Why buy motorcycle safety gear?
In 2014 there were an estimated 4,586 deaths and 92,000 injuries as a result from motorcycle accidents in the US. Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile driven. Bike safety gear keeps you cool when it's hot, warm when it's cold, dry when it's wet, and alive in the wake of a crash. Motorcycle gear is the most advanced apparel this side of a space suit and frankly, the act of riding without any is so ridiculous that it serves to demonstrate a total lack of comprehension about what it's like to operate a bike with skill. Have you seen what happens when you take an impact without any gear? The pavement can be incredibly unforgiving. If you're not wearing any protective gear, you're compromising both your health and the ability to control your vehicle.
Sure, motorcycle gear is extremely expensive, but it's nearly as fundamentally important to the act of riding a bike as the motorcycle itself. If you're considering buying a bike you should factor new safety gear into the cost of your overall budget. For instance, if you've budgeted out $5,000 to spend on your first bike, you should expect to spend $1,200 to $1,500 of that $5,000 on a helmet, boots, gloves, etc. Over time, the financial burden will decrease as you acquire new separate items on need to buy basis.
If you're in the market for new protective gear, there are a couple of things/brands you'll want to consider. As many of you already know, George Tait is an avid motorcycle rider. He tested out a few pieces of safety equipment along with a couple of us at Utah Bike Law and this is the equipment we recommend in terms of both safety and value.
Best Motorcycle Helmets of 2016
When shopping for motor bike helmets, you'll more than likely come across either a DOT (Department of Transportation) or a SNELL (Snell Memorial Foundation) decal on the helmet. Every motorcycle helmet sold within the US is required by law to meet the DOT's FMVSS 218 standard. However, SNELL certified helmets are certified by SNELL technicians after meeting additional standards across 7 different types of rigorous testing. SNELL helmets are certified based on impact resistance, shell penetration, flame resistance and more. While SNELL helmets are of a slightly higher quality, the reality is that you'll be just as safe in a standard DOT certified helmet. The most important aspect to consider when buying a helmet is the fit. If the helmet is too loose you won't get the proper protection and if it's too tight your rides will be rather uncomfortable. A helmet should grip your cheeks, your jaw, and the top of your head. Full-face helmets also offer greater protection over three-quarter, or half-shell style helmets. Below are three of our favorite full-face helmets.
The Scorpio Exo-GT920 is a sport helmet with modular features and a plethora of different creature comforts. The drop down sun visor is extremely easy to interact with and the vent on the top of the helmet is easy to adjust even with a gloved hand (not always the case on many helmets.) The Exo-GT920 also comes equipped with speaker cutouts allowing you to integrate a Bluetooth device without creating a pressure point in the helmet. Perhaps the best thing about the Scorpio Exo-GT920 is that it only weighs 3 pounds and 10 ounces making it one of the lightest sport helmets on the market. Not only does the Scorpio possess all of these great features, it also doesn't break the bank. The Scorpio Exo-GT920 is sold for the extremely reasonable price of $210.
Nexx XD1 Helmet
Whether you ride enduro, street, or off-road, the Nexx XD1 offers something for every rider. The XD1 is a dual sport helmet with a hardcore, angular, multi-season style. The XD1 includes many of the features you'd expect in a helmet like a drop down sun visor, but it also has some unique features you won't find in many other helmets. The Nexx XD1 includes a removable peak that can be extended to adjust for the level of sunlight. The Nexx XD1 also features 3 GoPro mounting points so that you can beautifully capture your entire ride from the angle you like best. In addition to these features, Nexx also pre-wired the helmet for the X-Com Bluetooth System. The X-Com system is sold separately, but offers rider to rider communication, as well as, music playback. The Nexx XD1 is an incredibly light helmet weighing in at 3 pounds and 8 ounces. The Nexx XD1 has been refined to allow for the best fit possible. It is an intermediate oval making it not too long, nor too narrow. The Nexx XD1 also utilizes the ERGO system which comes with different sized millimeter sticky pads so you can perfect the fit around the brows and temples. At $449, the XD1 is definitely a premium riding helmet.
Icon Alliance GT Helmet
The Icon Alliance GT is a phenomenal entry level sport helmet perfect for everyday use. Unlike the normal Icon Alliance, the Icon Alliance comes with a drop down sun visor. The design of the helmet is kept very plain and basic which will appeal to those looking for a helmet without all of the fancy bells and whistles. The shape of the Icon Alliance is long oval, which is an outlier fit in the helmet market. The Icon Alliance GT will fit those with a longer and narrower head shape the best. The Alliance GT is very light at 3 pounds 10 ounces and with a low price of $200, it won't break the bank.
Best Motorcycle Gloves of 2016
After securing a good helmet, gloves are the second most important component of safety equipment you can buy. As humans, we instinctively try to catch our falls, so your hands will likely be your first contact with the unforgiving pavement. Hands are also a combination of extremely fragile and utterly necessary, which make them all the more important to protect. The important thing to remember when deciding on motorcycle gloves is they are specific to motorcycle riding. The materials used for motorcycle gloves are vastly stronger than the materials used for fashion gloves. You need to ensure you're buying gloves built specifically for bikers that includes a retention strap. You'll find three of our favorite motorcycle gloves featured below.
