Sure, purchasing a motorcycle is the utmost and important step. You’ve spent a couple thousands of dollars and now with your licence in hand you’re ready to tear up streets or shred the track. Ha, you thought wrong! Ok, enough sass.
Motorcycle gear cost and moreover why is it even necessary in the first place. We’ll go into depth and details, link a few trusted sites and cover most ranges and types to make your selection a bit easier regardless if you’re a new rider or seasoned. We’ll discuss the price range for gear and its costs, so you as a rider can make the best-informed decision to your budget, what you should not compromise on and last but not least, what and if you should even purchase used or second-hand motorcycle gear.
When it comes to purchasing motorcycle gear, a wide array of brands and materials are available from all corners of the world and you need to make a wise informed decision so you do not end up wasting money but get the protection and quality that you are paying for.
Motorcycle gear exists for the specific reason of keeping you safe and allowing you to continue enjoying the thrill and experience of being a motorcycle rider. I will, from my own personal experience, go over all the factors and decisions that I make consciously when I’m in the market for motorcycle gear to make your life and decisions easier.
Table of Contents
Why do you need Motorcycle Gear?
The first and most obvious reason is to avoid becoming a roadkill. Straight up simple and clean. Not sold yet? Sigh, okay. Allow me to elaborate.
Yes, a good helmet is indeed the first and foremost protection needed when riding to prevent serious head injuries that can leave you drooling in a wheelchair, in a coma or even worse dead on the road. But what about the rest of your body? I’m sure you care about the rest of your body too and wouldn’t want to end up with broken bones and damaged tissue on your torso or arms. What about the lower half, a life in crutches or rolling around in a wheelchair and pretending you’re in a fast and furious movie just because you decided your life wasn’t worth a couple more dollars when you bought that zoom zoom machine.
Motorcycle gear is tested and has gone through multiple years of research, analysis and deduction from countless horrific and frightening motorcycle accidents.
Professional bikers follow a rule and that’s a motorcycling acronym; All the Gear All the Time (ATGATT). Another term used in the motorcycling world is squid, coming from the visual of irresponsible motorcyclists who lay splayed on the footpath with blood oozing out, making them look like these tentacle creatures.
A perfectly good comparison can be seen in the following video without the gory but clear message of how much of a difference it makes
How Much Should You Spend on Motorcycle Gear?
A helmet’s job is to protect your head; the most important of all the equipment on this list. Without it, not only will the police catch you but probably the grim reaper too.
A good helmet is something that I never compromise on. My recommendation is to go for at least a SNELL certified or ECE certified full-face helmet.
A very important keyword to look out for when buying helmets will be “dual density” layers. I’m not going to bore you with the details. It is a feature more readily found in premium helmets and I can assure you that it directly correlates to better safety.
Never go for just a DOT certified helmet, read here why a DOT certified helmet is no different to wearing a construction safety hat in my own opinion: https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/helmet-safety-ratings-101
The price you can expect for a good helmet would be within the $199 – $700 range. Anything beyond that is either for racing or bragging rights. The following are some common facts that are true in most cases for a more expensive helmet.
Pros of an expensive helmet vs cheap helmet:
- is more comfortable
- offers protection in more areas and for more situations
- is made of more lightweight materials such as carbon fiber
- good impact displacement materials like fiberglass
- better chin strap/ quick release
- is well-designed and has better build quality
- is more aerodynamic
- may have replaceable or washable cheek pads/ interior/ liner
- less noise
- last longer for wear and tear
- extra features like Bluetooth, mirrored visor
Personal pick: Shoei RF-SR Solid Helmet
Why I chose this: SNELL certified, good ventilation, aerodynamic, lightweight, good fit
One of the least effort gears to wear and yet fantastic for grip and protection at the cheapest of all items in this list.
Replacing regularly as the building of sweat and grime can make them start to smell something quite awful (mileage may vary from person to person).
Gloves shield your hands from injuries that might occur instinct wise trying to catch fall in a crash.
Personally, I would go for something with knuckle protection. Recommended price range would be $50 – $100. The following are some common facts that are true in most cases for more expensive gloves.
Pros of expensive gloves vs cheap gloves:
- good ventilation and quality design
- reinforced stitching and more comfortable
- reflective grips for biker wave and finger shields
- wrist cuffs with armor
- finger bridge to prevent pinkie from snapping
- knuckle armor
- abrasion resistance and palm slider
- last longer for wear and tear
- waterproof liner or touchscreen enabled
Personal pick: REAX Tasker Leather Gloves
Why I chose this: Flexible, abrasion protection, flex ribbing on knuckles, goat leather
Boots are probably the most argued about but for me, essential regardless. They don’t cost much but offer superior protection to regular boots when your foot is sliding along sandwiched between the tarmac and a heavy sports bike.
Many also offer anti-slip protection from oil and water on the road or track. I recommend going for element, ankle, heel protection and toe and heat guard as added measures.
New boots will feel stiff and hard when you first put them on which can be quite uncomfortable when riding with them for the first time. Try walking around the house first to break them in. Affordable with much protection between $150 – $300.
