First Riding Gear Rundown [Bible]
First Riding Gear Rundown: Street Edition
So, your motorcycle school has stiffed you on providing gear and making you go out and buy your own? Talk about throwing you right into the deep end! You’re probably very excited to grab that 2-wheeled machine but really haven’t thought about the garments that protect your fleshy dumb body when something happens and the bike goes down. The truth is you probably don't know much if not anything on what to look at and get.
When you talk to riders, the majority will tell you that they wished they had bought a better set of first riding gear. Yours truly is among them.
I will attempt to give you information on it to the best of my abilities for your FIRST purchase. Admittedly, I know more about sport gear than the other types but I hope it’s enough to grab a basic understanding for all. Once you’re riding for a while, you’ll know what you need (or desire).
Before COVID-19, some riding schools would provide you with basic gear from the waist up. Now they want you to bring your own helmet and gloves at the very least (if not have all your gear).
No, I will not be going over Pirate Cosplay or Squiding (not wearing gear). Motorcycle schools wag the finger at such malarky and it’s trending uncool. The point of motorcycle gear is to first protect you and to be comfortable. Those 2 things are your absolute primary focuses when choosing items.
This is already a long read so I’m going to skip some of the other gear you can find such as: body protectors (bionic), race suits, riding suits, riding backpacks/bags, airbags, hydration, communications, sunglasses and video cameras. These items are either easy enough to figure out or are down the line from your initial gear.
The focus of this post will be how to choose your first riding gear in terms of: Helmets, Jackets, Gloves, Pants and Footwear.
Your primary deciding factors of your gear is going to be: your bike and what riding you will be doing, how much you intend to ride, and the conditions you will ride in.
There is a symbiosis between the type of bike you get and your gear. It’s not only about styling but function as well. What you need in terms of the following will be different: Abrasion resistance, impact protection, dexterity, ventilation, breathability, waterproofing, pockets/storage, insulation, and aerodynamics.
What riding will you be doing: The gear for paved track riding is going to be extremely different than it is for off-road riding.
How much you intend to ride: If you ride a significant amount then you should probably be well invested in quality protective and comfortable gear. Your set may branch to include different sets of gear for all manner of conditions.
Conditions you will ride in: The most obvious is sun and rain; waterproofing will help you avoid getting damp and cold in the rain but due to reduced ventilation the garments can make you hot in even comfortable dry conditions. Will you be riding off-road? Well, you probably want gear that’s durable, has storage, has dexterity and is easy to clean. Another thing to consider is temperature. The range I like riding in is 13-21C / 55-70F. I wear a winter layer base from 7C-11C / 45-52F and try to keep speed up if it’s +25C / 77F for more ventilation. If you ride near freezing you may consider heated gear like a vest and gloves. If you ride in scorching heat, you’ll want something with more ventilation and flow through like mesh. Also consider if you will be riding at night it will be cooler in temperature and you might want some more reflective gear.
I hope that you will also consider getting gear that will make you more visible. Does it work? HELL YES. Trust me, looking like the mash up of Deadpool and Red Ranger does wonders for my safety. Today, manufactures are trying to make high visibility gear look less dorky. Many riders are adopting bright colours into their gear when possible.
The truth is, many riders will have a few different garments for different conditions as there’s not really a set of gear that satisfies all conditions of riding.
What helmet manufactures should you consider?
AGV, Arai, Shoei, HJC, Scorpion, Bell, LS2, Shark, Schuberth, Icon, Simpson… there’s a bunch.
What riding gear manufactures should you consider?
Klim, Dainese, Alpinestars, Spidi, REV’IT!, Icon and many others.
Revzilla or Fortnine will give you a rundown of manufactures.
I figure we’ll start head to toe and go in depth:
The overwhelming general consensus among riders is to buy your motorcycle helmet new as you can’t quickly inspect the protective layer and know if the helmet is damaged. A used helmet will have already molded to the previous rider’s head (more on that below) which may reduce its protection or leave you with discomfort. Lastly used helmets are going to retain some of that hygiene of the original owner, even with the most OCD of pad washing and disinfectant.
