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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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A few noobie questions about GEAR.

I've read the stickies and have found them quite usefull for considering what sort of bike I should start out on. I have decided to go with the ex500. I was leaning toward starting on a smaller bike but it seems all of my buddies who ride think that is a horrible idea. But the stickies (as well as other research) have helped confirm my belief that starting on a smaller bike is a good idea.

That being said, I didn't find any stickies or good posts about what sort of gear a noobie should start off with. I also checked the gear thread and there was no easily found threads on the basics of gear. Perhaps one of you more experienced riders could either point me in the direction of a good startup guide or could make a good post that has sticky potential. I believe the 'noobie' forum is the best place to make it because I would think that the proper choice of gear is almost as important as the first choice in bikes (if not moreso).

But I have a few specific questions that might help someone develop a post. I have glanced through the gear section of this forum and most people have the whole gettup going (helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, etc.) which sounds like a good idea if I were out riding for pleasure. But I will probably be using my bike to commute to and from work & school as I will use it for joyriding. Is all of this stuff neccessary just to get me the mile and a half of city driving required to get to school and work? If not, what things are necessary? I would guess a helmet at the very least but what about gloves or a jacket? If I want to wear 'normal' clothes without having to change my clothes once arriving, are jeans acceptable? Any pants? Shorts? Naked?

And what general info should I know about the various types of gear that would help me make a better informed choice in what I'll buy. Do I need a $400 helmet or is a $25 helmet that I might find at a garage sale acceptable? What should I look for in a helmet? What should I stay away from? And more importantly WHY should I look for, or stay away from, certain things?

Are gloves neccessary? Can I use those 99 cent mittens I see at the dollar store or should I find some cast iron gauntlets? Leather or chainmail?

Jackets? The pro's and con's of leather jackets versus some of the synthetic materials I see out there. Dont some jackets actually have hard material like plastic or perhaps even kevlar in them?

If I dont want a pair of raicing boots are my regular sneakers okay to commute in? What about for joyriding?

Are baggy pants out of the question? I'd look rediculous in some tight wrangler jeans where every detail of my keys shows through the material.

I'm not 'skinny' or even 'average' in weight. I'm above average with a picture perfect beer belly and some beautiful love handles. Is there gear to fit my body style?

I know I've asked a ton of questions and I dont really expect someone to have ALL of the answers. But any advice would be helpfull not only to me but to any of the other noobies who are not only curious about a first bike but also about the set of safety gear we purchase. I've found it hard to find all of this information in a central location that is not marketing a specific product. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:02 PM
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Gloves: Necessary, must be leather...should have stiff armor for knuckles.

Helmet: You need one that is either DOT or Snell rated. DOT is going to protect you better from 40-80mph and snell will do a better job at 80+. You do NOT need to spend $400, but you do need one that is new. Get a Scorpion, HJC, or BELL if you want to get a great helmet at a great price. Leave the Shoei and Arai helmets for the guys who print money for a living.

Boots: MUST be designed for motorcyclists. Recommend anything by Sidi, or the new Pumas if you have the $$.

Jackets: Must have spine, elbow, shoulder armor....you can go either leather (best) or textile (a close second), depending on your budget. Unless you are making 150mph runs down the highway, leather is great but not necessary.

Pants: Jeans are a BARE MINIMUM. Riding jeans or reinforced riding pants with knee pads are the next step up...full on leather pants are best, but hot and expensive.

Weight: All the gear will fit you. Motorcycle gear is cut to fit almost everyone and avoid product returns.

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Let me put it this way about gear: Any piece of flesh that is not covered by a piece of dedicated motorcycle gear, count on losing when you go down.

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:07 PM
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Gloves...best to have protection for your hands when riding. I always ride with my gloves. Perhaps some protection for your palms if you go down. Road rash hurts.

Jacket...I have mesh jacket with armor inside. It has a liner that I can add for colder weather. Some feel as if the mesh does not offer as much protection as leather, but opinions are just that.

Boots/shoes...wear something that covers your ankles.

