We Know: Tips on Buying Motorcycle Clothing

The main purpose of motorcycle clothing is safety. It should protect your body as much as possible in the event that you hit the pavement while riding. Alternately, motorcycle clothing should keep you warm but not cause you to perspire, and in wetter climates it should keep you dry. Some motorcycle clothing is designed to do all that as well as make you look good.

Buying Tips for Motorcycle Jackets, Pants, and Gloves

  • High quality leather is the single most popular choice for motorcycle clothing. It keeps you warm, but can also take abuse in the event that you slide.
  • Vented clothing, especially for the armpits and chest area is important to prevent sweating. You're more apt to catch cold, and dangerously so, after you sweat. For that reason, prevention is important.
  • Extra protection, known as armor, is sometimes worn on critical areas of the body, such as shoulders, elbows, knees, and back. They can be pads worn over or under clothing, back or breast plates, or clothing with the padding built into it.
  • Depending on the type of riding you do, there's clothing available cut to accommodate your riding position. Pants worn by a dirt bike rider may not be comfortable on a chopper rider, or vice versa. Consider your needs before purchasing, and if possible, try it on while sitting on a bike similar to your own.
  • Clothing suitable for an afternoon walk may balloon while riding. Stick with motorcycle clothing that's stiff and less likely to be affected by wind.
  • Consider the whole outfit. If you're buying a jacket, keep in mind the thickness of layers you'll be wearing beneath it, or for pants, wear your riding boots to the store or at least take them with you.
  • Fabric is an alternative to leather, but it should be designed for motorcycle wear. Jeans and thin fabric afford almost no protection for the skin or body parts. Some riders opt for motorcycle designed fabric clothing for shorter rides and full leather gear for longer rides.
  • Synthetic fabric is stronger than fabric and as strong as leather, but weighs less.
  • Leather boots are more protective than nylon sneakers. Boots with heals are more practical to use with the bike's foot pegs. The taller the boots, the more protection you get.
  • Gloves should be abrasion resistant, but they must also be flexible enough for you to grip the bike handles. Most bikers wear cowhide leather gloves, but alternatives include goatskin or elkskin. Elkskin is tough and retains its shape and strength even when wet. Goatskin is warmer than cowhide.

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