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MCN  says:

You ask/you answer: How much safety gear do I really need?

When I got my first big bike last year I bought an armoured jacket and trousers and decent gloves and boots. The problem is they are really hot and uncomfortable when the sun comes out. How much safety gear do I really need? Your advice could help. Leave a comment below and we'll publish the best in MCN. Got a question? Click here...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (23 May 2012 09:47)

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Sep 09

Posts: 905

Rogerborg says:

You don't need any gear

Until the instant that you come off, then you need all the gear.

Ask a stupid question...

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Jun 09

Posts: 110

nigel966 says:

As much as you can.

I would never advocate nanny state control to govern what we have to wear whilst riding but I would say to you please don't be tempted to dump your safety gear just because its hot. The internet is full of gory pics of guys who have come off in tee shirt and shorts. Take a look and then decide if its worth it.

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Jul 11

Posts: 5

adlhancock says:

PIck the right gear

Not that we often need it here in the UK, but I'm currently loving my perforated leather jacket and vented trousers. It's slightly warm when not moving, but less uncomfortable than multiple skin grafts! Buy robust stuff that will protect you when you come off, but look for features that keep you cool at the same time.

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Oct 11

Posts: 253

redracer46 says:

Its Personal

The answer is you need as much (or as little) as you personally feel comfortable with... There is one argument that says if your wearing too much gear in hot conditions and your not comfortable riding then you wont be concentrating as the guy who is cool and relaxed... Its really up to you, if you feel safest dolled up like terminator then great, if your a shorts and t shirts man, fair enough, just be prepared to accept what happens if it goes wrong. Personally you can never have enough protection but if you have to skimp, dont cut out the gloves, ever, your hands are nearly always one of the first things to go down !!!

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Jul 10

Posts: 22

theglovenor says:


being realistic,i vary what gear i use depending on what bike and what sort of riding.   10 minutes to the shops or a gig or whatever on a trail bike and its jacket,normal jeans,short motorcylcle boots and helmet(well duh!).

a fast ride on a sportsbike and its full leathers with approved armour,race boots,back protector,best helmet i can afford.

ALWAYS PROPER BIKING GLOVES.    it makes me wince to see people riding even around town with no gloves.......cut your arm and its painful,shred your hand and you are knackered...

ALWAYS BIKING BOOTS.   i had a fall a couple of years back and my foot got trapped in a spinning away with a spiral fracture BUT in trainers would have got away without a foot!

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Nov 02

Posts: 76

Right gear for right conditions

Gear is only decent if it's comfortable. You might have CE-approved this-and-that but if it makes you uncomfortable because it's too hot/cold or gets you wet etc. then it will become a distraction. Better not to have to test the gear's protective qualities than wear the wrong stuff and come off because your brain isn't working at 100%. It gets expensive I know but, compared to the price you might pay for a new bike it's not that great. You can get plenty of gear for different conditions. I'm not a fan of the "does everything" kit. It's usually a compromise jack-of-all-trades master-of-none. I prefer to have winter kit with a removable thermal liner for winter/spring and then some summer gear that's vented for the warm weather. Maybe look for kit where you can open/close vents depending on the temperature.

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Jul 04

Posts: 20

ken_haylock says:

If safety is less important to you than comfort...

...then wear whatever you like. Just be prepared for potentially much more serious injury if anything goes wrong.

Paradoxically, though, if safety is your aim, wearing as much indestructible gear as possible may not be the safest option. The safest crash is the one you don't have, so the primary safety option is 'don't crash/fall off', and if you end up going down with heatstroke, you are a lot more likely to fall off than if you don't overheat/dehydrate in the first place. To that end, you might want to look at something like a mesh jacket as a happy medium between melting to a pile of goo and increasing your chance of crashing, and risking grinding your flesh down to the bone by wearing the armoured stuff...


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Aug 09

Posts: 2726

MarcusMarsh says:

Safety gear

It's not the most sensible of questions - in fact it misses the point altogether.  The question should be "How much risk am I prepared to accept?"

This subject of wearing or not wearing proper kit has been debated many times in these forums with many coherent and valid viewpoints being put by both sides of the argument.  In the end it has to be down to individual choice.  I have a variety of kit that will cover pretty much all seasons and conditions and usally venture out properly protected.  However, I started riding in the 1970's when 'safety' kit consisted of a helmet, jeans and trainers so I am not uncomfortable riding in jeans and sometimes still do. 

I am aware of the risks and it is up to me as an individual to decide what level of risk I am prepared to accept.  Take the argument that you must be a safe as possible all of the time to the exterme and you would never get on a motorcycle in the first place. 

Now, how about skydiving and hangliding?..........:smile 

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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May 12

Posts: 1

Safety vs Life

Always wear the right kit what ever the weather, better to be safe than sorry. I lost half my knee and 3 fingers thanks to a 'blind' car driver. My kit Shoei, Sidis, Aplpine leathers all done their jobs and probably saved my life, except for my Alpinestar gloves.... but then my fingers did find the seam of his door and remained in the gloves so they done their best! Be safe people!

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Dec 10

Posts: 130

bikenutter says:

As others have mentioned it depends, on my commute to work I'm not pushing the limits of lean or the boundaries of safety. I wear Kevlar jeans and boots for journeys like that; where it's inconvenient to change when you arrive or un-professional to walk into the office looking like a power-ranger. If I'm popping into town or some similar urban short journey I have no qualms about riding in just a leather jacket, jeans, boots, gloves and lid. My philosophy in this case is that I ride my bicycle at 20-30+ in Lycra so why make the extra leather effort for a motorcycle, I can stop faster and other road users treat you far better on a motorcycle.

As for journeys where I'm not commuting and going further than town, nothing less than full leathers will do. No expense spared. The argument that you should do whatever you're comfortable with is flawed. You may be mentally comfortable riding in t-shirt and shorts but this is wrong. This ill-informed comfort arises because your mind makes no connection from experience between your openness to the elements and intense pain if you fall of. You have to be more than comfortable on a bike. If you've fallen off at speed you know what's required to stop the pain and your brain can make that connection.

In short, personally, I ride very differently depending on what I'm wearing.

I disagree with the idea of imposing personal safety regulations on others though; everyone has their boundaries of acceptable risk and should be free to have them. The lesson needs to be what the personal risk is, then once we have accepted that level of personal risk we should be left alone (emphasis on personal).

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