Prep for Riding With a Guide to Motorcycle Protective Gear

Mar 4, 2024


picture of a motorcycle riding gear - jacket, helmet, gloves motorcycle protective gear

Great bikes come with great responsibility, especially when it comes to safety. Wearing the right motorcycle safety gear isn’t just smart; it’s a must-do for every ride. Let's walk through the essentials of motorcycle safety equipment that keep you protected and make your rides a whole lot more enjoyable.

Summary of Must-Have Motorcycle Safety Gear

  • Helmets
  • Riding Jackets
  • Gloves
  • Pants
  • Motorcycle Boots
  • Earplugs
  • Eye Protection
  • Reflective Vest
  • Extra Layers of Protection (guards, padding)
  • Hair Protection

Helmets, Non-Negotiable.

picture of man looking at different types of motorcycle helmets guide to motorcycle protective gear

First things first, a good helmet is your best friend on the road. It’s all about keeping your head safe, and let’s face it, that’s pretty important. Whether you go for a full-face helmet, modular, or open-face, make sure it meets official safety standards like DOT or SNELL. Think of it as your personal crash helmet—because that’s exactly what it is.

Your state’s helmet laws aren’t an excuse to not wear one. According to the National Safety Council, over 25,000 lives were saved due to motorcycle helmets during crashes in the last two decades. 

Riding Jackets

picture of different types of motorcycle riding jackets guide to motorcycle protective gear

Motorcycle jackets are where you can start showing off your style, but they have a job beyond making you look good. A solid jacket has built-in armor for your back, shoulders, and elbows and is made from tough stuff like leather or reinforced textiles—bonus points for reflective bits that make you shine to other drivers at night.


picture of a pair of motorcycle riding gloves on a red motorcycle gas tank guide to protective motorcycle gear

Ever tried catching yourself in a fall? It’s instinct. That’s why gloves are key—they protect your palms, fingers, and wrists. Look for gloves that balance tough protection with enough flexibility to operate your bike’s controls like a pro. Waterproof, thermal, you name it—there’s a glove for every condition.

Motorcycle Pants

picture of woman sitting down showing her riding pants, gloves, and boots guide to motorcycle protective gear

Jeans might look cool at a bar, but you’ll want something sturdier on a bike. Motorcycle pants come armored and abrasion-resistant, meaning they’ll take the hit before your skin does. And for those who can’t part with their denim, jeans with Kevlar lining or armor inserts offer the best of both worlds.

Motorcycle Boots

picture of a man's foot with motorcycle riding boots guide to motorcycle protective riding gear

Good boots keep your feet and ankles safe and sound. They should be sturdy, with protection around the toes, heels, and ankles, and have a grip that clings to your bike’s pegs like nobody’s business. Whether you’re riding through a storm or scorching heat, there’s a boot that’s got you covered.

What about regular ol’ boots? Motorcycle boots offer specialized protection, durability, and ergonomic features designed specifically for riding, which regular boots lack, making them essential for rider safety and comfort on the road. Regular boots may be stylish and comfortable for daily wear, but they fall short of providing the necessary support, protection, and stability for motorcycle riding.


Earplugs are a great piece of motorcycle safety equipment for every rider. Regardless of the bike you ride, the combined noise of the engine, wind, and traffic can quickly lead to ear fatigue due to the high decibels you're exposed to. To safeguard your hearing, start with basic, industrial-grade foam earplugs. For those looking for an upgrade, consider investing in high-quality, custom-molded earplugs tailored to fit the unique contours of your ears—much like fingerprints, no two pairs of ears are alike. 

Reflective Vest

picture of a man riding a motorcycle with a reflective vest on for added visibility guide to motorcycle protective gear

Nothing beats a high-visibility reflective vest when it comes to riding gear that enhances your visibility to others. It's an affordable yet effective way to ensure you're seen by drivers, especially in areas bustling with traffic and people. While many modern motorcycle jackets come in high-visibility colors and materials, adding a reflective vest to your gear is smart if yours isn't one of them. Taking a cue from highway and construction workers who wear these vests to stand out, motorcyclists can greatly benefit from their added visibility.

