Wondering what to get for gear? Stop in here.

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Motorcycle gear is important, It's what keeps you warm, cool, dry, comfortable, and road rash free.

This will be a guide to the general stuff, Any body with good info, chime in.

Helmet:

Going from the top to the bottom, the helmet is also the most important piece of equipment you will ever buy. A quality, well fitted helmet is crucial to properly controlling the motorcycle, since an improperly sized helmet with either not be worn, or will get in the way. There are a variety of styles, and in increasingly open air design, I present for your consideration.


Full face. The safest design, Having a solid mounted chin bar that can take a solid impact. It totally encapsulates the head. A full face helmet uses a movable visor to protect vision, better seal the helmet at higher speeds and allow a degree of venting at lower speeds. It also has vents built in that may or may not be close-able.

They are available in every color of the rainbow and then some, plus some really wild patterns. Visors are often interchangeable with a quick release system allowing you to change from a clear visor to light/dark or mirror tinted.

^My current helmet.

Convertible. Looks like a full face, but the chin bar can lift up, allowing you to not scare gas station attendants, and making errands all around easier, while still providing full coverage to the face. Most of these designs are not actually certified as a full face, so don't count on that front bar saving your chin in an accident, although it might be better then nothing. As a note, You should never, ever ride with the chin bar in the up position. It could do more harm in a wreck and it will affect how you ride, since they tend to stick up pretty high.

They are typically available in conservative colors, and almost never patterns. Most have the same quick release visor and visor options available as their full face counterparts.

[note- this helmet has an internal sun visor, I will address these later in this post]

Three quarter helmets. For the sake of laziness, this includes the "jet" style and the old school/bobber snap helmets.

Not as protective as a full face, since your entire face is essentially exposed to bugs, sand, tarmac pieces, flying shoes and whatever else you can think of. All of them have some kind of visor capability, the regular ones, and the jet ones are built in, whereas the snap ones have to have them installed, and bought separately, typically.

They work well for those of us who wear glasses, since you don't have to take them off normally to slide one on.

Colors can range from conservative, to wild metalflakes, or even a Captain America theme.
The old school style

Bubble style visor, typical with the older helmet style

New school, semi-jet style.

Half Helmet. Skid lid, brain bucket, Call it what you will. It'll protect the top of your head, hopefully, and that's about it. While you can snap a visor on, most who wear these wear sunglasses instead. It is the absolute bare minimum that you can get by with, by the law. Great for really feeling "in the wind".

typically black, though there is some variation.


BEWARE THE NOVELTY HELMET. They are not DoT certified, and thus will not help in a crash.

Any helmet you look at should be DoT certified. It should also be replace every five years, or whenever it's been dropped from a decent height , or crashed in. Even if it doesn't look damaged, the foam inside may be compromised. Helmets can get to be pretty expensive (900+ for a high end Arai full face), but really, how much is your brain worth?

A note on internal sunvisors. It's a personal choice thing, they add weight, but it might be useful if you forget your sunglasses. For me, and everyone I've ever talked to, they are either cut weird, or don't come down far enough.
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Jackets. They look awesome, keep your skin attached, and help keep you from freezing to death.

There are several different materials you can choose from.


Leather, the most abrasion resistant, typically the most expensive too. In hotter climates it might seem unbearable, but would you rather be in a sauna, or have a belt sander on your forearms?

Be sure it's motorcycle leather too, not a dress jacket. Dress jackets are thinner, normally don't have a removeable liner, and will shred rather easily.

There is something to be said for well worn, broken in leather. A quality jacket can last 30+ years of use.




Textile. Cheaper, breaths better, nowhere near as abrasion resistant. An entire jacket can pretty much be mesh and still stand up to a road crash. They come in a variety of colors, and a gaining in popularity.

There is no real break in, they do get softer to a point, but they just kind of wear out instead. They also cannot be safely patched like leather can.





The third style is one of the oldest materials, and is making a comeback due to it's inherent water resistance.

Waxed cotton, Timeless, requires some upkeep, and is on par with textile on abrasion resistance.


An interesting conversation going on is the importance of abrasion resistance. At a race track, where going down may mean triple digit speeds, it's pretty important. On the street however, it may be more important to have impact resistance. So I have to advocate, whatever gear you buy, and whatever material it is, please get as much armor built in as possible.
 
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Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Gloves.


While you could probably get away with Mechanix gloves, a good set of motorcycle gloves is like wearing almost nothing at all.

Fingerless, Not the best choice. Guess you'll look good, but that leaves the most sensitive parts of your fingers exposed.


lightweight full fingered

A good compromise for the summer. May have armor.



Full gauntlet

The most protection. You can even get metal armor, good for punching out the window of the idiot about to run you off the road.

 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Pants

A necessary evil. Plain jeans will not do.

Double front style dungarees are popular, since they can take a bit of abuse, and also have room for armor in the knees.


Leather. If you can pull it off, more power to you. Not as overly hot (temperature wise) as you would think. Great durability.


Kevlar jeans are a distinct possibility. Built in Kevlar lets you slide for a long time without cooking your buns. Way more labor intensive to clean.

