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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
good morning spring time,

Riding season in here, bikers in Chicagoland have taken to the streets this last weekend and it was awesome. I have personally met with a group of Indian owners and went for a beautiful ride on Saturday that took us from American Heritage Motorcycle in south Elgin west on Il 20 and Il 72 to Il 2 and then back to Addison on Il 64.
All in 160 miles of smiles, v twin exhaust rumble, beautiful scenery, friends to share beer and tasty burgers. However that's not the topic of my thread here, the topic would be gear, more specifically head and body gear.
I remember like it was yesterday a joke my instructor told us at the MSF class back in the day: when he told his students that while riding a motorcycle you should always protect your most valuable part of your body, a lady in the class who was there with her future husband to be turned around and told him: honey, from now on you are wearing a cup!
I remember being told the best protection that you can buy for yourself comes in the shape of a full face Dot and/or Snell approved helmet, a leather jacket, leather pants or pants that were specifically designed for motorcycle riding with armor for your knees and other parts of your body that might end up in contact with the asphalt in the unfortunate event of a spill. So I rode in jeans, converse, $ 50 helmet I got for free when I bought my first bike and a winter leather jacket because hey, leather is leather, no? Or so I thought!
And then one of my friends died in a motorcycle accident. There's no easy way to put this, he died because he had no gear! He had shorts on, snickers, t-shirt and a really cool pair of Raybans on. He was a real ladies man, cool as ice, I was looking up to him, because I had no previous motorcycle experience and was probably gullible to what really means to be a rider. Long story short, they had a closed casket at his funeral. So gear it's important, just as important as having the proper skills and education when you get on a bike. This brings me to Saturday ride and the gear people in my group was wearing for our ride. Out of 9 riders, only three were wearing a helmet, one full face and two modular open face. Three people had no motorcycle jackets, outerwear being replaced by T-shirts and Blackhawks jerseys or a simple leathe vest and three people in our group were wearing the always stylish converse. Now I am all for the freedom of expressing yourself and looking cool on a motorcycle and the idea of saying something bad about my riding buddies troubles me profoundly but I can't help asking what happens when your ride doesn't end with your bike parked nicely in the garage but on the side of the road scratched, mangled, probably inoperable with all your chrome bits looking a little bit less shiny?
Here is why: two miles away from home, riding on Il-64 eastbound at the junction with I-355, I was right behind a group of three riders wearing "look cool" gear when a lady in the straight ahead lane decided, in front of four motocycles, myself included, decided to make a sudden stop and try to push a left turn on the I-355 ramp even though the preselect lanes and two left turn lanes were right next to her. Guess what, emergency braking all the way down her rear bumper and then nervously watching behind you so you don't get run over by the four wheelers behind you.
Imagine this scenario, the bikers fail to observe her intentions and hit her minivan, the relatively low speed of the accident would have meant you have 50/50 chance of escaping unharmed versus broken bones, crushed skulls or burned skin from the inevitable impact with a rear windshield, asphalt, your own bike hot exhaust and motor etc. that would have put an abrupt and unceremonious end to what could have been an amazing Saturday afternoon ride.
Now, I ride with all my gear on, since I've purchased my first bike I've also purchased a series of helmets, gloves, jackets, boots, jeans, cold weather and rain gear to name a few. Some of my gear has failed me, literally I've "burned" through a mesh jacket when I had my second accident, I've scraped the visor on a open face helmet and only a miracle has saved my mug, I've had two sets of book that only thought like a good idea when I watched the promotional pictures on the website I bought them from. The key word was "website", buying online without trying them on first.
Now if you have no problem paying a bit more for sales tax and if you like connecting with real people go try on and buy the best gear money can possibly buy, for your head, for your body and don't cheap out. You are worth it. If you paid in some cases tens of thousands on a motorcycle I'm sure you can cough up a couple of grand for a nice helmet, boots, riding pants, jacket and gloves. Your kids, your wife or husband will appreciate it.
 

