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Choosing the right motorcycle clothing

Jas Murphy November 26, 2020

Choosing the right motorcycle clothing is a massive part of motorcycle riding and enjoyment. The wrong gear could either leave you shivering or feeling like you’re wearing a spacesuit in the Sahara! The worst-case scenario is that inadequate motorcycle clothing could put you at risk of injury. Having the right motorcycle gear means you’ll be able to focus on the road and increase your enjoyment for every minute you spend on two wheels. To provide you with the best motorcycle clothing advice, we’ve provided some tips and helpful suggestions for you.

What Motorcycle Clothing Do I Need?

OK, I know you’re going to say, “because it’s the law and I want to be safe on the road.” But there’s more to choosing the right motorcycle clothing than that! How you ride and where you ride should inform the kind of gear you start looking at. 

Essential motorcycle clothing to consider includes jackets, gloves, helmets, boots, and trousers for each time you get on your motorbike. Everyday commuting is going to call for all-weather motorcycle winter clothing, casual riding might have you looking for protective gear that can double as street wear, one-piece suits are perfect for track days, and so on.

The main thing is that motorcycle clothing and accessories should protect you if the worst happens, whilst also making your ride more relaxed. The best motorcycle gear protects you from weather, noise, debris and rider fatigue so short trips and longer journeys are easy, comfortable, and fun.

How to Choose Protective Gear for Motorcycling

Whichever the riding situation you are buying motorcycle gear for, there are a few things that you’ll need to think about, including the protective qualities of the fabrics used, industry and safety standards that need to be met, how well it all fits (ill-fitting gear won’t keep you as safe as gear that fits like a glove – no pun intended), and of course, price are all valid concerns that you should address when choosing the right motorcycle clothing.

If price is an issue, you might want to consider second-hand motorcycle clothing, but check that they aren’t worn or in need of repair. You can pick up some quality second-hand motorcycle jackets and trousers on eBay and similar pre-loved gear websites if you’re careful about what you buy. However, we’d recommend avoiding second-hand lids. Motorcycle helmets are key to your safety on the road, and you can’t be sure about the integrity of a second hand one. If a motorcycle helmet has been in a crash, it’s possible the quality has been compromised. Always get your motorcycle helmet new and make sure it’s got a Sharp UK safety rating that you’re confident in. This should be your number one priority when choosing the right motorcycle clothing.

Motorcycle Jackets and Trousers

There is a massive range of motorcycle jackets and trousers out there. If you’re looking for everyday motorcycle gear, choose something that is waterproof. Riding a motorbike when you’re wet soon gets very cold and then you’ll have difficulty controlling the bike. If you’re thinking of leather; cow, kangaroo, and buffalo hides are best in terms of protection against abrasion. 

Lining is also a factor you’ll need to think about. Non-leather fabrics benefit from protective liners and Kevlar is a firm favourite when it comes to protective gear because of its abrasion-resistant qualities.

Armour can reduce impact should you fall and in doing so, reduce injury. This should be in the places where your joints are – elbows, knees and shoulders – but also down the spinal area. Comfort is also a factor here, so try items on before you buy and check for European Certified Standards ratings. These are a must when choosing the right motorcycle clothing.

Gloves and Boots

When we fall, our hands are the first to hit the floor. That’s evolution for you and it’s meant to protect our heads. When you’re riding, your hands are also hitting the wind before the rest of your body and likely to get cold before the rest of you. You’ll need motorcycle gloves that cover the whole of your hands to keep them dry and warm in all weathers and make sure they are made of abrasion resistant fabric, preferably with armour on the finger joints as well as the knuckles. Look for gloves that are double-stitched and made from strong leathers or fabrics. Choosing gloves with armour at the base of the palm is a good call too as it’s likely this is where your hands hit the tarmac first if you do come off your bike.

Sturdy footwear is a must when you’re riding too. There are some great motorcycle boots out there, but sturdy shoes are permissible if you need to hold off on that investment and focus on other pieces of kit.

Helmets

Last, but in no means least when choosing the right motorcycle clothing, is your helmet. These come in a range of styles – from full face to three-quarter, and modular helmets are becoming popular too. However, it’s worth taking note that 45% of motorcycle helmet impacts happen around the face and chin according to a study by Dietmar Otte.

Helmets are built to protect you for five years. After this time, you’ll need to replace yours, even if you haven’t been in an accident or accidentally bashed it on the corner of the kitchen bench. They’re designed to take all of the force from the impact of a crash so that your head doesn’t have to. That’s why you have to replace it if it’s been in an accident and, as mentioned, we’d recommend avoiding second-hand lids like the plague.

Choose a helmet that matches the riding you do – dirt biking helmets and street riding helmets are purpose-built, so they respond differently when it comes to the crunch. More expensive helmets aren’t necessarily safer; it might be the paintwork, ventilation or liner quality that pushes up the price. Always try a helmet on before you buy it and only buy it if it feels right and meets minimum safety standards.

What Should You Not Wear When Riding A Motorcycle?

It should be obvious, but we still see lots of people wearing completely inappropriate motorcycle clothing on the roads; jeans, t-shirts, sometimes even shorts and flipflops! These offer no protection whatsoever and your body will bare the full brunt of the asphalt if you choose to be reckless – even at low speeds. You owe it to yourself and your family to take every precaution. 

Follow our advice and go for the best quality materials. Even lamb, sheepskin, and fashion leather is too thin to provide good protection, and make sure you check for official safety certificates or branding on your purchases. You won’t regret it when choosing the right motorcycle clothing.   

Just like any clothes shopping you might do, try things on before you buy them. Shop for fit, comfort and purpose so you get something that’s right for you and your riding needs. Don’t be swayed too much by fashion or cost. If you’re having trouble affording good gear, consider quality second-hand options or reduce the cost of the bike you’re buying until you’ve got the right motorcycle gear. Motorbikes and the right gear might be expensive, but your life is priceless. If you want to chat about the right kit for your level of experience, give us a call.

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