Pants...I wear jeans for commutes around. Never been to a track, so don't feel I need full leathers. Opinion again, but my experience.

just my $.02.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustWondering
Are gloves neccessary? Can I use those 99 cent mittens I see at the dollar store or should I find some cast iron gauntlets? Leather or chainmail?



Nothing better than a great sense of humor.

You've gotten some good advice so far, nothing much to add, except invest in some good gear from the start. There isn't really "beginner gear". If you invest in good quality (not necessarily expensive) gear, it should last you for years. You'll probably want to change bikes before you "need" to buy new gear, as long as you don't go down in it.


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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:19 PM
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Just to clarify....Mesh Jackets do not protect nearly as well as leather....Good post Parabellum!!!! And the mesh jackets to me are a false sense of security...Better than nothing, not as good as leather....alas I have both.

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:20 PM
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Oh and last but not least I smell a troll!!! Fe Fye Fo Fum!!

Ride It Like You Stole It!!

AKA-Fearleesta!!!

For a man to be afraid of dying, he must first have something to live for...........
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:22 PM
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i don't know what the laws are in your state but we have to have a dot or snell approved helmet. if we're pulled over we get a fat fine. buy a new one. i good starter one only be like 150$ at the most. just make sure it fits right and is comfortable.

jackets come in all sizes. not to worry on that. make sure that you get a jacket that has ce approved armor and is comfortable.

gloves are important. make sure to get a gauntlet glove.

they have over pants you can get for around the 150$ range that will fit over your clothes and give you that added protection. they are easy to put on and take off. you can even get the added protection of have the jacket connect to the them to keep that jacket down if you happen to spill.

boots. make sure they cover the ankel and are some what thick



you ask if riding in full gear is necessary for a 2 mile ride? that's all it takes to get hit by a car or have a fall. dress for the crash.
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustWondering
I've read the stickies and have found them quite usefull for considering what sort of bike I should start out on. I have decided to go with the ex500. I was leaning toward starting on a smaller bike but it seems all of my buddies who ride think that is a horrible idea. But the stickies (as well as other research) have helped confirm my belief that starting on a smaller bike is a good idea.
Kudos to you, nice choice!

Quote:
That being said, I didn't find any stickies or good posts about what sort of gear a noobie should start off with. I also checked the gear thread and there was no easily found threads on the basics of gear. Perhaps one of you more experienced riders could either point me in the direction of a good startup guide or could make a good post that has sticky potential. I believe the 'noobie' forum is the best place to make it because I would think that the proper choice of gear is almost as important as the first choice in bikes (if not moreso).
Right again, although by simply choosing to wear gear at all, you've already made the most important decision.

Quote:
But I have a few specific questions that might help someone develop a post. I have glanced through the gear section of this forum and most people have the whole gettup going (helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, etc.) which sounds like a good idea if I were out riding for pleasure. But I will probably be using my bike to commute to and from work & school as I will use it for joyriding. Is all of this stuff neccessary just to get me the mile and a half of city driving required to get to school and work? If not, what things are necessary? I would guess a helmet at the very least but what about gloves or a jacket? If I want to wear 'normal' clothes without having to change my clothes once arriving, are jeans acceptable? Any pants? Shorts? Naked?[/
For the most part, yes. I forget the exact number, but it is a fact that most accidents happen within a few miles of home. Helmet is a must, as well as a jacket and gloves. I'll admit that I do ride in just jeans on occation, but the are usually my ICON Standard reinforced jeans, which are better than nothing, and if you are big fan of the whole walking and good ankles thing, get boots too.

