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Thread: Riding Gear

  1. #1
    Always wear a helmet!
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    Default Riding Gear

    Motorcycle riding gear is as much a necessary and intrinsic part of motorcycling as are good riding skills and a well-maintained motorcycle. Riding on two-wheels while being exposed to weather and sans any protection from contact with either the road or other objects in case of a fall or an accident, his riding gear becomes the last line of defense for the rider.



    Helmet

    Let’s begin with the helmet. The human skull protects the brain inside but it has its limitations to the amount of forces it can handle before getting damaged itself. And of course ‘damaging the skull to save the brain’ is not an option in any case. The helmet is a prime protector. Its hard outer shell (which can be made of propriety plastics, strong polymers or even fiber-glass) is there to protect the head from any object that can penetrate the helmet on impact and hit the skull inside. Also, a hard, non-deformable outer protects the head inside better. A light, hard and strong shell that resists deformation makes for a good helmet.
    An energy absorbing liner forms the inside shell of the helmet. Made of high-density thermocole, polystyrene etc, this liner absorbs the energy of impact and does not allow it to get to the skull. This inner shell gets compressed and deforms in absorbing the forces of impact and so protects the head from injury. Ideally the thicker this inside shell, the safer is the helmet though there are limits to how thick it can be considering the size, bulk and weight limitations imposed by an equally large shell that would be needed.

    Inside the inner shell is a padded liner that provides a comfortable and soft layer next to the riders head and face. This contributes to comfort, provides for a snug fit and forms a cleanable inside for the helmet.

    In choosing a helmet, first and foremost look for either BIS (in case of Indian make helmets) or DOT approval (in case of imported ones). These ‘certification’ marks ensure that the helmet meets with certain rigorous and standardized safety standards and shall perform as expected and promised. Prefer a full face helmet to an open face one as the former obviously provides better protection. Look for as wide and eye-port as you can get, especially in the peripheral region. Prefer a clear visor and look for scratch-resistant hard plastic ones. A double-D ring fastener is far better than a ‘click’ type fastener for the chin strap. To check for fit, wear the helmet, hold it from outside and try to move your head inside side to side. A well-fitting helmet should allow very little head movement inside it. One that allows the head to move is loose and will not protect the skull well on impact.

    Balaclava

    Not a mandatory part of safety gear, it nevertheless helps in a number of ways, especially the cotton variety. It helps in snugly fitting the helmet. Absorbs sweat before it gets to the inside liner of the helmet. Helps keep the nose and ears warm during a cold weather ride. And stops insects from getting between the helmet and the riders ears if he needs to ride with the visor open for a while.

    Riding Jacket

    Road rash or abrasion of unprotected skin that comes in contact with the road when a rider falls from a moving bike is the commonest of all injuries for a motorcyclist. And very painful at that, for the entire duration of its treatment and healing. Riding jackets, with protective hard re-enforcements at specific places (like elbow joints, shoulders, back and chest areas) protect these areas from abrasion and injury. No, the riding jacket will not be able to save a bone from breaking if the fall is that bad but the skin nevertheless gets protected very well. Jackets also protect the rider from the weather (warm liners for cold weather, water-proof outers for rain and mesh construction for warm weather for example). When choosing a jacket, again look for the safety standards that it meets with. Look for good ventilation in case most of your riding is in warm weather. Vice-versa, look for a fabric/materiel that prevents water and wind penetration if cold weather is expected. Zippered fronts, all the better with a flap over the zipper, are far more effective wind protectors that buttoned ones. Leather, unequivocally, is the best materiel for riding jackets though expensive to buy and maintain. Modern textiles offer a wide choice of equally good and presentable materiels to choose from. A good fit means a snug fit for a jacket too. Too loose and it will neither protect well (the paddings will rotate under impact) and will disconcertingly flap in the wind at high speed. Too tight and it will impede movement, restrict free blood circulation in certain areas of the body and these two factors can adversely affect the riders ability to tide well.

    Riding Pants

    Again they majorly protect from abrasion and save the joints especially from injury through impact with small hard objects. Riding pants are also best made of leather but other fabrics are also up to the mark these days. And as in jackets, buy them according to the temperatures and humidity you expect for most of your rides. Fitting is again important and almost critical for pants cause the lower body gets the most contorted when riding a motorcycle. Look for comfort, esp. around the crotch and the knee areas. A riding pant that too tight here is not worth wearing.
    A relatively cheaper alternate to full riding pants are knee-guards or knee protectors. The knee and ankle joints suffer the most in case of a fall from a moving motorcycle and the knee-guards provide strategic protection to the vulnerable knee joint area. Made of hard polymers, either with a flexible hinge or pivoted to provide for knee rotation, these should be a tight fit around the leg to be useful. The tight fit endures that they do not rotate out of alignment on impact with the ground during a fall. The advantage with knee-guards is that they can be worn over or under regular jeans and can be taken off when the rider needs to walk around.

