New Rider Gear Guide

BY Road Rider MCA - October 29th, 2015

Hey new rider, welcome to the world of motorcycling! If you’ve never had to shop for motorcycle gear or a helmet before – even if you have – you may find it hard to pick out what’s right for you from the overwhelming number of options available. When you visit Road Rider, we’ll do our best to walk you through the different features and fits of the products we carry, so you’ll feel good about the gear you choose. We’ve also put together this gear guide to give you an overview of the different kinds of protection you might be looking at when you visit Road Rider, including helmets, gloves, jackets, armor, pants, and boots.

With knowledge and preparation it is possible buy gear now that you will love using for many years to come. We hope this New Rider Gear Guide and your visit to Road Rider helps you make that happen. Happy riding!


Motorcycle Helmets

No matter what kind of riding you do, your motorcycle suit of armor begins with the most critical piece of protective equipment- your helmet.


When selecting a motorcycle helmet, follow these three key steps:

  • Put in the time. The best thing you can do to help ensure you’ll be happy with your choice further down the road is to try on a few different brands and styles.
  • Identify the features you want. Once you get started trying on helmets, we’ll help you understand all the functions, features, and different helmet styles. It might be important to you that your helmet be as lightweight as possible, or has a drop-down sun shield. Whatever you’re looking for, prioritizing the features you want will help you narrow down your choices.
  • Focus in on fit. Fit is a deal breaker, so expect to spend a lot of time focusing on how how your head feels inside the helmet. Comparing the feel of different helmet sizes and shapes will make you much more confident about your choice when you do select that first and most essential piece of safety gear.

At the end of the day, the right helmet is going to be different for everyone. There are a variety of factors to take into consideration, like safety, fit, function, performance, and of course, how much money you’re willing to spend. When you shop at Road Rider, you’ll find that we have hundreds of helmets, plenty of time to guide you through them, and lots of experience to help you pick out the one for you.

If you’d like to know more before you shop, be sure to read our Helmet Buyer’s Guide for a complete breakdown of helmet fit and features. 

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE HELMETS. Visit our store to see our complete collection.

Motorcycle Gloves

Gloves are an essential part of your protection arsenal, but also a huge part of your everyday comfort on the bike. When you’re wearing the right pair of gloves for the job, you won’t think about them at all. When you’ve got the wrong pair, you might have a big problem. Ill-fitting gloves can impede your ease of movement on the controls, be distracting, and fatigue your hands. If your hands get cold it can be all you think about, and the longer you keep riding, the more your hands’ coordination and mobility diminish.

Most riders end up with a few pairs of gloves for different seasons and situations, but when you’re starting out we recommend looking for a general purpose glove that fits you well. Gloves may feature things like high-tech fabrics, different kinds of leather, polyurethane sliders, and special stitching, all aimed at delivering maximum comfort and maximum protection.

Winter gloves are waterproof and usually insulated for warmth, but this added bulk can reduce your mobility and feel for the controls.

Summer gloves often feature perforated leather, mesh fabric, intake vents, or all of the above. You can choose from wrist length or gauntlet style summer gloves to help keep you cool.

Gauntlet gloves have a tall cuff that protects your wrist and lower forearm. They are also less likely to come off in an accident and will prevent wind from rushing up your jacket’s sleeves.

Glove Fit

When analyzing the fit of a glove, keep in mind that a very high-quality, soft leather will contour to your hand somewhat with wear, but less-expensive leather and textile materials change very little, so what you buy is what you get.

Make sure you aren’t fighting the glove when you open your palm or make a fist. Grab our demo handlebar grip and feel for any pointy stitching, pressure points, bunching in the palm and around the fingers.

If you want the most comfortable, dexterous fit possible, look out for gloves with a dramatic pre-curve and outside stitched seams. Having the stitching on the outside of the fingers rather than on the inside reduces discomfort and irritation caused by your fingers rubbing up against the seams. Having a pre-curve means the gloves are already shaped and sewn into a gripped position, which provides a cleaner fit around your hand on the handlebars and reduces bunching and rubbing.

Put in the time, try on many pairs, and you’ll find a glove that has the features and fit for you.

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE GLOVES. Visit our store to see our complete collection.


Motorcycle Jackets

An incredible amount of time goes into innovating new features, materials and improving classic design elements to make us safer and more comfortable on the bike. More than even, buying a quality, well-fitted jacket could mean the difference between needing to make a hospital visit and just brushing yourself off and walking away.

There are jackets out there for every style, every body type, and every kind of riding, so there’s one out there that you’ll love to wear.

Leather Jackets

Leather has always been the go-to material for moto gear, and for good reason–it has a very high abrasion resistance. How abrasion resistant a particular kind of leather is depends on its origin, processing, and thickness.

Although leather is naturally breathable, it gets hot and heavy in the summertime. That’s why many leather jackets and suits are ‘perforated’ with tiny holes for ventilation, or have zippered vents that provide airflow in hot weather. In addition, more and more leather jackets are now being offered with features typically only seen in textile jackets, like removable liners, zip vents, and elastic inserts in flex zones for ease of motion.

