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What to Wear Riding a Motorcycle
The list of gear you need to where when riding a motorcycle include:
- A full-face or 3/4 helmet with eye protection and a face shield.
- Learn how to properly fit and care for a motorcycle helmet.
- Long pants made out of sturdy, protective material.
- Long jacket made out of sturdy, protective material.
- Over-the-ankle, sturdy boots.
One of the major differences between cars and motorcycles is the operator’s exposure to:
- Weather and elements.
- Road conditions & debris.
- Injuries in the event of a collision.
In order to ensure you get the most enjoyment and the most protection while riding, you need to make sure you are wearing the appropriate gear.
Motorcycle riding gear serves the purpose of keeping you comfortable and protecting you from potential injury. In the event of a crash, it’s designed to reduce the chances of more serious injury.
Protective gear is important for not only the motorcycle operators, but their passengers too.
Purpose of Motorcycle Riding Gear
Motorcycle protective equipment and riding gear serves a few purposes:
- Comfort: What you’re wearing while riding should be comfortable so that you can focus on the road. This means protective gear that fits comfortable and protects you from the current weather conditions – be it heat, cold, rain, etc.
- Protection: Riding a motorcycle can expose you to more hazardous situations than driving a car, and you need to be protected. Riding gear is designed to protect you from hazards ranging from flying road debris to crashes.
- Visibility: Proper riding gear should help you become more visible to other motorists. Whether your gear includes reflective patches or visible colors, making sure other drivers see you is a big part of staying safe.
As a general rule of thumb, good protective equipment and riding gear shouldn’t make you think about it. You’ll be able to remain comfortable, focus on the road, and enjoy the ride.
What Protective Gear Do You Need to Ride a Motorcycle?
Obviously, your motorcycle riding gear needs to be able to protect you and reduce the chances of more serious injuries in the event of a crash. It also serves some other important purposes, including helping to prevent you from getting into an accident altogether.
For one, proper gear is designed to protect you from flying objects, debris, and bugs as you’re riding. Colliding with a bug or a rock at even low speeds can be painful and distracting. Without the proper equipment, this simple incident can lead to a more serious crash.
Next, you’re much more exposed to the elements when you’re riding a motorcycle. Even on a warm day, wind chill can lead to hypothermia. If you’re too hot or too cold, you’re going to have less control over your bike and less focus on the road.
Being prepared is a big part of being a safe motorcyclist. This includes wearing the right gear and dressing in layers for changing conditions.
Here’s the gear you and your passengers should always wear while riding a motorcycle:
- Motorcycle Helmet.
- Face shields and eye protection.
- Sturdy, over-the-ankle riding boots.
- Protective jacket.
- Protective pants.
Your gear should fit comfortably without being too snug or too loose.
Remember, different weather and different times of year call for different types of riding equipment.
The right riding gloves play a big role in keeping your hands protected and comfortable on your ride.
From keeping your hands at a comfortable temperature, protecting you from road debris and bugs, and keeping you safe in the event of an accident, the choosing the proper gloves are an important decision.
It only takes one bug or rock to hit your bare hand while riding to realize you need to put some gloves on.
If you’re looking for the most protection, a gauntlet-style motorcycle glove with extra padding and armor is the best choice.
If you’re looking for adequate protection and comfort for everyday riding, a leather glove with moderate padding is a good choice.
If you ride during the winter or in cold weather, keeping your hands warm and protected is important.
When your hands get too cold, you sacrifice control over your bike, which introduces some unnecessary risk to your ride.
Get some gloves that will keep you warm even in the harshest of conditions.
A comfortable and protective riding boot can make all the difference whether you’re taking a long ride or just going down the street.
If you use your motorcycle for commuting, finding a decent riding boot that is comfortable to walk in and can pass as a casual shoe is a major convenience – saves you the hassle of packing an extra pair of shoes for work.
Finding the right pair of motorcycle boots is part art, part science.
You’ll want something with adequate protection that won’t cramp, crowd, or suffocate your feet.
A big part of staying comfortable while you ride is dressing in layers. This allows you to put on or remove clothing if you get too hot or too cold.
However, your motorcycle jacket is one layer you shouldn’t ride without.
Your motorcycle jacket, like all your other motorcycle safety gear, should fit properly in order to best protect you and keep you as comfortable as possible.
When fitting your motorcycle jacket you want it to be snug, but not overly restrictive or tight.
