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Top 4 Motorcycle Gear Must-Haves

Top 4 Motorcycle Gear Must-Haves

These top 4 motorcycle gear must-haves are designed to keep you safe, especially when you’re a new rider just starting out. And new riders are exactly who this article is aimed at, so let’s get started.

Motorcycles aren’t exactly known for their safety features. Sure, manufacturers are starting to step up their game (for example Ducati is set to introduce radar in 2020), but ultimately, it falls on every rider to save their own skin. Literally. But have no fear, this bare minimum, must-have motorcycle apparel can help keep you looking sharp, looking smart, and looking safe.

Bell Rogue

Motorcycle Helmets

This was an obvious starting point. In much of North America, Europe, and Australia, riders need to wear a motorcycle helmet by law. Sure, if you live in Alberta and you’re Sihk you can ride in a turban, or if you’re in some states, like Pennsylvania, you can ride with your hair in the wind, but in most places this isn’t the case. There are still a lot of benefits to riding with a helmet though, no matter where you are:

  1. Protecting your brain: There isn’t much more important to your body than your brain. If you can spend tens of thousands of dollars investing in educating it, you can spend a few hundred dollars more to protect it.
  2. Protecting your good looks: You’re stunning and you know it, and we know you wanna show it, but should you end up in an accident, it’ll probably better to have your face and your teeth intact.
  3. It has other uses too: Like connecting to Bluetooth devices, keeping you from eating bugs, and keeping dust out of your eyes.

Some of our favorite motorcycle helmets

Scorpion EXO Covert Detachable Helmet – 4.5 / 5 rating

Bell Qualifier Full Face Helmet – 4.5 / 5 rating

Bell Rogue Half Helmet – 4.4 / 5 rating

Shoei RF-1200 – 4.7 / 5 rating

From the comments:

  • Make sure your helmet is well lined and plush, replace when it isn’t.
  • Spend a little extra and get a fiberglass shell, not a polycarbonate.
  • See Mitch’s skull-cracking experience in the comments below.

Ladies Motorcycle Jacket Review - Side

Motorcycle Jackets

It’s not just a jacket, it’s your new second layer of skin. Motorcycle riding jackets say as much about the rider as helmets do. The jacket is your outer shell, protecting you from a harsh world, and keeping you looking great. As with all things, you often get what you pay for, but there are some exceptions, such as this women’s motorcycle jacket we reviewed last week.

Don’t expect to find an all-weather jacket, they aren’t easy to come by, some promise more than they deliver, and the others, well, they don’t come cheap. You leather jacket, or a textile jacket, equipped with an inner liner will be good for spring and fall, maybe even winter, but may be hot in the summer.

A mesh jacket is great for the summer but may be too light for spring or fall. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the jacket, the less resistance it will offer when sliding across asphalt.

Front and back vents (the more the better), double-stitching, reflective piping, and CE approved armor at the shoulders, elbows, and spine, are all things to look for in a motorcycle jacket.

Some of our favorite motorcycle jackets

AlpineStars Air Textile Jacket – 4.4 / 5 rating

Men’s Leather Crossover Scooter Jacket

Viking Cycle Ironborn Women’s Textile Jacket – 4.5 / 5 rating

From the comments:

  • Make sure your jacket is leather hide, not pleather, or sheep’s leather.
  • See Mitch’s skull-cracking experience in the comments below.

Motorcycle Gloves

We tend to stick out our hands when we fall. It’s a very normal, human reaction. Subconsciously we know that our hands and arms are more expendable than our heads or torsos. We don’t have vital organs in our hands or arms, so we sacrifice them for the better good of our bodies. That’s why motorcycle gloves are important.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Have you ever seen a drunk person fall, or someone get knocked out cold? They don’t stick their hands before they fall. Trust me, I bartended for six years, I’ve seen some shit. People who’s brains aren’t working won’t stick their hands out to break their fall. But assuming your brain is working, you’re going to want some gloves.

Three things to consider when looking for gloves:

  1. Material: Should be made of leather which offers good protection when sliding across asphalt while simultaneously being malleable enough to safely use your motorcycle’s controls.
  2. Protection: Many motorcycle gloves come with armored knuckles, some will also come with padded palms, as well as stitching between the smallest two fingers, this helps to avoid injuries in an accident.
  3. Build and quality: All of this means nothing if a glove isn’t sufficiently well stitched, look for at least two lines of stitching so that your glove is likely to hold itself together in an accident.

Some of our favorite motorcycle gloves

Men’s NEXO Kangaroo Leather Gauntlets – 5 / 5 rating

Men’s and Women’s ICON Pursuit Gloves (email us for a kick-ass quote) – 5 / 5 rating

Joe Rocket Speedway Glove – 4 / 5 rating

AlpineStars SP2 Glove – 5 / 5 rating

Speed and Strength Run With The Bulls

Motorcycle Boots

Last but not least, a good pair of footwear, tied up snugly, goes a long way. Motorcycle boots come in a variety of styles, from Timberland-lookalikes to MotoGP-inspired racing boots, there’s something for all walks of life.