Rev'It! Fly 2 Gloves
Rev'It's Fly 2 gloves take everything that made the original Fly gloves great and multiply them tenfold. Unlike the original Fly gloves, the Fly 2 glove line is no longer entirely goat skin. Instead the glove features goat skin on the palms with cow hide on the top and is perforated all the way around to allow your skin to breathe. The Fly 2 gloves are far more elastic than their original design which gives you more flexibility than ever before. Most importantly, the Fly 2 gloves offer great protection with a durable outer shell and tri-fleece liner. The best part about these fantastic gloves is that they ring in at under $100. For the low price of $89, Rev'It's Fly 2 gloves offer unbeatable value.
Dainese 4 Stroke Evo Gloves
The Dainese 4 Stroke Evo Gloves are designed for sport riders looking for exceptional track level protection in a short cuff package. The 4 Strok Evo gloves feature composite stainless steel and thermoplastic inserts for added protection. There is also an additional goat skin layer to give the gloves increased reinforcement. The 4 Stroke Evo gloves offer better grip and response than most gloves on the market. At $219, the Dainese 4 Stroke Evo model gloves are definitely more of a premium product, but they are worth every penny for serious sport riders.
Scorpion SGS MK II Gloves
The Scorpion SGS MK II is a juggernaut in the sport glove family. The SGS MK II glove offers more protection, flexibility, and comfort than the original at the extremely affordable price of $79. The Scorpion SGS MK II comes packaged with some nice features like touch-tech finger material, which will allow you to use your mobile phone with your gloves on. The SGS MK II gloves offer great protection with split carbon fiber knuckle protectors, TPU finger protectors, and high quality goat leather. If you're looking for a quality glove at a low price, the Scorpion SGS MK II glove is your best choice.
Best Motorcycle Jackets of 2016
Losing skin across large patches of your body, breaking bones, or suffering organ damage is no fun. Hence, why it is important to cover more than just your hands and your head in protective gear. A good motorcycle jacket will ensure your upper torso is protected in the event of a motorcycle accident. Any quality motorcycle jacket will protect you from abrasion. There are two types of jackets you can choose from. A rider could choose to ride with a more traditional leather jacket or a lighter textile jacket. Textile jackets still offer the same level of protection as leather jackets. The main difference is that textile jackets are more versatile and will remain comfortable in all kinds of weather conditions. While more versatile, textile jackets are not as durable. After one fall, the jacket will most likely not be usable again. When picking a jacket, it's important to assess these pros and cons to determine which style is best for your riding.
Alpinestars Brera Leather Jacket
The Alpinestars Brera Leather jacket is the little black dress of motorcycling. It is a clean, classic motorcycle jacket with fashion appeal. The Brera blends a retro look with modern protection including CE certified bio armor, as well as, shoulder, elbow, and forearm protectors. There is no back protector included, but there is an insert for one. While the standard option isn't perforated, you can get a fully perforated version at no additional cost. At a going price of $500, the Brera is an excellent leather jacket for all riders.
Icon Wireform Jacket
The Icon Wireform jacket hits all of the marks when it comes to keeping things lightweight and under control. The Icon Wireform jacket features complete protection with D3O shoulder, elbow, and back impact protectors. Unlike the Brera leather jacket, the Icon Wireform jacket comes stock with back protection so that you don't have to buy any additional armor. Furthermore, the Wireform has built in reflective plates on the back, elbows, and chest to ensure you'll always be seen out on the road. One of the downsides considering the price point is that the jacket is water resistant, but not waterproof. However, the jacket does come with a SatinCore insulated liner to keep you warmer as the weather gets cooler. The Icon Wireform is set at the reasonable price of $230.
Firstgear 37.5 Kilimanjaro Jacket
The latest generation of the Kilimanjaro Jacket is designed with the long haul in mind. Firstgear jackets are known for their ability to sustain a beating and keep on rolling. You may be wondering what the difference between the Kilimanjaro and the 37.5 Kilimanjaro is. The 37. 5 is a reference to the temperature your body likes to maintain in Celsius. The 37.5 Kilimanjaro helps you maintain that temperature as you ride with a PTFE laminate water proof membrane baked right into the shell of the jacket. The PTFE laminate helps to regulate body temperature, wick sweat away, and ensure water does not get into the jacket. Even in the most aggressive rainstorms, you'll remain completely dry. Like the Icon Wireform jacket, the armor is D30 premium grade armor. However, unlike the Wireform jacket, the armor is adjustable in the elbows and shoulders. The Kilimanjaro is a very customizable jacket with adjuster straps included on the arms and sides to give you the perfect fit. With the price sitting under the Brera at $399, the 37.5 Kilimanjaro is the best value for your money with its incredible durability and weatherability.
What Do You Think?
We want to hear from our fellow Utah riders. Do you agree with our top safety gear picks? Is there any gear we didn't mention that you really enjoy? Leave your opinion in the comment section below.