A Comprehensive Gear Guide for New Motorcyclists
All You Need to Know to Ride Safely and Comfortably
You’ve made the decision to buy a motorcycle / become a biker.
Good decision, friend! If you’ve never been a motorcyclist before, we’re excited about what’s to come for you. There’s nothing quite like the FREEDOM and peace of mind riding a motorcycle offers you.
When riding a bike, there is no room in your mind for anything other than concentrating on the matter at hand. You will be focused on road condition, hazards, speed, angle etc. giving your mind a good rest from the stresses of everyday life. It’s a bit of YOU time. Does that sound like bliss? It is.
So you’ve bought the bike (or know which bike you’re going to buy) and probably spent a pretty penny. If you’re restoring an old wreck, you’re mentally prepared for a loving process of bonding with your bike and making it your own.
By this point, with time, money and effort spent, it would seem odd to not put similar levels of thought into the rest of the process of becoming a responsible motorcyclist.
Get yourself a coffee (or your beverage of choice, but we recommend caffeine), settle down and read this guide which will hopefully give you a well-rounded and detailed picture of everything you need to think about.
If not and you still have questions, just give us a call on 024 7646 6296 and we’ll offer all the help and advice we can. Better yet, come and see us in our Coventry store for a chat.
Your CBT (compulsory basic training) can be trained for and passed within a day, making you ready for the open road very quickly. Find a CBT course.
Another legal requirement is your helmet. Who loves helmet hair? This is where the follicly challenged come into their own. But seriously, being a biker means that you’re far too cool to worry about such trivial matters.
The bike you choose can lead to different suitable helmet styles and a rule of thumb for a good fitting lid is:
It should feel as tight as possible on your cheeks (squashing them to make you look like a chubby new-born baby) but not uncomfortable across your forehead.
If there is discomfort on your forehead, the helmet is too small. If it really squashes your cheeks but feels ok on the forehead, this is correct. With wear, the cheek padding will compact and become thinner so you don't want it roomy on the cheeks when you first buy it, as it will soon become too large and swivel on your head - you don't want that.
Have a look at some helmet options.
Motorcycle Jackets & Jeans
You may have read or been told that buying a protective and practical motorcycle jacket and motorcycle trousers for around the £300 mark is pointless as these are entry level prices and the garments are of low quality.
Please don’t be fooled by companies whose profit margins dictate that you must spend at least £500 - £800 for top quality motorcycle jackets and trousers.
For not much more than £300, you can get truly excellent leather motorcycle jackets and trousers that not only offer protection, comfort and superior fit but look stylish too.
How do we know? Because this is the gear we’ve been meticulously designing and manufacturing since 1971. A quick skim of our many reviews will hopefully allow you to see that you don’t NEED to spend in excess of £500 to get quality.
The reason for our reasonable prices is that we’re a small family-run company and have always remained so. We charge enough to make a profit and stay in business but no more. The advantage of selling our OWN brand motorcycle leathers is that we have control over our design, manufacturing and pricing.
We have occasionally heard grumbles from people that our gear is too expensive.
1. We refer those people to Harley Davidson and Triumph's (along with most big brands) motorcycle clothing ranges. Their leathers are a LOT more expensive than ours and you’re paying the extra for the badge, nothing more.
2. For the level of quality we offer in our motorcycle jackets and motorcycle jeans (as well as the rest of our range), we simply couldn’t stay in business if we charged any less. There is truth to the phrase “you get what you pay for”. We won’t cut corners on the materials we use, our construction methods and inspection processes.
This is why our motorcycle clothing famously lasts for so many years – it is an investment. If you want to spend less on your bike leathers, you will be buying products of inferior quality that will not offer you sufficient protection and will not last for years.
How many other companies give you a LIFETIME guarantee on construction?!
Here is a more in-depth analysis of why our motorcycle clothing is never described as poor quality.
Bikers Paradise (that’s us, hi) motorcycle leathers are regularly recommended by staff of bike shops, including bike shops that already sell a range of gear themselves. We think that speaks volumes.
Police motorcyclists are also regular customers of ours. When your job includes riding a bike on a daily basis and occasionally being involved in dangerous high-speed pursuits, you want to be wearing bike leathers that you trust and feel comfortable in. This ensures you ride with confidence, unhindered by unnecessary worries.
So What Should You Buy?
A lot of people recommend textile gear to new bikers. There is merit in this recommendation. Textile jackets and trousers are cheaper than leather gear and waterproof. If you’re unsure whether biking will be your thing (unlikely!) a textile suit will look like an attractive option to try it out with.Textiles are good for winter riding and we have a range of textile motorcycle clothing with impressive features and reviews if you feel this is the right avenue for you. If you’re sticking to scooters/mopeds, a textile suit should be sufficient.
If you’d like to take advantage of our 40+ years’ experience of being motorcycle leather specialists, we will always recommend riding a motorbike in a leather jacket and trousers.
If you quite like your bones remaining intact and keeping your skin where it belongs – on your body, you want to be clothed in leather.
Have you ever seen a motorcycle racer wearing textiles? An extreme example, maybe but even a low-speed accident can cause serious damage to your body if you’re not wearing the right gear.
Not just any leather. It needs to be cowhide of a certain thickness, stitched together with heavy duty thread including double and internal stitching, with as few panels as possible. The leather is the strong part – the seams are the weak part (which is why we insist on double internal stitching) so you don’t want numerous panels all sewn together, either to save money on larger leather skins or for decorative purposes.
