If you are interested in purchasing a motorcycle or have recently gotten into riding motorcycles, it is important to learn more about the protective gear that could very well save your life. Not only is protective gear an important safety measure that should be taken each time you ride, but in many states, the law requires you to wear adequate protective gear.
Currently, the fastest man in the world is a man named Usain Bolt. During a 100 meter sprint, this man peaked at 27.78 miles per hour. Experts said that if he had fallen while running at such a speed, he would have likely sustained grievous and serious injuries. If you ride a motorcycle, you know that you will be hitting speeds far higher than that. In fact, some U.S. highways have speed limits exceeding 85 mph. At those speeds, your body could not withstand an impact. The abrasions alone could cause serious injury, perhaps even death.
Not only can protective gear and clothing protect you from accidents, but also from the elements. If it is cold out, you have to consider the wind chill as well as the actual temperature outside. Wearing the proper gear does not only help you when it is cold outside, but also when it is hot. Your body has a natural evaporative cooling effect that takes place when you sweat. However, a constant wind blast will blow the sweat off of your skin too quickly. If you are wearing a summer jacket and other motorcycle gear, you will be more likely to feel cooler as your body will be able to cool itself as it is designed to.
A Guide to Motorcycle Helmets
If nothing else, it is very important that you always wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle. While other gear provides you with safety and protection, protecting your head should be your first priority. Selecting the right helmet to use when riding a motorcycle is key. It is estimated that 45 percent of all impacts to motorcycle helmets occur around the face. This is an area that is not covered by open face or three quarter type helmets. Therefore, a full-face helmet is strongly encouraged and recommended. Full-face helmets not only keep you safe, but these helmets will keep the wind out of your eyes and the bugs out of your teeth.
If you do not get into an accident and you keep your motorcycle helmet in good condition, it is recommended that you replace your helmet every five years. A helmet typically only has about a five year lifespan. After that period of time, the helmet can actually impact your safety. Absorption materials and the glue that holds everything together will begin to degrade, potentially even come apart. Failing to replace your motorcycle helmet in a timely manner could result in serious injuries if you were to ever find yourself in an accident.
Helmets are designed to destroy themselves in the event of a crash. In destroying themselves, they dissipate the energy that would otherwise be transferred to your face and skull. If you are involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle, it is important to replace your helmet immediately, even if your helmet does not show sign of damage and it has made it to the five year mark. Damage to a helmet may not always be obvious. By replacing helmets after a crash, you will be ensuring that your motorcycle helmet is providing you with the best protection possible.
As stated previously, most states require you to wear at least some protective gear when riding a motorcycle. The most commonly required piece of gear for motorcycle riding is a helmet. However, in order to be legally worn, the helmet must be marked with a DOT-approved sticker. These stickers are primarily found on the back of motorcycle helmets.
There are also two other stickers and certifications that you commonly find on motorcycle helmets, however, you are not required to have one over the other. ECE 22.05 is the European Union’s legal standards while there is also a brand called Snell, which is popular among some of the larger motorcycle helmet manufacturers. If you would like to optimize the safety of your helmet, you are strongly encouraged to obtain an ECE 22.05 rated helmet.
You can obtain a safe motorcycle helmet without paying an arm and a leg. There are numerous manufactures that offer high-quality and even high-spec helmets at a reasonable price. If you find a more expensive helmet, the cost may be higher due to the amount of materials used, such as fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber weaves. While these materials can make a helmet lighter, they do not necessarily add any safety rating to the helmet.
When searching for a motorcycle helmet, it is important to ensure that you obtain the right fit. Your helmet must fit you perfectly, so you are encouraged to visit a brick and mortar retail location over purchasing a motorcycle helmet online. Try the helmet on and ensure that it holds your head all the way around without pressure points. Try to rotate the helmet while it is on to ensure that it is resisting the movement of your head. A well fitted helmet will not be able to rotate independently from your scalp. It should be snug, though not too tight.
Don’t Skimp on Motorcycle Jackets
When riding a motorcycle, you will want to wear a jacket that provides plenty of coverage to your arms, back, ribs and organs. Not only should the jacket be comfortable, but it should provide you with safety against abrasions in the event of an accident.
All motorcycle jackets fall into one of two categories: leather and textile. High quality textile materials can absorb and resist abrasion just as strongly as leather, however, textile materials generally also come with Gore-Tex or other water-resistant membranes that can keep you dry during poor weather. Leather provides protection, but is not generally water resistant. However, leather jackets typically last longer than textile jackets, however, leather is also commonly more expensive by comparison.
Both types of motorcycle jackets can include a number of features, such as seams that have been doubled multiple times in order to provide additional protection against abrasion and strength against bursting. No matter the type of jacket that you choose to purchase, it is important to find one that is snug, even in high-speed wind blasts. Some jackets also feature zippers around the bottom of the jacket, which can be connected to a pair of riding pants in order to forma riding suit. Others may have zip open vents for warm weather.
You are also strongly encouraged to obtain a motorcycle jacket that has body armor, which is impacting absorbing material that cushions your most vulnerable areas in the event of a crash. The armor should come with a CE safety rating, an invaluable safety indicator that you should look for when reviewing various motorcycle jackets.
