Having the right gear makes all the difference when it comes to getting the most out of your ride. Riding a motorcycle can provide you with an unparalleled sense of freedom, but it is also an activity that needs to be practiced in a thoughtful and responsible manner.
Whether you’re new to riding or are just looking to update some tired gear, here are five pieces of advice you can follow to make sure you end up feeling good about the purchases you make.
1. Make safety number one
This is the primary reason you need motorcycle gear at all. Of course you want to look good and be comfortable, but if your gear isn’t going to be there for you when it counts, nothing else matters. Be scrupulous when it comes to evaluating the strength of the armor your gear offers. Think practically about whether or not the material looks and feels like it could survive coming into direct contact with concrete or gravel at top speed. Pay attention to safety ratings and let this be the biggest determining factor about where you decide to invest some extra bucks.
2. Try it on
Don’t even think about buying something before you have tried it on. Fit is absolutely crucial when it comes to motorcycle gear and you simply won’t know until you feel it against your body. It should feel snug, but never tight. It is important to provide yourself with enough ventilation in order to maintain a safe and comfortable body temperature. Of course, bodies do change, so look for things like adjustable waists and zippers for additional layers or padding. Get into your riding position with the gear on and see how it feels.
3. Take a good look at the closures
Closures are easy to overlook when you’re impressed by the design or feel of the garment in question. Don’t assure that all fasteners are created equal. In some places it is better to have zippers, laces, Velcro, snaps, etc. Look for adjustable closures at wrists and neck. Although Velcro works anywhere else, you don’t want it at your neck where it could scratch against the helmet straps and cause damage.
4. Keep the water out
If you can afford to do it, go for the full-deal waterproof set up. It might seem like a lot of money, but if you ride a lot, it is definitely worth it. If you’re hesitant to commit though, separate rain gear is your next best bet. Although some places will offer you removable waterproof linings, they are often more trouble than they are worth and you likely won’t end up using them. Remember that rain will still soak through exterior fabric, ultimately making it soggy, heavy, and very uncomfortable.
5. Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you
Once you’ve got your dream gear set up, it is up to you to take care of it. You need to regularly clean your motorcycle gear and make sure it has adequate time to dry out after getting wet. Ask about what the appreciate care is for each item you buy and make sure you follow through with the instructions. For example, motorcycle gear made of leather will have to be regularly treated with a leather balm, leather oil, or Vaseline. Taking the time to go through these extra care steps will prevent hardening and drying out. The oil can also go a long way in keeping water out, not to mention it will keep your gear looking great for years to come.