Beginners Guide To Motorcycle Clothing

A Guide to Motorcycle Safety Clothing for Beginners

motorcycle helmet

 

Wearing the right motorcycle clothing is essential not only for your comfort but also for protection from injury.

However, the sheer amount of gear available out there is mind boggling and as a beginner rider we know that your budget is stretched.

So we decided to create this page which is full of advice on what to look for in your motorcycle safety gear.

We have also made three top recommendations in each category, this is kit that offers reasonable quality at an affordable price.

Our suggestion is to always buy the best quality gear you can afford as this will give you the greatest level of protection.

Gloves

They keep hands comfortable, functional and protected. They come in an infinite variety for all seasons and weather.

Leather gloves protect hands from blisters, wind, sun, and cold. If you should fall off your motorcycle, full-fingered gloves will help prevent cuts and bruises to your hands.

Gloves should fit snugly to improve your grip on the handlebar. If your gloves are too bulky, you may have problems operating the controls of your motorcycle. If they are too tight, circulation will be restricted and your hands will become cold.

Seamless gloves or gloves with external seams will help prevent blisters and pressure points.Gauntlets will keep cold air from going up your sleeve.

Riding gloves are available in many gradations of weight and thickness. Lightweight gloves are comfortable in summer warmth and heavier, well-insulated gloves can be obtained for additional protection from winter cold.

 

Our Choice Basic Winter Glove

Weise Grid WP Glove

waterproof motorcycle glove

Decent Basic Waterproof Glove

Price: £24.99

Good quality leather

Waterproof breathable lining

Thinsulate thermal lining

Adjustable wrist cuff

Check Price

Our Choice Low Cost Winter Glove

Spada Storm WP Glove

Winter motorcycle glove

Decent basic winter motorcycling glove

Price: £34.99

100% Waterproof menmbrane

Overlays & keprotec inserts

Pre-curved fingers

Visor wipe on left thumb

Check Price

Our Choice Higher Quality Glove

Richa Arctic Mens Motorbike Motorcycle Glove

Richa Arctic Textile Waterproof Glove

Good quality winter motorcycling glove

Price: £73.59

100% Waterproof and thermal leather gloves

Hard armour to knuckles

Schoeller kelprotec reinforcements

Over the sleeve strapped cuff

Check Price

Alpinestars Scheme glove

Want more on gloves?

Check out our in-depth motorcycle glove guides…

Best summer motorcycle gloves

Best winter motorcycle gloves

Clothing

Long sleeves and trousers resist abrasion and protect against sunburn, windburn, dehydration, and hypothermia.

Light colors or reflectivity increase a rider’s visibility.

Good clothing will help you stay comfortable while riding in adverse conditions.

In case of a crash or spill, high-quality riding clothes will help prevent or reduce injury.

The Hurt report – a motorcycle safety study states that covering the body with leather or another thick material can provide “an extremely high level of injury protection.”

Clothing sold specifically for motorcycling will afford the best combination of fit and protection. These garments are designed to fit while sitting in a riding position. They are cut longer in the sleeves and legs and are fuller across the shoulders. Flaps and fasteners seal out the wind and extra padding helps protect you in case of a spill.

Wide-flared pants, flowing scarves and similar items should be avoided because they could become entangled in the motorcycle and flap uncomfortably in the wind.

 

Fabrics and Materials

Leather clothing is often used by riders because it is durable and abrasion-resistant, giving good protection against injury.

Many other synthetic fabrics have also been developed that are abrasion or wind resistant, waterproof, or have high visibility properties.

Many motorcycle dealers carry a varied line of riding jackets and suits. They can be helpful in answering questions you may have regarding the beneficial properties of each.

Personal riding habits, budget, and local weather conditions will influence your choice of purchase.

Shop wisely, making sure your purchase is strong enough to resist abrasions.

 

Visibility

The clothes you wear when riding can serve to make you more visible in traffic.

Choose brightly colored clothing when possible.

Only two riders of the 900 accident cases studied by researchers were wearing brightly colored clothing.

If you wear dark clothing, inexpensive retroreflective vests can be worn over the jacket.

Also, it is a good idea to affix reflectorized tape striping to garments you wear regularly when riding.

This applies to bright clothing worn during the day. Unless they are reflectorized, they will not offer the same good visibility at night. Jackets made with retroreflective material also will help make you more visible at night.

 

Comfort and Fit

Your clothing should fit comfortably without binding.

A jacket with a zippered front will be more wind-resistant than a jacket with buttons or snaps. A flap of material over the zipper of a jacket gives additional protection against the wind. Jackets with snug cuffs and waist are recommended to keep wind from blowing into the garment.