Most recently, motorcycle footwear manufacturers started making some real fly kicks that look just like sneakers, but have all of the features you want from a motorcycle boot, like protection at the toes, heels, and ankles.

My recommendation to riders who can get away with it, is to keep a pair of work shoes at your work, and to simply change from motorcycle boots or motorcycle shoes, to work shoes, when you get in, and switch back when you leave work. Dress shoes, or even running shoes, and motorcycle accidents, don’t go well.

Some of our favorite motorcycle boots

Harley-Davidson Men’s Electron Motorcycle Boot – 4.6 / 5 rating

Speed and Strength Run With the Bulls 2.0 Motorcycle Sneaker – 4.2 / 5 rating

AlpineStars Tech 1 and Tech 3 All Terrain Boot – 4.8 / 5 rating

Joe Rocket SuperStreet Motorcycle Boot – 3.8 / 5 rating


If you’re looking for a more serious list of 10 items you really need, for more intermediate to advanced riders, you should check out our new and more advanced article: 10 Serious Motorcycle Gear & Equipment Must-Haves

About YouMotorcycle

YouMotorcycle is a lifestyle motorcycle blog to be appreciated by those who see motorcycling as a lifestyle and not simply a hobby, sport, or method of transportation. Most of the posts on the site are written by past and present motorcycle industry staff. We remain fiercely independent, innovative, and unconventional. Our goal is to encourage more people to enjoy the world's greatest outdoor sport by helping new riders get started and inspiring current riders to get out more. We motorcycle, do You?


  1. Another fine article. With regard to helmets, the orthopedic consultant who put me back together after a near fatal crash in ’79, spent some time with me educating me as to WHY my helmet had contributed to my rather serious injuries.
    1, insufficient shock absorbing material lining the helmet.
    2, Outer shell made from polycarbonate had cracked with the impact, which is why my Skull did the same!
    3, I was lucky not to have landed on the chinguard as the back of the helmet had no cutaway at the neck. If I HAD have landed on the guard, the helmet would have broken my neck. His advice: Buy a helmet certified to competion standards, not just the barely legal type. Advice I have religiously heeded ever since!

    Jacket. Make sure it is Hide! Do not use “Pleather” or sheep’s leather. Okay, cows are NOT designed to slide along the road on their sides at 70mph or more but anyone who remembers Barry Sheene’s Daytona crash can appreciate why good quality Leather is simply a must!

    Gloves. Likewise!

    Boots. The higher up the leg they go, the better. Not the kinky thigh-high type!!!! Most common motorcycle injury (and I DO know from experience!) is compound fracture of the Tib and Fib. Most common place the bones break is halfway up the shin. Good stout Leather Motorcycle Boots to the Knee go a LONG way to minimising such injuries.

    Expensive? Yeah. How much are YOU worth, though?!

    Finally, going back to the Brain section. Make SURE yours is engaged at ALL times whilst riding! Keep it shiny side up Guys!

    • Geez! Is the cracked skull why they call you “mad” mitch, or was the madness when let to the cracked skull? That’s a crazy story Mitch. Glad you’re still all one and with us. I’m going to update the article with some of your feedback, thanks for contributing!

      • The “Mad Mitch” moniker came after I was discharged, about 18 months later. My Doctor told me after the rehab that I was now “near normal” and that is something I have NEVER been!

        The crash left me with the cracked skull, a broken right wrist, three busted ribs and the obligatory compound fracture left Tib and Fib. The resultant surgery left me with one leg a little shorter than it ought to be, a very dodgy left knee, a weak right wrist (don’t even THINK about those jokes!) and a left ankle with only 80 per cent of its movement range. I still have nine bone fragments embedded beyond retrieval in my calf muscle too. But I’m very much alive and kicking! Just can’t kick very straight, that’s all!

        Surviving the crash and attendant injuries gave me something of a lust for life afterwards and my biking pals and subsequent girlfriend came up with the nickname after one or two madcap antics but the clincher was probably me taking off my leather jeans in a pub. “Commando” wasn’t just the bike I was on! I’ll tell you the story if you really want to know!

        • Wow! Uhm… Considering the second last sentence in your message, I think I’ll pass for now haha. Glad you survived and thrived man. Helluva hurdle to jump with some “lightly-used” parts!

          • Haha! Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details, though I have to say, I did it “tastefully”! Even the pub’s Manager saw the funny side of it and gave us all our first drinks on the house. It was he who had asked us to remove our leathers in the first place, you see!

      • Glad you found my little contribution helpful! I sincerely hope nobody else has to find out “The Hard Way”. Much easier THIS way, and not at all painful!

        I have a chrome handlebar clamp on my Harley which bears the legend “LIVE TO RIDE, RIDE TO LIVE”. Sound advice if you ask me!

  2. Benjamin Andrews

    I like that you state that it’s important to wear a jacket to protect your skin in the case of an accident. My brother just bought a bike and I want him to be safe out there so I have been looking into what he needs to wear. I will send him this information so he can look for men’s motorcycle apparel for sale.

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