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Whether you’re dreaming of buying your first motorcycle or already have one in your garage, you probably can’t wait to take your bike for a spin. The freedom of the open road and the wind in your hair are what life’s all about, right? Before you mount your noble steed, there are a few pieces of motorcycle gear you must have and, most importantly, use!
1. Eye Protection
If you’ve only ever ridden pillion, you probably weren’t worried about gale-force winds or debris getting in your eyes. Whoever was sitting in front took the brunt of it — and, hopefully, they were wearing a helmet.
That said, if you’re riding solo, you’re going to want quality eye protection. Keep your peepers safe from dust, dirt, gravel, bugs and other roadway debris with a pair of motorcycle riding glasses. Visors and goggles are also available if you want something a bit more secure.
Donning a helmet while riding can reduce your risk of death by 37% and your risk of head injury by a whopping 69%. Yet, nearly one in three motorcyclists still don’t wear this essential piece of equipment.
Keep your noggin intact with a DOT-approved helmet that fits snugly. Some have foam inserts to ensure it stays in place while others come with a chin strap. Whichever style you choose, remember to get one with good ventilation so you stay comfortable throughout your entire ride.
Gloves are also important as they provide a firm grip on the handlebars. Maintain stability and control with a well-fitting pair of non-slip gloves. They should be snug but not so tight as to inhibit mobility or cut off circulation.
Look for a thinner pair for warm weather rides and opt for horse riding or winter-specific gloves during the colder months. Ones with steel knuckles or wrist gauntlets also offer superior protection in case of a crash.
Weather conditions will also determine what kind of motorcycle jacket to wear. Ideally, you want one that’s weatherproof, abrasion-resistant and stylish. However, finding one jacket that checks all the boxes can be tricky. That’s why most riders have two or even three to choose from.
Regardless of which style, color or material you get, you must ensure that your jacket fits properly. Otherwise, it won’t do much good in inclement weather, much less a traffic accident. It should be longer in the back and feature adequate ventilation and tight closures at the neck and wrists. A snap-in or zippered liner may also come in handy and keep your jacket smelling fresh.
How much does your motorcycle weigh? Whenever you stop or slow down, your feet, ankles and legs will have to support it until you hit the gas. For this reason, alone, a sturdy pair of riding boots is an absolute must.
Look for ones with oil-resistant and non-slip soles that’ll stand up to unpredictable surfaces, even when your wheels fail. When you find a pair you like, hold one boot by the toe and heel, then twist. If there’s any give, pick a sturdier pair that’ll do a better job of protecting your feet in a crash.
You don’t need a bunch of fancy motorcycle gear to have a great ride. In fact, all you need are a few basic pieces of equipment. However, safety should always be your top priority so, if you want the tricked-out helmet or the jacket with reflective lining, go for it. The safer you feel, the more confident you’ll ride, and that’s really the key to having the time of your life.