Be careful about collar style – a large, loose collar will flap when riding and may irritate your skin or distract you.

Remember that even in relatively warm weather, constant exposure to wind when riding may cause hypothermia: a subnormal body temperature.

Hypothermia can cause you to lose your ability to concentrate and react to changing traffic conditions.

Motorcyclists are especially susceptible to rapid chilling that leads to loss of reflexes, a symptom of hypothermia.

The biggest danger of the subnormal body temperature found in hypothermia is the deterioration in the ability to think clearly.

Proper riding gear, such as a windproof jacket and insulated layers of clothing, is essential.

On a warm day (18 degrees Celsius), a motorcyclist riding at speeds of 45 to 55 miles per hour experiences a chilling effect equivalent to 1 degree. That is only one degree above freezing.

Riders not dressed properly for the chill could become victims of hypothermia.

Clothes that are just right for cold-weather riding may be too hot once you stop riding.

To prevent this, dress in layers so that outer clothing may be removed as necessary.

 

Jackets

Regardless of temperature, a light jacket should always be worn.

Stay away from jackets made of extremely thin material. These jackets will flap too easily in the wind.

On hot, sunny days, it is best to wear lightly coloured clothes and helmet. Lighter colours reflect the sun rays, rather than absorbing them like darker colours. This can make a difference of 10 degrees or more on hot days.

Wearing a jacket will reduce your chances of becoming dehydrated while riding on a hot day.

Wind rushing over exposed skin quickens dehydration.

A jacket helps protect your skin from drying wind.

 

Our Choice Low Cost Summer Jacket

Gearx Aircon Summer Motorcycle Jacket

Gearx Aircon Summer Motorcycle Jacket Waterproof Protection (L)
Price: £48.99  £48.99

Sound basic summer motorcycling jacket

Windproof, Waterproof 600D Strong Cordura fabric

Removable armours at elbows, shoulders, back

Airvent zippers that allow 360 Ariflow

All seams heat moulded

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Low Cost Winter Jacket

GTexpeed High Visibility Waterproof CE Armoured Motorcycle Textile Jacket

Texpeed Men's High Visibility Waterproof CE Armoured Motorcycle Textile Jacket - Black (Black/Green), Large
Price: £60.67  £60.67

Sound basic winter motorcycling jacket

Quality waterproof construction

Removable CE armour to shoulders, back and elbows

Breathable riessa lining, which is detachable & washable

Hi-Viz provides good visibility

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Low Cost Leather Jacket

Sturgis Motorcycle Jacket CE 1621-1 Hard Armour Cowhide Leather

STURGIS MOTORCYCLE TOURING JACKET CE 1621-1 HARD ARMOUR TOP GRAIN CHROME NAKED COWHIDE LEATHER
Price: -  -

Quality armoured leather motorcycling jacket

Heavy Duty Chrome Cowhide Top Grain Leather Soft and Strong

Full CE Armour In Shoulders & Elbows also Back protection pad

Two vents on chest area and two on sleeve

Detailed stitch and double leather work

Buy From Amazon

 

Armoured Trousers

Armoured trousers are designed to keep you comfortable when riding and also to protect you in an accident.

When it comes to protection leathers still offer the best all round performance and we highlight a surprisingly affordable pair below.

Another decent lower cost alternative are motorcycle jeans which feature inbuilt kevlar lining and strategically placed armour.   

Low Cost Motorcycle Trousers

Texpeed Waterproof Armoured Motorcycle Trousers

All Black CE Armoured Waterproof Motorcycle / Motorbike Trousers - Huge Size Range Available
Price: £49.99  £69.99

Excellent low cost protective trousers

Quality waterproof cordura construction

Removable CE armour to knees and hips

YKK Waterproof zips on front pockets

Two large front pockets & two cargo side pockets, adjustable waist belt

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Leather Motorcycle Trousers

Skinta CE Armoured Mens Leather Motorcycle Trousers

Mens Real Genuine Leather Full Top Grain Cowhide Plain CE Armoured Padded Motorcycle Biker Classic Custom Cruiser Touring Motorbike Trousers Jeans Pants Bike Jacket in Black by Skintan Brand New Size Waist 34 Inside Leg 31
Price: £99.99  £99.99

Good quality leather trousers

Premium Quality Top-Grain Cowhide

Padded Knees and Thighs – Complete with “PROSAFE” CE Protectors in Knee

Fully Lined for Ease and Comfort

Ankle Zips and Zip Attachment for Jacket

Buy From Amazon

Alternative Armoured Trousers

RST blade armoured trousers

RST BLADE SPORT MOTORCYCLE WATERPROOF ARMOURED SHORT LEG TEXTILE TROUSERS 36 XL
Price: -  -

Good quality trousers

Sinaqau waterproof breathable membrane

CE armour- elbows knees

Reflective piping and logos for nighttime visibility

Reinforced seat area

Buy From Amazon

 

motorcycle rider crash

Want more on motorcycle jeans?

