Motorbiking is often criticized, and parts of these opinions are justified. Motorcycle accidents can happen quickly, regardless of the rider’s skill, and often lead to life-altering or ending injuries. But that does not mean riding a motorcycle should be demonized altogether. With the right training and preparations, the risks of motorcycle accidents can be greatly reduced. A major part of responsible riding is the use of appropriate protective gear. Here are the parts of motorcycle gear that will keep you safe on the roads.
Which pieces of gear really are necessary, continues to be a debate among bikers. Regardless of opinion, many studies have shown that injuries from motorcycle crashes were less severe and time spent in the hospitals afterwards was much shorter for those riders, who were wearing full sets of protective motorcycle clothing. The following pieces are part of a good set of motorcycle gear.
While many think a regular pair of shoes or boots would be enough, proper motorcycle boots offer the best protection. A good motorcycle boot will be made from a tough, abrasion resistant material, like leather. Often, they are additionally reinforced with steel caps over the toes and heels.
Like with most other motorcycle gear, there are many tiers of gear that suit different purposes. Professional racers need other protection than somebody who commutes. Racing boots typically reach up to your knee and are extremely stiff, with a plastic bracing securing your ankle additionally. These kinds of shoes are great for high-speed rides, but impractical during the day-to-day. Make sure to pick a pair that suits your specific needs.
What is important is that the boot reaches over your ankle. This way, your foot is more protected from twisting. You should also be able to securely tuck any laces away to keep them from getting tangled or loosening.
You can order motorcycle boots and other protective clothing online. Make sure, however, that the gear you find is specifically made for this purpose. The best gear is usually certified by institutions like the European Commission, who have tested its quality and protective abilities.
The motorcycle helmet might be the single most essential part of your gear. Injuries to your brain will be fatal or have far-reaching consequences much quicker than impacts to other parts of your body. The hard shell and the layers of foam will shield you from an impact by catching it and redistributing the force across the helmet surface, so less of it reaches your actual head. At the same time, the visor and chin guard protect the rest of your face and your eyes, specifically.
When you pick a helmet, there are four important rules:
- Buy certified helmets. — Tested helmets have the highest safety standard.
- Never buy used helmets. — You can never be sure about their condition.
- Replace helmets every 5 years or after every impact. — Helmets loose efficiency with time and impacts.
- Buy full-face or modular helmets. — Open-faced helmets leave your chin and nose open to injuries.
Whether it’s just the visor of your helmet or additional protection, don’t forget to shield your eyes. The wind and flying particles can be uncomfortable and distracting. The same goes for rain, snow, or sunshine. UV-coated goggles are a great protection, especially when you are riding without a visor.
Gloves are, like boots, another part of motorcycle gear that gets overlooked more often than the others. But motorcycle gloves have several practical uses. They increase your grip and lessen the numbing effects of the bike’s vibration or cold air flow.
A good pair of motorcycle gloves will have protective armor over vulnerable parts, like your knuckles, and a soft padding at the base of your palm. Your hands are at the front of the bike, after all, and usually the first thing to impact when we try to catch ourselves.
Similar to other motorcycle clothing, they should be made from abrasion resistant materials like leather or Kevlar. Just like the boots, motorcycle gloves differ wildly between personal and professional use. Motorcycle gauntlets for racing are much bigger, stiffer, and probably too much for day-to-day use.
Once more, the motorcycle jacket should be made from an abrasion resistant material. It is what keeps you from getting road rash and can even prevent cuts and penetrations. Leather or synthetic fibers are the norm. Be careful with more casual styles. Regular leather or denim jackets don’t offer much protection.
Instead, go for a jacket that has additional padding and armor. Typically, your shoulders, elbows and back are reinforced to protect your more vulnerable spots. Make sure these armor pieces cover the respective area correctly, or choose a different fit. With a good motorcycle jacket, you can even switch these armor plates out with new ones if necessary.
It is best to pick a jacket that isn’t too snug or too loose. It must keep the wind out when you are riding, but can’t restrict you too much. Vents and perforations in less vulnerable spots will make the jackets more tolerable in the summer.
The rules for jackets apply here too. Abrasion resistant materials, armor, padding, and the right fit are key. There are more and more street style motorcycle pants that are made to look like jeans. Some of them have a decent quality. If you want to buy motorcycle jeans, make sure they have armor of some kind. They often use a fabric mixture of denim and Kevlar.
Motorcycle equipment is designed to keep you comfortable before and safe in case of an accident. The abrasion resistant materials, padding, and armor cover your most vulnerable parts. They keep you from getting road rash, cuts, penetrations, and even broken bones. Studies show the gear significantly reduces the intensity of injuries from motorcycle crashes. Make sure to buy intact gear of high quality and with the right safety certificates.