[draggin jeans interior, with a picture of the armor]

Chaps. Work great for what they are, Get ready for the jokes. After a ride through the rain, it'll look like you peed yourself
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Boots.

Wear em.

They should be motorcycle specific. Combat boots are designed for flexibility, and may not protect your ankle underneath a bike sliding at 50mph. They will also have a toe area designed to assist in making a positive shift.





Wearing basket ball shoes, or other "Nike Bikie" apparel not only puts you in the "Squid" catagory, but also makes wrecking, which will happen at some point, way more painful.
 

Evil Monkey

MACHETE
good write up.
be sure to try on your gear before purchasing. sizes vary with manufacturers.

my kevlar jeans, sartso, get washed with my normal pants. no special cleaning
 

XS

Sahara Sean all up in you
A quick note: this is all geared towards riding on paved roads. Off road adventures still require armor, but weight and flexibility become a huge issue.
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Something else to be said. After having ridden for several years, I've realized that chaps, while good for protecting your legs on a horse, are not the best for sliding down tarmac.

My current solution to the problem of protection is an Olympia One piece suit "stealth" model. On the road it's like you aren't wearing anything at all, but it provides full body coverage, and is roomy enough to wear a three piece suit underneath.



It's got armor in the knees, shoulders, back, and elbows.



And yes, this is all Pavment oriented stuff. Off-roading has a different level of demands, and requires specialized gear.
 

Slow 6

Well-Known Member
Question on boots. Are there certain styles that are best for a cruiser compared to a sport bike? Such as a thin or thicker toe area?
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Question on boots. Are there certain styles that are best for a cruiser compared to a sport bike? Such as a thin or thicker toe area?
Not really, although you don't want something that is going to not let you under the shifter.

Personal preference. Armored motorcycle boots are about the best way to go (BMW shops tend to carry them), but the reality is that for day to day commuting even I just wear work boots that have good ankle support, and will not come off without deliberate untying. Mine happens to have a composite toe (basically steel toes); I ride a cruiser with a toe shifter, and have no problems.
 

theGekkoST

Well-Known Member
jacket wise anybody know a place that does custom Textile jackets? I have a custom paint job and need a jacket to suit.
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
Thanks for the info Dr. Satan. So Nikes aren't suitable for riding?
Unless you hate your ankles. All it takes is dabbing your foot in the parking lot, and getting it caught on a peg, or under the bike itself if you are turning.

Tennis shoes also have a tendency to pop off in a crash, and cotton socks don't exactly give you much protection. Boots, with their higher lacing, and more secure fit, will stay on, keeping at least that much of you from getting hurt.


I'm gonna be honest, I wear a jacket (mesh), helmet, thin gloves, jeans, and boots. It's not the best setup, but it's convenient for me while providing a degree of safety. If I go down, I'm probably going to lose a good chunk of skin off of my legs.
 

Deviate

Bork Bork Bork
A note on internal sunvisors. It's a personal choice thing, they add weight, but it might be useful if you forget your sunglasses. For me, and everyone I've ever talked to, they are either cut weird, or don't come down far enough.
Thought I'd comment on this as it's something I've been dealing with lately.

I've tried on ~ a dozen different helmets with the internal drop-down sunvisors. Almost all of them hit my nose. I picked up a cheap GMax 3/4 helmet with the visor to get me home from Seattle this weekend and I have to run with the visor up just a little.

Except one brand in particular. Of all things, Bilt. Cycle Gear's house brand. Or at least on their modular helmets. Can't comment on their others as I haven't tried them on.

I ended up with the Bilt Techno modular and freaking love it. Yeah, it's a cheap helmet... $200 for a modular is definitely on the low-end, especially given that it's got bluetooth built into it. It's far from the nicest helmet I've ever owned, but it fits damn-well, it's super freaking comfortable on my head and it was in budget.

Just thought I'd throw my $0.02 in on the sunvisor thing.
 

Dr. Satan

Sacred Cow Tipper
I paid 80 for my Bilt Apollo modular for when it's raining. Really hot otherwise, but it seals good, and yes, the internal sunvisor comes down far enough, and covers the sides very well. So good, in fact, that I still haven't used the tinted visor I bought at the same time.

I have issues with the fit though, if I'm wearing my regular glasses, they get pushed left really hard.
 

Deviate

Bork Bork Bork
I paid 80 for my Bilt Apollo modular for when it's raining. Really hot otherwise, but it seals good, and yes, the internal sunvisor comes down far enough, and covers the sides very well. So good, in fact, that I still haven't used the tinted visor I bought at the same time.

I have issues with the fit though, if I'm wearing my regular glasses, they get pushed left really hard.
Hmmm, my Techno fits great with my glasses (Oakley Crosslink Switch prescription glasses). Can't say the same for the AGV K-3 I had bought earlier, which is one of the reasons I returned it in favor of the Bilt.

At this point the only real "issue" I have with the Techno is that the switch/button to open the front has a tendency to stick in the "unlatched" position after you open it, so you have to make sure you flip it back up before trying to close/latch the front. And the helmet's kind of plain/ugly.
 

LRD

Aude Sapere
You touring guys and your modulars. Love my HJC rps10 just wish I had a smaller head in general. My XXL dome and wind resistance = sore neck the next day.
 
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