The Head-to-Toe Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Gear

(CC0 License – Public Domain)

There’s a lot for new motorcycle riders to be excited about: learning how to ride, choosing a first motorcycle, and finally hitting the road and experiencing one’s surroundings as they can only be experienced from the back of a bike.

But as exciting as all of this is, it’s also serious business, and there’s more to getting started than just getting licensed and buying a new bike. Being properly outfitted in protective motorcycle gear is as crucial to motorcycle safety as proper training.

If you’re a beginning motorcyclist looking for some guidance on getting properly outfitted to ride, the following rundown should give you everything you need to get started finding the gear you need to ride in safety and comfort.

The Helmet

Helmets are undoubtedly the most important piece of safety gear any motorcyclist can wear. Even a minor fall off of a motorcycle can result in a serious head injury if the rider isn’t wearing a helmet, to say nothing of more serious accidents. Here are the basics of what to look for in a motorcycle helmet:

  • DOT Certification: The U.S. Department of Transportation has a specific standard for motorcycle helmets (the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard no. 218), which outlines minimum performance ratings for metrics like impact absorption. Motorcycle helmets that meet this standard will feature a DOT sticker on the back or inside; don’t buy a helmet without this sticker.
  • Fit & Retention: A motorcycle helmet should fit snugly, but without being so tight that it’s uncomfortable. This will prevent the helmet from coming off or under-performing in an accident. Here’s a good basic test when finding a good fit: securely strap on the helmet and, gripping it from the back, try to pull it off over your head. With a helmet that fits properly, you won’t be able to.
  • Comfort: Discomfort is distracting, and no one wants to be distracted while they’re riding.
  • Style: Fashion should probably be the least of anyone’s concerns when shopping for a motorcycle helmet, but there are some choices when it comes to style. Full-face, open face, motocross, and half-helmets are all options. Full-face models offer the best protection, but many riders prefer open-face or half-helmets for comfort reasons.

The Jacket

What helmets do for your head, a good jacket does for your arms, shoulders, and torso. There are a lot of options when it comes to jackets, and it’s important to know what to look for.

  • Leather vs. Textile: A high-quality leather motorcycle jacket is about more than just looking cool. Leather offers excellent abrasion resistance, but might not be the best option for shock absorption. Many modern textile jackets are made from materials like Cordura or Kevlar, which also provide protection against abrasions, and are often a lot cooler than leather in warmer weather.
  • Armor: Armor and textile jackets are both available with built-in body armor to protect against falls. At minimum, look for a jacket with armor in the shoulders, back, and elbows with at least a “CE” safety rating.
  • Fit: A good motorcycle jacket should fit snugly without restricting movement. When trying on a motorcycle jacket, zip it up completely and try to approximate the position you take on your bike. If it’s too snug in the arms and shoulder to hold comfortably in the store, you can be it will be too snug on the road.

The Pants

Motorcycle pants protect your lower extremities from abrasions and impacts – shins, knees, hips, and bottom are all dependent on good motorcycle pants in a fall. Here are some of the most common options for motorcycle pants.

  • Leather: Leather pants, like jackets, offer superior abrasion resistance. However they’re often relatively uncomfortable, especially in warm weather. Most leather pants lack additional armor.
  • Textile: Textile riding pants are made with abrasion-resistant materials like Kevlar, and more often feature built-in-armor in high-impact areas like the knees and hips. As with jackets, these often feature better breathability than leather. Many manufacturers also make Kevlar and armor-reinforced denim jeans that strike a balance between style and safety.
  • Overpants: For commuters and others who don’t want to get to their destination with just armored riding pants, motorcycle over-pants are armored, abrasion-resistant pants designed to be worn over regular street clothes or denim motorcycle jeans.

The Boots

Footwear might not be as important for safety as a helmet or jacket, but it is a concern. Motorcycle boots provide protection to the ankle, shin, toes, and sole in the event of a crash, as well as offering improved grip and comfort on long rides when compared to normal street shoes. Here are some of the most common options for motorcycle boots.

