MODERN RIDING GEAR FOR THE CONTEMPORARY RIDER

Riding a motorcycle is a relatively higher risk activity.  The smaller transportation platform means other motorists may find it difficult to see us, two wheels means balance is required and gravity is relentless in its drive to put us into the ground, plus we lack the protection other vehicle types offer. Therefore, wise riders take steps to reduce their risk by employing an ATGATT approach, wearing All The Gear, All The Time.  Fortunately for us, motorcycle gear manufacturers are working overtime to deliver incredible modern riding gear that offers unprecedented style, versatility, and protection.  Let’s look at what elements make up a good modern riding gear package for both men and women.

HELMET

Undoubtedly a point of contention in the world of motorcycling as a preference, but the crash research is clear:  HELMETS WORK TO PREVENT AND/OR REDUCE HEAD AND NECK INJURY.  Well, helmets that are 3/4 or greater (sorry, folks, half helmets are just not as effective).  

Helmet manufacturers, now more than ever, are delivering lighter, more feature-filled head protection.  We are seeing cutting-edge materials like carbon fiber make their way into the production of motorcycle helmets.  We are even seeing new ways to mitigate how forces affect the brain in the event of a crash.  New technologies like Mips® and Turbine® are intended to help reduce the impact of rotational energy on the head by enabling a relative movement between the head and helmet.  This means less force affects the brain upon impact.  In this case, less really is more.

JACKETS, PANTS, and GLOVES

While leather and other types of animal hides have been the standard in motorcycling gear for more than one hundred years, in the last few decades we’ve seen some amazing developments in man-made materials which offer more comfort, greater impact protection, and high performing abrasion resistance.  Materials like CORDURA® and D3O® mean greater versatility and greater protection packaged in stylish, form fitting offerings.  

From flannel shirts with protective and abrasive materials to pants that look like regular jeans but include stealthy armor to keep you protected, there are plenty of options for riders to consider.  Of course, you’ll only find these materials in motorcycle specific gear, so make sure you’re shopping at reputable motorcycle gear retailers for these items.

MOTORCYCLE BOOTS

Studies show that most riders spend little time considering their footwear. Even more striking, riders very rarely, if at all, consider the WEIGHT of their riding boots. Sound unimportant? Police Officers in the U.K. and Germany are moving away from traditional, heavier boots to recent styles offering newer, more protective materials and lighter weight. Why? A heavier boot increases the likelihood that the boot could cause you injury by adding additional force to your lower leg during an incident.  Again, less is more in this case.

So how have motorcycle boots evolved to be more lightweight and more protective?

  • Use of natural (leather, kangaroo) and man-made materials (carbon fiber, Kevlar®, plastic and more) to create the lightest, most protective boots in motorcycling history
  • Integrated ankle, heel, and toe protection for our vulnerable areas in case of an incident
  • Flatter, stiffer soles to provide greater bike control and foot peg feel

Style isn’t left behind either.  Manufacturers are creating products that look and feel similar to everyday casual footwear yet provide enhanced levels of protection.  

GETTING GEARED UP

With so many cool modern riding gear options available, finding items that will work well for your taste and riding style is getting easier and easier.   I’m curious, what cool modern riding gear items made it into your garage recently?   

Image of bill riding motorcycleBill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him: [email protected]