Motorcycles are a symbol of freedom and independence – that will probably never change.
If you want to travel through nature and scenic landscapes on a motorcycle, here are some tips for trip-appropriate gear to help you travel safely and enjoy the ride.
Set a Place and Date
Choosing a season and specific area will let you know what your surroundings will look like during your trip. Knowing whether you can expect rain, heat, or cold is necessary information for good prep work.
If you don’t have a specific route in mind, you can google for popular motorcycle trip destinations. Many bike enthusiasts share their experiences online. There, you can learn about what to expect and which items proved to be absolutely necessary.
A simple leather jacket won’t do. Chromeburner.com or similar vendors sell protective gear that is necessary to protect yourself from outside influences and in case of an accident.
Good gear should be certified and/or made from abrasion-resistant materials and have reinforced plating over areas such as your knees and elbows. The more you tend to ride at high speeds, the heavier the protection level should be. Also keep in mind that during long rides your concentration can waver, and you might be more likely to make mistakes, even at slower speeds. A good layer of protection is mandatory!
A full set of protective gear contains:
- motorcycle gloves
- motorcycle boots
- motorcycle helmets
- motorcycle jacket and
- motorcycle pants
- alternatively: a motorcycle jumpsuit
Practicability vs Protection
Protective motorcycle clothing is bulky and heavy, which makes it impractical in day-to-day situations like commutes or shopping trips. There is lighter, more street-appropriate gear for these times. However, on a long motorcycle ride, heavy-duty gear is recommended.
Don’t forget a pair of good motorcycle boots. They are more than a simple leather work boot. An appropriate motorcycle boot for long-distance rides is very stiff, covers the ankles, and has additional plastic bracing on the outside. That makes them very uncomfortable to walk around in.
The upside to these kinds of boots is that they help stabilize your foot, ankle, and leg. The wrong posture can easily lead to hypertension during a long ride.
Dress for the Ride
Summer vs Winter Gear
Summer gear is made from lighter materials with more perforations and vents, making it more breathable and easier to cool down in. Winter gear is better insulated and padded, keeping you warm, even during low temperatures and heavy wind.
Not every motorcycle gear is waterproof. An additional rain suit – typically a light jumpsuit you can quickly put on over your regular gear – can be stored on the bike at all times for unexpected rainfall.
Some gear, like the heavy-duty boots, is better suited for longer rides than others. For example, some motorcycle pants are padded in the back to help you sit comfortably for long periods.
There are several additional gadgets you can invest in that can make your trip more comfortable:
- Helm Cooler: A small box you can attach to your chin guard. It cools the inside of your helmet by up to 59°F/15°C using evaporation.
- Heating: Battery-powered heating elements can be attached to clothing in winter.
- Airbag Vests: Airbag vests or jackets deploy in accidents using a small sensor that detects impacts.
- Bluetooth Systems: With Bluetooth headsets and gloves you can easily listen to music or navigation. Some motorcycle Bluetooth systems are tailored to help you automatically connect and keep up with a group of riders.
- Earplugs: Motorcycle earplugs are designed to filter out heavy traffic and motorcycle noises while still letting you hear the most important cues. Filtering out this constant droning protects your hearing and provides a more relaxing experience.
- Cameras: If you want to capture some moments of your ride, a GoPro camera will let you do so in high-resolutions and frame rates. There are several mounts with which you can attach the camera safely.
- Navigation: You can use navigation devices or your phone with specific mounts to keep track of where to go. Modern gadgets like the NUVIZ HUD put the navigational info right in your field of vision when you attach them to your chin guard.
- Drink Holders: There are bag and straw systems that can be attached to your body, so you can drink during rides. That is advisable in summer and during extreme heat to keep hydrated between stops.
Motorcycle gear protects you and keeps you comfortable and concentrated during long and short motorcycle rides.
When you gear up, make sure to pick the appropriate level of protection and the right clothing for the expected weather conditions.