Riders tend to keep more than one riding outfit, depending on the season, weather, and type of ride. But regardless of the environment, all equipment should cover and protect from wind, debris, and other elements that can affect your ride and your safety. The best way to protect yourself while riding is with the proper safety gear.
Your jacket and pants should be sturdy, protect from abrasion, and be built with movement and ventilation in mind. When determining fit with any piece of equipment, be sure to factor in that you’ll be crouched on your bike for most of the time, so it’s best to feel the gear in that position. Sport riding gear will stretch at the joints so as to not bunch up. Street riding gear should be padded at the joints and hips, and offer some room for a spine protector or insulation. Usually composed of a molded polypropylene or other thermoplastic polymer shell, chest or spine protectors are common in motocross and off-road cycling, but offer improved impact protection to street riders as well.
A good pair of gloves that fit comfortably and don’t move around or hinder circulation are essential to motorcycle control as well. The fingers of riding gloves should be curved to prevent bunching, and allow you to reach the levers with ease. Test the fit of a glove on the motorcycle grips to ensure the glove will not cause wear that will lead to blisters. For your feet, motorcycle boots will provide more protection than shoes. These should fit snugly, coming up to the mid-calf and covering the shins, instep, and ankles. Motorcycle boots should have a heel to grip the pegs and feature oil-resistant soles that are heavy enough to absorb the vibration of the vehicle.
Leather is usually preferred for its durability, insulation, and protection from abrasion or other potential hazards. Cow skin is standard, but deer skin and buffalo hide are tougher and more durable. Deerskin or elk hide are not treated with protective sealant like cow or buffalo hide, though, which means to get the best jacket, you’ll need to select one of a higher quality, which can get expensive. However, animal skins are not the only option for riders. In fact, nylon, Kevlar, and other synthetic material will provide more weather protection than leather. If you choose a synthetic jacket, though, be sure it features reflective material as well as the ability to stretch and breathe.