    Gloves

    The human hand is a delicate contraption. Thin and numerous bones form a multi-jointed framework that’s covered with a thin layer of flesh, except in the palm area. Protecting the hands, both from injury and weather, is a prime concern for any rider. And providing protection to a limb that is so flexible, tactile and delicate is quite a challenge. There is nevertheless a mind boggling choice of gloves available though admittedly the real good ones are a trifle expensive. Full fingered gloves are the best. Look for a good fit here too. And one that provides the best ‘feel’ of the controls through it. A glove too large for the fingers will interfere with fine operation of motorcycle controls. Too short in fingers and the nails and fingertips get painful from the pressure on them. Inner seams should also be well bound. Seam-lines that get inside the finger nails and under the palm are very annoying and get painful during long rides. Leather again is the best but good synthetics with re-enforcing inserts over knuckles and finger joints protect equally well. Double stitched seams provide for greater durability and better sealing in case of water-proofing. The inside of the glove should be of a non-slip materiel to provide good grip over the handle-bar mounted controls. And it should not slip even when wet. A gauntlet (or wrist cover) type glove is in fact the best design as it gives the best fit for the glove.

    Footwear

    Human feet are almost as delicate and flexible as the hand. And equally important role players in motorcycling where at least two major controls (gears and rear brake) are foot operated. They need to be protected not just from abrasion but also from potential injury when caught under a heavy fallen motorcycle with some parts that would be searingly hot. Boots need to be at least ankle high with a heavy sole and a re-enforced toe and heel area. Thick padded materiel for the upper and a strong and thick sole are mandatory for a good riding shoe. The sole should also provide good grip over the footrests even when wet. Whatever the means of fastening (laces, zipper or Velcro) the fastener should not come loose under any circumstances. Laces are dicey if they foul with the foot-rest, brake lever or gear lever while the rider is putting his foot down or raising it. So laces should be of just the required length and no more. The shoe should also provide some resistance to lateral rotation of the ankle joint. In fact, a good protective riding boot will not be all that comfortable for walking as it restricts flexion at the extreme angles to protect the foot from damage during a bad fall.

    Rain Suits

    Rain is an ever-present companion for any motorcyclist. In fact, riding in the rain has its own charm for a rider, probably owing to a heightened risk element there. Primary to safe riding in the rain, apart from good tyres , is being protected from the falling water. Wetness, even during a hot summer day, is a bedfellow of ‘coldness’. A wet rider is a cold rider. And also, a wet rider is a distracted rider. So wear rain protection. Usually, good riding jackets and pants come with water-proofing (except of course the mesh variety). But otherwise, rain over-suits are the best bet. Buy ones that are bright in colour, preferable with a reflective coating for better visibility and are a comfortable fit over and above your regular riding gear. Remember, riding in the wet means all the more need for protection in case of a slide and a fall. Silicone rubber coated fabrics are cheap and good and last enough to provide one their money’s worth. The only downside of most rain-gear is that it doesn’t breathe and you get wet inside owing to sweat and condensation of trapped moisture. But since rain suits are usually required for relatively short durations, one can live with this and carry on. Breathable water-proof fabrics are expensive but a far more comfortable option though.

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    Last edited by Old Fox; 12-29-2009 at 05:11 PM.
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    Default Practicality

    Well, its definitely recommended to wear full gear (and no-one would take the risk of asking you to not wear one and then later on bear the responsibility of a wrong advice), but you need to exercise your common-sense and discretion. I don't think most people in this forum dress up like the person in the picture, shown in the first post, and run errands.

    My recommendation is atleast wear a helmet with a clear and clean visor and drive with patience. These two things are far more important than any riding gear.

    The following are my tips while choosing a helmet:
    1) the helmet should not press on your ears (pinnae, to be precise). After an hour of wearing it, the constant pressure will start to hurt.
    2) As opposed to what is written in the first post, the outer shell should be tough (resist cracking) and also flexible. By this, it will absorb the impact and not transfer the impact-shock to your head.
    3) In addition to what is written in the first post, a loose fitting helmet may protect your head, but it will be very annoying when riding, because when you turn your sideways, your head will turn first and then the helmet. Also when riding fast, the wind will push your helmet against your face and distract you.
    4) a heavy helmet is not necessarily a stronger helmet.


