As much as riding is exciting, so it is with gearing-up. Putting the hassle and time-drag aside, gearing-up prepares one to journey the roads smartly, safely and stylishly. Much has been said and questioned about a motorcyclist’s safety and protective gears. Even amongst my biking buddies, we tend to give differing importance and priority to this topic. I am not here to judge nor advise what’s right and wrong but just sharing some experiences that made gearing-up vital for me.
Courtesy of Motorcycle gear
“Helmets are just styrofoam glued together to an outer shell” says my buddy Nick who feels he is better off without a helmet! “…and they are built to self-destroy in a crash, anyway”! he continues. To many bikers, just like Nick, wearing or not wearing a helmet doesn’t make much of a difference. Trust me, it does! I was in a crash that dragged my face on the hard road at a speed of 60 mph, and if it was not for my full-face bestie, I would have lost half my face. Ensuring that you purchase and possess a legally approved and certified helmet (DOT, ECE 22.05 and Snell) is equally vital, too. High quality and dutiful helmets are accessible in any brick and mortar stores, and even more in online stores. If you are willing to invest more, then you can get the more sophisticated and much sturdier ones. Run a full test and trial before purchasing (highly recommended) – in terms of comfort, breathability, snugly but flexible, and special importance to be given to the chin strap to stay secured and to hold firmly. The helmet should not sit loosely, nor wobble, nor rotate while in use. Noise resistance, light-weight, aerodynamic, eye-shielded, and the sort are also factors to take into consideration. Here’s a shout-out to my buddy Nick “If style and fad are what you are after pal, there are helmets that cater for these without compromising on your good looks and class”.
Courtesy of Wearable
Undeniably, gloves are my second most crucial safety gear. Common sense tells - to hold the handlebars, we need our hands. We also need our hands to control the brake, throttles, horn, clutch, lights, and the mirrors. Shooing away flying insects and intercepting oncoming debris need our hands, too. In a near-miss crash or in a crash itself; a motorcyclist reaches, stops, grabs, avoids and protects himself with his hands. Why even the weight of the rider is partly supported by his hands. Hence, what harm would it cause for one to protect and care for those hands!
I have fallen off my bike many times – either being hit or hitting onto something – and I always break my fall with my palm, it’s a natural human reaction. These falls or crashes would have been agonizing to my palm/s if not for my gloves, might have left me with a few broken fingers and maybe even a wrecked wrist. Good gloves also help in moderating the temperature of the fingers that chills or burns the fingers in freezing cold winter or in extreme hot summer, respectively. Not to mention the rainwater and snow freezing your wrist and fingers in a long journey. A good pair of gloves should help in caring for your wrist, palm and fingers from abrasion, impact, and damage from a fall or crash. A worthy pair of gloves should give you protection for both the upper hand and the palm and wrists.
Courtesy of IRON JIA's Motorcycle Gloves by Guantes
Jackets and protective suits
The jacket is another protective feature for a rider if he stumbles and tumbles. We would need an all-rounded protection from elbow, forearms, chest, shoulders, the spine and the entire back. Basically, there are two types of motorcycle jackets – made of textile or leather. In choosing which is better, consider the type of bike you would be riding on, the weather that you will be facing, and most importantly, consider protection before budget. Good textile jackets can be sturdy in a crash, but might lack in durability; however, it is more suited for tropical and summer-like days. A leather jacket is more heavy-duty in nature – tougher, more durable, stronger and is meant for cold winter days and for low-temperature whereabouts. A jacket with water-resistant membrane that protects a rider during high-blasting rains and winds, is also another focus. A breathable and snugly jacket is crucial.
Courtesy of gear.searchbran.com
Good motorcycle suits are vital, too. They either come as a one-full piece or a jacket and matching pants. They can be textile or leather made. They are usually made from sturdy and enduring materials like Kevlar, Armacor, Cordura, and importance should be given to the thickness, stitching, and hardiness, too. The embedded ‘body armor’ reacts as the padding within your suit. A good, full-gear safety suit should have body armor that covers the elbow to the wrist; the spine-back-and-coccyx; chest, and the knees.
Courtesy of BMW GS Dry Suit Jacket by pinterest.fr
Our leg/s, especially our foot is typically an easy target. Like our fingers, our feet are fragile too. We need tough and solid boots to keep it protected and to minimize their damage in a crash. Even stopping and standing on one leg, balancing the weight of the bike and our self; requires the service of a good boot. Not to mention the times when we hit our foot onto something or lose our balance and drop the bike on ourselves. And moving on to the worst-case scenarios, when a truck runs over our feet while waiting at the intersection; or after a bad fall or crash a car runs over the feet; or even hard-hitting your leg on a concrete or solid surface, or the times we were run over by the tires of other competing bikes in a race. Yes, we know it all, we have experienced it all. My bomb-proof boots have always been my saving grace.
Boots serve different purposes for the different kinds of ride – city, dirt, cruise, tour, etc. Also, how fast one rides, and the weather that one is normally exposed too, and the kind of road too, need to be taken into consideration when purchasing a pair of boots. But what’s important is that it should have a good grip and well-fit around the feet and ankle and be able to keep one’s feet intact after a crash. Purchase a pair of boots for the sole purposes of comfort, safety and protection, with the added advantage of elegance and boldness.
Courtesy of Clad
These are just some protective gears build for motorcyclists. There are more. If riding is truly your passion, I would like to suggest that you do it safely and securely.