If your jacket is too loose, it can cause issues too like getting caught in somethings or getting tangled and affected your control over the bike.
You’ve got some options when it comes to motorcycle pants. You can either go with a traditional pant, which you’d wear with no “normal” pants under it, or you can go with an overpant, which will you’ll wear over your other pants.
If you’re looking for the most protection and flexibility in how they wear and regulate temperature, an overpants design is a good option.
The best motorcycle pants are going to provide you with protection and comfort.
For extra protection, look for a pair that has pockets for additional armor.
To get the most comfortable fit, you’ll want to look for something with plenty of adjustment options.
Pants that include removable liners are a great option for year-round riding gear that you can customize to the current temperatures.
If your motorcycle helmet doesn’t have a built-in visor, you’re going to need some other form of eye protection.
Good motorcycle goggles are a must-have if you’re wearing an open face helmet without a face shield.
They’ll protect your eyes by preventing dust and debris from hitting you, and they’ll reduce fatigue by reducing your need to squint by providing wind protection, reducing glare, and providing some UV protection.
The best motorcycle goggles will feature:
- Anti-fog lenses so you can use them in all types of weather conditions.
- Adequate airflow and moisture wicking.
- Impact-resistant lenses that will stand up to and protect your from debris.
- An adjustable strap that you can use with a variety of helmets.
- Some some of silicone or anti-slip material to help prevent the goggles from slidding.
- A comfortable fit.
- Unobstructed peripheral view.
If you wear prescription eye-wear, you’ll also want to look for a motorcycle goggle that has enough room on the inside to go over your glasses.
Hearing protection is not something every rider thinks about.
Constant wind noise can cause some serious damage to your ears and your hearing.
However, you can keep yourself safe with a quality pair of reusable earplugs that are designed to cut down on harmful sounds and frequencies while still allowing you to hear what you need to.
When you ride a motorcycle, you’re exposed to a lot of constant loud noises.
The first ones that come to mind are probably engine noises from your bike and other cars, exhaust noises, honking, traffic, etc.
However, the most damaging noise to your hearing is actually wind. The constant sound of the wind as you ride – which you can tend to ignore after a while – can cause some serious damage to your ears and hearing.
Wearing ear plugs can protect your ears from the sound of the wind, while still allowing you to hear other noises safely.
Each brand of high-fidelity earplugs is pretty similar with just slight variances in size, material, and design. The most comfortable one is really going to come down to personal preference and trial and error.
However, for motorcycling – especially long distance rides – you’ll want to choose an earplug that will sit inside your ear so it doesn’t cause discomfort once you put your helmet on.
Motorcycle Body Armor
Motorcycle armor is another component of good motorcycle safety gear.
Armor can be found standard in some of your main pieces of equipment like your gloves, pants, and jackets, and it can also be added as an extra piece of protection.
Motorcycle armor is typically made from kevlar, carbon fiber, leather, and other strong materials designed to keep your body safer during impact.
Some popular options for additional motorcycle armor that can be worn under/over your other gear include:
- Body armor vests.
- Armored jackets.
- Armored pants.
- Elbow guards and knee guards.
- Spine guard.
- Hip guards.
Certain styles of motorcycle pants and jackets have pockets where you can easily add additional body armor.
Learn more about motorcycle body armor.
Why do motorcycle riders wear leather?
Leather is a popular choice among motorcyclists for a simple reason: it’s strong and protective.
Quality leather jackets and other leather clothes will last longer and withstand wear better than many other synthetic and natural materials.
A good leather jacket will typically be a little more expensive than its synthetic counterpart, but its a good, safe choice.
Can You Ride a Motorcycle in Shorts and Flip Flops?
Legally you can, but you’d be foolish to do so.
Wearing the wrong clothing while riding a motorcycle puts you at a greater risk of crashing and a greater risk of getting seriously injured or dying if you crash.
Here are some things you should never wear while riding a motorcycle:
- Flips flops or sandals.
- Short sleeves.
- No helmet.
- No eye and face protection.
What to Wear When Riding a Motorcycle in the Summer?
Keeping yourself at a comfortable temperature while riding in hot weather is important. Overheating can be dangerous when you’re operating a motorcycle.
However, as tempting as it may be to forgo your riding gear for a t-shirt, you should never sacrifice safety for comfort.
When you’re riding a motorcycle during the summer, you should wear all the necessary gear you would during cooler months.
Be sure to choose gear with adequate airflow, vent pockets, and removable insulation to keep yourself as cool as you want.