10 Essential Pieces of Gear You Shouldn’t Ride Without  

  • Monday, April 28, 2014
  • by Mary Panerio

Spring is here, and the Buffalo Chip knows you’d rather be riding than reading. But to ensure you enjoy the safest and most comfortable rides this season, it’s important to first equip yourself with the proper gear. So before you head out the open road, check out these 10 gear recommendations from seasoned riders and leading motorcycle industry professionals!

1. Kevlar Lined Jeans
There are several manufacturers who make Kevlar-lined jeans, but Draggin’ Jeans are the ones I’ve found that really work well for women who don’t want to give up their cute Miss Me Jeans or Levi’s. These high-quality jeans are made to withstand impact, and they won’t shred should you go down in an accident. I wear them in the summer when it’s too hot to wear chaps, but thankfully I’ve never had to test them fully!

Genevieve Schmitt
Founder and Editor of Women Riders Now
Read Genevieve’s full review of Draggin’ Jeans Here

2. Helmet
I grew up in South Dakota where there are no helmet laws, so I know the freedom of riding with the wind in my hair. I used to get upset about having to put on a helmet when riding in certain states; the wind drag would make my neck cramp and be in major pain. Plus, it's not fun being a girl with helmet hair. It took a while, though once I found a few helmets I actually liked, I wore them proudly and gained a bit of extra courage and my riding styles became even better than before. No sense in potentially losing your life over a bad hair day!

Jessi Combs

3. Heated Riding Gear
Don’t ride cold. If you are uncomfortably cold, you are losing energy and focus. If you love to ride in the cool weather, invest in heated gear. IMPORTANT: Don’t get too warm. You can either adjust your heat or turn it off for a bit. It’s important to keep that edge of being comfortable but not hot. Hot makes you sleepy.

Joan Krenning
Lady Road Dog

4. Polarized Lenses

The best lens possible is my number one priority.  After riding with plastic lenses that were scratched and distorted, I decided glasses were one area I’d spend money on.  I love my Maui Jim's!  They now carry a polarized 2 lens. It's amazing how well you can see through them with no glare! 

Michelle Radcliffe
Traveled the World with the Davidson Family

5. Clear or Yellow Lenses
Don’t get stuck in the dark with just your sunglasses! You have to remember to bring some clear or yellow along too.

Paul Resnick
Hot Leathers

6. Bright Colored Safety Apparel
Brown and black apparel is not our friend on the road. If you blend in, others cannot see you. Wear something bright like the safety neon apparel offered by many motorcycle companies. One of my favorite equipment pieces is a nylon mesh vest with neon reflective taping. It can be worn over any of your gear for road safety. Contact Vicki "Spitfire" Sanfelipo at www.accidentscene.org, the manufacturer of this great vest!

Diva Amy
Owner of Team Diva

7. Versatile Head Scarf
There are various names for the head scarves made from a tube of stretchy fabric. Call it what you like, it’s an item I never ride without, in any season. It can be scrunched up to fill the gap between your jacket and helmet, pulled up as a helmet liner, folded into a headband, or pulled up in the front to fit over your nose and mouth. They’re hugely versatile in wind, rain, cold or fair conditions and are made in many iterations; some lined for warmth, some colorful, some in various fabrics. I got mine from the Aerostich catalog because they carry only the best tried-and-true, real-world use gear.

Marilyn Stemp
Editor of Iron Trader News

8. Armored Leather Jacket
A lot of motorcyclists will sacrifice performance and safety because something doesn’t look good. I’m a proponent of safe riding gear and can tell you that Roland Sands Designs thought of everything with its armored leather Maven Jacket. It’s an amazing, well-thought-out, high-end leather jacket that will last you a lifetime! It has armor to keep you safe, but doesn’t look like it from the outside. The company did an incredible job using perforation to make this jacket breathable. You can wear it in the summer without roasting, but it’s also form fitting enough to keep you warm should the temperature drop. 

Genevieve Schmitt
Founder and Editor of Women Riders Now
Read Genevieve’s full review of Roland Sands Designs' Maven Jacket Here

9. Gloves
Gloves are an important consideration when you think about what elements affect your reactions in an emergency situation. My smaller hands have a harder time maneuvering the clutch, so I look for thinner leather gloves for better control. When my fingers get cold, heated grips fix that problem. In the summers, I dig out my old horse riding gloves, as they are a thinner leather (and you can find them reasonably priced), but I love my Harley Gauntlet gloves for cool weather riding!

Michelle Radcliffe
Traveled the World with the Davidson Family

10. Boots
A good pair of riding boots provides safety, ankle support and traction.

Terry Rymer
Managing Partner at Black Hills Harley-Davidson®

What are some of your favorite pieces of riding gear? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

For more safety motorcycle safety tips, check out 12 Safety Tips Seasoned Riders Swear By and be sure to subscribe to the Sturgis Rider® News Blog!

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