The Importance of Wearing the Proper Pants for Every Ride
Never wear denim jeans when riding a motorcycle, regardless of whether or not you are riding on a highway. While jeans are either made from or include Kevlar panels, providing some protection against abrasions, jeans do not offer even a fraction of the protection that a true pair of riding pants will.
Similarly to jackets, you will find riding pants in leather or textile material and these materials can provide various benefits to you, just as they do with motorcycle jackets. Riding pants will also include CE-rated armor in the hips, shins and knees that you should look out for in order to choose a brand that will offer you adequate safety and protection. Not only is it important to ensure that riding pants fit snugly, but the leg of your pants should cover your entire leg above your boots.
If you are interested in zipping your pants to your jacket, it is important to review whether or not the manufacturer advertises compatibility between the pair. It may be a good idea to consider the purchase of a jacket and riding pants from the same manufacturer.
Lacing up the Proper Boots
When riding a motorcycle, you will need to support the weight of the motorcycle through your own feet, ankles and legs. At times, on slippery or uneven surfaces. Therefore, it is important to obtain a sturdy part of boots that, at a minimum, provide good ankle support and have oil resistant and non-slip soles.
Wearing the proper boots can protect your feet and ankles in a crash. When selecting a boot, choose a sole that prevents twisting. Consider strong heel or toe boxes to help you to lock your feet in and reduce the force of impact. You may also want to consider wearing additional armor over your ankle and shin to provide extra protection to those vulnerable areas.
When selecting a pair of boots to wear when riding your motorcycle, it is important to choose boots that can be laced tightly to a point above the ankle. Anything less may fly off in the event of an accident, leaving your feet and ankles without protection.
Take Care to Select the Right Gloves for the Job
No one needs to tell you how important your hands are. You need them to do various tasks, but statistically, they are also the first part of your body to touch down in any crash. Therefore, it is important to add protection to your hands with motorcycle gloves that fully cover fingers, your palms, the back of your hands and your wrists. Not only that, but they should be long enough that there is a significant overlap between your gloves and your motorcycle jacket in order to prevent skin exposure between the two.
To avoid having your gloves fly off in a crash, you will need to have a retention strap around your wrist. This is a feature that you should be considered a requirement when shopping for motorcycle gloves. If your gloves fly off during a cash, all the other features that the gloves have will not count for anything. You also want to find riding gloves that are made of abrasion-resistant materials and feature protected stitching.
Most motorcycle gloves include armor for your knuckles, but examines of crashes have shown that the base of your palm will impact in nearly every crash, therefore requiring more protection. Look for additional protection in these areas when selecting gloves with different features. No matter the amount of armor that you select for your motorcycle gloves, it is at the utmost importance that you ensure that you can operate your motorcycle unimpeded while wearing the gloves.
The Benefit of Motorcycle Suits
Motorcycle suits offer some of the best levels of comfort and protection from both the elements and potential crashes. However, suits tend to be far more expensive. If you are on a budget, you can obtain a jacket and riding pants from the same manufacturer that include features that will allow the two articles of clothing to be zipped together.
However, motorcycle suits that are one piece will typically allow a greater amount of flexibility and movement in comparison to two piece suits, but two piece suits are considered far more versatile as you need not always connect your jacket and riding pants if you do not wish to.
If you are looking for an extremely high quality, versatile motorcycle suit, one of the best suits that can be purchased is the Aerostich Roadcrafter. This suit features a head to toe zipper, offering a full layer of protection while allowing you to wear your regular clothes beneath. While Aerostitch does offer proprietary armor that is not CE-rated, it is generally believed to be very safe.
Motorcycle Armor and Your Safety
As stated previously, motorcycle body armor protects you from impacts in a crash by absorbing energy that would otherwise be transferred to your body. Most motorcycle gear will include some level of protection by featuring motorcycle armor in various places. However, it is worth knowing that you can also purchase motorcycle body armor separately, should you need to.
Motorcycle armor should not restrict your comfortability or movement and it is recommended that armor covers as much of your body as possible in order to maximum protection and significantly reduce the amount of damage that a potential crash could do to your body.
Generally, higher safety rating motorcycle gear that includes a greater amount of body armor will be more expensive, but the cost can easily be seen as worth it as this gear could potentially save your life.
There are a few additional items that you may want to consider when riding a motorcycle, such as long underwear, earplugs and eye protection. Long underwear can be purchased in both summer and winter versions in order to keep you cool or warm, depending on the season. If you need long underwear to stay warm, you should consider underwear made with a wind-resistant membrane such as Gore Wind Stopper.
Earplugs can protect your hearing over time as the inside of your motorcycle helmet will generally be very loud, considering the jet engine at highway speeds. Eye protection can protect your eyes from the glare of the zone, however, wearing sunglasses inside of a helmet is not always easily accomplished. Consider a tinted visor. A variety of manufacturers offer helmets that include tinted visors. However, it is very important that you also obtain a helmet that does not have a tinted visor as nighttime riding with a visor helmet is extremely dangerous.
Riding a motorcycle is often considered far riskier than operating a car, truck or another type of motor vehicle. Therefore, it is crucial that you take your safety seriously by obtaining motorcycle gear that will provide you with adequate protection. When considering the purchase of a motorcycle, you should factor in the cost of this invaluable gear when planning for the cost of a motorcycle.