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I always wear good boots, jeans, half helmet (I know that full face helmet is better but it gives me claustrophobia) and a jacket. In the summer it is a mesh jacket with kevlar in the elbows and shoulders. In the winter it is leather and then probably leather chaps. In the summer I wear mesh gloves and the winter leather. I would much rather not wear the helmet or jacket sometimes but want to live to ride another day......

I will say that the mesh jackets are not really hot in the summer once you get used to them.
 

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Full Face pretty much all the time although I did buy a half helmet as a novelty. Always long pants, usually carhartt, gloves are a must for me - I like to purchase ones that have the studs on the palms so if I were to fall and slide the stud would help keep the glove from ripping off my exposing my skin. I typically wear regular sneakers or some kind of trail shoe...Also I have a jacket on if its cold, sweatshirt if its cooler, or just a T-shirt on those hot summer days. Is it the safest? Absolutely not. Take care and ride safe.
 

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What's the minimum thickness leather? Don't want to scrape through on asphalt or concrete.
What if we land fingers first and bust one? We should probably ride with gloves made of carbon fiber -- clutching will be tricky.
Wouldn't wearing bubble wrap make for a softer impact than even armored jackets and pants? I could still break bones with those.
What if the bike lands on my legs exhaust side down? I'm going to start shopping for heat resistant pants.


My point for being a tool is this: You can't protect yourself from everything, so even those of you that wear "all the gear" still aren't really wearing all you could. You are still deciding what might be worth risking in exchange for function and enjoyment. Technically, you have no right to scoff at anyone else until you don full race leathers. But we all know that would take some of the enjoyment out of it.

I look at gear like this: protect what will definitely kill you if it were unprotected. After that, gear up to enjoy the ride, because if you aren't enjoying it because you're riding around like bubble boy then what's the point? We like riding because of the visceral experience. If you're robbing yourself of those sensory experiences, I would ask you what part of this can't you experience from a car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I always wear good boots, jeans, half helmet (I know that full face helmet is better but it gives me claustrophobia) and a jacket. In the summer it is a mesh jacket with kevlar in the elbows and shoulders. In the winter it is leather and then probably leather chaps. In the summer I wear mesh gloves and the winter leather. I would much rather not wear the helmet or jacket sometimes but want to live to ride another day......

I will say that the mesh jackets are not really hot in the summer once you get used to them.
Well, that's really good that you're wearing your gear. I am too, I wear a Scorpion full face helmet but in the name of looking cool I will probably buy one of the Bell Bullitt helmets, I ride with jeans that have armor in all the right places, a pair of Speed and Strenght boots but I'm not really happy with the way they fit, Revit gloves and Indian leather jacket with shoulders, elbow and back armor all seasons and no mesh jackets. It's true, I feel safer like this, and I am constantly looking to improve my motorcycling wardrobe. I believe my daughter is gonna thank me if I keep my mug intact and my head in the right place.
 

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In colder weather I wear good leather chaps, Leather Jacket, gloves and a 1/2 helmet. When it is warm out, I switch to a mesh jacket. If it is scorching, I am down to boots, jeans, tee shirt and a good leather vest, 1/2 helmet.
 

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It's a personnel decission, like they teach in MSF class a balance of the risk you're willing to take. I wear either a Shoei RF-1200 full face, or on really hot days a 3/4 RJ Platinum, leather Chippewa riding boots or TCX sneakers ( made for riding ), leather or mesh gloves and jacket, blue jeans.

I don't look down on those who wear less or no gear, or high visibility ( I like black ) and I hope that don't think less of me either for using ATGATT ( accept the blue jeans ).
 

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My feeling is if you're uncomfortable with what you are wearing your not going to be able to focus in the road ahead or the other clowns using the road. Be comfortable, be safe, be alert.
 
