Which of them do you need, and which ones are completely unnecessary? Let’s go down the list.
When it comes to critical motorcycle accessories, you’d have to consider the helmet to be in the necessary category. The helmet is not just for show.
Many states have helmet laws, so it’s not like it’s much of a choice. A cop might pull you over and ticket you if you don’t have one.
With motorcycle helmets, you want to look at things like:
- The helmet’s reviews and safety ratings
- How well it fits on your head
- The aesthetics, if you want it to match the rest of your gear
There is an enormous array of different colours, sizes, and styles. Some helmets are very bare-bones, while others that stunt drivers wear are state-of-the-art and designed for optimal safety. You’ll have to take the time and do some research before you choose the one that’s right for you.
Motorcycle jackets can be a contention point with bikers. Do you need one?
The reality is that jackets can do a great deal of good for you if you’re about to get on your chopper for the first time. A well-made jacket:
- Protects you from the elements
- Has pockets to carry your valuables
- Can provide a little padding for you
Like with helmets, there are jackets for flair, and there are those with substantive protective qualities. If all you care about is a screaming eagle design with flames behind it, that’s one thing. A jacket designed to cushion your torso in a crash is something else entirely.
Pads are something else about which most bikers are not likely to agree. There are all kinds of motorcycle pads, from knee to elbow to shin. Some of them resemble body armour, while others are more for show.
One factor will probably be the type of riding you’re doing. If you’re out for a simple Sunday ride around the neighbourhood, you can probably forego the pads. If you’re stunt riding or taking a cross-country trip through unknown territory, you might want to armour up more significantly than you otherwise would.
Virtually all motorcycle riders wear boots. It doesn’t look right if you’re out there in sandals. Like with the helmet and pads, there are many different designs for multiple purposes.
With boots, the most critical thing to remember is that you’re not wearing them for the style, even though that might be part of the appeal. You need them to protect your feet, which face exposure when you’re on a motorcycle, unlike when you’re safely in a car.
You want some pretty heavy-duty boots, ones designed specifically for riding. Snow boots won’t get the job done. Boots can be pretty expensive, but it’s better to get some high-quality ones that can last you for more than a few years of hard riding.
They’ll look and feel better when you break them in. Brand-new ones can be a bit stiff and unwieldy.
Shirts, Pants, Etc.
If you go to one of the big Harley Davidson stores in Florida, you’ll see a staggering array of gear. If you want Harley brand shirts, pants, or even underwear, you’ll find it, for both men and women. Again, some people regard motorcycle ownership as a lifestyle, and they plunge into it with both feet.
However, you can’t say that sort of thing is necessary. A Harley shirt, or your other chosen motorcycle brand, isn’t going to protect you when you’re out on the road. It might earn you a free shot at a country-western bar, but that’s about it.
These sorts of things are affectations. If you want to get them, then there’s nothing wrong with that, but you don’t need to put a second mortgage on the house to buy them.
Magnets, Mugs, Etc.
The same is true for all of the other motorcycle-related paraphernalia that you can get if you’re so inclined. There are whole catalogues of this stuff: beer cozies, workout gear, coolers, magnets, mugs, shot glasses, and anything else that comes to mind. You can easily drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on it.
You don’t need any of that stuff to ride. If you want a light-up neon sign for your finished basement, that’s your business, but it won’t do anything for you from a safety perspective.
What Else Do You Need?
These don’t fall under the accessories category, but there are a few other things you’ll need before you go riding that bear mentioning. One thing you’ll probably want is safety training.
Motorcycle riding is not the most intuitive thing. You can’t just hop on and know what you’re doing. If someone in your family can teach you, then that’s great, since presumably, it won’t cost you any money. Once you feel confident, you can get out there on your own.
You’re also going to need insurance. People consider a motorcycle a vehicle, just like a truck or car, and you can’t get on and go shooting off down the street until you’re adequately insured. That’s protection for you, and also other drivers and pedestrians.
You might also need to get your motorcycle inspected before you can ride it. You’ll have to see what the state laws are for that since it varies depending on where you live.
Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to start your exciting new biker life. Regardless of whether you’re wearing biker gear from head to toe or taking a more low-key approach to this thing, you’ll hopefully stay safe and have a great time.