Pros of expensive boots vs cheap boots:
- has ankle cups
- more comfort and breathability
- reinforced toe, heel and sole
- shifter pad
- has leather exterior
- includes waterproof liner
- reflective heel for visibility
- stylish design for daily use
Personal pick: REV’IT! Marshall Boots
Why I chose this: Full grain cow-hide leather, toe and heel guard, water repellent, stylish
When it comes to protective gear, the more you spend the better protection you get. A cheap jacket is most likely to be of poor quality. Motorcycle jackets should have standard body armor padding covering the back, spine, shoulders, elbows and forearm. Low quality jackets are usually made with little to no armor in order to save cost.
Your elbows, shoulders and back are the most common impact areas so pay close attention to these areas when purchasing jackets. Keep in mind to look for a CE certified, back support, armor and slide protection which is usually available in leather jackets. They can last longer than textile and be more weather resistant.
I would recommend going for jackets with prices ranging from $400 – $800 in which I would consider an acceptable level of value with quality.
Pros of an expensive jacket vs cheap jacket:
- has Certification for protection like EN 1621.1
- is abrasion and tear resistant, flexible
- cool leather design
- of fantastic stitch and stretch in low-risk areas
- should have air vents for air flow
- pockets for inserts i.e., protector, armor
- will include jacket-trousers fastening system
- seams and zippers will be overlaid or triple stitched
- some visibility lining
- thermoformed shoulder protection
Personal pick: Dainese Avro 4 Jacket
Why I chose this: EN 1621.1 standard certified, comfortable, Tutu cowhide leather, back protector insert space, removable thermal liner
The most neglected type of gear in this list are riding pants. Jeans, denim or in fact any type of normal leg wear offer zero protection against even the slightest accident or fall.
Do you your legs and bottom a favor. Road rash is never a pretty sight on any part of the body. I always go for abrasion resistant Kevlar material, slide resistant material.
Your legs are worth protecting. They carry you everywhere and you can’t even ride a motorcycle without a pair of functional legs. It’s worth going even a bit further and going for those which have hip, waist protection and possibly with knee armor.
Suitable price should be about $150 – $500 with very small varying options in materials and comfort here and there.
Pros of expensive pants vs cheap pants:
- is more stylish and comfortable
- has greater strength against punctures
- abrasion resistance of more than 3 seconds
- stronger seams so as to not come undone in an incident
- is well-designed with impact protection in mind
- will offer heat resistance due to friction
- offer protection in hip, knees and tailbone
- inserts for armor
Personal pick: Klim K Fifty 1 Jeans
Why I chose this: DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber lining, CE Level 1 knee and hip armor, reinforced aramid stitching, sleek and can pass everyday normal jeans
Not absolutely ideal for everyday riding but a must have for the track is the riding suit. Offering the absolute protection but also being quite expensive.
You sacrifice comfort for protection in most cases. As expected, to be decked out with all the above protection mentioned for both jackets and pants.
Prices are all over the place going from $350 – $1,350.
Pros of an expensive riding suit vs cheap riding suit:
- more stylish and comfortable
- offers protection in more areas and for more situations
Personal pick: Klim Hardanger Riding Suit
Why I chose this: Integrated armor systems, 750D Cordura overlays, waterproof, collar cuff and hem, Darmstadt test passed
Before taking a look at the table, here’s a super awesome video to also help you spot marketing bullsh*t and make better decisions when purchasing gear:
|List of Gear AFETY & RIDING GEAR||Price|
|Shoei RF-SR Helmet||$420|
|REAX Tasker Leather Gloves||$80|
|O’Neal Element Boots||$160|
|Dainese Avro 4 Jacket||$680|
|Pando Moto Mark Cargo Pants||$285|
|TOTAL COST:||= $1,625|
Other gear you might need
- Tinted visor
- Crash bungs or bars/frames
- Neck gaiter
- Motorcycle comms system
- Alarm system
- Not to forget you’ll need motorcycle maintenance gear
Should you buy used Motorcycle Gear?
Used gear is a very good way to save quite a lot of money, however one must keep in mind that when it comes to crash protection gear is mostly one time use only. Any gear with abrasions and damage can severely affect your protection quality quite drastically.
Keeping this in mind, helmets are once again a no go. Helmets usually have only a 5-year shelf life anyway and should be replaced anyway. Also, one should get a helmet that fits them perfectly for it to be actually functional and serve its purpose.
Other gear on this list is fine. As long as it meets the protection requirements, isn’t coming apart at the seams and doesn’t smell like a skunk.
Before buying, check all impact armour and pads to see if they need to be replaced. This should help you haggle the price down as you need to factor in the cost to replace them.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your budget and how much you value safety and protection. Motorcycle riders are enthusiasts and choose to enjoy this out of their love and passion for riding such powerful machines.
However, one may only keep up this hobby if you are alive and well enough to do so. Please keep yourself safe while enjoying the activity you love so much. Happy riding!