Nothing beats riding down an open road with your bike between your legs, attempting to improve each corner you go around. Most bikers will know what they need and what to buy, but many novice bikers are unaware of where to begin. This post will cover the most vital equipment that you need, no matter what. It will also assume road biking because although other forms of biking require similar gear, there are some differences.
The number one item on this list is the one legally required to ride on a public road. The humble helmet has probably saved more lives than any other item of equipment and is an essential piece of safety kit. A helmet is something that you shouldn’t skimp on; the quality is often proportional to the cost. If you are looking for a range of helmets at different prices, the motorcycle specialists at motorcyclelarry.com have some excellent rundowns of the most popular models. However, there are a few things to consider before buying a new helmet, from its crash rating to the steam resistance of the visor. Before buying, consider these factors:
- SHARP rating: SHARP is the motorcycle equivalent of crash testing for cars. They perform several destructive tests to find out how the helmet handles under stress. Choose a rating of four or five out of five.
- Visor: Anyone who has ridden in wet weather will know the pain. Your visor can steam up, but you cannot open it because 100 mph rain hitting your eyes isn’t fun! Therefore, ensure the visor has some mist and steam resistance (be careful when washing these and don’t use soap).
- Style: This point is not related to how it looks, rather how you open it. There are modular, flip-up style helmets that make life much easier. For example, if you have ever been in a situation where your mouth is covered by a scarf and your helmet is sitting just right, but you need to ask someone for directions, you will understand how useful it would be to flip up the entire front.
- Ease of getting on and off: You will probably be doing this a lot, so you should ensure you buy one that is easy to put on and take off when you have your gloves on.
- The fit and finish: The general feel of it will indicate its quality. You want the visor to snap in place and open smoothly, as everything should fit nicely together.
Next up are your gloves. These are a vital bit of gear that will protect your hands from injury from not only crashes but the natural elements. When you are riding at speed, even small insects can impact with force, so these will protect your hands. However, safety is their first feature, and as such, they should be made from sturdy material and have adequate knuckle and skid protection. Furthermore, they should be comfortable and provide a certain amount of padding. You will appreciate the extra padding on long rides when your hands begin to get stiff.
In a similar fashion to gloves, these will protect your feet, ankles, and lower leg. They should be made from highly durable material but flexible enough to walk around relatively normally once you have dismounted. Based on where and how you ride, there are a variety of options you can choose from. If you go on the dirt more than the road, total protection is required if you hit any debris. However, if you are riding tarmac mostly, you can afford to exchange some of the lower leg protection for boots that are easier to walk in.
Jackets provide you with two essential protections:
- From crashes.
- From the weather.
Both are vital to consider because although you can opt for the best protection, it can sometimes be too hot or uncomfortable, ruining the ride. Good shoulder, back, and wrist protection are enough for safety, and it must be waterproof but breathable for the weather.
Many people opt for a pair of high-density jeans when riding, but a good pair of trousers can be an excellent investment. The best ones will be breathable, fast-drying, and typically contain knee and hip protection built-in. If you decide to go down the jeans route, ensure you purchase and wear knee and shin protectors, you will be thankful if your bike ends up underneath you.
These items are the most essential you will need to have fun and keep yourself safe. However, some notable mentions include tool bags, sturdy daypack, spare tubes, easy access waist bag for wallet and phone.
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