This is the only piece of gear I’ll seriously push for you to buy brand new and not cheap out on. The rest of your gear you can buy used as long as they are not damaged, offer adequate protection, and actually fit you properly.
This is likely going to be your first venture into your gear setup as it’s the most important when you have an accident. As mentioned, I’m not even going to bother with the brain bucket/skull cap cosplay shit the Harley and other goof’s wear. I don’t care if it’s DOT; it’s garbage. I will be going into full face, dual sport and modular helmets. The ones that won’t leave you looking like two-face when you “had to lay’er down” and face plant.
You’re probably wondering why there’s thousands of helmets on the market available to buy. The truth is, not all helmets are created equal, and not all helmets will be designed for you.
Full Face: Your typical motorcycle helmet.
AGV K-3 SV: Tartaruga
Modular: The front flips up and is usually worn by Touring Riders so they can talk without taking the helmet off.
Shoei Neotec II
Dual Sport/ADV: Your off-road helmets, with provisions for goggles and a has a peak.
Arai XD4: Africa Twin
Helmets come in different sizes for our heads but did you know they also come in different shapes? No joke! Some people have round heads and others more oval. If you’re wondering why one helmet may be more comfortable (less pressure points) than another for you despite being the same size and same manufacturer this is likely the reason. While the helmet will conform to your head, it’s best to find one that’s already roughly your shape. How do you know if you have a round or oval head and what helmet get? You don’t really, which is why you go to the shop and try a bunch of helmets on.
Now you’ve found a comfy helmet is it the right size? Helmets should be a tight fit. New helmets will squeeze and wrinkle your cheeks tight but they shouldn’t be so tight that you feel like your head is in a vice. Straight up, put a helmet on at the store and keep it on for +30min, it should feel quite tight but you shouldn’t develop any discomfort from the pressure. New helmets will conform to your exact head shape over time and loosen slightly but they should still be tight. A loose-fitting helmet will not provide the required protection for your head in the event of an accident. Have someone at the store assist you with the size and double check you for helmet fitment (especially if you're unsure).
You’re probably expecting me to say that more expensive helmets offer the best protection. That would make the most sense right? Wrong! You can find very protective helmets for $250 some even more protective than helmets that are $600-700. Well then what the hell? And where can I find information on this?
You can check out for a good list of tested helmets and there rating here: https://sharp.dft.gov.uk/ It’s not the end all be all, but it gives you a rough idea.
Every motorcycle helmet worth a damn will come with a safety rating. I’m not go into it in grave detail about DOT, ECE, SNELL, and FIM ratings and certification. Instead, please read this article that goes over them:
So, what do you pay for with the more expensive helmets? The easiest thing to see will be graphics. HJC has both DC and Marvel comic licenses. Other helmets such as AGV, Shoei and Arai will sell replica helmets of your hero motorcycle racers. They may be a cooler looking shape and be more aerodynamic.
No friends, the fun doesn’t stop there either. Some will meet increased standards and certified to for track use. Helmets maybe constructed of lighter materials both in the shell (such as carbon fibre) and with the interior protective layering. They may increase the number of vents to cool you in the summer, provide an internal flip down shade lens and have built in breath deflector or supply a chin wind deflector. They may have better pads that decrease wind noise, emergency removable pads, or mounting spots for communications systems. The visors may come with provisions for a pinlock anti fog system (or even provide a pinlock insert), a dual pane visor, provide multiple visors, or allow a UV transition visor.
Yes, A quick word on visors! If you are going to ride when it’s cold or raining, I highly HIGHLY recommend getting a helmet with a visor that allows a Pinlock insert. The Pinlock forms an insulation like a double pane window and cuts down on visor fogging significantly. I personally have 2 different shields for my helmet (it’s a HJC RPHA 11 Pro Deadpool). Normally I have on the tinted shield with a regular Pinlock (sunny daytime). My clear shield I use between dusk and dawn, it also has a UV transition Pinlock for those sunsets and sunrises. You can get all sorts of colours and tints for visors. Wearing a dark tinted visor is cool during the day but riding at night with one is sketchy as hell. Staring into the sun with a clear visor also sucks (and is dangerous), so figure out what you want to do to shade your eyes.
