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A motorcycle helmet can make a difference between life and death. On the other hand, a motorcycle boot (or both) won’t save your life, but they may save your limb if you were to fall and end up below the motorcycle.
But what about motorcycle pants, leather jacket, or even sunglasses and similar pieces of riding gear? Are they just for show or do they have a protective function for a motorcyclist?
There is a lot of gear and accessories that you can buy for your motorcycle that doesn’t necessarily fit into a defined category.
A lot of these accessories are items that you don’t even know you need unless you just happen to come across them. But they can make motorcycle riding so much more convenient and comfortable.
And let’s not forget: riding is a very exposed activity, especially at higher speeds or in denser traffic. The tiniest inconvenience can turn into hazard in a split second. So, the line between mere convenience and safety is pretty thin here.
Here we have compiled a list of motorcycle gear, some of which is essential and the rest simply useful in everyday life. Best of all, most of it is pretty cheap and affordable.
This section will be updated regularly giving you access to some of the best motorcycle gear and accessories on the market.
5 Must-Have Pieces of Essential Motorcycle Gear
#1 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet
There’s not much philosophy to a full face helmet. What covers the head, safeguards your life, and that’s why a helmet is #1 piece of riding gear.
That being said, your helmet won’t do its protective job if it doesn’t fit perfectly. One size bigger, and it won’t provide enough protection.
On the other hand, if it’s too tight, it won’t do a good job of cushioning your head should a trauma happen. Plus it will cause discomfort or even pain, which is an unwelcome distraction that can have serious consequences.
When buying a new helmet, it’s actually rather normal for it to feel a little tight but not too much. When you break it in, it will be just fine. The rule of thumb is to choose a helmet that doesn’t hurt any particular spot on your head.
Some manufacturers will even offer different models for different head shapes.
There are also different types of helmets – full face, half face, modular helmet, etc. The reason why we recommend a full face helmet is that it offers the best protection of the skull as well as the face itself.
#2 Riding Boots
Many a rookie motorcycle rider will simply wear their sneakers, especially on short-distance routes.
However, proper boots are necessary not only for adventure riding, but for every single journey you take, long or short. They are not just a bad-ass piece of clothes but an essential part of motorcycle safety gear.
They will protect you from high-impact injuries in a crash or fall, but will also prevent burns from the exhaust heat.
Boots are the sole reason many bikers still have two functioning and (relatively) healthy feet.
Further reading: Buying guide to the best motorcycle boots
#3 Motorcycle Jacket
Nobody will legally require you to wear a riding jacket.
Nobody will fine you if you don’t have one either.
Still, a jacket is an essential part of motorcycle riding gear, and primarily because of safety.
If robust and rugged enough, it will protect you from the elements. But more importantly, your upper half of the body contains most vital organs that will be far less exposed with a proper jacket.
If you get down, the abrasion can cause injuries that are a nightmare to get through. That’s a textile jacket won’t prove nearly as efficient as a leather one, be it natural or synthetic leather.
#4 Motorcycle Pants
Protective clothing acts like a body armor in case of an accident.
And your lower half needs an armor too. That’s why a sturdy pair of riding pants has a part to play in your overall safety.
Your regular jeans just won’t cut it. They won’t prevent you from (literally) losing some of your skin against the pavement if you happen to fall.
If you really like jeans, the best bet would be a pair of proper motorcycle jeans that won’t tear easily as they are reinforced enough to withstand the impact of a crash.
Further reading: Best women’s motorcycle pants
#5 Riding Gloves
Longer rides expose your hands to vibration that can cause numbness or even road rash.
Bad news when you need all agility you can muster!
Luckily, it’s not a problem that a pair of leather gloves can’t solve.
A motorcycle glove will also protect your fingers, palms, and knuckles from injury in case of an accident.
In winter, you’ll also need a pair of heated gloves since frozen fingers aren’t very useful.
14 Optional (But Very Useful) Pieces of Motorcycle Gear
#1 Half Face Motorcycle Mask
Riding your bike in cold weather and low temperatures can be uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. Wind chill is no laughing matter as the effects of cold are magnified when traveling at speed.
So, a half face motorcycle mask or balaclava will do a great job in keeping the important bits of your face warm and protected to keep you riding for longer. When not in use, simply store in your backpack.
#2 Full-Face Motorcycle Mask
A full-faced black motorcycle mask will go even further in keeping you warm than half faced variants.
Although thick, this mask will easily fit underneath your helmet and act as a warm insulating base layer, keeping that wind off your head.
Bikers are tough, we know. But they are not immune to wind-induced headaches!
#3 Motorcycle Riding Goggles or Sunglasses
Not all of us like using a tinted visor as they are illegal in some areas for road use. They also can’t easily be swapped out mid-ride if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
For some, a better idea is a pair of sunglasses that are designed to be worn underneath your helmet. Available in a variety of styles and lens colors, there is no reason not to have a pair of these in your bike’s storage compartment.
As most of the items on our list, sunglasses can also play a vital part in safety since they allow for better visibility on a sunny day.
