There are two general facts we need to address: One, your first year riding a motorcycle or scooter is pretty damn expensive. Two, if you’re going to spend money on gear it should protect you. This article will help you decide when to buy new or used gear.
Gear you should never buy used:
1) Helmets – The diagram on the right illustrate the components of a helmet. A drop or bump of a helmet may not leave any evidence on the outer shell, but layers below the surface may be affected, meaning the helmet can be compromised even if it looks “like new”. This is why helmets cannot be exchanged in stores.
2) Boots – Feet smell bad because of bacteria.Do you really want to bathe your clean toes in someone else’s dirty sweat tub? Call us hygiene freaks, but we buy new motorcycle boots.
3) Gloves – Once a glove has been compromised in a crash, it will never be the same. You can go home to your sewing machine and make it look like new but the seams and stitching won’t hold out like a new pair should.
Gear you could buy used to save money:
1) Armour – Motocross armour, knee pads, armoured vests, etc. These generally aren’t “consumables”.
2) Jackets – A little more difficult to hide damage than gloves are, jackets can be pretty expensive. Remember that the best jacket, if it doesn’t fit well, can be pretty useless, and the used market doesn’t have the best selection of sizes/styles/colors.
3) Heated gear and reflective material – Some people love this stuff and buy all they can; others sell their bikes or just stop riding in the cold or at night, either way you can occasionally find a deal.
Pic courtesy of Mondo Lulu
Other hit-and-miss items of scooter and motorcycle safety gear:
Rain gear – Cheap rain gear can start off working very well, but effectiveness may decrease with time. Ask the seller where he/she keeps the garden hose.
Riding pants and track suits – Up to your level of comfort. No doubt there are deals to be had. Whether or not you want to dress up in the kangaroo skin that someone else has poured their sweat into probably depends on how much you’ll save.
Also check out our guide on Scooter Safety Tips you might not have thought about, which is also great for new riders and small displacement ( < 250 cc ) motorcycles and scooters as well. This article is a part of our How To Buy Your First Motorcycle series. The previous article looked at buying a New Vs. Used motorcycle or scooter and how not to get ripped off.