OK, so right up front, this is a site about being an educated rider and being safe. So, there’s a built in safety theme.
Not gonna sugar-coat it, full gear is our recommendation. You might be an anti-helmet advocate, but we aren’t. It’s reasonably cheap insurance on your life.
We’ve shopped for years at most of the recommended sites throughout The Cafe – good selection, good prices and good service. So, support bike gear companies and check out the links on the right side of the page for these important pieces of gear.
Yep, we ride with helmets. Full-face too. That’s just our preference and recommendation. If you can, go with Snell-rated full-face helmets.
The video we have here highlights a good, Snell-rated helmet at an affordable price.
And, as mentioned, go full-face. There are lots of discussions on the web about reducing your ability to hear, peripheral vision blocking, etc. We just don’t buy all of it.
And buy the best helmet you can afford. We are talking about protecting your brains, eyes, ears and teeth. How much to replace any of that if some bad stuff happens to us? More than a helmet, for sure.
There are few classic motorcycling lines that come to mind when discussing helmets; both of these were found at gear shops:
A few classic motorcycling lines are:
Got a $10.00 head, buy a $10.00 helmet
Free jaw wire with purchase of open-face helmet
Lots depends here on where you ride. With lots of northern U.S. experience, we’ve had good luck with ballistic nylon jackets with liners. Kind of the 3-season version of riding jackets.
Friends in Dallas, ride with perforated leather. Kinda have to pick your swagger here.
At a minimum, look for reinforced seams, some kind of armor (shoulder, back, elbow) and, depending on your riding style, extra length in the back to keep rain water from running into your undies. Other nice perks – pit vents, rear vent, reflective tapes, heated inserts (nice! really . . .)
Oh yeah, rain gear. You will get caught riding in the rain (unless you never ride more than 2 miles from home). So, either get a multipurpose jacket that’s water-resistant too, or get a rain suit. Trust us, riding soaking wet in a 100lb leather sponge isn’t fun. If you want to get some great info on motorcycle rain suits, check out this site: Best Motorcycle Rain Suits
Boots serve two purposes – protection and grip. You need a pair of boots. Your New Balance aren’t made for riding a motorcycle and sure not made for scrubbing down the pavement at 50 mph.
Ride with sneaks and you are pretty sure to melt them eventually on the exhaust pipe anyway. And stop on an oil spot at a traffic light and your flip-flops might just surf right away from you and you’ll be holding your bike off the ground barefoot.
Get boots that go above the ankle. If they have some armor or reinforcement on the ankle that’s a nice bonus. So, recommendation, get a decent pair of riding boots. Leather is classic and there are thousands of options. One of our guys has a 15 year old pair of Gortex®, Alpinestars that are now twice re-soled and they are still keeping his toes dry. They are some ugly boots, but still kicking.
You are gonna hit the pavement, and your natural movement will be to put your hand down to break your fall.
It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.
Skin to concrete – not fun. Also, protect your hands from bugs, rocks, wind, rain, sun and that nasty black funk you’ll get when your grips start to break down due to too much sunlight. It’s so much better not having black, sticky hands when you stop for lunch and your favorite diner.
Here, again, leather, Gortex® and nylon – all available. Waterproof is good. Many a mile has been ridden with soaking wet leather gloves and, it’s just gross
Other Motorcycle Gear
Now, the above, assumes that you wear pants. And, to be more specific, long pants.
Yeah, laugh, but who hasn’t seen the dude in flip-flops, baseball cap backwards, shorts and t-shirt shredding down the highway on a Friday night?
That’s not us. No offense, dude.
So, yes, you could go full leathers or grab some riding pants too. However, many riders go with the basic jeans and, while not great, it’ll do. For long rides (even to work) you’ll find us with riding pants over the work clothes. Trotting around town, probably jeans. But all the other gear is there.