A clear visor shield with a tinted PinLock insert installed
You probably just want me to choose the helmet for you. Unfortunately, I can’t. But I will give you some pointers:
I really recommend buying your helmet new and from a motorcycle dealer or gear shop. I can’t emphasize enough how much proper fitting gear is for your comfort and safety, and your head is the BIG one. For the sake of safety don’t go to Walmart or onto Wish and buy some chinesium piece of junk [Amazon is also a minefield of both reputable and no name brands]. If you go on Fortnine or Revzilla they will have reputable helmets you should consider for examples (I also recommend you look through the reviews to see if people say the helmet is noisy or have other issue), you can look at them but I still recommend you go to a shop, try it on, and buy it there. If they don’t have the livery/color, they can order it for you.
How much should you budget?
I’d say $150-400msrp is an acceptable range for new first time riding helmet. Helmets are typically recommended to be replaced every 5 years. Needless to say, helmets involved in an accident should be replaced. There’s a bit of a thing about dropping the helmet destroys the eps layer and reduces the helmets’ protective ability, some riders say to replace it if goes crack (or dropped over 4ft) while other say to ride.
There are 3 major types of materials motorcycle jackets are made from today: Leather, Mesh and Textile. Each comes with their own pros and cons.
Motorcycle jacks will have protection and impact padding. The primary places you will find this will be on the forearms, elbow, shoulder, chest, and back. This protection is typically made from foam but different types and thicknesses exist. Some garments will have the ability to remove the protection padding for washing where as others will have the protection built in.
Your jacket should be tight fitting but not uncomfortably tight. Loose fitted jackets may not offer you proper impact protection. For example: Your sleeve may twist shifting the forearm padding which may either partially or not absorb impact on the initial fall or subsequent rolls.
Dainese Racing 3 Leather Sport Jacket
Leather is the classic material for motorcycle jackets. There are a few different types of leathers you can find for riding garments. For the majority of premium motorcycle jackets, it will be Cowhide. Leather is still considered the best material of choice for abrasion resistance especially for availability, manufacturing and cost. It’s not very elastic so it cuts down somewhat on dexterity even with the built-in stretch and flex points but it can be cut and stitched to conform to the body. This creates a streamlined garment that doesn’t absorb as much airflow or disturb it by flapping loosely and causing drag. As straight leather doesn’t breathe so well most riders prefer to ride with perforated leather which is more comfortable as it allows breathability and ventilation for your core especially at higher temperatures but still offers premium abrasion resistance in the arms. This is why to this day you still see even the top tier motorcycle racers in leather suits.
The disadvantages of leather jackets:
They’re expensive. The comfortable temperature operating range (you will feel cold in winter temperatures and hot in summer temperatures) as a proper fitting leather jacket will only allow you to fit a single base layer and doesn’t have as much breathability as other materials even when perforated. Also leather really doesn’t take well to water, so you should avoid riding in rain. Leather jackets may also have smaller pockets and less pockets.
Should you buy a leather jacket?
If you’re going to be doing strictly street based and fast riding in fair weather it should be a consideration. Due to the history of leather jackets and motorcycles you can find them for the vast majority of great looking street styles. Harley, Café, Neo Retro, Sport, Race, Touring and ADV, they’re all there in leather.
How much should you spend on a new leather jacket?
I’d say $250-500msrp for a solid jacket. Leather can last a long time (decades with proper care) so you shouldn’t be hesitant to throw down even a little more money than that if there’s something you like and will keep.
