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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As I said, I'm about to purchase my first bike. It's a 2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500R. As you could read in my other thread, I was convinved to downgrade to a smaller bike to get a few seasons' experience before deciding if I want to invest my time/money into a larger model.

I was looking at gear, and have been reading some other threads realtaed to riding safety equipment. I want to get something that will do the job without a doubt, but I don't want to drop $500 on a helmet and like $600 on a jacket, etc. This next year or two will tell me if I will seriously get into riding, at which point I wouldn't hesitate to drop the dough on some nice stuff. But money is tight right now (plus I'll have to buy my g/f gear, since she said after I take my MSF course and rack up some mileage then she'll hop on the back).

Can anyone offer up their opinions on textile vs leather on the topic of jackets? I figured, if you lay it down once, there's a good chance whatever you're wearing is gonna be toast. That said, and correct me if I'm wrong, will something made of textile with 'armor' do, like this Firstgear jacket:

http://street-bikes.ridegear.com/cg...ts.html?L+scstore+jhyh9723ff2e192e+1118270776

When it comes to helmets, I've read that they should be DOT and Snell certified (if I have the acronym and name right). Can anyone give any arguements on brands/quality/protection? I was looking at an HJC. Here's the link:

http://street-bikes.ridegear.com/cg...ts.html?L+scstore+jhyh9723ff2e192e+1118271303

Gloves and the possibility of pants/boots I'll have to address later.

Any input would be appreciated. This board has already proved more than helpful for a newbie wanting to get into riding.
 

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There is an article in Motorcyclist about the importance of SNELL and how a ZR-1($79) is better than some Shoei($600) helmet. Good article, and there is a good thread on here about it.

Before I knew any of that, I bought a HJC CL-14 and think it is a decent helmet, other than the fact it is really noise and not alot of venting. Check into Scorpion. Make sure to try out the helmet first then order online(always cheaper).

www.helmetharbor.com
www.kneedraggers.com
www.newenough.com

Or some vendors on this site, then can cut you a good deal

Jacket wise, I think leather is always better. Over the ankle boots, A-stars, Oxstar, just try some on before you buy them. Hopefully that helped a little?

:cheers http://forums.sportbikes.net/forums/showthread.php?t=277746&highlight=DOT+SNELL

There is that whole helmet thread.
 

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I'm not going to comment on any specific brands. There are just too many out there.

Different helmet models (even within a brand) may have different shell shapes and therefore fit different head shapes better than others. Before you buy any helmet, you have to go try them on and figure out which brand/model/size is right for you. You should leave each potential helmet on your head for at least 20 minutes to determine if there are any tight spots that will create pain later on.

Mesh gear (jacket and pants) offers the least protection and is likely only good for one get-off. The advantages are that it's cool in warm weather and relatively inexpensive ($100-200 each piece).

Solid textile is next and offers a little more protection, may be vented for comfort on hot days, and may survive a minor get-off to be worn again. Prices vary from $150-about 300 each piece.

Leather offers the best protection, may be vented or perforated for comfort, and will likely survive a get-off maybe with some repair needed. Prices vary from $200 - whatever you want to spend ($2000?).

Get pants in addition to the jacket whatever you get. Jacket and pants should also zip together at least in the back of the waist.

Gloves should be leather and come up over the end of your jacket. They should also have good closure straps to keep them on in a get-off.

Boots should be as tall as you can tolerate (mid-calf) and cover your ankles at a minimum. Boots made specifically for riding are best and have impact protection in addition to abrasion proetection.

The skin on your lower body will shred off on the pavement just as well as your upper body. Pants and boots are a good investment.
 

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Wow guys, awesome info!

Anyway, just my $0.02 before I call it a night: Don't skimp out on the gloves. If you fall the first thing that is in front of your face is your hands and the palms are going to take a small beating. Get some gloves. Decent pairs start around $40 to $50.

IMO leather pants are a requirement, but if you're going to be going less than 40MPH on average, a durable, thick set of denim jeans will give you some okay abrasion protection, but no impact protection at all. Got my A* pants for $200.

Get as good of gear you can afford too. Leather can hold up for multiple crashes. I have a few riding buddies with torn up jackets (barely torn, just some rash) and they're still using them. Textile doesn't hold up nearly as well.

Don't worry about buying the G/F gear yet. Get a season or 6 months under your belt. Having said that, you can take the $ you would've spent on her gear and get some higher quality gear. Dress for the crash not the ride man.

When you/she is ready for 2-up, then get her some gear.

Buy your gear in spurts if $ is an object (hey, when is it not, right?) Get the helmet with one paycheck, gloves/boots with the next, etc. You'll have a quality riding wardrobe done in a few months!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all of your input guys.

