Essential motorcycle gear

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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Man putting on helmet
A helmet is the first essential item; be sure that it fits comfortably and has passed safety tests
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Stay safe and comfortable with these motorcycle gear tips.

The following essential motorcycle gear is considered necessary to make your motorcycle experience pleasurable and safe.

First Essential Item: The Helmet

Many riders feel that the helmet will keep you from enjoying the ride. Others who have survived accidents thank the helmet.

The controversy over the helmet has been around since states and insurance companies have required that motorcycle riders drive with one on. Not all states require a helmet. Check with the department of motor vehicles or the secretary of state, or call the local police or sheriff's department. If you are traveling internationally, check the local laws about motorcycle helmet use. Contact the U.S. consulates as a starting point about this issue.

Make sure to investigate the choices in motorcycle helmets and take the time to choose the right helmet size. It should fit comfortably. It should not feel too heavy, because that would cause you to lose your balance. If it is too light, it may not be made of the right composite materials that can survive an impact. If the helmet doesn't survive an impact then what is the point of having one at all? A poor helmet can cost you your life. Remember that your head shape is customized, but unfortunately very few of us can afford to customize the helmet to fit; however, the internal padding of a helmet can be customized.

Look at the price. Although it is a good factor to determine quality, research the helmets and the manufacturers. You may just be paying for a brand name. Some helmets look great but may not have the required safety features. Also, don't buy a used helmet. This is one area that you should not go cheap.

Serious manufacturers will subject their helmets to a variety of safety tests. The SNELL safety sticker is one that is used by manufacturers to certify the quality of the helmet. They will add that to the helmet. Look for it.

The Second Essential Item: A Pair of Riding Gloves

Riding gloves are, in my opinion, the second most important thing. Your hands are the first things that you injure if you ever fall off a bike while riding. Just make sure they fit properly and won't fall off. But they should be able to survive a fall and a drag. They should be cool enough so that you don't have a tendency to want to remove them while riding. Having the gloves but not wearing them is counterproductive.

Here are some of the features that you should be looking for:
  • Comfort - A motorcycle glove should have the right size: not too small, not too big.
  • Wrist Strap - Straps can be made from Velcro or a simple button clip system. They improve the comfort of a glove.
  • Construction Gloves - These are nearly always made up of leather or synthetic nylon. Leather will provide the highest safety.
  • Lining - Some gloves allow you to take out the lining for a wash, which is an extra benefit after about 2,000 miles!
  • Extensions - It's the part which goes over your sleeve which avoids wind from blowing in your jacket. Often summer gloves don't have them, but all others do. I recommend them.
  • Insulation - Apart from a good lining the wind will influence the temperature of your hands. Wind creeps in where the glove is stitched together, often by your fingertips.
  • Water Resistant - These days all the material is so high-tech that a good glove should also be water resistant.
The Third Essential Item: A Dark Visor

The dark visor is the best way to go about protecting your eye sight. Sunglasses as a substitute in the helmet are uncomfortable and probably dangerous.

The Fourth Essential Item: Pants
  • Leather Pants - Leather pants are the safest kind of pants for motorcycle riding. They offer the best protection when caught in a crash.
  • Rain Pants - Rain pants are the same as rain jackets. These are often no more than thin plastic coated pants to keep water out. 
  • Over-pants - Over-pants give you the flexibility to quickly adapt to weather and/or clothing requirements. Over-pants often have long zippers down the side.
  • Jeans-Look Pants - These are a new kind of pants with a jeans look and feel.
Your equipment is more than style, it is for safety, your comfort and to enhance your riding experience. If you spend money on a bike that you like, then spend money on the essential motorcycle gear to make your ride enjoyable and safe.

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