Alpinestars Andes V3 Drystar Waterproof Textile Jacket
Textile jackets are the jacket of choice for Adventure or All-Weather riders. These jackets don’t go to shit when they get wet (many are water proofed) and are also easier to clean than leather. They aren’t as heavy or rigid. Many allow you may add or remove a jacket liners that are wind [cold weather] and waterproofing and have more vents to adjust for the temperature outside. They will also usually feature larger and or more pockets. They can cost less than a comparable leather jacket with similar features. Like leather they are available for all styles of riding.
Sounds better than leather, what are the issues?
The abrasion resistance protection is less. The jackets aren’t as long lasting. They’re also going to be slightly more loose fitting and not as sleek as leather, this can fatigue you faster riding a bike without a larger windscreen (like a dual sport or naked/standard).
Should you buy a textile jacket?
If you’re going Dual Sport, ADV or plan to ride street year-round in any condition and different temperatures this is probably what you’re going to want. It's also an option if leather just isn't for you. It will give you the ability to deal with all manners of weather and temperature conditions unlike leather and allows room for bulky base layers or a heated vest. Just don’t fall off at higher speeds okay?
How much should you spend on a new textile jacket?
I’d budget $200-450msrp. You’ll see really nice premium waterproof jackets with removable liners in the higher end of that range.
Klim Enduro S4 Mesh ADV Jacket
Mesh jackets are typically on the less expensive end of the motorcycle jackets. The positives I have for them is that they’re more breathable and have better ventilation than either perforated leather and textile so they will be better for riding in the hotter climates. Similar to textile in fit so you can add base or heated gear underneath. They’re also easy to wash.
Should you buy a mesh jacket?
Unless you’re strictly riding scorching sunny weather or on a budget I’d probably recommend going to a textile jacket. Some of the low-cost mesh jackets have a lower rating of protection (usually just forearm, elbow and shoulder). Usually, they are thinner than textile which makes them even worse in abrasion resistance.
How much should you spend on a new mesh jacket?
$150-250msrp. Most new riders end up buying one to save money and then move onto leather or textile as they’re usually more appropriate (looks at self in the mirror). The more expensive mesh jackets like Klim with be a mesh-textile hybrid jacket and made for you actual desert riders.
REV’IT! Stripes Tracer Air Overshirt
These are typically for the cruiser and café crowds and are more casual wear for shorter trip riding as they don’t typically offer the same protection as Leather or Textile gear. Without your lid and paired with casual looking riding jeans and shoes the average person won’t look at you and peg you immediately as a motorcyclist (or at all).
Should you buy a riding shirt?
If you’re doing short hops on your café or cruiser bike at town speeds and are going to also buy casual riding jeans and boots or shoes then perhaps. Keep in mind that such casual gear below the waist can also be paired with a leather riding jacket in a café or cruiser style too.
How much should you spend on a new riding shirt?
Same as mesh, about $150-250.
Dainese D-Core Dry Shirt Base Layer
The Base Layer(s) [Under Shirt and Leggings]
You probably haven’t thought too much about this. Perhaps you’ll just use an old t-shirt or even got to work and have your work clothes underneath your jacket. When you start to deal with uncomfortable temperatures, you’re going to want to wear a dedicated base layer to be more comfortable. Wearing jackets with temperatures above 25C/77F [even with the vents open] begins to get hot and you’ll want a base layer that breaths and wicks away sweat. Conversely when you start getting into near freezing temperatures a heated vest or at least a winter base layer is a must to keep your core temperature up when underway.
I personally wear UnderArmour 4.0 Cold Gear for Winter and Heat Gear for Summer, swap temperature with the leathers for me is approximately 12C / 54F.
Gloves are very important as well. If you ever fall off your motorcycle you’re going to instinctively use your arms and hands to brace for impact and control your fall. Not wearing gloves and having a crash is sure way to end up with meat hooks. Motorcycle glove sizing isn’t standardized so one companies’ Small is another’s Large and all sorts of weird abnormalities. Once again, I recommend you go to a gear store to find the right glove that, well… Fits like a glove.
