Kit: Choosing the right kit

Published: 17 June 2009

Choosing the right kit for any motorcyclist, new or experienced, should always follow the same guidelines.

Just because you’re a new rider, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the optimum level of protection you can afford.

It doesn’t matter what your budget is, there are enough motorcycle brands that you can get good quality products even at the lower end of the market.

But there are key things you need to look out for when you’re buying.

Never, and we can’t emphasise this enough, buy something without trying it on first.

There are some great deals online, but before you purchase always find a stockist who has the product and go try it for size.

Here are some simple key points to look out for.

Helmets
Make sure the you’ve got a close fit. The cheek pads should grip your face, not so much that you can’t move your jaw but enough for them to push your cheeks into a light pout.

And always be aware of the padding against the forehead as you want this close but not uncomfortably so.

The mild discomfort on a long journey could be enough to distract you from your riding.

To save some money go for the cheaper plain colour schemes which are usually at least a tenner cheaper than the graphic versions. And also keep an eye out for out of date race replica helmets – prices get knocked down if they’re a year or two out of date.

Suits, jackets and trousers
Try to find a brand that you’ve heard of, and if you haven’t you’ll struggle to not find a product review online on anything. So use the power of the interweb to support your decision.

Always look for the CE marks, but be aware that the levels differ and you should have a good feel of what is protecting your impact points (shoulders, elbows and knees).

If it feel flimsy and light, don’t expect to come away from a crash without bruises.

Finally, make sure the fit is close but not uncomfortable. Race leathers are designed for the racing crouch so don’t be surprised if you can’t walk quite right in them. But for everything else just make sure it’s close fitting.

If not the armour twists and becomes deform in an accident and moves away from areas it is protecting.

A good tip with textiles is look for versatility. If you can get a suit in your budget that has an individually removable thermal liner and waterproof membrane you’ve got yourself a suit that can be adapted to all weathers.

Gloves
We have to reiterate about trying kit on, but in terms of gloves always be aware of distance comfort.

Your hands are constantly moving, so make sure nothing is rubbing and there’s no restriction of movement.

Boots
Try to find a pair of Gore-tex waterproof boots – most manufactures do a Gore-tex version of their race boots so it’s not just for the touring side of things.

Make sure parts like the toe sliders can be replaced and flex the ankle section in all directions to test the protective facility of the boot.

If you can bend it a long way in your hand, it will ultimately do the same when your foot is in it when it hits the tarmac.

Further reading:
Get the right kit

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