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Buyer's Guide to Motorcycle Gear

Welcome to the new Buyer’s Guide on There’s a lot of gear out there, so do a little research before you buy.

Some Tips on Jackets

Now, keep in mind your needs are going to vary depending on where you live and ride. Our MO readers in Chicago aren’t gonna make it through to October riding in the Brosh Summer Jackets that their Cali counterparts are wearing. Also, consider your riding situation: Are you going to need extra comfort for long rides or are you more for the quick commutes and moderate speeds? (“Moderate” meaning you won’t be reading Smoulder, Pop and Burn…)

Here are a few things to take into consideration for your online shop-till-you-drop adventures:


There’s nothing like thick animal hide to prevent the scars of abrasion, which is why all roadracers wear some sort of leather. Leather – whether in a bad-ass-black biker jacket or a finely tailored Dainese full suit – can’t be beat for protection. But leather can be hot and expensive, so a realistic alternative is the reinforced fabric riding gear like Cordura. Made from different strengths on the Denier scale and often reinforced with Kevlar, Cordura can be very effective protection, especially in conjunction with inner padding in the usual impact areas of the shoulders, elbows and back. All-weather riders can find jackets and pants that are waterproof or, at least, water-resistant.


No matter where you live, you’re going to need a jacket that can get you through a decent range of temperatures.

Many jackets feature zip-out liners, which are great for bombing down the boulevard whether in chilly April or in blazing mid-August. If your home climate is cool, opt for a full liner as opposed to just a vest – it may be a little bulkier, but once fall sets in, it means a couple of extra weeks of riding.

Vents are also a must-have feature.On a really hot day, effective venting is a godsend. For flow-through air movement, look for vents not only in the front but also in the rear.

The Flap Factor

There’s nothing cool about riding down the highway looking like a human balloon, not to mention that it’s unsafe. Riding jackets usually have several features to cut down on the flap factor, from Velcro sleeves and adjustable waistbands to snap-up collars. You don’t want to feel like you’re riding in Saran Wrap, but you do want to minimize loose material that creates extra movement and noise if you’re going faster than 30 mph.


This should be a no-brainer. Reflective piping, a back protector, and CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders. Remember, it’s all about safely and comfort while finding a style that accentuates your striking good looks.

Check out this article on Shift gear: Function Follows Form: Good-Looking Gear that Works Well.