Riding Gears 101 – Choosing the right gear

Yeah, yet again I’m back with one of those maybe boring posts, and this time it is about Riding Gears , why we need them and how to choose the right ones.

Well, now coming to the topic, what are these so called “Riding Gears” and why are they such a great deal ? Well, to get started , Riding Gears are protective equipment/apparel you wear while riding and why you need to wear them ? Well, to save the sorry ass of the biker from having to have this or this(open at your own risk, not for the light hearted), in the event of a crash, be it his fault or the fault of the chicken/dog/cow(Hey, I live in India) that crossed the road..!!

Many who have learned the need of it the hard way, while many who are, well let’s just say wise enough to not have to learn it the hard way,and then there are the special kind, the pricks who are just too dumb enough to not get it at all, but that’s a story for another day or you could just go read about it here.

Now that we have that out of our way , let’s get started.

Riding Gears – 101

Helmet 

This is probably the single most important part of your riding gear, what good is a body without a head right ? So helmets / crash helmets as they are known are used to protect your head from getting split opened in case you are to ever fall off from your motorcycle, it is a pretty versatile piece of equipment to have, be it if you are sliding down the road on your head or if you are bouncing down the road landing on your head.

One of the best there is

One of the best there is

Why ? well, because the helmet consists of something called EPS and then a outer shell which takes care of all the protection, to give you a basic idea of what is a helmet supposed to do, in the event of a crash. It’s simple, in the event of a crash and on impact of the helmet with the road, it’s function is to absorb a great deal of force from being exerted on your head (which has the potential to crack open your skull) but instead to spread that energy over the surface area of the helmet and thereby letting it take all the impact. Or in the event of a slide, to protect your face from kissing the tarmac and saving your skin from being melted due to all that abrasion.

Type of helmet used is also something to think about, personally my advice would be,Always get a Full Face Helmet. I cannot stress this enough, a half face helmet or a modular helmet might protect your head, but when it comes to protecting your jaws, they aren’t the best choice you have. Go a little Google search and you will find out why.

There are different types of helmet for different riding styles, when you go street/track riding get a suitable on-road type helmet like these and when going off-roading something like these. Do not mix these up, there is a very good reason why they are built for on-road and off-road applications respectively, but discussing that here would take up too much time, so Google is your friend, yet again.

So now it sounds and looks all that good right ? Not being to be able to flash that pretty face to impress those girls doesn’t seem to be all that bad eh ?

Armored Riding Jackets/pants/gloves

Yes, the next important pieces is the riding jacket/pant/gloves. So why do you need it ?

You need them so that if at all you fall , it can save your skin from road rash, it can save you from broken bones ,ribs, knees and what not. So , now the obvious question,How it does that ? You see armored jackets/pants/gloves as the name suggests have protective armor in them, placed at some parts along them, which are also the parts that are most susceptible to impact in the event of a crash, so in a decent riding jacket you can find armors along your elbows, shoulders, chest and back, in a riding pant you find them along your knees and in your gloves you find them along your knuckles, pinky finger and so on, and what they do is something similar to what the helmet does, it absorbs the impact and tries to minimize the force to being transferred to your body/bones thereby protecting it from being fractured. Then the material used for construction of these items are designed to have high abrasion resistance, which takes all the torture the friction could lay upon your skin. Sounds great right ?

Riding Jacket

Riding Jacket(Mesh+Textile)

Now Riding gears comes with mainly 3 variety of materials

1.Mesh
2.Textile
3.Leather

Out of which the abrasion resistance goes something like this Mesh<Textile<Leather

Riding Gloves

Riding Gloves

P.S: The reason why Riding Jackets/Pants and Gloves were taken in a single go is because, while they are different pieces of apparel for different body parts, they are in many ways doing the same thing, and also because of the fact that nobody is going to read another an article that stretches for a mile and a half, so lets try to keep it simple.

Riding Boots

So, why do we need a dedicated riding boot, whats wrong with normal shoes/sneakers/running shoes ? Well, the problem is that it just isn’t the right ones you need to be wearing  while riding.