A cotton-rich lining is arguably just as important as the leather. Here’s why.
Ill-fitting leathers are nearly pointless. It’s not enough to buy and wear clothing made from the right materials. They need to fit you correctly for you to get the most benefit from them.
We refer you again to our motorcycle clothing construction piece to learn more about the individual components that should make a leather riding suit and why, including information on the leather itself, the lining, the fit and armour.
If you’re serious about keeping yourself as safe as possible when riding, a leather jacket and leather trousers should be a priority. They should be constructed to a minimum CE standard and fitted with CE armour that sit exactly where it should on YOU. Our Rida-Tec System is the perfect way to ensure you have all of that reassurance.
And, when done properly, a leather riding suit looks damn good too!
But You’ve Heard of the Impracticalities of Leathers?
Leathers aren’t waterproof
You can get leather gear with waterproof membranes built in but we avoid that. The reason being that, for a lot of bikers, riding is a hobby and not an everyday necessity meaning you’re unlikely to choose to go out on the colder, wetter days and tend to ride in favourable weather?
The waterproof membrane prevents the leather from being breathable and can then become very uncomfortable to wear unless it is a very cold day. This prevents the jacket from being versatile.
If you do ride every day for leisure or commuting, we recommend keeping a lightweight close-fitting waterproof over-jacket and waterproof over-trousers folded up in your luggage compartment or under your seat.
These are designed to be folded up very small so as not to use up too much room in your storage. And then, if you’re caught in the rain, you can quickly find a safe place to pull over and pull these on.
Voila! Dry riding when you need it.
Leathers are Constricting and Uncomfortable
They can feel that way when you first buy them. There is definitely a ‘wearing-in’ process when buying new leathers. Because the cowhide needs to be of a certain thickness to offer effective protection, it can feel unwieldy to begin with. The trick is to use hides of an effective thickness but not so thick that it doesn’t get supple with wear.
That is why our leather motorcycle clothing is 1.2 – 1.3mm in thickness. This is perfect for offering the optimum protection while becoming very comfortable to wear.
Being a skin, the more you wear your leathers, the suppler they become until they feel like a second skin. Over a short time, the leather moulds to and ‘remembers’ your body shape meaning that when you buy your gear new, that will be the most uncomfortable it will ever be. It can only get better.
Leather isn’t Warm Enough
We offer a lot of our leather motorcycle jackets with a layer of thermal padding between the leather and the cotton-rich lining (unless the jacket is described as summer weight). This adds a layer of cosiness that most bikers find sufficient for the type of riding they do.
If you’re planning on being an everyday rider, you might need extra defence against the cold.
The mistake a lot of people make is to layer up with t-shirts and jumpers. If you do this, your leather jacket won’t fit as intended and your layers will bunch up around the sleeve area restricting your movement and, therefore, jeopardising your safety.
But of course we have a solution! Our specially designed Staywarm Thermal Top locks in your body heat while being thin and body-hugging so as not to take up much room under your leather jacket. You can also get thermal under-trousers for the same effect on your bottom half.
Leather is Too Hot in the Summer
We find it has to get very hot in the UK for this to be a problem and that doesn’t happen very often. But if you regularly ride in hotter climes, or you want to make the most of those rare British heatwaves (and why wouldn’t you?!), we offer you the perfect leather and mesh motorcycle jacket to give the best of both worlds – protection and awesome air-flow and coolness!
Paired with our ever-popular genuine DuPont™ Kevlar® Denim Jeans, this suit is fantastic for summer riding!
And for extra coolness? Look no further than our Staycool T-Shirt, designed specifically for bikers.
The Type of Bike You Ride Determines the Style of Your Gear
Are you riding a cruiser? A sports tourer? A classic bike? You can browse this site in general terms (mens and womens) or get more particular and see what styles of jacket and trousers suit different types of bikes and riding.
Boots and Gloves go hand in hand (hand in foot? Bad pun, sorry) with the style of your bike and riding.
If you’re a classic/cruiser kinda rider, you should find your ideal style of motorcycle boots in our range of leather Grinder boots.
Leather gloves come in summer or winter form. The winter gloves are waterproof and insulated making them very cosy but we’d only recommend them for experienced riders as they can be on the bulky side and the main thing when you’re new is to feel your controls and feel in control.
That means we recommend our summer motorcycle gloves to new riders. But that doesn’t mean your fingers need to freeze… That can be just as debilitating as bulky gloves.
The answer is Sub Zero Thermal Inner Gloves. Like our thermal top, these thermal gloves are designed not to take up much room but lock in the heat of your hands. Winner.
We’ve Kitted You Out with the Essentials!
Build up your experience and you’ll soon feel part of a community of happy souls who hit the road on two wheels to find what really puts a smile on their face - biking!
Don’t Forget to Look After your Leathers
In order to get the most life out of your leathers, they do require SOME maintenance. We’ve put together this leather care information page to help you get the absolute best out of your leather clothing.
Have you made it to the end of our guide for new motorcyclists? Bravo! Don’t forget we’re here to help:
Tel: 024 7646 6296
7 Portway Close, Tile Hill, Coventry, CV4 9UY
Know a new biker? Why not share this guide with them, they may find it useful: