essential part of your body – the head.
Many industrialists currently provide multiple styles and designs of motorbike helmets. If you barely conduct proper research on your helmets, you can easily pick a poor-quality design.
The main concern about motorcycle helmets revolves around the choice of covering; should you pick a full-face or half-face headpiece?
Approximately 43% of significant impacts around the head during a crash affect the human face. A half-face helmet won’t guarantee your absolute safety. Full helmets cover the entire face and thus will provide total protection.
However, make sure you plan your finances well because a typical full-face helmet costs several hundred bucks.
The type of construction and casing material will also determine the protection offered by the helmet. Solid construction will not bulge in the way of impermeable rocks or an old tree.
Common textiles used to make helmet shells include Polycarbonate, Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber, and EPS. The headpiece size dictates the rider’s comfort. A large helmet will fall off regularly and distract you throughout the riding, while small-sized designs only warrant discomfort.
It would be best if you got a helmet that fits you perfectly. Before landing on your pick, make sure that you try out several options to find the fitting size. Riding with an uncomfortable headpiece poses a safety risk for you and other motorists.
A perfectly fitting helmet will warrant proper ventilation and present a broader scope of vision.
Helmets should also bear approved endearments to safety. Institutions tasked with monitoring and approving the safety status of helmets recommend DOT-certifications.
However, rating criteria depend on riders’ localities or the regions they frequently operate. Other rating touchstones include Snell (M2015), ECE 22.05, and SHARP.
The weight of your helmet affects your riding and comfort. Light helmets transfer less force during accidents. A Light headpiece also gives riders better comfort because they hardly feel heavy on the head. Lightweight helmets guarantee enjoyable rides.
Helmets can weigh anywhere between 3 to 3.9lb. A well-fitting helmet will not add extra weight to your head and shoulders. Purchasing a wrongly-shaped or heavy helmet can cause neck trauma or distress with time.
Some headpiece brands market their products in pomp and glory by adding eye-catching innovations to make their gear stand out. Ignore the marketing strategies and focus on reinforcements that improve your safety.
For example, MIPS innovations protect individuals’ brains from impacts that ensue from spinning motions. During rotation, the technology absorbs and redirects the impact energies that can turn out catastrophic to the brain when involved in a crash.
Tip – Not all costly helmets will fully protect your head from injury during a fall or crash. Some companies design affordable headpieces that will cover and adequately protect your brain from damage.
All motorcycle fiends must own and wear quality jackets when riding at all times. Leather jackets worked best for motorcycle owners shortly and long after the invention of motorbikes. The tough and stylish material still reigns supreme.
However, some riders nowadays prefer textile jackets from manufacturers owing to their lightweight and cost-effective designs.
Your choice of jacket material should depend on your preferred style of riding and your need for durability. Manufacturers create different designs, each suiting various riding types, including cruising, riding on the street, racing, and adventure.
Many people still love leather jackets because they display outstanding resistance to abrasion. A leather coat can protect you and serve you on the road for a couple of years without wearing or tearing apart.
The thick construction beneath the leather jacket will provide lasting insulation during cold weather. Cleaning a leather jacket takes a short time. Repairing the gear will also cost you less, thus saving you on maintenance costs.
On the other hand, a synthetic textile relies on its breathable build to facilitate more comfortable ventilation in hot and cold weather. Besides, a synthesized fabric can repulse water and keep the wearer dry.
If you need a textile jacket whose tough build can last you an entire lifetime, consider options like Kevlar. A Kevlar jacket costs less than a leather coat. Riders will also find a wide variety of designs when purchasing textile jackets.
Jackets nowadays come with additional reinforcement such as padding and armor. The inclusions can now protect riders during impact, unlike during their first unveiling, when they lacked cushioning and panoplies.
Manufacturers first padded the common areas of impact and subsequently introduced armor, although its bulky and rigid element made riding uncomfortable. In modern times, riders can hardly notice armor automation due to advancements in the applied technology.