Riding Boots  Pic Courtesy : Revzilla

Riding Boots
Pic Courtesy : Revzilla

You see much like the helmet the proper conventional riding boot is built using a lot of hard plastic, there is a reason why this is done, lets say you are in a crash and you are tumbling along the road doing flips and rolls and what not, while at it, there is a pretty good chance that you have twisted your ankle a bit too far along the wrong direction that it should be able to twist, and fracturing it while at it, and trust me when I say this, that is something you do not want,so what a riding boot does is that it restricts the movement of the ankle in any abnormal direction and to a extend limits any extreme movement in any direction at all, now that comes with trade-offs, these riding boots are a bitch to walk in, they really are, walk around in them or climb a few fleet of stairs and you will be ready to throw them to the deepest darkest corner of your home once you reach there, but once you get to know the real use of them, they become a precious jewel you just cannot do without.

Sizing and Fitment

Now that we have covered all the riding gears ,there is something I left out deliberately from all of the above topics, the sizing and fitment. This is the part where most of the people go wrong and also which is somewhat the whole point of this article. Because unless you get these two little things right, no matter what gear you have, it is not going to protect you. Why ? Let me explain.

Now while all the gears are there to protect you , it can do that only under one condition, and that is, “they must stay where it is supposed to be“.

And to make sure they do , one must get the size to be exact and fitment to be snug. Now do not confuse snug and tight, this is another place where people get very confused and make serious errors. So let me break it down for you guys the difference between a snug and tight fit in each riding gear

Helmet : Now, just having a helmet is of no use, that’s the tricky part, you have to get the right kind and right size of helmet depending upon your head size.

Selecting the right size and fit is simple.You do not want to select a helmet that is too small that it causes you to suffocate or selecting a size too large that will make it move all around thereby increasing the chance of it falling off your head and exposing it to all the impact, which is why you need to wear a helmet in the first place (Yes, what a shocker, it’s not so that the Police cannot write you a ticket..!!). So the helmet you select must be a snug fit. It shouldn’t be tight, do not confuse snug and tight. If it is causing you trouble breathing of squishing your cheeks too much it’s tight, if its staying put, but you can breathe properly, yet it does not shake around your head, its snug.

And also, try to go for a proper helmet with relevant quality checks , like for instance if your Helmet has a valid DOT certification then you should be happy about it, the cheap knockoff “ISI” marked ones you got for Rs.200 ? Errr..!! Not so much.  Ok, so it’s been too long we have been talking on helmets, so lets move on to the next bit.

Riding Jacket/Pants/Gloves/Boots :

just like the Helmet, same goes for all the other gears, in these gears, it is the armored areas that protect your body from impact, and once you wear them , you should make sure that the armors are aligned along the correct areas and that they do not move about, now most riding gears, comes with straps to get the perfect fit and positioning for along the elbows, hip and knee areas, so that they stay in place and do not move out in the event of a crash which if does not provide proper impact absorption at all. So in short, do not get a size that is too loose on you, but make sure it isn’t too tight too, here is something to help you find the correct snug fitting size.

Adjustment Straps

Hip Adjustment Straps

Tight

Jacket,Pants : Restriction for basic movement of arm and legs, lack of proper blood circulation.
Gloves : Hand going numb in a few minutes.
Boots:  Feeling loss of blood circulation.

Snug

Jacket,Pants : Allows basic movement of arm and legs without restrictions, proper blood circulation.
Gloves : Hand feeling a bit firm but without the numbness feeling.
Boots:  Moderately comfortable to walk around in, proper blood flow.

 

Conclusion

Well, That’s about it, this article has gone far too long than I intended it to, and I doubt many have stayed on to read this far, if you have then cheers to you buddy..!! Hope this helped you in learning some new information on riding gears. Do share it if you feel it will do any good to any fellow biker out there, or if you feel something has been missed out do let me know in the comments section down below, will update it in here too. So wrapping it up with this video which might also be of some help.

 

Cheers
Ride Safe
Krishna

 

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3 responses to “Riding Gears 101 – Choosing the right gear

  1. This is a nice article. I have all the riding gear except the riding boots, which I am going to buy in May and my full set would be complete. Happy Riding.. 🙂

    Like

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