(click to enlarge)

New Rider Gear Guide Leather Jacket


Textile Jackets

Textile jackets are usually made of manufactured materials known for their strength and abrasion resistance, like nylon or polyester. Many brands will use a stronger material in high impact zones and more elastic materials in flex zones, like behind the shoulders and around the elbows.

Textile jackets are highly versatile, and can be loaded with features like zippered vents, pockets, space-aged materials, and removable liners. You may also notice that manufacturers often use special patented materials that have been developed to provide a high level of protection along with other desirable qualities, like softness, flexibility, and light weight. Check with our staff to find out more about the particular strengths and features of any of our jackets. You can also check the tags attached to the garment which will identify some of the key materials used in its construction and their benefits. We have a variety of mesh jackets for hot weather, heavier jackets with insulating liners for cold weather, and technical touring jackets that can do it all.

Combination Jackets

The cost of leather is always increasing, and it gives manufacturers a big incentive to develop better and better fabrics. Modern pants and jackets heavily feature advanced technical fabrics that are stretchy, strong, breathable, and durable, which make it possible for manufacturers to create protective, comfortable motorcycle gear without relying as much on leather.gear built with a blend of technical materials and leather is becoming more and more popular. Leather is frequently used as a reinforcement layer in key impact and abrasion zones, like the forearms, elbows, and shoulders.

(click to enlarge)

New Rider Gear Guide Mesh Jacket

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE JACKETS. Visit our store to see our complete collection.


Motorcycle Armor

Hard armor is essential, and it’s going to protect you from impact as well as abrasion. Most motorcycle jackets come with CE-rated* elbow and shoulder pads. Nearly all jackets include a simple foam back pad that can be upgraded to a CE-rated back pad. Some jackets (most Alpinestars jackets) also have foam chest pads that may also be upgraded.

Back Armor Upgrades

The vast majority of motorcycle jackets do not come with a CE-certified back protector, so many riders choose to upgrade. If you’d like to upgrade your jacket’s back armor, you can test out the feel and fit of a variety of CE-certified back protectors of different materials, shapes, and styles in the store.

Do you know the difference between a CE-Level 1 back protector and a CE-Level 2 back protector? Read our Guide to Back Protectors and Replacement Armor for more information about different ratings, brands, and kinds of armor options.

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE ARMOR. Visit our store to see our complete collection.


Motorcycle Boots

Some motorcycle boots do a lot of things pretty well, and some do a few things exceptionally well. But wearing a protective boot that was designed specifically to meet the unique needs of motorcyclists is a great place to start. Look for a boot that has sewn-in or external ankle sliders, a reinforced sole, and sturdy toes and heels. Motorcycle boots aren’t designed for walking comfort, but you will notice that the flexibility of the sole varies between styles and models of boots.

Most touring boots have a soft sole for better vibration absorption over long distances, while race or sport boots will have a very rigid sole for better protection against crushing. While touring boots are designed primarily to provide comfortable protection, race boots need to deliver optimal protection while giving the rider as much feel and feedback from the bike as possible.

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE BOOTS. Visit our store to see our complete collection.


Motorcycle Pants

Once you get out there riding, you’ll see the benefit of wearing a good pair of motorcycle pants. Typically offering hip padding and CE-rated knee armor, riding pants are on the front line of your safety system. Don’t forget, street clothes shred instantly in an accident, so covering your legs with an abrasion-resistant material is going to help ensure that something like a low-speed lowside doesn’t collect serious payback from your body.

Many people wear motorcycle pants over their jeans or street pants, and an “overpant” will be sized to be worn that way. However, most motorcycle pants can be comfortably worn over your normal pants or alone. Like jackets, motorcycle pants may have removable liners that provide waterproofing or additional warmth when needed, and they may have zip vents that provide airflow.

Textile materials are versatile and strong, so most motorcycle pants for street use will be made primarily of nylon or polyester. As the price of leather continues to increase, it’s being used more and more as a reinforcement layer in key impact and abrasion zones, like the knees or between the calves and thighs of offroad pants. Modern pants and jackets heavily feature advanced technical fabrics that are stretchy, strong, breathable, and durable, which make it possible for manufacturers to create protective, comfortable motorcycle gear without relying as much on leather.

CLICK HERE TO BROWSE OUR MOTORCYCLE PANTS. Visit our store to see our complete collection.

If you have any questions or comments about gear or getting started, we’d love to hear from you! Submit comments and questions at the bottom of this page or give us a call at (408) 227-6936.

*CE- ‘CE’ is a European rating system that is used to identify a wide variety of products that have been tested and approved to meet certain safety standards. Motorcycle gear that is CE rated means that it has passed a certain set of standardized tests developed for that product group.

*Hi-Viz/Neon Gear: Studies have shown that riders who wear brightly-colored or neon motorcycle gear have a real safety advantage on the road. Read our hi-viz gear guide to learn more about the hi-viz safety advantage and to get some gear ideas.




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