The Absolutely Essential Equipment You Should Have When Riding Your Bike
If you’re a seasoned motorcyclist, hopefully what you’re about to read contains nothing you didn’t already know about, and indeed adhere to. If you’re new to biking, hopefully what you’re about to read is nothing more than a list of common-sense items you were already thinking of getting.
Your safety should, after all, be your absolute priority whenever you set out of the road on two wheels, from having the right insurance for you and the family though to wearing all the essential protective equipment. Where the latter is concerned, your must have bike safety equipment list should extend beyond a helmet and jacket, so if you haven’t got any of the below in your riding repertoire already, we’d implore you to rectify that swiftly.
A good helmet, visor and goggles
Ok, so everyone knows a helmet is a must have – a legal requirement in fact – but with options available from about £50, it can be tempting to buy your helmet on the cheap and hope it’ll do the job come (literal) crunch time. In reality, going budget or expensive on a helmet can be the difference between having cheap, breakable plastic or robust composite fibre and resin protecting your bonce – and when it comes to protecting your head at high speeds, you’ve really got to ask yourself where your priorities lie.
There are certain areas of life where you shouldn’t cut corners, and we reckon head protection on the roads is one of them. The same goes for your goggles and visor, which should meet British or European quality standards as a bare minimum.
Ear plugs are a life (or hearing) saver
If there’s one thing you don’t have on this list, it’s probably ear plugs. As part of Tinnitus Awareness Week, Carole Nash put an article out explaining why ear plugs should be considered as essential a piece of safety gear as your protective jacket and trousers.
The general gist of it is one in eight people in the UK suffer from persistent tinnitus – which is the sensation of hearing a sound without there being any noise in reality, and a type of hearing damage – and those who constantly expose themselves to loud noise, including motorcyclists, are more susceptible to falling foul.
Hearing damage is one of those things it’s easy to forget about until you actually have it, but if all it takes to help prevent it are a set of ear plugs (which will probably make your riding experience a bit more pleasant anyway), surely it makes sense to stick them in.
Essential clothing for warmth and safety
Back to the staples, here are four key items you should never set off on a journey without:
- Gloves: if you have an accident, it’s likely that your hands are the first things hitting the ground as you try and break your fall. As such, hand injuries are some of the most common for motorcyclists, and contact with tarmac at high speed can mean serious problems. Thus, a high-quality pair of gloves is in order – some that fit snugly, allow you to feel the handlebars and offer the warmth and waterproof protection you need for all conditions.
- Boots: your feet are susceptible to being crushed sideways in an accident, so thick soled, sturdy boots are required – offering at least 4mm of sole and 2.5mm of high-quality leather on the upper. Like with your gloves, it’s essential your boots fit snugly without numbing your toes. Another noteworthy point is that steel toe caps are typically not a good idea, as they could work against your toes in bump.
- Jacket and trousers: your leathers are your best friend in a slide as your suit of armour on the road. As a general rule, they should fit you well, be double or triple stitched, feature body armour and covered zips and the leather should be thick and waterproof.
None of what you read above should be too surprising, but if you have seen something you’re missing, now is the time to act. Your safety on the road, especially on a motorbike, is not something to be taken lightly, and your investment in your equipment should reflect that.