Everything you Need to Know about Motorcycle Safety Gear
All the electronic rider aids in the world won’t save you if a patch of oil causes your back end to slide away. And it’s at that precise moment that you can either justify the expense of your motorcycle safety gear or wish you’d made a better choice. It’s a battlefield out there, so let’s wear the right armor.
In this article, I’m going to look at some of the motorcycle safety gear currently available. As not everyone has the same needs, I’ll look for different options. I will walk you through some of the features that make them worthy of being listed here. The categories we’ll be looking at are:
- Back Protectors
Adventure bikes are big business. Ducati’s Street Scrambler series is not only the factory’s best seller; they’re one of the most popular bikes in the world. So, it makes sense that manufacturers are producing helmets specifically for the dual sport rider.
Previous on/off road helmets have been at best, a compromise of design with neither being fully catered for. According to the manufacturers, the Klim Krios Sena 10U Stealth has been specifically designed to address this problem.
Made from hand-laid carbon fiber at 3lb 4ozs, the helmet is one of the lightest of its kind on the market. Still, boasts full ECE and DOT safety standards. The inner liner is antibacterial, and the aerodynamic helmet spoiler removes without the use of tools.
Specifically designed for Bluetooth, this helmet comes with a music sharing feature, built-in FM tuner and wireless remote control for voice prompt.
It comes in matt white and matt black. The black is more of a clear lacquer and allows the carbon pattern to show through, which is also cool. Bluetooth kit.
My second choice is the Shark Evo One. A flip front helmet and if you’ve ever experienced one before you will know they are particularly useful for touring. This is the third version of the helmet and is more compact than its predecessors.
Flip fronts have been around for some time now. On most, when you unlock and raise the chin bar, they rest just above eye-level, leaving the helmet top heavy and unwieldy. Unfortunately, most of them are huge and have all the style of a goldfish bowl. What’s good about the Shark, though, is that the chin bar lifts right over the head and locks in place at the back.
The chin bar gives you the option of actually riding while in open face mode. Once again, a very handy feature when you have to make multiple stops for toll roads, gas stops or when the weather heats up.
It comes with an integral sun visor, a four-star safety rating and a combination of solid colors and graphic designs.
Bell helmets have been around forever, and their open face range is really popular. My final choice is the Bell Custom 500 Hart Luck. This is the latest edition to the custom 500 range and fits a lot closer to the head. It has press-stud fasteners around the opening so you can snap on a peak or visor and the color options are pure 70’s retro.
Motorcycle Safety Gear: Boots
Your feet are the first point of contact with the road. So, after a helmet, boots are the most important aspect of any riding kit. Sidi Canyon Gore-Tex, are a great combination boot that are as practical as they are rugged looking. They’re Gore-Tex lined so that means it’s the best waterproofing you can get. And the outer is suede, so should look cool when they are more worn.
The Forma Adventures, as the name suggests, are ones for the adventure bike riders. They’re full grain oiled leather with an antique finish and replaceable inner soles. With shin and ankle protection and a non-slip sole, they should see you through anything.
Specifically designed for the rider, the REV’IT Royal may look like a general combat style boot. The boots feature reinforced sections in the ankle, sole, and heel and gear shift pad on top.
Motorcycle Safety Gear: Back Protectors
Most motorcycle jackets have only rudimentary back protectors if any. So here we’ll look at what’s available as an upgrade. The Dainese Manis D1 is a top of the range articulated spinal protector. With level two crash protection it can be worn on the track or road and is relatively unobtrusive. The protector comes with adjustable straps so isn’t dependent on a suitable jacket pocket.
The EVS Race back protector is another articulated pad, made from foam. Making it a bit thicker than the Dianese but flexes well with movement and comes with a built-in kidney belt.
Don’t worry that its Kermit green, this armor is designed to be inserted into a jacket or one-piece suit. The Held SAS-TEC is a more basic back protector, but for what it offers, it’s an excellent choice.
Motorcycle Safety Gear: Gloves
With the need to provide significant protection as well as remain flexible, glove technology has come a long way. The Dainese X-Travel Gore-Tex gloves are right at the top of the touring food chain. But with stainless steel knuckle protectors and goatskin reinforced palms, it’s not hard to see why.
The Alpinestars SP-1 are aimed primarily at the Superbike rider but offer enough flexibility and protection to wear anywhere. The gloves feature carbon fiber protectors; the fingers also come pre-curved to make gripping the bars easier. There’s even a touch screen compatible index finger so you can operate your sat nav.
The Street & Steel Scrambler gloves are a cowhide construction short glove with a reinforced padded palm. Ensuring they’re useful for big twin cruisers as they’ll provide isolation from the vibration.
Motorcycle Safety Gear: Jackets
Schott made the first leather bike jacket in the early 1900’s, and they’re still making top of the range models today. This Schott Perfecto 118 is as classic as they come, so don’t expect any body armor spoiling its lines.
The REVIT Neptune is a true four-season jacket with a detachable Gore-Tex liner. Once again, made with adventure and touring rider in mind, but you can quite literally wear it anywhere. If you’re serious about an all- season coat, then keep a look out for the Gore-Tex label. This makes it both breathable and waterproof. The REVIT also comes with adjustable straps at the waist and upper arms.
It may be a bit of a mouthful, but the Speed and Strength Off the Chain 2.0 jacket is a great piece of kit. It combines casual looks with CE approved elbow, shoulder and spine protection. The hooded liner is also removable making it flexible enough to wear in any number of scenarios.
Motorcycle Safety Gear: Pants
You can quite literally wear any clothing to ride your bike. However, items that have specifically been designed and made with the rider in mind are invariably safer and more hardwearing.
So here we’ll go for racing pants from my top choice, then something that can handle all weathers and finally, abrasion resistant jeans.
Strictly speaking, the Spidi RR Pro are track-orientated leathers with removable hip and knee sliders. But they’re also very popular with the Superbike riders for their weekend jaunts. The leather is Teflon-coated to help with water resistance, and they have a full circumference waist zip so you can join them to a jacket.
The Firstgear Kathmandu Overpants come with a detachable bib and braces which are perfect for keeping your kidneys warm. Aimed at the adventure/touring rider they come with a removable liner which pretty much covers you for all weather conditions.
The Kathmandu’s have suede on the inner legs to prevent your tank getting scratched and fully adjustable light armor in the hips and knees. As with the Spidi’s they have a waist zip so you can attach them to your jacket.
Bull-it’s SR6 Slim Riding Jeans have a Covec impact abrasion layer and come with an SR6 rating. This means that they can withstand sliding down the road for over six seconds before they wear through.
On the outside, they just look like a regular pair of slightly faded slim fit denim. But they are water repellent and come with knee and hip pockets for optional extra armor.
The jeans are straight leg cut with a traditional five pocket design, and you can get them under or over your boots.
Motorcycle safety gear
So, there we have it, motorcycle safety gear for all manner of riding styles. There is no need to ride your bike in everyday clothing. Designers and manufacturers are going to incredible lengths to make sure you stay warm, dry and safe. And above all, you will live to ride another day.