#4 Motorcycle GPS / Phone Holder
Getting lost is easy which is why many riders choose to ride with the aid of a GPS device. This can either be a purpose-built satellite navigation system or your smartphone’s map app instead.
Either way, you’re going to need to mount it on your bike’s handlebars, so what better way than a RAM mount?
#5 Motorcycle Rain Cover
Not all of us have the luxury of a garage so need to keep our bikes outside. Sun and rain exposure can wreak havoc on any bike’s finish.
So, to protect yours and to keep it out of sight of prying eyes, invest in a motorcycle cover.
But it’s not just about the fanciful looks. Believe it or not, a humble cover also acts as a deterrent against theft. Even police have included it on their lists of recommendations!
#6 Paddock Stands
You too can pretend your garage is a race team’s pit bay with a set of paddock stands. Perfect for cleaning and lubricating your chain as you can elevate your rear wheel and performance motorcycle tires off the ground.
You will likely need a set of bobbins on the rear swing arm to allow these to hook onto and the same on your front fork. You can even find it as a set of two, front and rear, for the price you would usually pay for one.
#7 Motorcycle Loading Ramp
Anyone into motorcycle camping?
Getting your bike into the back of a van isn’t easy without a set of ramps. These 7.5ft folding aluminum ramps are a must-have for those who regularly take their bikes to race or track days.
#8 Mini Bluetooth Headset
I gotta admit: I’ve never much cared for Bluetooth headsets until I saw this one.
This Bluetooth headset is unlike all the rest we have ever seen on the market. Rather than install it into the side recess of your helmet, this headset acts as an earbud and just sits in your ear instead.
You only get the one which is designed for your right ear but this is more than enough to hold a phone call comfortably. It will also work with your GPS system so you can hear where you’re supposed to be going.
#9 Bluetooth Motorcycle Speakers
Who says motorcycles are too loud for some music to break through?
With a set of Bluetooth speakers, you can wirelessly stream audio from your smartphone, allowing you to listen to the music that you want as you roll down the strip on your cruiser.
#10 Motorcycle Scissor Lift (Dolly / Jack)
More and more bikers are beginning to service their motorcycles at home rather than make expensive trips to the main dealership. Making use of a motorcycle dolly is a great way to make this process as easy as possible.
A scissor lift will revolutionize the way you maintain and work on your bike, making it easier to complete those previously awkward jobs. Some are strong enough to lift an 1100 lbs motorcycle.
#11 Motorcycle Wheel Chock
Make transporting your bike easier with a wheel chock that allows you to lock a wheel in place. Vital for the use of trailers and handy for those who load their bikes into the back of vans and pickup trucks.
#12 Portable Air Compressor / Tire Inflator
Your motorcycle’s tire pressure should always be checked from cold to ensure an accurate reading. This means that riding 10 miles to your nearest garage in Summer temperatures is less than ideal.
With this air compressor, you’ll be able to check your tire pressures and inflate as required from the comfort of your garage.
Further reading: Best motorcycle tire pressure gauge
#13 Bluetooth Diagnostics Tool
With the onset of low-cost diagnostics tools you are now able to scan and diagnose fault codes and check engine lights without the need for an expensive dealership visit.
Simply plug this code reader into your bike’s OBD port and wirelessly connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth where you’ll be able to see exactly what is wrong with your bike.
#14 Battery Charger
You should keep your automotive battery in tip-top condition year-round.
Simply leave the charger plugged into your motorcycle’s battery when not in use and you’ll never experience a flat battery every again. A good battery charger will set you back no more than $100 so consider it a good investment.
Further reading: Best car & motorcycle battery chargers
And there you have it, our must-have motorcycle gear and accessories at all times!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best motorcycle protective gear?
In order to protect you, proper motorcycle gear has to include five premium quality items: a helmet, a jacket, pants, boots, and gloves.
These items make up the body armor that will often help prevent accidents, and protect your vital organs if an accident happens after all.
So, do you have to wear motorcycle gear? In most legal systems, you only have to wear a helmet, and the rest is up to you. But wearing all of the above items is more than advisable if you want to have a long and healthy riding life.
What is the best cold weather motorcycle gear?
The keywords here are leather and heated.
When you’re riding a motorcycle, cold gets super cold, to the point of pain.
And the last thing you need are frozen fingers, knees or toes.
So, choose your gear wisely, and keep in mind that heated gear should be a part of your motorcycle gear essentials. There’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of the modern industries!
What should you not wear on a motorcycle?
First of all, never wear damaged gear on your person. So, if your helmet isn’t 100% healthy, ditch it and buy a new one.
As for the rest of your attire, make sure to never wear slouchy or dangling clothes. Anything that could get in the way or get caught is a no-no.
Flip-flops, high heels and light sneakers are also high on the list of things that deserve a ban.
Why do bikers wear black?
Contrary to the popular opinion, bikers don’t wear black because it looks powerful. They do it because motorcycles are dirty business.
And I mean literally dirty. With all the grease, dust and mechanical dirt you have to deal with, wearing black (or some other dark color) is often the most practical option for every biker.