Motorcycle Gear 101

On The Road

Motorcycle Gear 101

Motorcycle gear has come a long way since I first starting riding. Today’s gear offers great options to help keep you cool when it’s hot, warm when it’s cold, dry in the rain, and most importantly, safer in a collision.

No matter your level of experience, it’s essential you have the proper motorcycle gear and protection before setting out on a ride.

Helmet

I’ve listed helmet first, because this is the most important piece of motorcycle safety equipment you will buy. A properly fitting helmet could save your life and may help prevent serious head injuries. In Canada, helmet laws are generally dictated by province or territory, so be sure to understand your local rules. Usually, they require that a helmet meet one of the DOT, Snell, or ECE ratings.

Gloves

Good motorcycle gloves allow you to have a solid grip on your controls and provide protection from flying debris, wind, and rain.  Your motorcycle type and riding preferences may influence what type of gloves you purchase.  You might use fingerless vented gloves for warm days, regular wrist-length gloves on cooler days or evenings, or long half-arm vented gloves on cold days and nights.

Jackets

Regardless of whether you ride a sport bike or cruiser, body protection is among the most important clothing pieces you will purchase.  The length, arms, and back of your bike jacket need to be a bit longer than your normal jackets.  Most motorcycle gear manufacturers take this into account, but it is always better to try them on before purchasing.  With your arms and body in riding position, the sleeves should be covering your wrists and the lower back should be fully covered.

Motorcyclist on the road

Pants

One-piece leather race suits are more popular among those who ride sports bikes. I prefer wearing jackets and pants. Wearing chaps or full riding pants can help protect your legs from any flying debris, and also save your legs from potential road rash.  I like chaps as they are easy to slip on and off, and easy to store, but they don’t offer as full coverage protection as full riding pants.

Footwear

Having proper motorcycle boots is not only important for protecting your feet, but you need them to have a steady non-slip grip on your foot controls.  When purchasing foot protection, keep in mind that they keep rain and snow out but still allow air circulation to your feet.  Comfort and ease of taking them on and off should be considered as well.

Rain Gear

No matter how well you plan your trips, you cannot control the weather.  Try not to leave home without rain gear if you can.  A good rain suit should be easy to slip on and off and allow air flow while still keeping you dry.  At the sign of rain, your safest choice would be to park and wait it out.  If you need to continue riding to your destination (or to a shelter), put on your rain suit and a pair of non-slip boot covers.

No matter the destination, packing properly will help ensure you have a safe and comfortable ride.  Remember to respect the rules of the road and keep safety top of mind!  And don’t forget to have fun while you’re out there.  Compared to some countries, the riding season is short in Canada, so take advantage of the beautiful weather while you can.