Quote:
And what general info should I know about the various types of gear that would help me make a better informed choice in what I'll buy. Do I need a $400 helmet or is a $25 helmet that I might find at a garage sale acceptable? What should I look for in a helmet? What should I stay away from? And more importantly WHY should I look for, or stay away from, certain things?
All right, let's get into specifics. No, you do not NEED a $400 helemt. I would also not buy the $25 one at a garage sale, as it is used, and buying a used helmet is generally a bad idea, since you never know how it was treated, and damage can be hidden. What you need is a DOT and Snell approved helemt. These helemts have met certain crash standards and good for your melon. Brands such as HJC, ICON are good, but I personally recommend Scoprion. I had one before I bought my Shoei and it is a great helmet. You can get them all day long for $150-$200. With the higher priced brands, you are paying for a lighter helmet with more features (better venting, etc.) BTW, the most important thing when it comes to helmets is fit. How does a particular helmet fit you and you head. In the end, try a bunch on and go with what fits best.

Quote:
Are gloves neccessary? Can I use those 99 cent mittens I see at the dollar store or should I find some cast iron gauntlets? Leather or chainmail?
LOL, always go with chainmail, it vents better.
Seriously, do me a favor and put one of those 99 cent mittens on you hand and then put that hand on a belt sander. Now, what kind of gloves do you want. As silly as it sounds, that's about what is happening if you should even find youself sliding down the pavement after a lowside. Ask me how I know. Go with gauntlet style golve made from leather. They can be had for less than $30 online if you look.

Quote:
Jackets? The pro's and con's of leather jackets versus some of the synthetic materials I see out there. Dont some jackets actually have hard material like plastic or perhaps even kevlar in them?
I own both, leather and textile, both Alpinestars. The textile is a good choice for those really hot days here in Florida, but leather will give better protection. Buy the best you can afford, simple as that.

Quote:
If I dont want a pair of raicing boots are my regular sneakers okay to commute in? What about for joyriding?
Again, not if you like walking. Ankle injuries are no joke. I actually wear an Alpinestars "Ridge" boot. It covers to just above my ankle, and look like regular boots under some pants. I can wear them all day at work and nobody even notices them. Check them out.

Quote:
Are baggy pants out of the question? I'd look rediculous in some tight wrangler jeans where every detail of my keys shows through the material.
Yes, nothing baggy, too much to get caught up in moving parts. I have a few options when it comes to pants. I own a pair of Firstgear Overpants that do just what they sound like. The go over a regular pair of pants. Great when it's cool, but too hot otherwise. I also have a pair of Firstgear textile pants. Vented and very cool. Not as great as leather, but survived my lowside with minimal damage and saved my skin. On the rare occation I do wear jeans, I have a few pairs of ICON Standrd Jeans. The are reinfiorced in some areas and a bit better than nothing.

Quote:
I'm not 'skinny' or even 'average' in weight. I'm above average with a picture perfect beer belly and some beautiful love handles. Is there gear to fit my body style?
I have the same body type, so I can offer some suggestions. Go with Alpinestars for jackets. I've tried tons of different brands, and A* is the only one with the lenght to make up for the beer belly. Also, don't assume big body means big head. I wear an XXXL Jacket, but a M helmet, figure that one out.

Quote:
I've asked a ton of questions and I dont really expect someone to have ALL of the answers. But any advice would be helpfull not only to me but to any of the other noobies who are not only curious about a first bike but also about the set of safety gear we purchase. I've found it hard to find all of this information in a central location that is not marketing a specific product. Thanks in advance!
I hope this info helps. Feel free to ask away if any of this is unclear, and welcome to SBN

Josh
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaBuc
Seriously, do me a favor and put one of those 99 cent mittens on you hand and then put that hand on a belt sander. Now, what kind of gloves do you want. As silly as it sounds, that's about what is happening if you should even find youself sliding down the pavement after a lowside. Ask me how I know.

Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this one!

Because I thought there was something wrong with my front wheel?



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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 05:12 PM
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Belt Sander... HEY now I know how to crash test my gear safely...



seriously the only thing I am going to add, is you can obviously wear whatever you want BUT when you go down would you rather have something???

That should answer that question.

ONly thing I can add, Boots MUST have over ankle protection and NO LACES. Laces will get CAUGHT ON STUFF.. laces = bad.

pretty much everyone said everything else I would mention. Checkout closeouts for gear on apparel websites, there is no excuse now to say "I can't afford it", cause there is always something you can use that will help you out!

