When first starting out in the world of motorcycling there are a few things you need, a bike, a license or permit and some gear. The gear is not something to skimp on and ideally a new rider should budget around $500 for a full set of gear. If you are on a budget you can get some good deals on last years styles and closeouts on the web.
What you need:
A helmet is a no brainer, in most states and countries helmets are required. At a minimum you want a helmet that is DOT approved (it will have a stick on the helmet indicating DOT). Another rating you want to look for is SNELL approval which is a European standard and higher than the DOT standards. You will find lots of different types of helmets on the market from very thin “beanie” style helmets, more robust half helmets, 3/4 helmets, and full face helmets. No matter what style of bike you are riding I recommend a full face helmet. Don’t you want to protect your face and chin?
I would not go cheap on a helmet and plan to spend at least $100. You might be able to find one with last year’s graphics for a bit less. Sticking with a brand name is a good idea, some of the less expensive brands are: HJC, Scorpion, Icon, Joe Rocket. More expensive brands include Shoei, Arai, and AGV. With the more expensive brands you will get more features such as better venting and lighter weights.
Gloves are a must to protect your hands in the event of a crash. If you get a “full gauntlet” style of glove it will also protect your wrists, which is a great idea. Most gloves are made of leather and many include carbon fiber knuckle protectors. For the summer you can get vented textile or leather gloves and in the winter you can get gloves with thinsulate.
Boots are important because not only do they protect your feet but also your ankles. Riding in sneakers is not enough, think about your precious ankle bone! Look for a boot that has a good slip resistant sole, sturdy material (most likely leather), and covers your ankle. You may also want to avoid laces so they don’t come untied while riding and become dangerous. Some popular motorcycle boot makers are Sidi, Tourmaster, Icon, and Harley-Davidson. (If you’re shopping for boots at the Harley store be sure to read the descriptions. They will specify if the boots are for riding or “after riding”)
A jacket is not just for keeping the cold air off your body. You want to look for a jacket that has CE approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and back. It should also be made of an abrasion resistant material like heavy leather or textile. You can get lots of different kinds of jackets, int he summer you can wear mesh textile or vented leather. In the winter you can wear a heavier jacket with a liner. Some inexpensive jacket brands are Speed and Strength, Shift, Joe Rocket and Icon.
Often time people forget about pants. You have a whole lower half of your body to protect. Ideally you want a pant with some armor in the knees and hips. You can get pants that are overpants and designed to be worn over your normal pants or you can get regular riding pants. There are also jeans made for motorcycle riding that do not offer armor but have kevlar lining or at least a heavier denim than your regular fashion jeans. A popular brand of motorcycle jeans is Draggin Jeans. Tourmaster and Shift also make motorcycle jeans. For overpants check out Joe Rocket or Firstgear.
Do you always wear gear when you ride?