Motorcycle gear is expensive and its maintenance requires proper care. Neglected gear loses its ability to protect over time and eventually becomes useless. You can avoid all of this with some tender loving care. Just like your bike, your motorcycle gear also needs care and maintenance.

 If you can take care of the leather in your motorcycle gear, you have basically done more than half of the job. Leather is the most commonly used material for motorcycle gear, be it jackets, pants, gloves or other accessories.

 Lovin' the leather therefore should be your top priority.


Tool Bags & Saddlebags Etc

 Bags require regular cleaning, at least twice a year. They tend to get covered in dust, oil, dead bugs and all sorts of nastiness. Cleaning these is a simple two-step process. First comes the actual cleaning, followed by conditioning and then waterproofing. Most leather cleaning products will do in this case or some good old soap and water is not a bad option either. After this process, make sure you let them dry off completely before you put your stuff back in.


Leather Clothing; Jackets, Pants, Gloves

Leather is tricky. If you think you can just jump right into cleaning, dusting and soaking your leather-wear, you are mistaken. You need to know your leather well before you can use any product on it. There are various types of leathers that need different sort of care. Using the wrong products might permanently damage your gear.

 The best time to learn about the types of leather is when you're buying your gear. But most do not want to go through the hassle. In such cases, make sure you know exactly what you've bought. You can find this information on tags, warranty booklets or product detail booklets. If you can't find this information anywhere, check with the manufacturer. Depending on the type of leather (full-grain, nubuck, split leather etc), the cleaning instructions will vary.

 Tips: Always read the tags. And test your washing technique on a small part of your leather-wear before washing the whole piece.


How to Clean Finished Leather:

 Follow these few simple steps to clean your finished leather motorcycle gear:

  • Vacuum and Dust: Whatever leather gear you are cleaning, the first step should be to wipe it off with a small, soft dusting cloth.

  • Mix Water and Soap: You don't need a lot of fancy products for this. A gentle cleanser, combined with luke warm water will do the trick. Make sure the water is not too hot though.

  • Wipe Down the Surface: Dip a small piece of soft cloth into soap water and wipe down the leather surface in small circular patterns.

  • Polish and Dry: Use a damp cloth to remove any soap residue and then a dry cloth to do the final polishing.

 Tips: Don't soak the leather completely. Use a saddle soap to clean the exterior and interior. Let the clothing dry and apply a thin coat of mink oil. A light coat of silicone spray might help too. In addition to that, once or twice a season, run a candle or piece of paraffin across the zipper teeth.


Common Care-taking Concerns:

 There are some basic concerns that you might come across if you are a regular rider. See if they look familiar:

 Perspiration: The main issue especially in warm climate areas is perspiration. Sweat can make the leather interior smell terrible. And that's not even the worst part. The salt left behind when sweat evaporates, ruins the lining and stitching.

 Solution: Use a simple de-salter spray for fabrics to get rid of the salt residue. Use deodorants and antiperspirants for a more pleasant experience.

 Color Fading: Most riders complain about color fading from their motorcycle gear. The exterior of your gear starts to appear dull and worn out way sooner than it should.

 Solution: This is simple, as most of the times it is not actual fading. It might, on the other hand be smog or grime. Use a leather shampoo and scrub it onto the leather, making sure you work those stains out.

 The Frequency of Leather Conditioner: There is a whole variety of leather care products available in the market. What most riders tend to get confused about is the proper usage of these products; the frequency and the method.

 Solution - This depends on the climate of your region. If you are riding in a warm climate, then make use of leather conditioner every two weeks or so.


Don't Forget the Helmets!

 Helmets are potentially the most important part of your motorcycle gear. To ensure they last longer, you need to care of them, clean them and carry them, just right. Take a look at the following tips on how to care for your motorcycle helmets:

 Carry It Right - Don't carry your helmet by its chin bar. Carry it like a handbag, or better yet, carry it in a bag. Also don't hang it on the brake bar. There is only one place it can end up from there - The Floor.

 Don't Use it to Store Other Equipment - Since there is space in the helmet, people tend to store their gloves in them often. Don't do that. This reduces the life span of your helmet.

 Use the Right Cleaners - Not everything that cleans the helmet is good for the helmet. A lot of chemicals in cleaning liquids end up making helmets structurally weaker and brittle. A $5 cleaning material can do damage worth of over a $100. Make wise choices with cleaners.

 Clean At Least Once a Year - Don't rush the process, take your time with it. Most helmets come with removable lining. Take this out and clean every inch. Don't scrape too hard though, you might cause the stitching to weaken.

 Dry Properly - Dry your washed helmet naturally or with a gentle heat source. Don't leave it out in the sun or use a blow dryer. This will cause the glue used in the helmet construction to weaken.

 When in Doubt, Go See the Manufacturer - Don't assume that just because your helmet looks okay after a nasty fall, it may actually be okay. Send it back to the manufacturer for inspection. Some manufactures might even X-ray it for you and let you see any potential cracks inside.

 Your motorcycle gear is there for you when you need it. It is tough and protective in the worst of times. And all it asks from you in return, is for you to care for it. At the end of the day, properly cared for equipment will not only last longer and save you the money and hassle of buying new stuff, but will also keep you safe and secure on the road.