  • Touring Boots: Touring boots are probably the most popular style of motorcycle boot. Generally tall to provide ankle support and shin protection, these boots are designed for commuting and long rides.
  • Short Boots: While not as protective in most cases as touring boots, short boots are often more comfortable, and offer a sneaker-like style and fit without completely sacrificing safety.
  • Cruiser Boots: Cruiser boots are heavy-duty boots designed for long rides on v-twin cruiser-style bikes. Heights vary, but typically cruiser boots offer great grip and superb protection against impacts and abrasions.

At the end of the day, the best motorcycle gear for you is what you’re most comfortable in – provided it offers at least a minimum amount of protection. Those just beginning will need some time to find out just what that is, but that’s all a part of the fun.

Not Your Father’s WD40


A new staple in my maintenance routine.

Who among us didn’t grow up seeing that yellow and blue can in the garage that came out whenever dad worked on the car or lawnmower? You may have heard the rumors that WD-40 was made gel lubricantfrom fish oil (it’s not) or that it’s not really a lubricant and shouldn’t be used on motorcycle chains… both are incorrect. “WD” in fact stands for “Water Displacement”, the 40 represents the 40th “recipe” of the original product. WD-40 has come a long way and I was surprised to here from them about (more…)

Bike Bandit

Best Deals for Replacing Motorcycle Parts

s21-actionIf you are like me you pride yourself in doing your own motorcycle maintenance, the easy stuff anyway like synthetic oil changes, brake pads, coolant and assorted upgrades. Bike Bandit is the best online marketplace for aftermarket, reasonably priced motorcycle parts. You can shop for motorcycle tires online. You can also easily find your Honda and Yamaha bike parts online as well. Simply select the make of your bike and view all of the best parts we have to offer. We offer a huge selection to help you rebuild your motorcycle, or simply order replacement parts for your ride. Our prices are the best on the market. We include free shipping with purchases over $99 and hassle free returns within 60 days.

Unlike other online shops with (more…)

Helmet Halo

Helmet Halo logo

My helmet at YogaNext to the cost of the motorcycle itself your biggest riding expense is most likely your helmet. If you’re anything like me you don’t like putting your costly lid on the ground or any other surface apt to be dirty, hot, wet or sticky; unfortunately there are times when I have little choice. When I get to the office and the forecast calls for rain and it’s time to put the cover on I’m forced to put my helmet on the hot asphalt. In my cubicle at the office my choices are the floor under my desk or on my desk where I have precious little room. The Scala Rider attached to my helmet is also a concern due to its position on the chin bar. I’ve broken a few brackets when setting my helmet down in the past.

Halo StackHelmet Halo was designed to be a compact motorcycle helmet holder that eliminates these worries. Helmet Halo is made of tough plastic designed to stand up to abuse (trust me I’ve abused it in testing). Helmet Halo is inexpensive, portable, comes in four colors and can be coiled up for transporting. If I could wear it as a bracelet when not in use it’d be perfect; but even as is it’s pretty close.

(Note: Helmet Halo does not attach to a helmet in any way, it is merely a stand to hold a helmet upright.)

Please visit Helmet Halo to order.Helmet Halo

William Shatner Cross Country Ride


8-Day Ride Set To Kick Off From American Wrench Shop On June 23rd

Rivet Warehouse

William Shatner(June 1st, 2015 – New York, NY) The legendary Hollywood icon that captained the Starship Enterprise for over 30 years, William Shatner, is teaming up with American Wrench to create the first-of-its-kind Rivet motorcycle. In conjunction with the release of Rivet, Shatner will be riding across the country to showcase the machine on the open road. The ride will kick off on June 23rd from the American Wrench shop just outside of Chicago. “The Ride” will be an 8-day journey showcasing Rivet in various cities across the United States and will be following the legendary Route 66 for most of the trek.

