What to Wear When Riding a Motorcycle – Stay Safe & Stylish

Many things may go wrong when going on a motorcycle ride, so be sure you’re well prepared.

We all know that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to motorcycle gear, but there are some essential items every motorcyclist should make sure to have in their kit. Whether you ride with a group or you’re going on a long solo ride, you’ll need a helmet, jacket, boots, gloves, pants, a back protector, and a phone or GPS so you can stay connected.

There are plenty of other items you’ll want in your bag, but the ones listed above will get you going. The best thing you can do is research the proper gear for your riding situation before heading out. This article will cover the most basic yet essential motorcycle riding gear.

Why the need for motorcycle riding gear? 

There are plenty of reasons why you should make sure you have the right motorcycle gear. For starters, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. 

Accidents happen. Sometimes, you get cuts and bruises. Other times, you can get serious injuries, property damage, and even death. In any event, if you want to ride for an extended period, you need to invest in the correct riding gear.

The right motorcycle gear, nothing else

Buying the correct motorcycle riding gear can be an essential part of your safety.

Having said this, it is not necessary to buy an expensive brand or model. However, investing in high-quality and well-tested motorcycle riding gear is an essential step.

1. Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet can and will save your life. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose the right one if you want to be comfortable during your ride. When choosing the fitting helmet, think about the size, the shape, and the fit of the helmet – it has to be correct. 

There are many different helmet styles, and they also have other purposes. Here is a quick list. 

  • Open-face helmet: this type of helmet does not protect the rider’s chin or face, hence the name “open-face.” 
  • Full-face helmet: this helmet offers complete protection for the rider’s head. They are the least ventilated. However, it can guarantee complete protection against impact and the elements. Certain types of full-face helmets also offer a degree of noise protection. Finally, in competitions, only full-face helmets are allowed. 
  • Modular helmet: This type resembles a full-face helmet. However, the front portion can be raised via a hinge on both sides. With a modular helmet, you have the option to ride with an open face or a full-face covering. Note: This helmet is heavier than an open-face or full-face helmet.
  • ADV helmet: Otherwise known as an adventure helmet, this design is highly versatile and useful for both on and off-road riding. It functions as a regular full-face helmet on the road, and on the dirt, it serves as a dirt helmet. It also has good ventilation and is compatible with goggles.
  • Dirt Riding Helmet: This helmet is intended for use on dirt bikes. It is unnecessary to have a DOT (Department of Transportation rating). As a result, it is not street legal; also, it is intended to fit several brands of goggles to protect the rider’s eyes.
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Choosing the right size and shape

Helmets have three categories: long oval, intermediate oval, and round oval. The best way to determine your head shape is to ask a friend to take a photo of your head from above. The image will tell you the shape of your head. 

For head size, the best approach is to measure the circumference of your head with a tape measure. Then, compare it with the helmet size charts before ordering. 

DOT Certification – Why is this important? 

The Department of Transportation issues minimum safety standards that helmet manufacturers must comply with to sell their products. The certification proves that the helmet is safe to use on the street and can protect your head from a severe impact. Long story short, make sure the helmet you’re getting is DOT certified. 

2. Leather Motorcycle  Gloves

Choosing a suitable motorcycle glove is essential. You will be using them every time you’re out riding. When selecting suitable gloves, you need to think about protection and whether you want the color and design to match the rest of your gear. 

It also comes in various styles and designs.

  • short cuffs – warm weather
  • street- stylish, minimalistic
  • racing – for aggressive riding
  • cruising – all-weather type, comfortable
  • offroad – comfortable, designed for dirt bike riding
  • gauntlets – a kind of gloves that cover your hand and forearm
  • adventure/touring – mostly gauntlet type, expensive, all-weather, comfortable.
  • waterproof – perfect for riding in the rain/
  • heated – perfect for a ride in the cold weather. 

Choose the one appropriate for your type of ride. 

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3. Motorcycle Jacket

There are many different styles of motorcycle riding jackets to choose from. Each kind of jacket has another function and purpose. The best way to choose is to base it on your riding style and need. 

  • Classic Jacket: This type of jacket is lightweight and without armor. It’s perfect for casual riding and not for high-speed rides. 
  • Racing Bike Jackets: The complete opposite of a classic jacket, they are armored, made from abrasion-resistant material, and designed to be aerodynamic to reduce drag. The whole point of a racing bike jacket is to protect the rider’s body in an accident. 
  • The Touring Jacket is exceptionally comfortable, weather-ready, and easily adaptable, depending on your riding style.
  • The Adventure Motorcycle Jacket is an all-weather jacket specifically designed for adventure riding. 
  • Off-road biker jackets are rugged, all-weather, armored, and have zippered air vents for summer rides.

Types of Jackets

1. Leather: This is a great quality, fashionable jacket with a classic touch. In an accident, this is the perfect protection against abrasions. The only disadvantage is that leather is heavy and the black color soaks up heat. 

2. Textile: This jacket is light, breathable, adaptable, and waterproof. Although this is fantastic for rain protection, it is not ideal for abrasion and scratches.

3. Mesh: This jacket is intended for use on summer rides. They are affordable and fantastic at ventilation. The only drawback? They aren’t particularly good at protecting the rider.

4. Combination: This jacket combines the above three: leather, textile, and mesh. It’s abrasion-resistant and perfect as an all-season jacket. 

Deciding on the jacket

When deciding on the jacket, keep five things in mind: protection, ventilation, lightness and comfort, airflow, and style and design. 

4. Motorcycle Boots

There are four different types of motorcycle riding boots. 

  • Short motorcycle boots (aka motorcycle shoes): These look like your typical pair of shoes. They are easy to put on and very comfortable. 
  • Cruiser Motorcycle Boots: This type of boot is made for touring/cruising. They are available with either zippers, laces, or velcro. 
  • Touring Boots: This is a trendy type of riding boot. An example of this is the Tour Master Solution. It’s waterproof or vented, comes with ankle armor, and is also available in either zipper, velcro, or laces. 
  • Sports Boot: This boot is designed specifically for the race track, and it’s well-armored, comes in either waterproof or perforated versions, and has many designs. An example of this is the top-of-the-line Alpinestar Supertech-R. 
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5. Motorcycle Pants

The helmet, riding jacket, and boots are all expensive investments. Too often, a rider would neglect an equally crucial riding gear – riding pants. 

Remember that a rider’s body takes a battering in an accident, especially the legs; as a result, purchasing riding pants with impact protection will make a huge difference in your safety.

Like riding jackets, riding pants also come in various materials – textile, leather, mesh, or a combination of both. 

Your choice of riding pants will largely depend on the riding scenario. Here is a quick list:

  • Hybrid Pants are perfect for weekend riding trips.
  • Textile pants are great if you need something with more ventilation. 
  • Leather pants are perfect for track days. 

Fitting the Pants

There are two essential fits-relaxed or touring and sport or racing. 

  • Relaxed or touring fit is designed for long rides. 
  • Sport/Race fit: designed to be tight-aggressive, it mimics the curve of your body and holds the padding in place. 

Use a tape measure to determine your waistline, hips, and inseam to be sure about the measurement. You can compare this information with the manufacturer’s size chart if you’re buying online, or you can run to the store for a fitting. 


I hope you enjoyed this article on the most critical gear a motorcycle rider should have. Please feel free to share any questions or comments with me if you have any. I’d love to hear from you. 

Stay safe out there.