Gloves like Jackets come in Leather, Textile and Mesh (and all sorts of hybrids of those and other materials). The same set of information applies to them so I’ll make this slightly shorter.
Gloves come in 2 lengths: short cuff or longer wrist covering gauntlet. Which is better you ask? Neither actually. They both come with their own attributes.
Short cuffs are easy to put on, easier to store, comfortable and a little less expensive.
Gauntlets are better for bad weather and offer more protection by covering your wrist.
Spidi G-Carbon Short Cuff Leather Sport Gloves
Scorpion EXO Tempest Gauntlet Textile Waterproof Gloves
Leather gloves are going to be expensive and you don’t want to get them wet or use them in the cold. They will also have the least dexterity for similar thickness but will provide good feel. They will offer you the most abrasive resistance and protection and look the slickest.
Many gloves will fall under textile. These will be your all-weather gloves, some offer waterproofing, some will offer heating and or have insulation for winter use. Thinner summer gloves will have good dexterity and bulky winter gloves will have less dexterity and feel.
If you want nice cool hands in the heat these are for you! They offer very good dexterity and feel as well.
Types of Gloves
Summer: So, these will have a hybrid of mesh and leather to help your hands stay cool, offer protection and good dexterity and feel. Usually, they’ll be short cuff.
Winter: Usually textile with a bulky insulation and will be waterproofed [such as Gore-Tex]. Heated winter gloves are also available. Usually, they’ll be gauntlet.
Dual Sport: Combines textile and leather to have a comfortable glove and is available in gauntlet and short cuff.
Touring: Combines any of the materials. The focus is for a comfortable gauntlet style glove that’s less bulky than a winter glove but may still be waterproof.
Race: Leather construction with knuckle protection, palm sliders and wrist coverage. It’s focusing on crash protection while having good tactile feel for controls.
How much should you spend on new gloves?
I figure $75-100msrp should be the range to find a good quality starter glove.
If you are riding year-round with different weather and temperatures you may want to invest in having both summer and winter pairs of gloves.
Like motorcycle jackets riding pants come in Leather, Textile, Mesh. They’re also available in more casual but armoured denim.
A good set of riding pants will have knee protection (which may also extend down the shin) and hip protection. Make sure to properly size your pants so that the protection areas cover where they’re intended. This most applies more towards the knee padding where to long an inseam length can cause the knee protection to drop below your knee for good coverage.
Icon Hypersport 2 Prime Leather Sport Pants
Leather riding pants are typically more for sport bike riders. They’ll usually be the more expensive option fairly heavy but also typically provide the best protection. They will have the least dexterity, small/tight pockets (if they have them at all) and once again you don’t want to get most of them wet. Many leather sport riding pants will come with knee pucks or the Velcro to install them.
Should you buy leather riding pants?
If you’re on a sport bike and going to be riding fast and fair weather, it should be a definite consideration.
How much should you spend on new leather riding pants?
Chances are you’ll have a $400-500msrp leather sport jacket, it’s about the same for sport riding pants.
Sedici Avventua Textile Waterproof ADV Pants
This is the most prevalent material for riding pants. Typically, because they’re the best all round pants to wear riding. The weight is good, they offer good dexterity with a slightly looser fit, bunch of pockets (some of which quite large), different liners for more warmth, more/larger reflective strips, they are okay to get wet and of course many offer waterproofing.
Should you buy textile riding pants?
Likely yes. Like the textile jackets, these work in a variety of conditions and seasons depending on their features and are the most useful while still offering good protection. Textile pants come in styles for all different riding.
How much should you spend on new textile riding pants?
You can find some nice pants between $200-400msrp depending on your needs.
Klim Adventure Rally Air Mesh Pants
Once again these are going to be for the hot climates where you need protection but require a lot of airflow through the garment to stay comfortable, they may also feature some textile. They will be slightly less expensive and like textile they will provide good dexterity with a loose fit and feature decent pockets.
Should you buy textile riding pants?
