Ride safe with certified motorcycling gear

It is a good idea to gear up before hitting the road on a motorcycle. Picture credit: pixabay.com/ skeeze

India is a burgeoning market for bigger motorbikes. Sales of these big bikes is also on the rise, but the worrying fact is that not everyone is investing in proper safety gear. It is a common sight to see riders on big bikes with just a T-shirt, a pair of jeans and shoes.

Motoring enthusiasts invest in big bikes because of their superior ride characteristics, power and speed. Fun as a 300, 650 or 1000 cc bike is on the road, an accident can result in very serious injuries or even death. No matter how careful or however experienced one might be, accidents can happen. Therefore, it makes sense to buy the best safety gear you can afford.

It is vital that one purchases good quality gear from reputed stores that have knowledgeable staff. Buying biking safety gear online is not recommended because a good fit is important. It is better to try and then buy.

There are variations for normal street use, on the track, cruising, off-road etc. It is recommended to buy riding gear for the type of riding that one will do.

Apart from the clothing, chest, knee, elbow, back and chest protectors are recommended.

Helmets
The very basic is a good helmet with the Indian ISI/ BIS certification. The obvious purpose of a helmet is safety. That apart, it is a traffic violation to ride any two-wheeler, let alone a superbike, without a helmet.

While the Indian standards certification is the minimum requirement for a street-legal helmet, it is advisable to opt for a helmet that is certified by the American DOT (Department of Transportation) or Snell or even the ECE (Economic Commission for Europe).

The helmet shopper is spoilt for choice these days. There are several quality brands that sell quality helmets and with very attractive designs and features.

A helmet should have a good fit and not be too loose. Good features to look for in a helmet is anti-fogging and ventilation features, apart from being light and comfortable. Moreover, a full-face helmet is recommended.

Reputed brands in India are Vega, Steelbird, Studds, Aerostar, Wrangler, while foreign brands include LS2, MT, HJC, SMK and others. The premium brands are Caberg, Arai, Givi, Bell, Shoei and AGV.

Prices range from about Rs 800 to Rs 40,000 for street biking models.

Gloves
A good pair of gloves will ensure that the hands are protected. This is because any rider’s first reaction is to reduce bodily harm by stretching out the hands. Additionally, gloves will help in gripping the handlebar and protect the hands from the elements of nature. Moreover, good quality gloves will have good abrasion resistance in case of a crash, thus keeping the skin protected.

Gloves are designed differently and for the kind of activity they will be used for – off-road, street, track etc.

A good pair will cost about Rs 2,000 and could go all the way to Rs 16,000 or more.

Prominent brands include TBG, Aspida, Bikeratti and others, while the premium products are from Spidi, Alpinestars and Dainese.

Jacket
You will look uber cool with a riding jacket. But again, a good quality riding jacket will do more than make you look cool and project you as a serious biking enthusiast.

Yes, it will keep you warm and dry in cold and rainy weather respectively.

More importantly, if involved in a crash, a riding jacket will keep the rider protected from injury and abrasions. There are several jackets out there that come with elbow or chest guards integrated too.

Those bright colours on the jackets do more than make the jacket look stylish. They are meant to make the rider visible to other motorists during night.

Jackets from Cramster, Aspida, Rynox, Scimitar, Leiidor, Held, Rev’it, DSG, etc. are the budget ones. The premium ones are from Alpinestars, Spidi and Dainese. Prices range from about Rs 5,000 to about Rs 60,000 for a jacket. Full body racing suits can cost about Rs 2.5 lakh.

Pants
No, the best pair of jeans will just not do. The jeans might be thick, but they are not meant to protect your legs from abrasion or prevent your hips or knees from being broken.

Just like a riding jacket, riding pants are meant to prevent abrasion injuries. Using padding or armour to protect the knees and hips is a good idea.

The pocket-friendly brands are Zeus, Scimitar, Rynox, DSG, Aspida, while the premium gear is from Alpinestars and Dainese. The price ranges from about Rs 5,000 and can go to about Rs 25,000.

Boots
Biking boots give protection to the feet, ankle and shin. But they do more than that – giving the proper grip on the footpegs. This is important because it can be disastrous if the foot slips while riding or sudden braking.

Riding boots can be bought from Rs 6,000 to just over Rs 50,000 for the high-end ones. The economical ones are from XDI, Ryo, Forma, RST, Aspida, Falco, while the high-end ones are from Alpinestars and Dainese.

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