It would be best if you also considered the visibility aspect of your jacket. Other motorists will quickly notice a rider with a reflective coat and exercise caution on the road at night.
When headlights hit the Hi-Viz colors or your clothing’s reflective materials, the light will bounce back, and the other motorist will see you more brightly. Reflective jackets minimize the risk of encountering accidents at night.
If you prefer to ride during warm weather, look for a well-ventilated jacket. To improve aeration, designers include mesh materials on the jackets or intake and outlet vents. Check your safety coat for inlet and exhaust vents on the front and back, respectively.
The addition of removable linings to modern jackets adds to their versatility and functionality. Liners will keep the jackets warm during cold weather. In summer, riders can remove the liners and get on with their hobbies undistracted.
All in all, the right jacket should fit you perfectly. Small designs make it difficult for riders to move and cause constriction in blood flow and unnecessary fatigue. A large coat can quickly get loose and leave your body exposed in a crash.
Regular pants will not protect your lower body from the rigors and uncertainties of the road. You need a quality design that protects your hips and knees from friction and different weather conditions. Besides, quality pants should provide maximum aeration and visibility.
Like motorbike jackets, pants come in a wide array of materials. The most common designs include textiles, Kevlar, and leather. You can use your selection of jacket material to handpick your most suitable pants.
Leather pants offer the best protection. A textile pair may include removable linings for all-weather scenarios and will protect you from any weather elements. You could also wear textile pants on top of your everyday jeans or trousers when reporting for work.
Some designers include denim in their pants by interweaving it with another strong fabric, usually Kevlar, to increase its resistance to friction during a fall. Other types of denim pants come with padding integrations around the knees and other critical areas.
When browsing for pants, check that your pick includes a CE-rated panoply around the shins, hips, and knees. Good pants should fit cozily, facilitate maximum circulation of air, and keep the wearer comfortable.
The best pants should also include a zip for connection to your jacket. The zip should run around your waistline, such that the fastening keeps your upper and lower bodies safe and adequately covered.
You should choose your pants based on weather conditions, your type of motorbike, and riding duration and distance. Leather provides reliable protection but can get extremely uncomfortable when riding over long distances.
However, textiles offer visibility, substantial protection, and ventilation but will not favor all riding types.
Quality pants should fit perfectly because a tight pair makes you uncomfortable throughout the ride. Besides, the pants you wear shouldn’t come up so high that they expose your boots.
Motorcycle footwear should give you adequate coverage and protection from falls and crashes. Aside from complementing your riding style, the boots should also offer comfort when walking after pausing your ride.
Many manufacturers focus on the quality build of motorcycle footwear and neglect the marketing ballyhoo you often see with other protective gear. Designers thus create durable boots with extra features to withstand heavy impacts.
You will hardly notice rider-tailored features because much emphasis rests on construction.
Some of the durability and functionality features include molded anklebone protection, double or triple stitching around the seams, oil-resistant undersides to prevent slippage, and built-in gearshift pads.
The reinforced construction and reintegrated materials of motorcycle boots make them costly acquisitions.
Experienced designers carve boots out of leather to warrant high resistance to friction and impact. Treated leather can repulse water. Other manufacturers prefer making textile boots that offer breathability and average attrition resistance.
Make sure that you pick boots with the right closure mechanisms. Traditional laces can quickly come undone in the middle of a ride. Velcro and buckle closures strap perfectly and won’t come off no matter the impact of your crash.
A quality sole will give you the perfect grip needed to shift gears and maintain footing without slipping. Double and triple stitches will also keep your shoes intact during an accident.
Many riders often underestimate the importance of reliable gloves. During falls, humans instinctively use their hands for protection – during most crashes, the hands will first touch the ground.
You should, therefore, purchase high-quality gloves that will protect your hands from impact and abrasion. Preferably, find an option with retention straps because they tightly wrap around the wrists.