Accompanying Shatner on the ride will be some of the team from American Wrench and members of The American Legion Riders. Shatner will be meeting with Legion members along the route to raise awareness for the work The American Legion does nationwide. The journey will be making stops in St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Las Vegas before wrapping up in Los Angeles on June 30th.

I am taking another step into the unknown!” said Shatner. “A phenomenal bike made by American Wrench and a 2,400 mile journey, where the road holds the big mystery.”

“The Ride”

The Ride MapThe machine, straight from the creative brain of Shatner alongside American Wrench owner/designer Kevin Sirotek, is the ultimate landjet and unlike anything the world has seen before. A video describing what Rivet is can be seen here.

Having this unique opportunity to design and build a custom machine for William Shatner, we knew it had to be nothing short of amazing,” explains Sirotek. “Our vision with Rivet is simple, to give the most thrilling motor experience possible.”

The journey will also be documented for an upcoming television show. The show will follow Shatner and company on their voyage through each city and traveling along the route. There will be opportunities in each city for people to come out and see the Rivet in person and meet Shatner and the riders. More information on this will be available in the future at American Wrench and Rivet Motors. Fans can follow Shatner @WilliamShatner and Rivet Motors @RivetMotors for up to date announcements.

For more information on American Wrench or “The Ride,” please contact:

Kevin Chiaramonte / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116
Paul Freundlich / PFA Media / (212) 334-6116

About American Wrench

American Wrench, a division of IAE (Illinois Auto Electric Co) is located outside of Chicago. IAE was founded in 1915 by Joseph Sirotek (Kevin Sirotek’s great grandfather) and today it is owned and operated by the Sirotek family. American Wrench has been at the cutting edge of building custom motorcycles, specializing in design innovation and high-performance machines. For decades, they have been committed to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Horsepower.

About Rivet Motors

Rivet Motors was born out of the desire and passion to build machines, which like those who ride them, have command, presence and personality. The goal is to rival the experience a driver would get from any vehicle on the street. Without a formidable machine in the marketplace that provides this experience that William Shatner desired, he partnered with American Wrench and set out to design and develop something that would not just meet his expectations, but blow the minds of everyone who sees, pilots or experiences it. The machine, RIVET, will deliver an experience that rivals the refinements and power of a fine automobile, but does not compromise the raw sensory feedback and grit of a motorcycle on the open road.

About The American Legion

The nation’s largest wartime veteran organization, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veteran care and rehabilitation, Americanism and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation.

The RideAmerican_WrenchRivet

2015 Motorcycle Fairings

What does 2015 have in store for motorcycle fairings?

Fairing KitAnother new year marks the era of another new set of bikes available on the market. The newest supersport bikes are supporting lairy looks, crazy colors and eye-catching exhausts. The newest fairings are showing the creativity that can be used with advancing technologies in plastic moulding and metal machining that can be used to make them look awesome, while still being functional.

Many motorcycle fairings that are coming out are sporting new matt paint finishes. This is giving the bikes mean looks that haven’t been seen before. There is also the addition of carbon fiber parts into high-end supersport bikes to make them lighter, but also to make them better looking.

The latest fairings that are coming to light on bikes such as the new Kawasaki Ninjas and the BMW S1000RR are showing bold lines that were not possible before, but new advances in technology are making them possible. There are also several concept bikes such as the new Lamborghini concepts, which are sporting the same bold likes and triangular shapes. These are also present in the new 2015 Honda CB 750 concept that is floating around. Making it clear which direction the design of motorcycles in moving in.

The latest Yamaha fairings are also sporting these new strong shapes, which is not only clear in their motorcycles but also their other vehicles too. The addition of LED lights to most of the bikes this year is making the design of fairings easier as less space needs to be allocated to once large light units. The integration of LED lights into most wing mirrors has also improved aesthetics, as they aren’t sticking out the side of the main fairings. However, this may be annoying for some who opt for removing their mirrors regularly for track days.

