Motorcycles offer little to no protection for the rider. That’s why it’s important to wear protective gear to shield the body from harm. The key is to pick items that will do their job well.
What makes motorcycle gear effective, and how do we determine if it has a good quality?
Important Qualities of Motorcycle Gear
When we want to figure out what makes motorcycle gear effective, we should first look at what its purpose is. Generally, there are three things the protective gear should accomplish:
- injury protection – tough fabrics, padding, and armor protect the body from wounds and broken bones
- weather protection – the gear shields the rider from rain, cold, heat, wind, and UV rays
- riding aid – items like gloves provide the rider with a better grip, visors protect the eyes from flying particles
As a result, we can determine that good motorcycle gear must be made from abrasion-resistant materials, shield vulnerable areas, and be comfortable enough not to restrict the rider.
Comfort and the appropriate level of protection can contradict each other. Many riders forgo helmets for short rides because they are heavy, hurt their ears, or limit their movement. However, without a helmet, you leave your most important organ, your brain, vulnerable to injuries.
If you were to order motorcycle footwear by ChromeBurner.com, you can see how motorcycle boots come in many forms. The most protective variations are stiff and bulky plastic boots that are uncomfortable to walk in. However, a sneaker that does not cover your ankles leaves this delicate part vulnerable.
In conclusion, when we pick the right motorcycle gear, we should not only pay attention to the protective qualities of an item, but also pay some mind to the comfort, or rather avoid the discomfort that would hinder our ability to concentrate on riding.
What are the overall qualities of motorcycle gear we should examine?
A lot of motorcycle gear is somewhat waterproof by default because it tends to be made from tough non-breathable textiles. But not all motorcycle gear will keep you dry in soaking rain. Since it isn’t advisable to ride in the rain in the first place, water-resistant gear is typically more than enough. If you want protection from sudden unexpected and heavy rain, you can buy rain gear like a waterproof jumpsuit that is easily folded and stored.
It is best for motorcycle gear to cover all of your body. In this case, you are automatically protected from the sun.
Which gear offers the best weather protection is a question of the current season. In winter, you should buy padded and insulated motorcycle clothing that will warm you and keep the cold wind away from your skin. In summer, you want the opposite. Instead of choosing shorts and shirts, pick motorcycle gear made from light and perforated materials that allow your body to breathe and cool down.
Abrasion resistance is one of the key features protective motorcycle gear should have. Even if you are lucky and never get into a crash, there are plenty of opportunities where your skin will get in contact with the pavement.
Tough materials like high-quality leather or synthetic fibers like Kevlar can withstand high-velocity impacts on the pavement much more efficiently than a pair of regular jeans. That is why you should never choose any motorcycle gear that is made from anything other than abrasion-resistant fabrics and textiles.
Gear that has been tested and approved by the European Commission will be marked with Abrasion-Resistance Levels 1 or 2. Level 2 describes more effective protection.
Another major function of motorcycle gear is to shield bones and your head from impacting objects to prevent broken bones, internal injuries, concussions, and worse. Two elements are used for this: the motorcycle helmet to protect your head and motorcycle armor to protect delicate parts of your body.
Good motorcycle gear isn’t just abrasion-resistant. Double layers, paddings, and armor plates reinforce the most vulnerable parts of your body:
- upper/middle tibia
- front leg below the knee and
- back (full-back, central back, or lumbar only).
An effective armor plating on your back can reduce the likelihood of a spinal cord injury, which could easily leave you paralyzed. However, not every piece of armor has the same quality. Most motorcycle gear comes pre-fitted with armor pieces that can and should be replaced with the highest quality armor. You can choose between two armor levels given out by safety standard tests from the European Commission:
- CE Level 1 – The armor piece has proven to reduce impact force to 24 kN for single values and has a maximum transmitted force below 18 kN.
- CE Level 2 – The armor piece has proven to reduce impact force to 12 kN for single values and has a maximum transmitted force below 9 kN.
Level 2 gear is more effective, but can also be heavier and bulkier, though these problems have been reduced in recent years.
Helmets are made from a hard shell and protective padded linings that will redistribute any impact force across the helmet surface to lessen the force that will reach the head beneath it. Only a full-face, or modular helmet with its chin guard down, offers appropriate protection. Open-faced helmets leave your nose and chin unprotected.
Helmets are among the most tested items when it comes to motorcycle gear. Many institutions assess the safety and quality standards of motorcycle helmets, such as the ratings from FIM, DOT, SNELL, ECE, SHARP, and BSI. Make sure the helmet you buy was certified by one of these institutions.
It is also advised to never buy a used motorcycle helmet and to replace your helmet either every 5 years or after every impact. A cracked helmet, even if the damage is invisible, loses much of its efficiency.
The quality of your protective motorcycle gear is important. The items that shield you from harm should be in the best condition to ensure they will do their job.