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 05:22 PM
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You asked if jeans and sneakers are "acceptable"...they are NOT in terms of safety. They will not protect you much if at all.

But it's about how much risk YOU are willing to accept.

I know one rider that cannot walk anymore because he was wearing regular shoes and one rider that died because he was wearing jeans.

That said, I wear jeans when I commute. It's a risk I accept for the convenience/comfort.

However, I will NEVER ride without helmet or gloves. Hands are too important for work and everyday life. Even a minor injury can severely impact daily activities. Helmet is obvious.

When I'm out riding for pleasure I wear a full 1-piece leather track suit with all accompanying track gear.

For 70% of my commuting it's jacket, gloves, helmet, boots, all riding specific. Jacket and gloves are leather with armor and boots are more "mild" race style boots (they don't look out of the ordinary under jeans).

For 29% of my commuting I switch to my "winter" gear. A warmer textile jacket and glove combo. Maybe a heated vest if temps drop below 25 degrees F.

For 1% of my commuting I will wear just helmet and gloves. Usually this is when I'm going to the convenience store 3 blocks away.
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 07:24 PM
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The great thing about school is you have a backpack. My backpack can hold my books, jacket, and gloves. In my hand I can carry my helmet. I wear jeans and tennis shoes as a compromise, knowing that they provide more protection that being naked or wearing shorts.

I would also read people's signatures because they hold some advice too.

"dress for the fall, not the ride" "It's easier to wipe off sweat than blood"

(sorry to whom I stole those quotes from, they were from memory not cut and paste so the actual words may vary.)

Check out www.ride2die.com, it's another members (again I don't know who) website with some nice pictures of those who chose not to wear gear.
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 08:59 PM
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There is a lot of great advice in this thread. A lot of you guys really stepped up and gave good detailed answers. There really is no way to improve on that so I just want to add a few small points.

There have been a lot of jokes about "chain mail" and I want to stress to you that metal on motorcycle gear is not a good idea. Of course I know that not even an idiot is going to actually use chain mail, but you do see guys with the heavy metal style jackets and gloves that have metal studs punched through them. Metal is a problem on motorcyle coats because it can get red hot as it slides across the pavement. Since the studs and zippers usually go through the shell of the coat, all that is betwen your soft pink skin and a searing red-hot piece of steel may just be a thin nylon liner inside your jacket. I've seen enough pictures of people burned on their hands and shoulders to know that this is something guys need to be aware of.

What I just said about coats goes double for gloves. Leave the rocker gloves at home and buy a good set of motorcycle gloves.

Second, there is a debate raging in the motorcycle community today about what consitutes a well constructed helmet. It was sparked by an article published in Motorcyclist magazine a couple of years ago and I think this article teaches a lot about helmets as well as what happens to your head when you crash. I can say that it forced me to rethink my position on Snell helmets and is something I think every new rider should read. http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/ge...helmet_review/

There is also a debate that often rages on this board about what is proper gear and what isn't. TS80 does a great job of spelling out the risks/comfort argument that goes through every mototcylist's head everytime he or she decides to head out. Comfort is a huge (but often overlooked) factor in deciding what to buy. You may have the greatest set of gear in the world, but it will not serve you as well as a cheap mesh coat if you leave that great gear in the closet day after day because it is too uncomfortable to use. The best advice you will get is to buy what you will actually wear.

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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 09:21 PM
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subscribed for great responses and the fact that i just asked a question about gear in the gear section. i do have another question though. my buddy got me a Buell jacket for my birthday knowing that i'm getting into motorcycling soon. It's not leather more like mesh but it has the back pad elbow pads and so on. would this be a good choice for days that are hotter? i plan on getting a leather jacket but i figured i could alternate between the two depending on the weather
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-10-2007, 09:27 PM
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Obviously, mesh is not as protective.

The actual mesh portion isn't very abrasion resistant at all. The mesh more or less simply holds the armored bits together.

Mesh is far better than regular clothes, but leather is still the best by a large margin.
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