Check out our in-depth motorcycle jeans guide…

Best motorcycle jeans

Rainsuits

Rainsuits are recommended in rainy weather.

One-or two-piece rainsuits can be purchased in several materials, the most common being polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and nylon.

They come in different colours, but orange or yellow is best for high visibility.

There are usually only small differences in rainsuit styles. The trousers of a typical rainsuit have elastic at the waist and stirrups (or tie-strings) on the legs to wrap around the rider’s boots.

The rainsuit has a high collar that is held closed by a snap or adjustable hook-and-loop fastener.

The front zips up and a wide flap fastens across the opening. The wrist openings fit snugly with more elastic.

When purchasing a rainsuit, also consider purchasing glove and boot covers.

Most glove covers are large enough to fit over gauntlet-type gloves without interfering with hand flexibility.

The boot covers should be worn under the rainsuit pants. The trouser stirrups are pulled over the boot covers.

The boot covers will not take much abuse, so it’s suggested they be taken off before walking.

For the avid motorcycle rider, a rainsuit is a must.

A dry rider will be much more comfortable and alert than the rider who is wet and cold.

 

Our Choice Low Cost Rainsuit

Oxford Rain Seal All Weather

Oxford Rain Seal All Weather Over Suit
Price: -  -

Decent low cost rainsuit

100% Waterproof

Water resistant seams

Adjustable cuffs on arms and legs

Folds into waistpack

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Medium Cost Rainsuit

Spada Waterproof Oversuit

Spada 408 One Piece Motorcycle Oversuit L Black Fluo
Price: £59.99  £59.99

Better quality rainsuit

100% waterproof and windproof nylon

Diagonal front zip opening

Zipped & elasticated cuffs and ankles

Integral carry bag

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Higher Quality Rainsuit

Alpinestars El Nino 1 Piece Rain Suit

Alpinestars El Nino 1 Piece Rain Suit
Price: -  -

High quality rainsuit

100% Waterproof, neck, waist and cuff adjustments

Velcro closure at the cuffs and ankles

Reflective piping and logos for nighttime visibility

Heat resistant material on inner leg for durability

Buy From Amazon

 

Cold Weather Riding

When preparing to ride in cold weather, several layers of clothing are necessary, usually starting with thermal underwear.

Extra layers of trousers, shirts and jackets should be layered loosely to aid body heat in forming a warm insulation.

Topping your clothing with a windproof outer layer will prevent the cold wind from reaching your body.

Another alternative when riding in cold weather is to wear a snowmobile suit. These lightweight, insulated suits provide the warmth needed to prevent hypothermia.

Another option available to motorcyclists is an electrically warmed suit or vest. These items hook up to the motorcycle battery and can be quite effective.

Whether you ride in a warm or cold climate, in a rural area or the city, a good selection of high-quality riding gear will help you stay comfortable in all weather and riding conditions.

And, if you have an accident or spill, it could save you from serious injury.

 

Footwear

Over-the-ankle leather boots can protect riders from a variety of riding hazards.

They protect ankles from stones that fly up from the roadway.

They also prevent burns from hot exhaust pipes.

In case of a crash or spill, boots help provide valuable protection against foot and ankle injuries.

Boots with oil-resistant, rubber-based composite soles will give you a strong grip on the pavement and help you keep your feet on the pegs.

Leather soles tend to be slippery and less durable.

If the boots have heels, they should be low and wide.

Our Choice Low Cost Boots

Richa Slick Mens Motorcycle Boot

Richa Slick boot black 44
Price: £64.99  £64.99

Comfortable low cost boots

100% Waterproof

Oil and petrol resistant VR sole

Anti crush steel shank

Reinforced gear shift pads

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Medium Cost Boots

Spada ST1 WP Boots

Spada ST1 WP Boots White/Black
Price: -  -

Good quality boots

Waterproof and breathable membrane

TPU shin; ankle and calf mouldings

Replaceable toe sliders

Leather outer construction/p>

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Higher Quality Boots

TCX X-Blend waterproof boots

TCX – Motorcycle boots – TCX x-blend Waterproof Brown – 45
Price: £159.99  £159.99

High quality boots

Fully CE Certified motorcycle boot

Reinforced toe and heel cap

Ankle bone protectors

High wear-resistant rubber sole

Buy From Amazon

motorbike boots

Want more on boots?