    Incase if you feel that you need to be covered, but find it too hot outside to wear the full suit. You can buy a pair of elbow guards and knee guards. Elbows and knees were two parts of my body which hurt everytime i fell.
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    Default

    The pants might be a bit much for running down to the corner store for milk, but to be honest, you should be wearing everything else anytime you throw a leg over your bike. I always wear my jacket, gloves, and sturdy shoes in addition to my helmet. Not only is the protection pretty much necessary, the ritual of putting on all that gear can help sharpen focus on safety. You can be killed just as dead on the 1km ride to the store as you can on a tour to the next state, and are actually more likely to on that short ride. In a US study, it was found that some 70% of all accidents happen within a few km of home. I'm not sure if that study controlled for total distance ridden, so that you were more likely to be in an accident on short rides for every 1000km ridden than on long rides, but it still shows that those short rides in your neighborhood are no less dangerous.

    Also, I beg to differ with the recommendation of "steel-toed" boots for riding. Steel-toe boots tend to be cumbersome, heavy, and not very flexible. This makes it difficult to operate the shift lever in an emergency, and the thick toe of the boot can actually become wedged in the control. Toes are not usually the main concern in an accident. Riders should be more focused on ankle protection.
    Last edited by The Mountain; 09-17-2011 at 08:31 AM.
    ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time!

    Current bike: Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere

    Put the phone away, put your helmet on, and ride!

    Scooters are like fat girls: fun to ride, but embarrassing if your friends see you with one.

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    Dont we need something to protect our weakest area, that is, groin? I had a couple of incidents where "they" got sandwiched between the body and petrol tank. The pain was beyond words. Expecting suggestions from experts.
    Love the ride, not the destination


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    Quote Originally Posted by rixBhp View Post
    Dont we need something to protect our weakest area, that is, groin? I had a couple of incidents where "they" got sandwiched between the body and petrol tank. The pain was beyond words. Expecting suggestions from experts.
    It's honestly not that necessary. By far, the most injury-prone areas of the body when riding are the outside: back, elbows, knees, ankles, hands, head (not necessarily in that order). If you really feel the need for protection in that area, an ordinary athletic "cup" should be fine. I'm actually having a hard time coming up with a scenario where that kind of injury is possible, and yet doesn't result in the rider going over the handlebars. If your hands are still on the controls and your feet on the pegs, you should be able to prevent yourself from sliding into the tank.
    ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time!

    Current bike: Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere

    Put the phone away, put your helmet on, and ride!

    Scooters are like fat girls: fun to ride, but embarrassing if your friends see you with one.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rixBhp View Post
    Dont we need something to protect our weakest area, that is, groin? I had a couple of incidents where "they" got sandwiched between the body and petrol tank. The pain was beyond words. Expecting suggestions from experts.
    Off-late I am also hearing it from many people,especially the Fz Guyswhen suddenly hitting the front disc brakes.
    After hearing this I was Laughing and

    Easy Solution-Gripping the tank with both the legs can help a lot IMO.

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    Rusted gmagesh14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoeb2015 View Post
    when suddenly hitting the front disc brakes.
    After hearing this I was Laughing and
    one of my friend who is shorter in height and had hit several times while applying front brake and his face was like

    it's mass centralisation LOL

    Yes ,have to grab the tank with knee to help protected...

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    Default Re: Riding Gear

    do the riding jeans (for example joe rocket jeans or spartan adonis which come with knee protectors and all that) do the job well ? or should i not bother with them just because they'd be more convenient in the everyday life than a proper riding pant (leathers or textile+mesh).. i do realise the proper riding pant (such as joe rocket phoenix 3.0 for example) would probably provide better safety, but do those riding jeans provide much less safety even with all that armour ? if the riding jeans provide more or less the same safety as proper riding pant but are additionally cheaper and more convenient for everyday use, i suppose everybody would have been buying them, but they dont, so i guess riding jeans arent much for safety despite the built-in protectors and i should just go for a proper riding pant ?

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    Default Re: Riding Gear

    How many of you wear riding gear every single time you ride the motorcycle, even if it's just for a ride to get dinner for the night?