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Thats true .............was in NJ and NY ( Long Island ) last week buying another 2 vintage bikes and they had a few days of cool but sunny weather and a lot of bikes out. All were leathers, reflectors, most full faced helmets, ect. Then I get off the plane in Tampa and see crotch rockets going 90 plus with t-shirts and shorts. BIG change of riding preferences. This is not a helmet debate or anything but seems like when riding conditions are always somewhat nice, its just jump on and go. Shorts, helmets or not, and just go. I for one am not getting dressed up to run down the road a few miles to the gym or hardware store. Just me I guess. If this was studied further, the states with best all year riding weather certainly dress less than cooler states. Its just how it is. You t-bone someone pulling out in front of you, those thick leathers and helmet don't matter one bit. So like basshole just said .............just ride and enjoy
 

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I wear gloves, boots and full face helmet all the time. Also long pants (denim) and long sleeves. In hot weather I wear a lighter weight jacket, when I'm not going to broil in it I wear heavy leather with armor at the elbows and shoulders.

I've seen people wearing shorts and (no kidding) flip flops with a t-shirt. Not for me.
 

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I wear gloves, boots and full face helmet all the time. Also long pants (denim) and long sleeves. In hot weather I wear a lighter weight jacket, when I'm not going to broil in it I wear heavy leather with armor at the elbows and shoulders.

I've seen people wearing shorts and (no kidding) flip flops with a t-shirt. Not for me.
What gear do I use?

I usually start off in first. :)

Sorry about that...
 

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I have lived through two fairly serious motorcycle accidents. The first one at age 16 (1972) I hit a huge German Shepard running about 60 mph on a 750-4 Honda. The weather was cool and I had on jeans, boots a medium wear jacket and a 3/4 bell Helmet. I was bruised up good but luckily nothing broke. I was on a dirt road which is very common in Vermont so I didn't have as much friction as sliding on tar.

The second was in June of 2005 at 6 PM when a drunk never looked and pulled right out of a blind drive in front of me. I was on a 2003 H-D Sportster 1200 Custom and was wearing boots, blue jeans, long sleeved t-shirt and a brand new half helmet. I T-boned this clown about 30 mph. Like I said it was a blind drive so I never saw him and had no time to do anything except chop the throttle and leave a 1 foot skid mark. The helmet and clothing did the job. I was very, very battered but again, nothing broken which really surprised the Doctors.

Now I have some age related issues to deal with like everyone else my age. I have hearing and inner ear issues and since I am real light skinned a touch of skin cancer on the old mug and arms. I have three helmets, the Indian half helmet which is really comfortable and light, a Fulmer 3/4 helmet with face shield and a GMax Full Faced Modular helmet. I have worn long sleeves for years due to the skin cancer issues and now I wear the Full Faced modular a lot more. I apply sun block (SPF 100) and find the added protection from the sun with this helmet to be very good. Surprisingly the full face runs as cool or cooler than the other two helmets. I also always wear good jeans, gloves and boots. in cooler weather a leather jacket and chaps.

Wearing a helmet is often a personal choice. I can state with confidence helmets have saved my life twice. Now that I am hindered with skin cancer issues the full face offers more protection. It is what I wear most of the time now. I take some heat from some of my buds but I am a tad homely and cutting chunks out of my face won't help me look any better.

The bottom line is wear what you want to wear, what gives you the most confidence and comfort. Respect the wishes of those that want to ride at their comfort level. In the end we are all riding for the same reason but just look at life a bit different.
 
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Full helmet, leather gloves with reinforced palms, armored under-layer under kevlar jeans or full-armor pants, armored jacket, over-the-ankle leather boots. Every time. All the time.

I get people who love the visceral input and throw caution to the wind. I wish nothing but safety and well-being for my follow riders and the family and friends that want them to arrive back home safely.

Enough studies have been done to underscore the importance of a helmet. If a rider doesn't want to wear one, I have no problem with that. Saying a helmet won't help in a crash is simple ignorance, willful or otherwise.
 
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