I'm trying to work within a budget; my g/f's dad's bank actually did my financing, so I have a small buffer (about $600) built into my loan to drop on gear for myself right off the bat, I figured that'd get me a nice helmet, jacket, gloves, and boots.

I do have some time to ride before worrying about her stuff. Her dad told me if I hurt his baby on the bike he helped me finance then he'd "kill me if the crash didn't," which is a fair enough statement. Hopefully the weather in Ohio holds up this summer and fall.
 

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d.kerg said:
I do have some time to ride before worrying about her stuff. Her dad told me if I hurt his baby on the bike he helped me finance then he'd "kill me if the crash didn't,"
:eek:nfloor All dads are the same. At least hes got a sense of humor.
 

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A few additional comments -

If necessary, buy less bike and more gear to keep within your budget.

I think most crashes occur after a few months of riding. At first you're so focused you really pay attention and are cautious. After a while you get confident and start paying less attention and maybe taking more risk. That's when your abilities can't match your confidence. Riding 2-up isn't really a good idea until you have several thousand miles experience.

Check your insurance. Some companies won't write medical coverage on bikes (State Farm in CA doesn't). That means that there is no automatic coverage for medical bills for you or your passenger. If you both have separate medical insurance that will kick in, then no problem. If not and she gets hurt, the only way for her to collect is to sue you and have your liability coverage kick in (assuming your fault, of course). Not a pleasant experience.

Ride safe.
 

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RayOSV said:
Riding 2-up isn't really a good idea until you have several thousand miles experience.
Take the time to read this sentence again and ensure you understand it. It is excellent advice.

When you ride with your girlfriend on the back, you are taking her life in your hands. Make sure you have a lot of experience before letting her go with you.
 

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I was just in your situation and did alot of research regarding gear.
Heres the complete run down:
For hot days where its going to be 85+ its better to either not ride or wear mesh, and I know your going to ride so mesh it is. You will suffer in leather and probally just stop wearing it. If you really really don't mind the heat, or are in a cooler climate, then leather will protect you alot better.
Jacket: get mesh/textile w/ CE in shoulders, elbows, and back.
My favorite: http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/item.aspx?style=14414&department=112&Division=1
Its got leather (not the greatest, but still leather) on the parts that are going to be sliding if you fall, as well as CE elbow, back, shoulder (although it doesnt say so on the site). You'll still sweat in this on hot days if you get stuck in traffic/a light, but you'll feel alot safer in it.
Pants: Something w/ CE on knees, hips/shins would be nice if there was some kind of padding
My favorite: http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/item.aspx?style=11896&department=113&Division=1
CE hip/knees, with minor padding pretty much everwhere else. These will be about equivilent heat wise to a pair of jeans or anything else other than shorts so really there is no reason not to wear them.
Gloves:For now, Get some all leather ones that you find on at a nice discount or closeout. I got my tecnic chicane gloves for $20 and they are actually nice gloves.
Helmet: Choose on comfort. Try as many on as you can and find what fits your head alot. Everyone has a different shaped head so don't let anyone tell you what the most comfortable is. As long as it's dot certified and from a reputable manufacturer you are fine. Remember comfort is not just how it fits on your head, take ventilation, visibility, and how it is when your riding with it into account. Most shops will let you pay for a helmet ride with it for a couple days, then return it if you arn't satisfied. Alot of shops as well will let you take a 20 minute or so ride with the helmet on. The reason you want a comfortable helmet is you are more likely to wear a comfortable helmet than a "badass protection" helmet that is uncomfortable than a helmet that feel nice to wear. Every scientific article about helmets I have read has been biased one way or another, or too specific to be valid, so don't get caught up in any of these unless you find a really great article (which if you do, please share).
Boots: for now just get some kind of leather boots, you can even get some decent ones from walmart for like 40 bucks. I've put my 2nd to cheapest walmart work boots through hell and the leather is only a tad bit thinner (from ware) then when i bought them 3 years ago.
Once it cools down more, or if you prefer night riding i'd suggest investing in a leather suit. 2 pcs is a little more economical/practical, while 1 pc is better protection. Plan to spend anywhere from 400-900 for a good suit, although I have yet to find a good 400 dollar suit, I am sure that there is one on closeout...somewhere. Leather really offers the greatest protection, protection mesh/textile can't even come close to providing, if you can handle the heat, go for it. But where i'm from it would actually be more dangerous for me to wear leather during the day than to wear my mesh (i'd have a heat stroke).
This will get you started with some decent-good gear, which you can feel good about yourself wearing when 3 out of 5 of the people you see on the road don't even wear helmets.
I wouldn't suggest buying much online unless you have tried on the same jacket before in person, or trust that you can return the item if it doesnt fit. Motorcycle gear has no standard sizing, even in every brand you can find jackets that one your a large and another from the same brand your a medium, so try it on. All gear will stretch out a little, especially leather. If you buy gloves that are tight on your hand (not painfully tight, but tight), after a few weeks they will fit perfect. The same for suits. Mesh/textile will do this, but only very very minorly, or if lets say if one of your b***** friends squeezes into it for 20 minutes, you can expect it not to fit the same. Ask stores you shop at as many questions as possible, thats what they are there for and they won't mind helping you. If they do, ask someone else working there, or even another customer. I've had people that used to work in a motorcycle gear store spend 20 minutes helping me, just to help me out. Don't trust everything you hear/read. Check around, if you hear it from 2 or 3 different sources then you can start to beleive it. I've been told wrong information so many times before, and for all you know everything i told you could be completly BS, thats why you need to hear more than one persons opinion on things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kudos to you for your reply. More than informative.

