Riding Gear is a must-have part of every motorcyclist’s wardrobe. It’s the most important asset to have because it will protect you in case of an unfortunate event. We have made some ready guidelines that you could use while buying a motorcycle riding gear.
1. Choosing Type of Riding Gear
There are multiple types of motorcycle riding gear available these days. Just like you wear different clothes for different seasons or occasions, you need different gear for different riding conditions or purpose. For ease of understanding we have put it down in a table.
|Sr. No||Type of Riding Gear||Used for||Ventilation||Objective|
|1||Mesh||Short or City rides or Off-road||Highest||To be used when ventilation is your highest priority. Another factor is its light weight due to use of full mesh|
|2||Mesh + Textile||Short as well as Long Rides||Good||Perfect for those who need 1 riding gear that works well in every condition. Can be used with weather liners such as rain liner or thermal liners for multi season capability|
|3||Textile||Touring / Adventure Touring||Average||Good for long distant touring as textile provides more protection than mesh. Not preferred for city rides as ventilation will not be as good as mesh at slower speeds|
|4||Mesh + Leather||Short Rides especially on fast sports bikes||Good||For those who want the safety of leather but still want to be ventilated|
|5||Leather + Textile||Short Rides especially on fast sports bikes||Average||Leather provides the safety while textile helps in breathability. These are used for short duration.|
|6||Leather||Professional Racing or Motorcycle Sports||Low||Leather beats every other material when it comes to abrasion resistance. But since it is not as breathable as a textile or mesh its usually designed for maximum protection & short time usage duration.|
The choice would depend on for what purpose the riding gear is chosen. While the rider can start with 1 set of the riding gear, its always good to have a dedicated gear for different type of rides.
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2. Fit & Comfort of the Riding Gear
It is important to buy the riding gear which fits you well. You might buy the most expensive gear with world-class protectors, but it will not protect you if its not of the right fit. Always refer to the manufacturers sizing chart as the sizing varies from brand to brand. The right fit is when the gear fits you just snug without being too tight & all the armors are coming in the right place. You should be also able to make movements necessary while riding a motorcycle. And finally, the gear should cover all the areas not leaving your skin exposed anywhere.
3. Material & Construction of the Riding Gear
A riding gear is an engineered product which uses high end materials to serve a specific purpose. Many manufacturers these days use advance materials & design to make the riding gear more safer or more comfortable. Use of special materials such as Polyamide / Aramids (for eg. Kevlar, Cordura, Hitena etc) make the gear more stronger. Some fabrics could have mix of special materials to make them stain free or to keep the rider cooler. This also means that you will have to pay more than other common riding gear. Check for details while purchasing. Many manufacturers use generic descriptions to confuse buyers such as 600 D Polyester, now there are tons of 600 D polyester available in market from Rs. 100/meter to Rs. 1000/meter. What matters is whether that material is good to protect you?
Also important is to check if the key areas like Shoulders, Elbows, Knees are reinforced with higher grade of material. Brands like Shima use 1000 D material or Cordura/Hitena to provide higher abrasion resistance.
For Gloves, you should check the kind of leather used. Most commonly used is the goat leather but again you could have cheap gloves made of artificial leather which is not as good as original leather. Just because the manufacturer mentions premium leather does not mean that they really offer one. Always ask for details!
There are many more materials which can make your gear stronger. One such example is SUPERFABRIC. It is much more stronger & abrasion resistant than a leather and offers many advantages. http://www.superfabric.com/
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4. Armors or Protectors
You should get all the armors which are CE certified. Armors should be light & flexible thereby taking form of your body. There are also different levels of armors available which define the amount of impact protection they can take. Level 1 armors are usually common with Level2 available with many brands as an option. Please note that Level2 armors although with higher level of impact protection come at a cost of higher weight. In any case you can remove the stock armors provided & replace them with the armors of your choice which is why the material & construction of the gear should be given more importance than armors. D3O is rated currently as one of the best armor which is lighter than most of the other brands.
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5. Budget – How much should you spend on a riding gear
How much should you spend on your riding gear? There are no set rules for this. Well, it actually depends on how you ride, how fast your motorcycle can go and for what purpose you are riding? While there is no upper limit on how much you can spend on the riding gear (the higher necessarily might not be better), we suggest that riders should dedicate a budget of at least 10-20% of the cost of motorcycle for riding gear. This is a good starting point & the rider can always plan to upgrade the gear in a phased manner.