What is the best protective gear for a motorcyclist?

I am thinking about purchasing the baseline Harley Davidson Sportster, but before I even come close to buying the bike, I will be taking the MSF course. Safety is incredibly import to me, as is a little fun. My major question though is, when purchasing protective gear, what are certain things I should look for. Also, between leather, textile, and mesh, which offers the most protection and why. I know many cruiser bike riders don't do this (at least that I've seen), and many will find it uncool but I don't care, I will be getting a full face helmet. I know that leather is generally the "look" for cruiser style bikes, but I enjoy motorcycles, and maximum protection is more important to me than maximum coolness.

I know many of you may say, if you want maximum protection, don't ride a motorcycle. I thank you for your concern and well-intentions

Also, the one jacket that has caught my interest more than others in the Power-Trip Army Flak-Textile jacket. It SEEMS like it is protective, looks cool, and gives me a chance to represent my service as well. Anyone know anything about this jacket?

8 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Leather, especially with CE armor, gives the best protection. If it is vented properly, leather is also comfortable across a wide range of temperatures. Downside: leather gets wet (except maybe BMW "waterproof" leathers.) Leather is also expensive. Textile is more versatile, and easier to make weatherproof.

    Aerostich Roadcrafter suits are approved for many track days in place of leather. I can tell you first hand that Roadcrafter gear will allow you to walk away from a lot of incidents that could put you in the hospital without it.

    I haven't tried Motoport kevlar gear, but it gets very good reviews as well.

    For an interesting discussion of the relative protective properties of different materials, read Andy Goldfine's discussion of the topic in his Aerostich catalog.

  • 1 decade ago

    Helmet is your choice. Many HD riders wear full face helmets now.

    I guess it's the "in" thing.

    Leather gloves. Many will say that your hands hit the road first.

    While that's not my experience, I still wear leather gloves.

    Jacket - I currently wear a textile jacket with armor and spine protector.

    I've been down in it and it didn't get much damage, BUT it was low speed and the little bit of slide was on ice. I think it would need to be replaced if I went down at respectable speed in the clear dry.

    The replacement will be another leather.

    I never really liked plastic, anyway.

    You will want over-the-ankle boots. I wear decent leather work boots. Safety toe isn't necessary, even though that's what I wear. Look for what will give you the best in comfort and protection.

    You say "maximum protection", does that include your legs?

    I was wondering what you were considering in the way of pants.

    I don't know much about that jacket, although I have seen it in Camo.

    The guy wearing it liked it. We didn't get to talk much.

    You have a chance to represent your service every day of the year - GO NAVY!

  • Sleepy
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    About helmets, use the type that makes you comfortable. I know plenty of Harley riders that use the full face. You probably want bright colors, but there are reflective tapes you can put on.

    Face shields, I recommend clear. You can use shades in the day, but what about night?

    Glasses, make sure they are impact resistant. Regular sun glasses can shatter if you catch a rock.

    The ones I wear I get at motorcycle swap meets or shows. For $30 I get a pair of impact resistant goggles that are cool enough to wear anywhere, 3 sets of lenses and the foam that keeps air from going up the cheeks and in your eyes, Oh and a cool little pouch that hangs from your belt to carry all that in.

    Jacket, Leather, armored is preferable. There are long sleeve shirts and regular looking pants I've seen with kevlar inserts that I plan on getting for warmer weather.

    Boots, Anything designed for bikes and obviously that cover your ankles.

    I don't know if you've heard this yet, I'm sure you will during the course, but this is the most important advice any one can give you.

    The best piece of safety equipment you could ever have is between your ears. Respect it.

    Good luck and welcome to the community.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, if you want to know what best protects - look at the racing grid. You see racing professionals wearing textiles or mesh? NOPE. Leather only. Because it has the best abrasion protection.

    Helmet, gloves, boots over the ankle, pants with knee/shin protection and jacket with elbow/shoulder protection. Glasses as well - never know if something might hit you in the eye... (I had a bee fly in my face and land on my glasses...and he still walked onto my face and stung me! OUCH!)

    I actually have a Power Trip leather jacket - got it at www.newenough.com They started as a used leather dealer, but now they have grown and they buy all of last years stock and sell at a discount. Check that site - I got my Power Trip jacket for $90 and it was originally $300.

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  • 1st Get a NEW helmet. Never, ever buy a used helmet. Chaps are a must. They are not only protection, they keep you warm. A heavy jacket is a must and a leather vest is added protection. If you can afford it you may look into body armor. I use a class 3 vest that has chest and spine protection with a kidney belt. I use a kevlar helmet. They are strong and much lighter than the old fiberglass helmets.

  • 1 decade ago

    In regards to safety, you are on the BEST track by taking that course, always wearing a helmet, and always riding sober, this get's you out of the 90 percentile of cycle deaths (improper/no training, no helmet, drunk). Be very careful at night, most fatalities on cycle happen at night.

    No comment on the other gear. Just make sure it isn't cheap $49 junk and you should be OK. For top-notch stuff check out the Aerostitch website, anything there should be very very good:


    You might want to consider just a jacket to start with, jeans, boots, helmet, gloves. Don't be a bonehead and ride around with a sleeveless T shirt, shorts and sandals, these tings sound like they will be obvious to you.

    They do also make helmets with military service type designs on them, but I would put function over appearance, I'd recommend Shoei, Arai, or Bell, all good manufacturers. If you want cool, you can get most any helmet in flat black, or get white and put some decoration on it supporting your service.

  • I have gone pavement sliding a couple of times and I have found that the heavy leather motorcycle jacket gives you the best protection you can find - of course if you want to stay safe , stay in bed

    Source(s): owner / operator chucks m/c serv
  • 1 decade ago

    Its got to be leathers, the bike racers use them and they slide all over the road when they come off and they go faster than you and i'm not a motorcyclist but I do watch them race.

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