I think I'm going to go the route of the mesh/tex jacket for my first one. It's way too humid in OH July - Sep for leather, and I plan on daily commuting. I went by a cycle shop yesterday and tried some stuff on.

I found some nce leather gloves w/ armor for my knuckles etc for 50 bucks, some killer boots for 90, and mesh jacket w/ armor similar to the link you provided, and a nice helmet. The guy at the store told me to come back about a week before I get my bike and he'll let me take the helmet home to wear around to see if it's comfortable, which was really cool of him. I just have to have all of the proper stuff, b/c I'll have a 4 hr drive back once i go pick the bike up.

Thanks for your input!
 

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yeah dude, I bought a leather jacket cause i thought id be fine this summer...but its just too damn hot ridin around town in that, so i bought a mesh jacket....ofcourse ill still wear the leather whenever im gonna be "pushin" it.

I onno how far you are from c-bus, but if its not too far, head to the iron pony. They have a crap load of brands and styles, so try some on before findin better deals online :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
sictight : thanks for the tip on the store

Piqua don't have much in the way of bike stores...there's a little Kawasaki dealer in Versailles, but they don't stock much in the way of gear, and neither does the Harley store in town here :p
 

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Yeah I bought a thick leather jacket from Fieldsheer. It's great and protective but makes riding unpleasant once the temp goes past 80. I live in NJ and there's usually traffic and stoplights every wear. I also bought fieldsheer highland pants. They're extremely hot when not moving. I had to take them off and ride in jeans yesterday cuz they were painful. Do you guys typically wear less gear when it gets extremely hot?
 

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I am having helmet problem also. My head is more square shaped than egg shaped. I have two different helmets which at first feel confortable but after 1-2 hours of riding starts to feel like a vice crushing my head halfway between my ears and the top of my head on both sides. Do any have the same type head I do? If so, what type of helmet are you wearing and not having any problems with. In other words does anyone make helmets for square heads? Is there a spell check for the quick reply box?
 

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I always found that Arai helmets pinch my head too - Shoei seems to fit me better. Just try on a bunch and see what works...
 

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d.kerg said:
Her dad told me if I hurt his baby on the bike he helped me finance then he'd "kill me if the crash didn't," which is a fair enough statement. Hopefully the weather in Ohio holds up this summer and fall.
I don't know if that was a joke or not, but if that was my sister I can assure you my father would really murder you and not hesitate going to jail. :cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No. He was serious. And I trust him and his friends Smith, Wesson, and Benelli would follow through. No joke.
 

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The helmet study in motorcyclist concluded that Snell helmets were too hard. As a result, in controlled impact tests with energy levels similar to what you would find in 90% of real crashes. Snell helemts almost univerisally exposed the head to greater G forces then the ECE (european) standard.
 

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d.kerg said:
No. He was serious. And I trust him and his friends Smith, Wesson, and Benelli would follow through. No joke.
Good; take this to heart, and be absolutely positive that you are 100% confident in handling the bike before you put that girl on the back. I mean, ZERO target-fixation, ZERO blown cornering lines, ZERO clutch fumbles, ZERO late-braking errors, ZERO overcooked corners, etc. As someone else said, get a couple thousand miles under your belt first. Few other circumstances put another person's life so completely in your hands as taking a passenger on a motorcycle.

Sounds like you're on the right track with gear; glad to hear you're not skimping in this area. Just be prepared for ending up with a closet full of stuff; no single piece of gear will accomodate all conditions except your helmet and boots. I have 3 jackets, two pairs of riding pants, and two pairs of gloves. :rolleyes
 
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