Guards and Protectors

picture of a man on a motorcycle putting on protective gear - a kidney belt, back brace, and elbow arm protection guide to motorcycle protective gear

  • Back Protectors: These fit inside the jacket or can be worn separately, providing extra protection for your spine during falls.
  • Chest Protectors: Like back protectors, chest protectors shield the chest area from impacts and are especially popular among off-road and adventure riders.
  • Elbow and Knee Guards: For riders who want added protection without wearing fully armored jackets or pants, separate elbow and knee guards can be a flexible option.
  • Hip Protectors: Worn inside motorcycle pants or as part of a rider’s undergarment, these provide additional cushioning and protection for the hips and pelvis.
  • Neck Braces: Designed to reduce neck movement during a crash, neck braces can help prevent serious neck injuries and are commonly used in off-road and track riding.
  • Kidney Belts: These belts offer support to the lower back and core, which can be beneficial on longer rides and also provide some protection in case of an accident.

Goggles and Eyewear

If you’re opting for a helmet that isn’t full-face or doesn’t have a protective visor, goggles are an absolute must. This is often the law- your eyes have to be covered. While it might seem more obvious, riding without protective eyewear exposes you to the wind, dust, debris, and UV rays, which can seriously damage your eyes. 

Extra Layers of Protection

Once you’ve got the basics down, think about adding some extra layers of protection:

  • Body Armor: Extra padding never hurt anyone—literally. Consider slipping some more armor under your gear for those just-in-case moments.
  • Hearing Protection: Wind and engine noise isn’t just annoying—it can ding your hearing over time. Pop in some earplugs to keep your ears sharp.
  • Eyewear: If your helmet’s visor doesn’t cut it, grab some UV-protective sunglasses or goggles to shield your eyes from everything the road throws at you.

How to Protect Your Hair When Riding a Motorcycle

So many riders I know with longer hair often complain about breakage and damage to the hair. Try these tips to find the one that works best for your hair. 

  • Helmet Liners: Use breathable liners to prevent tangles and keep your helmet clean.
  • Balaclavas/Headwraps: A balaclava or headwrap can protect against knots and reduce friction.
  • Silk/Satin Scarves: Wrap your hair to minimize breakage and maintain moisture.
  • Hair Care Products: Opt for leave-in conditioners or UV protection sprays to protect against environmental damage.
  • Ponytail/Braid Holders: Secure long hair with gentle holders to prevent tangling.
  • Specialty Helmets: Choose helmets with space for ponytails to avoid hair damage.

Investing in Quality Pays Off

Sure, safety gear can be a bit of an investment, but can you put a price on staying in one piece? Go for the good stuff that lasts longer and offers better protection. Look for trusted brands and get the lowdown from other riders’ reviews.

Keep Your Gear in Top Shape

Like any good relationship, the one with your motorcycle gear needs some TLC. Regular checks for wear and tear and a timely update when things start looking rough, keep your protection game strong.

Yes, Motorcycle Helmets DO Expire

Motorcycle helmets generally have a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years from the date of manufacture, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations, usage, and care. Over time, the protective materials in the helmet can degrade due to exposure to UV light, sweat, and the natural aging of the materials, diminishing its protective capabilities. It's also advised to replace a helmet immediately if it experiences a significant impact, even if no damage is visible.

Stay safe on the road when renting a motorcycle with Riders Share.

Hitting the road with a rental from Riders Share? Awesome choice! Just remember to keep safety your top priority. Gear up with the right helmet, jacket, gloves, and, of course, those all-important motorcycle boots. Lots of our motorcycle owners offer complimentary gear or gear rentals if you’re in a pinch or traveling without. Riders Share encourages you to explore on two wheels while staying safe.  So, buckle up, enjoy the ride, and let the adventure begin!


Wrapping It Up

Suiting up with the right gear isn’t just about following the rules—it’s about making every ride as safe as possible so you can focus on the fun part. From helmets to boots, each piece of your gear is a choice for safety. So gear up, ride confidently, and let the good times roll.