Updated January 4, 2017 . AmFam Team
The open road beckons and adventure awaits! But before you hop on your motorcycle and head off toward the horizon, make sure you’ve got the right gear. Here are the top five must-have pieces of motorcycle gear, and the reasons why they’ll help make every ride safer and more fun.
Helmet. A comfortable and good-fitting helmet probably is the most important piece of gear for any ride. It’s a no-brainer when it comes to protecting your brain. Not only that, but many states require helmets. Make sure there’s a DOT sticker on the back of the helmet, which shows it meets the U.S. Department of Transportation standard. For more details and helmet safety ratings, visit www.helmetcheck.org (Opens in a new tab).
Jacket. Besides looking cool, your motorcycle jacket can give you a nice layer of protection against the elements and unexpected spills on the road. Be a safety-savvy shopper and choose jackets made of highly impact-resistant material, including armored shoulders and elbows, and even reinforced back protection.
Pants. Your basic pair of jeans might be comfy and look nice, but they don’t offer much protection if the unexpected happens on your bike. That’s why it’s worth it to get motorcycle pants made of heavy-duty yet comfortable material, like leather or Kevlar. For extra protection (and peace of mind), consider pants equipped with extra padding, or armored hip, knee and shin areas.
Boots. Think about it: every time you come to a stop, you’re putting your foot down to prop yourself up along with your bike — which weighs 300 pounds or more. Yikes! That’s where a strong, supportive pair of boots comes in. For starters, they should cover your ankles. Next, look for extra features like heavy-duty heel and toe sections, oil-resistant, non-slip soles, metal shank reinforcements within the soles, and extra armor over the ankle. Your feet and ankles will thank you!
Gloves. Here’s some handy advice (pun intended): use gloves specifically made for motorcycling. Make sure they’re flexible, not stiff and bulky. Abrasion-resistant gloves with reinforcements in the knuckles and at the base of the palm add extra protection. Retention straps are a must, and look for good insulation to shield your mitts from the elements. Consider gauntlet gloves, which also protect your wrists.
So, now you’ve got the basics to confidently get cool-yet-essential gear for the thousands of rides ahead. Have fun getting what’s just right for you — a reflection of your own personal style. Want to get more out of your motorcycle excursions? Learn how to rev up future motorcycle trips.