There’s a lot to consider when kitting yourself out to ride a motorbike. Safety should always come first, but your comfort is important too to ensure your biking experience is enjoyable. Knowing where to skimp out and where to shell out can ensure you get the best kit for you money. Here are some of the top tips.
Unless you’re a Sikh wearing a turban, you’re required by law to wear a helmet when biking. All new helmets are built to meet health and safety laws. By this token, shelling out on an expensive lid won’t make you any safer. However, comfort may be lacking on a low-end helmet. Having some form of visor and goggles is important for keeping the rain and wind out of your face and it needs to fit snugly on your head. When buying or borrowing second hand, watch out for damaged lining, loose straps or a scratched visor – all of these could make your helmet unsafe. In most cases, brand new is often better, and you should ideally replace every 5 years.
Your hands are very fragile and won’t stand a chance if you come off your bike. Gloves have no health and safety restrictions so it’s up to you to stay safe. There are all types of gloves as this selection from Bikers Basics shows. Having some form of armor can be beneficial, but in some cases it can restrict grip. Always inspect the threading when buying second hand and check that the strap does up tightly. A good pair of gloves should cover your wrists as well as your hands, slipping over your sleeve and allowing no bare skin on show.
When biking, your feet take a lot of strain, often making contact with the road and supporting the weight of your bike. A good pair of boots with a deep tread can help protect your feet. There are specialist motorcycle boots, but regular boots can sometimes do the job. Make sure that laces are tied up tightly, so that your boot has no chance of flying off (you also don’t want laces getting caught in the gears!).
You’ll see some people riding around in denim or plain clothes. Safety should always come before fashion and besides, there are lots of cool leather jackets and suits out there specifically built for motorcyclists. Clothes need to fit snugly to avoid flapping, but shouldn’t be so tight that they restrict movement either.
Dressing for the weather can ensure a more comfortable ride. Leather will get very hot in the sun but there are vented jackets that can keep you fully protected whilst offering a way of cooling off. For the rain and the cold, try exterior materials such as Gore-tex and wear thermal clothing underneath. Wind chill can be painful to ride in – whatever you choose to wear, make sure to take regular stops in cold wind to give yourself a break. Cold weather can not only be miserable to ride in, but affect your concentration and reaction making you more of a danger.