When it comes to Adventure Bikes, or dual sport machines, you may hear rides say, “safety third”. It’s funny to put fun and speed before safety… but in reality, you will have a lot more fun and be willing to go faster if you take the time to get setup with the proper gear for a safe ride.
There is safety equipment for your bike as well as for your clothing.
The most important things you want to protect are your head, eyes, hands, shoulders, elbows, knees, shins and ankles, neck and back, and your motor.
If you plan to ride on the road as well as off-road, I would suggest that you purchase the highest quality gear you can afford. If you can’t afford to buy top of the line everything – new – from day one, then consider buying some used gear and some new gear. As soon as you are able, you can start replacing the used gear with new.
Finding the right gear is difficult without help. I will provide ongoing gear reviews as often as I can. Other gear reviews are available online. Take you time and find the right gear for you.
Your helmet should be new. For helmets and jackets, I suggest you get Hi-Viz Yellow or Orange. I find that a lot of danger can be avoided if other drivers can SEE you. The more visible you are to other drivers, the safer you will be. Avoiding accidents is the best way to survive them.
When I started riding, I bought a used textile jacket I found in a classified ad for $20.00, and a new helmet for $35.00. The jacket served me well for 3 years and countless crashes. I have gone through 3 helmets, getting better equipment each time.
A good jacket is tear resistant, has padding in the elbows, shoulders, and back, has good ventilation, a good smooth zipper, a liner, and good pockets. If you can’t afford a Hi-Viz jacket, go with one that has reflective piping on it. New jackets range in price from $80.00 – $1800.00, so if you are not sure how much riding or what style of riding you will do, you might want to start off with a low priced jacket first, as long as you don’t sacrifice quality.
In addition to a good helmet, I also suggest a good pair of safety glasses. I use Wiley X sun glasses, but you can use clear or tinted, as long as you have safety glass in them. Regardless of the law, I never suggest riding without a helmet. Your brain is priceless, and there are only two categories of riders on dual sport machines; those who have fallen, and those who will fall. Protect your eyes and your head with the best you can afford. I prefer helmets that have high marks for being quiet. If your helmet doesn’t provide adequate protection from noise, add hearing protection to your list of safety items. Ear plugs range in price from $.50 – $1200.00. Get what you NEED until you can afford what you want.
You can find good motorcycle gloves for as low at $11.00 on eBay or Amazon. I spent $20.00 at Cycle Gear, and got a great pair that allows for air flow, has a gauntlet for wrist protection, and has hard plastic knuckle protection. A good pair of gloves is essential, and I suggest you buy some that are comfortable and offer great protection and padding.
The next essential item is a good pair of boots. You can find used boots for $50 and up. If you plan to ride off-road, I recommend a good pair of motocross boots. I have seen new ones on sale for as little as $99.00 for good boots. Good boots will save you from a broken leg, broken ankle, broken toes, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, being out for the season on crutches.
Next, you need padding on your hips, and knees. You can either buy body armor that goes under your clothes, or buy kevlar pants that have padding in the critical areas. I love the ballistic textiles that are abrasion resistant, well ventilated, quick drying, and easy to clean. These will cost you between $39.00 and $950.00.
That is the basic kit that I would say is a minimum.
In addition, I would see that your bike has crash bars, a skid plate, wide foot pegs (you will be standing on the pegs most of the time and the wider pegs are MUCH more comfortable), and engine guards. Another item that you will need to consider once you get some training, is the importance of good dual sport tires – depending on how much off-road riding you intend to do.
Look for my reviews on all these products and more.