Updated January, 2021
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm enough to keep riding year round – or if you’re a hearty soul who refuses to pack it in for anything less than the winter apocalypse, heated riding gear will make your travels not only a lot better, but a lot safer as well. Hypothermia is no laughing matter. To be clear, we’re talking more than just passive gear like thick jackets, we’re talking active apparel requiring an electronic heat source, either from your motorcycle or from rechargable batteries.
With proper heated motorcycle gear, it may be January on the outside, but it’ll feel like September on the inside. Heck, if your bike’s alternator is up to it, you can make it August with a full complement of jacket, pants, gloves and boot liners. It’s important to note that nearly all of the items listed below require some sort of external hardware like a temperature regulator and/or wiring harness be added to the motorcycle, which are not included as part of the guide. But you will find a sampler of our favorite heated vests, jackets, pants and gloves to get you started.
Getting a flat while out riding sucks. Whether you’re on a tour or running errands, getting a flat on a motorcycle is not only inconvenient, it can be downright dangerous. It’s even worse when you decided to pack your plug kit at the bottom of your cases and have to sprawl out all of your possessions along the side of the road like some wandering gypsy in order to find it. The only thing worse than that is not having one at all.
There are all kinds of kits out there and they basically all work the same. Most have the plugs, your various T-handles to clear the area and wedge the plug, and maybe even a few CO2 cartridges to get some air back in the tire so you can limp back to civilization and fill up completely (if you even need to). We’ve left plugs in tires for thousands of miles without any issues, but you do whatever you’re comfortable with. Let’s look at some of the best motorcycle tire repair kits on offer these days.
Just like anything else, motorcycles are continually evolving and getting lighter, faster and more powerful with each passing year. Despite improvements to how well bikes handle and perform, having an accident and crashing is always a looming threat that can never be eliminated, only mitigated – especially off-road. Fortunately for us riders, there are engineers working hard to keep our heads and bodies as safe as possible so we can continue to enjoy riding motorcycles – both on- and off-road – with confidence in knowing that we have the best chance in decreasing the amount of damage a potential crash can cause.
We here at MO are proponents of ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time), however, if you’re only going to buy one piece of equipment, you better make it a helmet. Below is a list of the best dirtbike helmets money can buy.
Accessories really do make the outfit, and depending on what the outfit is, this is a hugely broad category. The things you need for touring on pavement are quite a bit different than what you’ll need on an off-road adventure, but there’s still plenty of crossover. Blah blah…
You know all that. So this list of accessories can’t possibly cover all the farkles you should have, but it is a pretty good start on the pile of things you can use, wear, and/or show-off on your motorcycle. Heck, we use a lot of them. You should too.
There are a dizzying array of options when it comes to dirtbike tires. From tread patterns, to compounds, to the brands themselves, it’s difficult to decipher what is the best tire. That’s mostly because deciding on the best tire requires a lot of input from the rider themselves. What kind of dirtbike are you riding? What kind of terrain are you riding on? Are you looking for longevity or for the most traction possible just to get through a hard enduro race? These are just a handful of the questions you need to answer for yourself before embarking into the deluge of different off-road tire choices.
In an attempt to add some sort of clarity to the situation, here we’ve listed some of the top performers from a number of major tire manufacturers that skew toward the “hard” end of the spectrum.
Updated November 2020
If you’ve been paying attention at all, you know that the number of women involved in our favorite two-wheeled sport is growing rapidly. Back in 2018, the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) released statistics noting that female ridership was up to 19%. And the curve hasn’t changed since then. Naturally, being fans of protective gear, we wanted to sure that women are aware of all the high-quality motorcycle gear available for their gender. So, for your perusal, we offer a list of Best Women’s Motorcycle Jackets – just in time for the holidays.
Nothing beats the convenience of an open-face helmet for cruising, light touring, or just commuting through your town. If you happen to be riding a scooter while wearing an open-face helmet, you’re just living in the lap of convenience and pragmatism. Like any other helmet, open-face helmets come in all shapes and sizes (though not a whole lot of colors), so here we’ve gathered a few to tell you about. They are listed below in alphabetical order.
Updated November 2020
Not all motorcycle tie-downs are created equal. There are plenty of ways to strap down your motorcycle. The type of motorcycle you have, what kind of hauler you use, and your general preference can all play a part in getting the best tie-downs to safely secure your motorcycle for your situation. We took a look at the market and considered what we have in our truck beds to bring you a list of some of the best motorcycle tie-downs we could find.