Chances are you’ll also be running this with a mesh jacket because you’re in a sunny hot climate.
How much should you spend on new mesh riding pants?
I’d say $175-300msrp.
Alpinestars Copper Riding Jeans
Finally, a new material to talk about! Many of these look very similar to your average Levi’s. Unlike your fashion jeans though, these are going to be heavier by virtue of the impact padding and also other layers of materials backing the denim. Apart from being heavier they feel like wearing a pair jeans and look it too. They have good dexterity, breath well, decent pockets and on the inexpensive side. They’re not exactly fun to wear in the wet, but it won’t kill them. Many come with the lower CE 1 protection rating and may omit the hip protection, so check what they’re rated for.
Should you buy armoured riding jeans?
I found the best use for riding jeans is casual and quick rides to the store, work, or say meeting friends (who aren’t riding). They’re just so easy to throw on and be comfortable. Most people won’t figure you for a rider if you stow your helmet, take off your riding jacket (or have a riding shirt), have a simple t-shirt as base, and wear casual armoured riding shoes or boots. People with sport, café and cruiser bikes are usually the wearers.
How much should you spend on new riding jeans?
It’d say around the same as mesh, so $175-300msrp.
There’s a lot of choice for footwear. Once again, your bike, riding and other gear will typically determine what riding high-top shoe or boot you want.
Motorcycle footwear will typically have a hard soul: You’ll be putting your weight as well as the motorcycles lean to the pavement when stopped, times you scrape coming to a stop or taking off, and with smaller area pegs and pedals (especially those that are metal on sport bikes) which puts more pressure on the sole causing more wear. They will also be a slim profile around your toes so that it’s easier to slot your boot under the shifter, they may also have a grip pad on the top. They will have a reinforced areas and the heels and your toes to protect you in a crash, around the toes makes shifting more comfortable. They can be made more breathable or waterproof in all riding styles. Racing boots act much like a ski boot with the goal to stop ankle twisting and protect against crash impacts but still provide movement to actuate the shifter and brake pedal. Racing boots will also incorporate a toe slider for when you get a little close with the pegs on significant lean.
Alpinestars SMX-1 R Vented Sport Short Boot
These are something to consider starting with if you’re doing fair weather riding. They’re easier to put on and store. They come in a few different styles, heights, and materials. They span Sport, Café and Cruiser looks.
Dainese Centauri Gore-Tex ADV Tall Boot
These you’ll consider for more protection in the event of a crash. It’s the boot for more inclement weather as it will allow you to drop your pant legs below the top and many will offer waterproofing because of that. Tall boots are typically what you’ll find more seasoned riders wearing and usually the choice for riding including specific tall boots for ADV, Cruiser, Touring, Dirt and Racing.
Sidi Insider Riding Shoes
These are similar to the short boots but offer a casual look so you’ll usually pair these with riding jeans. As with short boots they’re easier to put on and store.
How much should you spend on new riding footwear?
About $150-250msrp depending on the style and type.
You may think that you could ride with steel or composite toed work boots, not a good idea. Besides being heavy and lacking feeling they typically have tall toes which can be difficult to slot under the shifter. They also don’t usually feature as rigid as sole nor rigidity past the toe protector. The force of a crash can be such as to bend the toe protector around enough to turn it into a toe guillotine.
Inclement Weather Gear
Say you ride fair weather on a sport bike and wear leathers. There may come the time when (you have to say take the bike in for maintenance and) the weather goes to complete shit and you have to ride; just pissing cats and dogs rain. It’s possible to invest in water proof shells or suits to wear over your jacket, pants, gloves and boots. I’ve found they work actually really well in those one-off instances. I wouldn’t substitute it for proper textile waterproof gear for year-round riders, but in a pinch it works, doesn’t need much storage space, and doesn’t cost much money (certainly not compared to ruined leathers).
