Nearly anyone who’s ever thrown a leg over a motorcycle is aware of Marlon Brando’s 1953 classic film, The Wild One. In it, rival gangs wreak havoc in a small town, riding roaring bikes and clad in jet black leather and crusher caps. It’s an iconic look that you can still see on the roads today. But in the nearly 70 years since the film’s release, riding a motorcycle has changed a lot and that includes the gear that we wear on the road. Here at Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles, we want our customers to enjoy their ride for years to come, so we encourage everyone to wear the right safety gear. Let’s take a look at what you should be wearing on your next ride.
We’ve heard all of the arguments against wearing a helmet. “I can’t hear well,” “my head gets hot,” or “it just doesn’t look cool.” Frankly, none of these are great arguments against riding safely. A helmet should be, at a minimum, the thing you put on before each and every ride.
Modern helmets are designed to destroy themselves in a crash, and in the process, disperse the energy that would otherwise crush your skull and chew up your face. We always recommend a full-face helmet, as they protect your chin, nose, and the rest of your face the best should you come off your bike. If you’re looking for something that offers the versatility of a three-quarters helmet, but still offers you the safety of a full-face, check out any of the modular helmets that manufacturers are producing these days.
You don’t realize how much you use your hands every day until you can’t use them at all. In the event of any crash or drop, one of the first things to hit the ground is going to be your hands. Make sure you don’t turn them into ground meat after a slide by putting on some protective gloves. Basic leather gloves are a great start, but make sure they’re made from heavy leather and feature reinforced stitching. Even better is to have armored gloves that feature a flexible armor pad along your knuckles and the palm of your hand. Whatever glove you choose, make sure it allows you to operate the controls on your bike easily.
Just because there are new, more versatile textile options for riding jackets doesn’t mean you need to hang up your old leathers. Armored jackets are the new standard for riders, as they feature armored plates in critical areas, like elbows, shoulders, back, and in some cases, even the chest. These plates are placed strategically to protect you during an accident. Manufacturers now stitch pockets at these points in the jackets, so you can add and remove armor as needed.
If you’re riding in the hot Odessa sun, you might be best served by a textile or mesh jacket. Made from new, ultra-durable materials like ballistic nylon and Kevlar®, these jackets help to keep you cool while you ride, without sacrificing safety.
But for those chilly days, or even on those rides where you want to look your best, you can always rock the classic leather motorcycle jacket. Make sure it’s updated with pockets for your armored plates, and you’ve got a jacket you can use during the cooler riding months.
Much like the armored jackets above, armored pants are an essential part of your riding outfit. If you’re not ready to retire your denim jeans, you can always upgrade to jeans lined with Kevlar, or Cordura textile pants. These protect you from road abrasion. Many pants are also fitted with pockets to add armor to key points like your knees and hips.
Don’t ride in flip-flops. Just don’t do it. Instead, wear a proper motorcycle boot or shoe that’s been made from a rugged material like leather or Cordura. You’ll find that these are more comfortable to ride in and protect you better in the event of a crash.
The Right Attitude
All of the gear in the world won’t keep you safe if you aren’t riding a motorcycle with the right attitude. Don’t go out on a ride to clear your head; you’ll only be distracted. Instead, adopt the attitude of constant vigilance and proactive responses. You’ll find that you avoid the potential for accidents before they’re even a threat.