Why is it that OEM lighting too often seems subpar? That’s not to say every brand or model on the road these days has a headlight that comes up short, but in my experience, on two wheels or four, manufacturers rarely put an emphasis on their vehicle’s ability to provide ample lighting. Thankfully, there are a handful of companies out there making great auxiliary lighting options for motorcycles. Some are new, and some have been well-tested over time in rigorous conditions. If you’re looking to add some lumens to your stock setup, here are some of the best LED lights for motorcycles.
Updated October, 2020
Keeping your fingers warm and touchy-feely isn’t just a comfort thing, it’s also a survival thing: You really do need to be able to apply fine control inputs to your, ah, controls, to safely operate your bike, especially when the pavement’s cold and/or wet. How are you gonna brake hard to avoid that moose if your fingers are half-frozen? You can’t modulate like Marquez with hands you can’t feel, nor gas it with finesse to escape sliding SUVs. That’s especially true if your old beater doesn’t have antilock brakes or traction control. Everybody already knows, we hope, about the value of heated grips, handguards, etc. But the first line of defense against the cold, ever since our Eskimo ancestors’ first strapped sled to a surprised group of dogs, is a nice, warm pair of gloves. Here’s a small sampling of some of the best winter motorcycle gloves available.
Here in the States, most people treat scooters nearly the same as motorcycles. The utilitarian conveniences of the scooter have never really caught on over here, and scooters are still generally seen as a luxury item. Like motorcycle owners, the folks who spend their hard-earned money on these practical two-wheelers want to keep their machines looking good and also away from the prying eyes of opportunistic thieves.
Many of us aren’t able to keep our scooter inside a garage, home, or enclosed parking area. Some would rather opt for convenience and keep their scooter outside so they can dash off without fiddling with a garage at all. Thanks to the worldwide popularity of scooters, there are plenty of covers on the market to fit all sizes and shapes. Whether your machine is Italian, Japanese, Taiwanese, or Chinese, there is sure to be a scooter cover on the market to fit your application. Here are a few of the best scooter covers from the market that illustrate the diversity of covers that can be had.
In the previous century, the manufacturers didn’t want us to call their motorcycles “cruisers,” because they were afraid to be associated with the 1980 Al Pacino film “Cruising,” which was about a serial killer preying on gay men cruising for sex. Today, that plotline could be a selling point, who knows? Things change. Anyway, as you know, cruisers in the motorcycle idiom refers to laid-back American style bikes which tend to be ridden less aggressively than sportbikes, which sort of lessens the need for titanium toe sliders, calf pucks, and Crayon-box color schemes. In other words, these are the kind of boots plenty of normal motorcyclists on cruisers, touring bikes, sport-tourers and standards, don’t mind wearing every day, on the bike and off. We selected a few of the Best Cruiser Motorcycle Boots.
What makes for the best motorcycle jacket comes down to a lot of different variables, not excluding rider preferences. So rather than tell you that the following jackets are unequivocally the best, we’ve decided to highlight offerings that we’ve previously included in our more focused jacket lists (textile, leather, winter, women’s etc.) to give you a smattering of what Motorcycle.com sees as some of the best jackets currently in production.
Updated September 2020:
I’ve used quite a few backpacks during my time as a motorcyclist. At one point, I had gone nine years without owning a four-wheeled vehicle with only motorcycles in the garage. During that time I had a chance to try out a few different styles and brands and even the misfortune to lowside while wearing the one in the lead photo (this picture was taken months after the mishap).
Below you’ll find a list of 10 moto-centric backpacks that carry their own unique features and style. While it’s hard to say that the best motorcycle backpacks will be the same for you as anyone else, it is, at the very least, a chance to peruse some packs you may not have heard of before. So, here it is, in no specific order, our 10 picks for the best motorcycle backpack.
Back in the day, when a proper sport-tourer was an 1100 Katana or an FZR1000, the tank bag was indispensable for weekend blasts to San Francisco or Reno or wherever. The FZR in particular had a flat-topped steel tank that was the catbird seat for my old magnetic bag. If you packed soft t-shirts and undies on top, it was purrfect to lean on and unweight your wrists. Magnetic was good for me, since I was always riding different bikes. If you have one bike, an old-fashioned strap-on bag, invented before the magnet, is a bit more secure on windshieldless motorcycles.
Now that we’ve gotten old and soft, and motorcycles have become more specialized (I’m pretty sure saddlebags weren’t an option on the ZX-11 like they are for the new Ninja 1000), the old tank bag just doesn’t see much action lately. But I couldn’t help noticing the new Z900 tank looked perfect for a tank bag, and if you’re an old-fashioned rugged person who wants to go places in a hurry and less encumbered, a good tank bag is still a must-have accessory. Here are seven great ones to get your shopping started.
PS: If you’re worried about your paint, a layer of clear protective adhesive-backed coating like 3M Paint Protection Film isn’t a bad idea.