5 things to keep in mind when considering protective gear
Helmets, gloves, sturdy shoes and a flashy leather jacket – is that all that comes to mind when considering protective gear for your motorcycle? Some riders think they shouldn’t bother with protective gear when going for a short ride. But statistics indicate that you are more likely to encounter problems close to home than on vacation. That’s why your best bet is to stick with the old slogan: ATGATT (All The Gears, All The Time).
What are these protective gears you ask? Well, wearing a helmet is mandatory, but there are other crucial ones: goggles, earmuffs, gloves, knee-shin-elbow guards, arm guards, serrated boots, and protective jackets or suits. Below are some helpful tips to consider when choosing the right protective gear for yourself.
Choose the right helmet
This one can be a bit tricky as there are so many options available these days. When choosing a helmet you should always consider safety mechanisms, visor efficiency, functionality, weight, ventilation, locking mechanism, internal padding materials and, of course, style and cost. An ideal helmet should be made of a polycarbonate-based material as it is both lightweight and can reliably withstand the impact of a crash. The inner layer should have a soft foam or piece of clothing to keep you comfortable. There should be inlet and outlet vents at the top of your helmet.
Good visibility is essential, so your helmet must be equipped with an effective visor. There are now anti-sun, anti-fog and anti-glare options to save you further hassle. But the best way to gauge the effectiveness of the helmet you buy is to wear it and walk outside for a while. If it fits perfectly and ticks all the boxes above, then it’s a perfect match!
Finding the right pair of riding gloves
Human fingers and wrists are extremely fragile and need paramount protection while driving. This is where riding gloves come in. A perfect pair of riding gloves should be lightweight and scratch and water resistant. It should fit your hands perfectly – neither too tight nor too loose. The outer layer should be thick enough to protect you, but also thin enough for you to operate the control buttons. The inner material should be comfortable, washable and sweat resistant.
Choose suitable cycling jackets and pants
Riding jackets aren’t just for fashion. In the event of a serious accident, you risk serious injury. Riding jackets have internal protective padding on the arms, shoulders, elbows, chest, hip joints and back to protect you from many possible angles of impact. The jacket requires double stitching and sealing, and should fit you just fine. It is better to buy a waterproof one as it will also protect you from the weather. The outer layer is often leather or another durable material.
For cycling pants, you can choose leather or nylon. Nowadays, there are jeans specifically designed for riding motorcycles. You can also opt for a bodysuit in this case. It is advisable to wear reflective jackets at night and brightly colored jackets during the day as they make you more visible to distant drivers.
Things to look for in your serrated motorcycle boots
People often wear casual shoes when riding a motorcycle. This can lead to deadly scenarios in the event of an accident, as your toes and ankles are very vulnerable to sudden shocks. Motorcycle boots will give you traction while protecting your toes at all times. Cycling boots are usually the first preference, but you can also opt for cycling shoes. Make sure they’re sturdy, comfortable, and give you enough control over your feet to operate the brake and shifter.
The following items are not mandatory but are essential if you are a regular cyclist.
Back protectors will absorb most of the shock from the crash and protect your spine, internal organs, bones and nerves. Choose one that fits perfectly under your riding gear.
Knee pads and elbow pads are often part of the main set of protective gear. According to experts, the knee and elbow joints need extra coverage when riding at high speeds. Most knee pads cover the knees and shin area. Some cover the thighs. Elbow pads will protect you from a forced fall on your elbows. They will protect you on uneven and rocky roads in the event of an accident.
Motorcycle insurance can reimburse you if your bike is stolen or damaged. Some even cover the expenses of others involved in an accident. But most insurance will cover expenses for damage to the bike and rider.
Protective gear is strictly relevant to you, whether you’re riding a motorcycle for the first time or it’s been a decade since your first ride. So you simply cannot take this matter lightly. Always research and plan ahead before purchasing new gear, and remember to replace old ones when they wear out.