Nelson-Rigg Stormrider Rain Suit Gear Cover
Riding when you’re cold sucks. Remember that when the temperature drops outside it’s compounded by speed with the windchill effect when you’re riding. Usually, the first thing you’ll notice is your hands getting uncomfortable (especially if you don’t have bark busters and have exposed gloves) and you will begin to lose some dexterity, you may feel a sharp nip hitting your face coming through the helmet vents that are open and if you close them you risk fogging your visor, and your upper torso will drop a few degrees after a minute or so on the highway for sure. That’s typically the time to switch to winter gear or lay up the bike.
Everyone has a different tolerance to what they feel as being cold and it will also depend on your gear too. With the leathers I tie it my base layer switch. Anything below 12C / 54F outside I equate to being “cold riding” for myself (SoCal would probably call that “freezing”). With the winter base I’ve rode in full perforated leathers at 3C for 45min.
I’ve touched on winter base layering and the Pinlock visor above but you may also want to add winter glove liners (or get winter gloves) and a balaclava. The balaclava is actually nice to wear because it stops that windchill from the vents allowing you to keep them open as well as reduces the moisture on your exhale. This will increase the time for your visor to fog up and the amount. Coupled with a visor that has a Pinlock insert, it reduces visor fogging even further.
With very cold temperatures you’re going to get into a balancing act of layers for warmth while trying not to lose your dexterity. Many bikes these days come with heated grips but if you’re going to be riding near and below freezing it might be prudent to invest in heated gear. Heated gear is available in gloves, vest/jacket, pants, socks and boot insoles. There is both battery powered heated gear and heated gear that connects to the 12V motorcycle battery. I’ve heard mostly positive things about heated gear from users who use it in the cold. If you plan to buy heated gear check what it comes with, 12V system may require you to buy the 12V battery hookup, temperature controller, splitters and cables separately.
Gerbing 12V Heated Liner Vest
Highly suggest wearing earplugs while riding. Riding at highway speeds will eventually cause you to go deaf because of the constant wind noise even with quiet helmets. If you’re going to be riding a lot you might consider getting custom molded earplugs which are more comfortable.
Custom Molded Earplugs
Is your head swimming? Good.
How much should you spend on your first set of gear if you were to buy brand new?
For a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants and boots I’ve calculated $700 low and $1,750 on the high. Average: $1,225, I’d see if the gear shop could round you down to a cool $1000 though.
Does that seem expensive and you want to spend less?
Well friend, it’s your skin in the game not mine. I currently daily rock gear that was many times more expensive than this when new and I’m still nowhere near the top end either. Once again, I strongly recommend that you buy your helmet new and make sure it properly sized for protection and comfort. I gave you the information so the onus is completely on you to how you want to protect yourself.
Lastly, if it's your first time and you are going to buy new gear, I suggest going to the gear shop or dealer than dancing around with online shops where you may find after purchase that the item doesn't fit. Sizes can be drastically different between manufactures. Online shops will sate that you can return gear that wasn't been for a ride but they might be dubious if you try to return a helmet (especially the longer you wait to return it). It's the same policy with most businesses too, however you shouldn't walk out with the wrong helmet in the first place after reading through this and having someone assist you.
Secondly, most respectable businesses should not only price match items but give you discounts when you rack up items and are a nice customer. Many times these discounts will beat out online prices for that gear (even with free shipping and loyalty credits).
Let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading!
@exage03040 I'm just gonna wear an Aerostitch R-3 suit
trivet last edited by
Great read for someone (like myself) that is considering their first motorcycle.
rctothefuture last edited by
Awesome info, I'm looking into getting my license this year if everything works out.
For the ear plugs, I've seen some folks just run headphones as they use them for phone calls and music. I assume that's a bad idea?
Awesome info, I'm looking into getting my license this year if everything works out.
For the ear plugs, I've seen some folks just run headphones as they use them for phone calls and music. I assume that's a bad idea?
In short; they will go deaf faster.
I'm not goofing about this either.
The little earbud headphones won't protect your ears and all those riders are simply trying to drown out wind noise with music not reduce the decibels endured.
I personally run custom molded plugs with a communication system (Cardo PackTalk Bold) that has speakers mounted in the helmet to listen to music. So I basically drown out the wind-noise with music while still having good ear protection.
krustywantout last edited by
@rctothefuture A good helmet will have pads you can remove to add speakers or an intercom system like Sena. I recommend getting a good set of reusable earplugs that you can clean. I don't like things in my ear but the wind noise on the highway will give you a headache after 15 minutes. Below is one I quickly found on Amazon.
@forsweden I'm getting close to doing just this
Another note about helmets... If you wear glasses make sure to buy a helmet that is compatible with them. Many manufacturers offer models with cut-outs in the padding for the stems. Some... Are better than others. Personally a big fan of Scorpions glasses cutouts.
Also, you know how they say you need to reduce unsprung weight? And going further, reduce rotating weight? Well, weight on your head is even more detrimental. Especially if you've got a big head like me, prioritize light-weight helmets if at all possible.
krustywantout last edited by krustywantout
@aestheticsinmotion Also, a large for one doesn't translate to a large for another. Aria helmets run small for me while Shoei and HJC are more alike in terms of sizing. If you plan on riding in a lot sun, try to get a helmet that isn't dark and has good amount of venting.
rctothefuture last edited by
@exage03040 Good to know, I figured that was the case. I'll keep an eye out for my local powersports shops to start letting people in. I've got a big head so finding a helmet will not be fun.
@krustywantout this is a good point. I regret getting a black helmet for that reason, and lack of visibility
Give them a call if you need to. These days, my gear shop will see me (and other riders) but only by appointment. They should be accommodating.
Also if they don't come to help you, just say hi and seek someone out. The lady I deal with comes across as disinterested in customers and always annoyed but she's just extremely busy all the time and is basically handcuffed to the phone.
I've seen certain riders get pissy they weren't waited on hand and foot when they went to purchase an $800 jacket. It's a decent chunk of change but it's not anywhere near "royalty status". You can develop relationships with dealers and gear shops to get that treatment but you have to be regular/memorable and throw down more cash (way more).
@aestheticsinmotion @decay wears one and swears by it (is he here? I'm just getting back to oppo so I don't know anything)
@exage03040 that exact Gerbing vest way my first piece of heated gear. I don't recommend it for riders longer than an hour or colder than 35F on the extreme end. The longer the ride, the higher that minimum temp will be. Multiple hours I wouldn't use it below 50F. You can't really feel the heat it makes, but it'll help keep you from feeling the cold at the same time. I've actually stopped using it for riding and now mostly use it for days when it's extra cold in the shop or playing in the mountains. Plug in heated gear works much better. With a full set of jacket, pants, insoles, and grips I can ride all day at 20F in perfect comfort. I've even used the plug in jacket under my mesh summer jacket at 50F and didn't get cold.
@aestheticsinmotion maybe I'll text him one of these days. He wasn't on oppo a lot up to the oppocalypse so he might've missed the memo.
ike808 last edited by
I don’t want to write a book so here’s my short list after much experimentation over 35 years of street riding including touring and commuting. I’m an ATGMOTT guy (all the gear most of the time).
Helmet: 1st AGV, 2nd HJC modular. Definitely buy new and go try them on. Helmets have different shapes and not all will fit your head shape.
Jacket/pants: after 20 years putting it off I finally bought an Aerostich Roadcrafter. No need to stop to put on rain gear and actually has good ventilation. I spent more than the cost of the suit trying different solutions over the years.
Boots: get motorcycle specific boots. They have protection that work/casual boots don’t. I’m partial to Sidi. I always bought waterproof and mid-height (big calves so no tall boots for me).
Gloves: whatever is comfortable with a way to secure them (usually Velcro strap at the wrist). Don’t do any good if they don’t stay on.
Education: Take a class (MSF or comparable). Buy a copy of Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. I’ve given copies to friends and family tags new riders.
ike808 last edited by