These improvements are not only coming to supersport bikes though. The latest sport bikes and touring bikes are also being updates, making these look sportier without compromising the ride comfort. This is also evident in the latest street bikes, making ones such as the new ER-6n Kawasaki Fairings and the Ducati Streetfighter look very mean with their latest headlights and what fairings they do have.

The older style bikes are not to be left out either. The new Norton Commando bikes are styled very well, although their fairings are still good ol’ metal, they do not disappoint. With up to Faring Kitdate electronics and LCD tachometers these bikes have been nudged into the 21st century, but not by much. Still giving you the look and feel of an old Norton, without the troubles with reliability and electric controls as stock. Making them more reliable for use as an everyday bike for those that would like to don their old leathers and ride a blast from the past.

Overall, it looks like an exciting year for motorcycles and I look forward to seeing what is going to be revealed over the coming months. From the looks of it, we have a lot to look forward to see in the summer.

Slick New Gear

With the 2014 riding season currently underway, there has never been a better time to begin looking at the different options that you have available to you in the way of gear. Motorcycle gear usually means yearly investments for motorcycle riders, upgrading previous gear that needs to be looked at, and also treating you to a few new toys. A number of new products have been announced to much critical acclaim for the 2014 year. There is a lot of new gear available, allowing for upgrades for many of us. Take the following gear and products into consideration for the 2014 season.

Quality Saddlebags

For touring enthusiasts, there are multiple things that need to be taken into account when you are looking at new saddlebags for the 2014 season. Start by determining the maximum distance that you are planning on traveling this year. This will give you good idea of exactly how much storage space you are going to require in your high quality saddlebags. Make sure to find saddlebags that are going to be compatible with your specific motorcycle model. You will find that Harley-Davidson’s are always compatible with Harley saddlebags that are built for specific models, rather than going with some universal saddlebags that may or may not snugly fit your bike. Saddlebags are important because they allow you to carry all of your gear that you could potentially need in the event of a breakdown, or issue with the bike.

Tina Walker

UglyBROS Motorpool Pants

One product that has received a lot of attention is Uglybros’ Motorpool Pants. These pants are manufactured by a Korean company that has been in business for just 10 years in total. However, the company has taken the motorcycle industry by storm by releasing a number of high quality accessories and gear products, that are able to stand up to even the most stringent of wear and tear, while still providing a fashionable look. This particular pair looks like it could’ve come out of the Mad Max movie, with an olive color that has been stained, and a slim fit. It comes complete with both knee and hip protectors, as well as rip paneling to help protect the rider from industry. Although they are a bit expensive, costing $320 overall, it does provide a very unique look and is an excellent product overall.

Bitwell Gringo LE Helmets

Are you looking for a slick new helmet, and want something that has a cool, or futuristic or retro feel? Well, a number of limited-edition Bitwell Gringo helmets have recently become available. And not only provide you with the utmost comfort, but offers a 1970s styling that has become increasingly popular in motorcycle gear in recent years. Although they are not flashy, many of them feature neon colors. The best part is, many of the helmets are available for less than $200, which is a steel given the intricate and beautiful designs that the helmets are currently offering.

If you are looking to spice up your gear, and stay safe during this motorcycle season, you should consider getting quality saddlebags, stylish pants, or spicy helmets to add to your current fashionable look.


Alpinestars Ridge Waterproof Boot

Ridge_BootI had been a loyal wearer of Icon Super Duty boots for a few years now but I’ve recently decided to change styles. I’m currently wearing a pair of Alpinestars Ridge Waterproof touring boots. As a commuter the Super Duty worked well for me in that I could wear them all day at the office; however I am currently working from home and wanted a more substantial boot strictly for touring. The leather Alpinestars Ridge boot provides everything I was looking for at a reasonable price.


The Ridge boot is solid black with a reflective tab on the back of the heel for increased visibility (although a token increase – it’s a tiny patch). Stylish without being garish you can (more…)