I also recommend armored gloves. Aside from protecting your knuckles and top hand, pick a pair that reinforces around your lower palm. Thick, waterproof, and windproof gloves work best in cold weather to protect your hands from the biting snow and keep you focused on riding.
A motorcycle head-to-toe suit offers protection and comfort. However, the designs will cost you dearly. I would advise riders working on fixed budgets to purchase their jackets and pants (they should zip together) separately; zipped jackets and pants offer flexibility.
Riding will get more fun and comfortable with protective suits; the designs give you more control. Make sure the protective clothing can repel water and provide adequate ventilation.
Despite their incredibility, suits can sometimes give you numerous challenges when unzipping or unfastening. Pick a design that can zip up or down quickly.
Motorcycle Protective Armor
Protective armors absorb energies released during an impact and prevent them from causing you further injury. Different types of protective armor include:
- Neck braces
Impact around the neck can cause severe trauma to the victim. You should include neck braces in your protective gear kit because they prevent the head and neck from drifting during an accident.
Besides, the gear deflects the intensity of impact, especially around the chest and shoulders. Even though braces do not entirely forefend injuries, they reduce the chances of suffering fatal injuries.
- Knee guards
You should invest in knee guards if you use denim or leather pants for your protection when riding. Guards come with tough shells for safety and durability. The guards you acquire should give you an easy time when fastening and provide full protection of the knee area.
The cushioning on the knee guard should also attach comfortably to your body. Slim and properly ventilated designs make good fits because they encourage free movement and aeration around the joints.
- Elbow guards
If you encountered an elbow injury before, you probably understand why riders need elbow guards. Elbows often suffer harm because they stand in the way between you and branches, rocks, asphalt, or other motorists.
A quality elbow guard should offer enough protection and feel lightweight on your arms. A quality elbow guard will feature a well-sutured mixture of polyester, polyurethane, and spandex. Meshed clefts on the guards will also improve breathability and absorb sweat.
- Wrist braces
Motorists can suffer hyperextended wrists after getting involved in accidents. If you immediately stretch out your hand when falling, the impact will most likely break your wrist bones.
Wrist guards increase the stability of your wrists and mitigate the severity of the impact on your carpus. Riders with previous injuries should undoubtedly include wrist guards in their protective kits because they prevent old wounds from unstitching and new ones from occurring.
- Kidney belt
Kidney belts protect vital body organs around the lower thorax from injury. Aside from offering protection, a kidney strap improves the posture of the wearer.
Your belt should feature a lightweight build and thin foam lining that will allow the kidney and other critical organs to move freely.
- Back protector
Like kidney straps, back protectors absorb impact and protect vital body organs such as the kidney, liver, spine, ribs, and spleen from injury.
A good back protector should fit perfectly beneath another safety gear, so ensure you test the protector with your other equipment. Small protectors won’t protect the delicate lumbar sector of the back; please ensure that you find the right size.
Additional protective gear
A chest protector keeps your thorax safe. The gear should fit comfortably underneath the rider’s clothes. Chest protectors cushion critical organs around the thoracic cavity by absorbing any impact on the area.
Roost protectors protect against errant pebbles, debris, and dirt but fail to cover the back, chest, and spine.
Earplugs will prevent the noisy wind from harming your canals but keep you fully conscious of the traffic around you.
Tinted visors can improve your vision. We recommend the visor because goggles can’t fit inside a headpiece.
Even with all the protective gear, we still advise riders to observe extreme caution on both on-road and off-road courses. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be best to neglect any safety equipment even when you feel your experience can warrant your safety.
When choosing protective gear, prioritize your safety and comfort before considering other details such as design, color, and taste.
You can also consult seasoned riders with a better experience on different gear. Veterans can offer better insight into quality gear and the most reliable options to acquire.
Besides, keenly scrutinize brands of gear and choose the design that best fits your type of riding. If a particular gear causes you extreme discomfort, abandon it and look for the right size because motorcycle gear should not hinder your riding but enhance it.