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When it comes to gear, there really is only one right answer.

Posted July 11th, 2014 at 07:47 AM by adouglas

A recent thread from a new rider had me falling right back into gear-rant mode. Like many new riders, she spent her money on the bike and is commuting wearing khakis, a shirt and a 3/4 helmet.

This, of course, is not a wise choice when it comes to gear. A few items:

1) Road rash sucks. Do a Google image search on "road rash" and prepare to be grossed out.

2) Are you aware that the cost of a skin graft requiring hospitalization approaches $20,000? This is a TOTALLY PREVENTABLE thing, if you wear proper gear. By "Proper" I don't mean a closeout mesh jacket. I mean quality gear, preferably leather.

3) Imagine yourself riding in a van at 40 mph. Slide the side door open, crouch down and watch the pavement going by. Feel the sense of speed. Look at the texture of the asphalt. Now roll out of the van. What do you think will happen to your jeans? Yep... they'll shred in a heartbeat. What do you think will happen to your skin right after that? This is EXACTLY what will happen to you if you lowside... same speed, same distance to the ground.

My personal choice is full leather with the best-rated armor, 99.9 percent of the time. The only deviation from that is riding a mile to the diner for lunch on a 30 mph road... and even then, the only thing I leave out is my riding pants. Full-face helmet, leather jacket with back insert, gauntlets, boots. ALWAYS.

The excuses for not buying and using full leather gear usually come down to cost first, comfort second. All my gear is fully perforated and as long as I'm moving, it's fine. Really. Do I sweat when it's super hot? Sure. Do I want to remain intact? Definitely. A whole skin trumps a little sweat every time.

So let's talk about cost. Full leathers are expensive. If you shop around you can equip yourself head-to-toe for, say, $600 including boots and gloves... I did. But it's better to plan for $1000. A lot? Sure. Compared to the cost of an ER visit or hospitalization, it is NOTHING.

It's a safe bet that I'm a lot older than most of you (I've been riding for 27 years). Here's something I learned a long time ago....

Step up and buy quality the first time. That way you buy it once and you're set for a long time. The extra few hundred bucks seems like a lot now, but in a year you'll have forgotten all about it.

Cut corners and you soon wind up buying something else either because it's failed or because you've realized that it's inadequate. Eventually you wind up with good stuff... but you've wasted a lot of time and money getting there.

So enough of the opinionated rant. Here's the inescapable logic part.

Go dig up some race crash videos. These guys routinely get up and walk away from crashes that are far more severe than anything that is likely to happen to you. Why? It's not because they're superhuman or because their gear is magical.

It's because they wear leather gear with proper armor, and good helmets. That's it. There's no mystery here.

You can buy essentially the same stuff they use right off the rack. Sure their suits are custom made, but the materials and fundamental design are the same as what's available at retail.

So why, aside from pinching pennies at the risk of grave injury, would one ride with anything less?

What good reason is there NOT to get the best gear you can?

I cannot for the life of me think of one. Can you?
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  1. Old Comment
    Kudos to u.
    Posted July 17th, 2014 at 12:44 PM by ds650rida ds650rida is offline


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