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Old 01-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Motorcycle Gear Guide

"Protect Yourself with the Right Motorcycle Gear"

Riding a motorcycle is arguably the most thrilling and enjoyable way to travel. Whether you’re out for a weekend joyride or commuting to the daily grind, it’s always better on two wheels. In order to stay safe and comfortable, riders must have the right motorcycle gear and choosing the perfect gear isn’t always easy. Here is a short informational guide to answer a few common questions and get you started in your search for the gear you need.

How do I choose the right helmet?

When shopping for your motorcycle gear, it makes the most sense to start by finding the right helmet. There are a few important keys to keep in mind in your search. Safety is the top priority when it comes to selecting your head gear. Make sure that the helmets you are considering buying are D.O.T. certified. This certification ensures that a helmet meets certain standards in construction, padding and impact protection, and all helmets worn on the street must be D.O.T. certified by law. The next consideration is the style of helmet you want. It is possible to get D.O.T. certified helmets in many styles, from half-helmets to full-face to modular. The different styles offer different features and riding experiences. Most of the top brands offer helmets in every style, so explore prices and available features to determine if you’ll be in a Bell, Arai, Shoei, HJC, Icon, KBC or any number of other popular brands.

What kind of jacket should I look for?

These days, when you’re shopping for a jacket to add to your motorcycle gear, you will be presented with a lot more than just traditional black leather jackets. Though leather still offers very effective protection and style, there are now high-tech textile materials that can also offer protection while allowing more air flow. In a modern riding jacket, the best way to ensure you’re getting the most protection for your money is to look for jackets with CE certified armor, either available as an optional upgrade or already built-in. This armor should cover the major impact zones (shoulders, back and elbows). All the major brands - like Alpinestars, ICON, Roland Sands Designs, Tour Master, Joe Rocket, First Gear and many more - offer a universe of colors, styles and constructions, so explore all of your options when you’re shopping for your gear. Another good alternative that has emerged in recent years is the “compression suit” jacket, which is basically a light-weight undergarment with full-torso CE approved protection that can be worn under any jacket.

What kinds of pants are best?

The pants you add to your motorcycle gear should match your riding plans and intentions. Just like with jackets, you’ll have the option of leather or textile in many colors, styles and designs. Also just like with jackets, it’s important to consider CE-approved padding in impact zones like knees and hips. Some road-race pants include knee “pucks” which provide excellent abrasion and impact protection, but may be overkill for a casual street rider. Explore the options, and consider pants that interface well with your jacket selection. Some zip, snap or clip together offering better wind and weather protection, and the styles are more likely to match. These days, the casual commuter rider can even find jeans that are reinforced with Kevlar to provide riding protection. Also, a few companies are starting to offer stand-alone leg protection that covers the knees and shins and can be worn with any pants. Whatever your needs, there are hundreds of options for every style of rider.

Do I need gloves?

Gloves are an essential item in your motorcycle gear ensemble. Not only do they protect you from bugs, rocks and other road debris, but in the unfortunate event of an unforeseen “get off,” your hands are extremely vulnerable to injury. It’s up to you whether you want full “gauntlet” style gloves that cover your entire wrist, or short-style gloves that offer more movement and dexterity, but there are a few key things to look for in your hand protection. Base your choice on the climate and seasons that you ride in. In colder climates, hands can get very cold at the controls, which can limit your mobility and ability to control your bike as fast. And if you predict any rain riding, you may want to consider waterproof materials. If you live in a hot climate, you may want to consider fingerless options or vented textile gloves. Another key aspect is crash protection. Some motorcycle gloves offer molded plastic and hard foam protection for the knuckles. Whether you choose leather or textiles, consider the quality of the materials and sturdiness of the construction, particularly on the palm of the glove.

What kind of boots should I get?

Again, the choice of the right boots to add to your motorcycle gear shopping list depends on your riding style and predicted uses. It’s always good advice to ride in boots that at least cover your ankles, since they are a point of vulnerability on a motorcycle. With that said, there is still a huge range of options, from sneaker-style boots that can be worn throughout the day - whether on or off the bike - to high-tech race-ready boots that cover your lower leg up to mid-calf with molded plastic sliders and ankle stabilization technology. Some offer waterproof protection and even GORE-TEX, while some offer ventilation to keep your feet cool in a hot climate. If you plan on tackling multiple road surfaces on an adventure-touring ride, there are boots ready-made for that. Explore the options from trusted brands like Sidi, Vega, Alpinestars, Speed and Strength and more, and be sure to pay attention to the sizing charts available since many of the top brands are from Europe and use a different sizing system than the U.S.

What if I ride a dirt bike?

If you ride in the dirt, your motocross gear selections will be very different, including a motocross-style helmet, goggles, jersey and pants which offer the maximum airflow to keep you cool when riding off-road. Dirt bike boots are also very different from the road-going options, and offer hard plastic protection for the entire lower leg. The gloves you will want for riding in the dirt will also be a lighter textile option with more ventilation and airflow. Chest protectors can help block against the “roost” of dirt and debris that a fellow dirt bike rider can kick up and also offer superior crash protection. There are also high-tech knee braces that many competitive dirt bike riders wear to protect against knee injury.

Is there anything else I should look into?

Depending on the type of riding you plan to do, there are a few more motorcycle gear accessory protection items that you may want to consider. If you’re just getting into road-race track riding, you may want to look into a one-piece leather riding suit. Whether you ride street or dirt, another consideration is neck protection. A few companies, most notably Leatt, offer neck braces that protect against whiplash and other neck injuries. Last but not least, you may want to consider riding-specific undergarments that keep you warm in cold weather and cool on those hot rides, while reducing muscle fatigue, wicking sweat, and stretching to conform to your riding position.
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Last edited by; 01-03-2013 at 11:10 AM. is offline   Quick reply to this message
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