    I ask this because of two reasons... But before that, let me give you a short background. I started riding a year ago when I got the Apache RTR160. It's definitely not one of the fastest bikes around, but I love it, and there's power in every gear, so that's cool. After a couple of weeks of riding it, I realised I wasn't doing something right, so I just went on YouTube and saw videos on how to ride motorcycles. Watching videos from motovloggers like Motonisity, chaseontwowheels, YummiR6, RoadcraftNottingham and countless others has helped me ride the bike better and give it the respect it is due. But this is perhaps also the time when the constant drone of riding gear got stuck in my head. Motovloggers like AdjrianNickelodeon and M13 (ironically after his major crash) advocate the risk being out on the road on two wheels puts you in in every video, and how riding gear would save you from a lot of trouble if you ever got into a crash...

    So I got myself gloves. It is a Pro Rider glove, and although this isn't the safest out there, it gets the job done. I wear it every single time I ride. And now, I come to one of the reasons why I made this post...

    Teasing, scoffing or ridicule - would you take that in stride and still wear it, or not wear it for fear of being the social outcast?

    My second reason is because I'm ordering a complete set of riding gear online and I intend to wear it at all times, no matter what. I often endure the ridicule I get for wearing gloves, but I prefer my life over some pricks' superiority. I wanted to know from the people who wear it on an everyday basis how comfortable wearing it is on a regular basis, and also what kind of jacket would be the best for all weather riding...




    PS - first reason was just a curiosity I've had for a long long time... There's no real need to answer that 😅
    a_poor_blind_kid and vaRider like this.

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    Default Re: Riding Gear

    Quote Originally Posted by AMotoVlogs View Post
    How many of you wear riding gear every single time you ride the motorcycle, even if it's just for a ride to get dinner for the night?

    I ask this because of two reasons... But before that, let me give you a short background. I started riding a year ago when I got the Apache RTR160. It's definitely not one of the fastest bikes around, but I love it, and there's power in every gear, so that's cool. After a couple of weeks of riding it, I realised I wasn't doing something right, so I just went on YouTube and saw videos on how to ride motorcycles. Watching videos from motovloggers like Motonisity, chaseontwowheels, YummiR6, RoadcraftNottingham and countless others has helped me ride the bike better and give it the respect it is due. But this is perhaps also the time when the constant drone of riding gear got stuck in my head. Motovloggers like AdjrianNickelodeon and M13 (ironically after his major crash) advocate the risk being out on the road on two wheels puts you in in every video, and how riding gear would save you from a lot of trouble if you ever got into a crash...

    So I got myself gloves. It is a Pro Rider glove, and although this isn't the safest out there, it gets the job done. I wear it every single time I ride. And now, I come to one of the reasons why I made this post...

    Teasing, scoffing or ridicule - would you take that in stride and still wear it, or not wear it for fear of being the social outcast?

    My second reason is because I'm ordering a complete set of riding gear online and I intend to wear it at all times, no matter what. I often endure the ridicule I get for wearing gloves, but I prefer my life over some pricks' superiority. I wanted to know from the people who wear it on an everyday basis how comfortable wearing it is on a regular basis, and also what kind of jacket would be the best for all weather riding...




    PS - first reason was just a curiosity I've had for a long long time... There's no real need to answer that 😅
    I wear a helmet, jeans, a jacket, shoes and a leather glove every time I ride, even a 1 km ride. For highways, I add the pants. For longer city rides the knee guards or riding jeans.

    Riding Gears are not t-shirt comfortable. Best you can do is get a mesh jacket like helios with the back protection to stay relatively comfortable when moving. I am used to it. I wear them to everywhere including theatres, restaurants etc and have never been ridiculed. Some ask and I explain by saying 'Have you see how a hand breaks from the elbow' with a smile. Not much questioning happens after that.

    Btw, those pro riders are unsafe. They do almost nothing for abrasion. Also the plastic on the knuckles might break and cause incisive injuries to the hand so staying away from them is a good idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by Serene George Thomas View Post
    Hi guys,

    I'm in the process of getting me a decent riding attire, which i've lacked for a while now. I have got me a decent Helmet. Now, i need a proper jacket. I ride in 2 seasons predominantly; in the incessant heat and humidity and rain.

    i am big with a serious beer belly. I have been looking all over the internet for a while and Ive found some really good jackets. They aren't available in India and the currency conversion makes it a nightmare to get the jacket without feeling guilty.

    The type i like is the adventure style jackets and pants with mesh and water proofing. I liked First Gear's Kathmandu. But, is there a less expensive alternative? Any of you know how to source it? I would like some armoured jackets, with built in armour. Shoulder elbows and back. Any suggestion is welcome.

    You can get one of the mesh jackets with a rain liner. Helios, advbreed, air gt, tornado are the ones that immediately come to my mind.


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    AMotoVlogs and Shaktiv3 like this.

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