Check out our in-depth motorcycle boot guide…

Best Cheap Motorcycle Boots

Eye and face protection

Any motorcyclist who has been hit in the face by a stone or an insect while riding can tell you about the benefits of face protection.

Windshields and eyeglasses do not provide adequate face and eye protection. Wind, insects and pebbles may be blown behind a windshield.

Eyeglasses with shatterproof lenses may protect the eyes, but most don’t seal out the wind which makes your eyes water.

Reports have shown that motorcycle riders with shields covering their faces suffered a lot less facial injuries than those without.

Helmets providing full-face coverage with strong chin pieces and energy-absorbing liners are especially effective in reducing face injuries.

Any visor (or goggles) sold for motorcycle use must have been tested to BSI or its European equivalent standards.

BS 4110 or ECE 22-05 are the standards and the visor should have this standard etched upon it or on a sticker attached to the visor.

Visors must be able to transmit at least 50% light. Deeply tinted visors, which will not have a mark of approval, are illegal in this country (UK).

It’s important to keep your visor or goggles clean using warm, soapy water and NOT solvents or petrol.

If they become badly scratched renew them.

 

Helmets

By law, you must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle on the road. It is the most important piece of protective gear a rider can wear. It protects against head injury, windblast, cold and flying objects. Full-face helmet recommended.

  • Helmets save lives
  • Helmets prevent or reduce severity of brain and facial injuries
  • Helmets cut down on distracting wind noise
  • Helmets protect eyes and vision from windblast and flying debris
  • Helmets provide greater comfort

By law, you must wear a safety helmet when riding a motorcycle on the road. All helmets sold in the UK must either

  • comply with British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI kitemark or
  • comply with UNECE Regulation 22.05 or
  • comply with any standard accepted by a member of the European Economic Area which offers a level of safety and protection equivalent to BS 6658:1985 and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI kitemark

 

Try and select one which also has an ACU gold sticker on it. (This means the helmet is good enough for racing on metalled surfaces)

Motorcycle helmets are either full-face or open-face.

Full-face helmets cover the head fully and have a hinged visor. They protect the face in an accident and offer more weather protection than an open-face helmet.

Open-face helmets are preferred by riders who feel closed in by full-face helmets and can be worn with either a visor or goggles. They don’t protect the chin in an accident.

Your helmet should be a firm fit. The padding will soon bed down and this could make the helmet loose. A loose helmet is uncomfortable and could also come off in an accident.

 

Helmet materials

They are made in 3 basic materials – polycarbonate, glass fibre and Kevlar.

Polycarbonate is lighter than glass fibre, must not be painted or have stickers affixed and must not be cleaned with solvents.

Glass fibre is heavier, lasts longer and is easier to clean than polycarbonate.

Kevlar is an extremely tough material which combines great strength with light weight but tends to be expensive.

 

Damage to helmets

If your helmet receives any serious impact buy a new one.

Damage won’t always be visible to the naked eye and a damaged helmet could be unreliable in an accident.

We recommend you never buy a second-hand helmet.

Take a look at the Sharp helmet safety ratings website

We highly recommend having your helmet fitted by a professional in a bike shop as the size and shape of each persons head is different.

If you must buy online then we have highlighted some good value options below, all items can be returned for free if they don’t fit correctly.

 

Our Choice Low Cost Helmet

Shox Bullet Flip Front Motorcycle Helmet

Shox Bullet Flip Front Motorcycle Helmet M Matt Black
Price: £44.99  £44.99

Basic low cost helmet

Polycarbonate Shell Construction – Lightweight yet strong

Multi-Positional Clear and Anti-scratch Visor

Micrometric Adjustment Buckle

Built to the latest ECER 22.05 Standard

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Low Cost Helmet

LS2 F351 Solid Full Face Helmet

LS2 F351 SOLID MATT BLACK FULL FACE MOTORCYCLE HELMET SMALL
Price: £44.98  £44.98

Good quality helmet

Moulded anti-scratch visor

Fully vented

Removable Washable Hi-Comfort liner

Ecer22/05 and ACU Gold Stamped

Buy From Amazon

Our Choice Higher Quality Helmet

Bell Helmets 7050673 Street 2015

Bell Helmets 7050675 Street 2015 M5X Adult Helmet, Solid White, Large
Price: -  -

Higher quality helmet

Multi-composite Kevlar, Fiberglass Carbon Shell

Front and rear air vents along with air vents on the chin guard

Injection moulded visor, with no fog

ECER 22.05 Approved, ACU Gold Approved, Sharp 5 Star Rating

Buy From Amazon

 

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