It'll keep you warm in the cold, dry when its wet, cool when its hot and keep you safe if you are involved in a crash – it does all that and looks pretty cool at the same time. Motorcycle gear is an absolute necessity for every rider. Proper gear is designed to enhance your overall riding experience and can be the difference between life and death on the road.

This blog will give you a detailed overview of what proper safety gear entails and the things you need to keep in mind before buying it. From helmets, gloves, jackets, pants and boots, we will discuss the different types of options available for each, and help you decide which one is best for you.

Before we begin, there are two things you need to understand about safety gear. Firstly, it is expensive, and secondly, its fundamentally integral to the whole riding experience. So when deciding to buy a motorcycle, you need to factor in the cost of the safety gear in your overall budget.

But first, let us begin by answering the most obvious question, “why should you buy safety gear?

Why Safety Gear?

Well the most obvious answer to that question is, “to keep you safe”. Accidents and collisions are a part of riding, regardless of how carefully you are. Sometimes, things like oil spills or bad road conditions can cause riders to crash. So every time you venture out on to the road, you need to be prepared. 

The unfortunate truth is that motorcycle riders will typically come off worse from road accidents as compared to car drivers. Its a scientific fact that humans evolved to travel no faster than approximately 25 miles per hour. Even at that low speed, hitting any hard surface can kill you. Now imagine the speeds bikes can go up to. Once a rider hits anything at that speed, their organs and bones simply will not be able to handle the forces on their own.

With only the gravel on the road to cushion their fall, riders need proper gear to survive collisions and minimize injuries.

Having cleared up that issue, let us move on to the gear itself.

Helmet – A safety essential and a legal necessity

The helmet is the most essential piece of safety equipment a rider needs. Apart from being a safety essential, it may be a legal necessity as well. In fact, only three states do not require riders to wear helmets (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire).

What is a helmet? Its just a styrofoam coated shell that is supposed to fit snugly over your head. All riding helmets are supposed to have that, but a helmet's quality can be gauged from the type of Styrofoam used in it and the quality of the material used to make the shell.

Good quality styrofoam is made in layers of precisely tailored densities which are designed to slow the rate of deceleration your head experiences in an impact. The shell is made from a strong, flexible material, like plastic, which is designed to absorb the energy of an impact by flexing accordingly. So understand this, helmets save lives!

A statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 69%. Another statistic states that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of motorcycle-related deaths. You do the math.

When buying helmets, keep in mind two main things, the size and design. A helmet needs to fit comfortably over your head and should allow you to move your neck easily. In terms of design, buy  helmets which cover your entire head and face.

Jacket – Protect your vitals

The jacket is another extremely important safety item. Considering the fact that it is supposed to cover several of your body's most vital organs, do not spare any expense to get the best riding jacket out there.

A proper jacket can help prevent road burns and broken bones and can absorb the immediate blow of an impact, thereby protecting your internal organs.

When buying a riding jacket, be sure that it has body armor – and the more body armor the better. Try looking for CE rated armor, which may offer the best protection on the road in case of collisions. Some people refuse to go for jackets with spinal and chest armor, but our suggestion would be to go for it. The armor will protect your spine, ribcage, lungs and heart.

Another very important thing with regards to the jackets are that they should fit you well. Motorcycle jackets contain armor in specific areas, which cover specific body parts. In case a jacket is not the perfect fit, the armor will be unable to protect those areas in case of a crash.

Lastly, look for jackets that have a proper ventilation system. These jackets allow air to circulate around it, thereby keeping you cool in warmer temperatures.

Gloves – Get a grip

They might seem trivial, but some seasoned riders have claimed that gloves are the second most important item of your safety gear after the helmet. Why? The answer is that gloves cover hands. Humans instinctively try to break their fall by using their hands and they are likely the first things to suffer as a result. So protective gloves need to be an essential part of your safety gear.

A good quality glove will protect your fingers, knuckles and palms from burns and can absorb the initial impact of a collision. Gloves can also be used to keep out rain and wind.

Keep in mind that motor cycle gloves are made especially by brands which specialize in safety gear, so no other waterproof gloves will do. The textile or leather used in this apparel is very different from conventional fashion items, so buy your gloves from a shop specializes in motorcycle gear.

When buying gloves, you need to keep in mind a few things. Firstly, the material for your gloves needs to be water and wind resistant. If your hands get wet, they will feel unbearably cold, even in higher temperatures, if you are driving fast. So keeping your hands warm is very important, since it will allow you to control your motorcycle properly.

Secondly, look for gloves which have armor linings, especially in the knuckle and palm areas. The palm will probably be the first part of the hand to come into contact with the road, so it needs to be properly protected from abrasions and knocks.

Lastly, for the gloves to function properly, they need to be on your hands the entire time. As such, look for gloves that have straps which can be tied around your wrist. These straps will ensure your gloves do not fly off in case of a collision.

Pants – Leathers or Textiles?

The pants, like the jacket, protect a big chunk of your body. The legs comprise the biggest chuck of flesh and skin that can be injured in a crash or collision and are hugely susceptible to burns, abrasions and knocks.

Like other safety items, the pants need to be made of special fabrics that can withstand rough falls without tearing. There are two main kinds of fabrics for pants, leathers and textiles.

Textile pants are cheaper than leather pants and usually breathe well. They can be washed conventionally and come in various styles. However, these pants are likely to survive only one serious crash, so you will have to purchase multiple pairs over time.

Leather pants are expensive, but they do last longer than textile pants. Once broken in, the pants are comfortable and arguably look better as well. Leather pants can survive multiple crashes so they do not need to replaced regularly. However, they do require special care and need to be taken to the dry cleaners.

Like with other safety items, try to get pants which have armor lining in them.

Boots - Traction is Important 

Just live gloves, people tend to disregard boots and avoid spending on them. However, good boots could prevent accidents and collisions from taking place.

For example, if a rider has to stop on a wet or slippery surface, they need to support their entire weight, along with the weight of the motorcycle, on their feet. Apart from providing traction on the surface, good boots will ensure the riders feet do not buckle under the weight. Boots can also protect a rider's feet in case they are dragged along the bike during a crash.

When shopping for boots, keep the following things in mind. Boots need to be made of a solid, strong material, which is durable, yet comfortable. The boots also need to be strong enough to prevent a rider's feet from twisting while he is driving at high speeds. In case a rider's feet twist, it can lead to a crash or serious injury.

The boots will also support your weight when you stop at a signal, so they need to be strong enough to adequately support your ankles, but at the same time should allow you to easily shift gears.  Lastly, boots should be made of waterproof material and should keep your feet warm in colder climates.

So there you have it. The entire list of necessary safety items required for you to enjoy your riding experience. We sincerely hope an opportunity never arises where your gear has to actually protect you, but riders need to be prepared for all scenarios.

The age old adage of “I know what I'm doing and I'm trying to be careful” is stupid to say the least. The simple fact is that everybody crashes. Last year MotoGP rider Marc Marquez walked away from a 210 miles per hour crash due to his safety equipment. If people, whose living depends upon staying on a bike consistently crash, chances are you will too. Hopefully, you'll have your gear to keep you safe.