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Choosing the right item just got easier.
Our Product Comparison Charts display all the features you want in plain English so that you can find the right products for your needs.
Prices, weights, materials, and even performance ratings — everything is there.
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Street Helmets – Full-Face
Full-face street helmets offer the ultimate level of protection. They have advanced impact-absorbing shell materials, plus a chinbar to prevent jaw injuries and a faceshield to keep debris out of the eyes.
You might be surprised by what works best. For example, track junkies aren’t the only ones who like a race-inspired helmet. These extremely lightweight helmets reduce neck strain and their complex ventilation system will keep you comfortable and fog free year-round. When you’re a commuter, those perks sound pretty good, too.
Polycarbonate helmets also have excellent features and may carry the Snell certification. While they are a bit heavier than fiberglass helmets, they are extremely affordable.
Street Helmets – 3/4 and 1/2
It’s that classic appeal: the wind in your face, and maybe in your hair, too. That doesn’t mean these helmets don’t enjoy some modern upgrades.
These helmets can have fiberglass shells and advanced ventilation systems, like the ones found on full-face helmets. Some of the three-quarter helmets, also known as open-face helmets, meet or exceed Snell standards. Adding to your comfort, there are often removable, adjustable faceshields and visors. Also, many of these helmets are compatible with communication systems such as the Chatterbox.
An indispensable part of your gear wardrobe, gloves do a lot more than simply protect your hands from the elements. For everyday riding, they ward off bugs and kicked-up rocks. In the event of an accident, they protect your hands both inside and out, preventing scrapes, cuts, sprained fingers, and broken bones.
Gloves are generally constructed of leather because of its superior abrasion resistance. Most gloves will include some sort of knuckle and finger-joint protection, which usually appears as a padded-leather or carbon-fiber panel. You’ll find that gloves often have reinforced palms, as it’s instinctive to break a fall with your hands.
It’s not all crashes, though. The typical gauntlet on many gloves is long enough to keep wind from going up jacket sleeves, while covering the wrists from debris.
Summer Street Gloves
Just because temperatures soar doesn’t mean you can’t stay safe and protected. For excellent ventilation, summer gloves are constructed of perforated leather, mesh textile, or a hybrid of both. For increased breathability, some gloves include vents on the fingers and the back of the hand; these let the wind push into the glove.
“Shorties,” the nickname for summer street gloves, are a short-gauntleted style. As the name suggests, they have little or no gauntlet, so the glove stops at the wrist or only slightly below it. This can allow a nice breeze to go up jacket sleeves.
Winter Street Gloves
Winter gloves are intended to keep your fingers dry and protected. They have waterproof liners and long gauntlets, and some have insulated linings. If you live somewhere with more temperate winters—but just as much rain—skipping the insulation is a welcome option.
Many styles find a way to incorporate knuckle protection, and most have palm reinforcement. Typically, these gloves have little or no ventilation, the intent being to create a waterproof environment that maintains the heat generated by your hands.
Some riders find that chemically activated heating packets, such as Heat Factory’s Hand Warmers, are a nice addition to their winter gloves.
Whatever you ride, leather is your friend. It’s durable, can generally sustain multiple abrasions, and is always stylish. Perforated leather jackets and pants are also available, the perfect compromise between having the ultimate in protection and, well, not roasting in hot weather.
One of the nicest features of leather gear is that it breaks in to your unique shape. The more it’s worn, the better it fits the way you move.
Leather conditioner helps jackets, pants, suits, and gloves soften and break in initially, and later keeps them clean and looking new for years to come.
Textile is a great alternative to leather. It’s lightweight, multitasks, doesn’t flinch when clouds come out, and can be very cost effective.
Standard textile apparel is engineered to be just as durable and abrasion resistant as leather. Textile apparel can be subcategorized into those intended to substitute for leather and those made of an open-pore mesh for ventilation.
Most textile gear is at least water resistant, and even the mesh jackets frequently come with an optional waterproof liner. Inner liners add insulation during the chillier months but remove easily for summer. Some textile jackets even have special paneling that zips off to expose a mesh section, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of two jackets in one.
When the temperatures rise a little too much, many riders switch to mesh gear. To compensate for the reduction in abrasion resistance, mesh jackets and pants often have CE armor in the shoulders, elbows, and knees and allow the addition of a CE back protector.
You don’t have to be a racer or a hard-core biker to wear motorcycle boots. To the contrary, motorcycle boots are an often overlooked aspect of your protection.
Your feet are right next to the ground, and ankles are notoriously easy to injure. Although some street boots may look like casual footwear, they are engineered differently. Motorcycle boots limit ankle movement, preventing nasty sprains and breaks.
Motorcycle boots have a purpose-driven construction. Sneakers don’t usually have gear shifting in mind, so they’ll wear out faster on the toes of your left foot. However, a pair of motorcycle boots will have some sort of hardwearing panel over that left-boot section—if it’s on the right boot, it’s just for looks.
Best of all, motorcycle-specific boots have nonslip soles. With roads being as dusty, wet, oily, and gravelly as they are, your feet need to stay where you put them.
Women’s Street Clothing
Women’s gear is not just about using the color pink.
Some women find that men’s or unisex motorcycle gear fits well, but others feel that it could be a little more . . . shapely. Since a snug-but-comfortable fit is necessary for effective impact protection, female-specific apparel provides another range of tailoring. Women’s jackets often have a shorter torso length, are cut with a more pronounced waistline, and come in smaller sizes. Likewise, women’s pants will have a different ratio between waist and hips and can be slightly shorter in length.
There are still plenty of similarities, though: CE-approved armor, removable liners, ventilation systems, and sturdy, abrasion-resistant materials are just a few of the features you can now expect from any gear.
Just as there’s a motorcycle for every rider, there’s a tire for every bike.
Street tires can be roughly grouped into three categories: sport, touring, and sport-touring. Sport tires are for aggressive riders who need grip and sharp lean angles for trackdays and carving it up.
With their slow-wearing rubber that lasts and lasts, touring tires are great for cruisers and other bikes that eat up the miles.
As you could guess, sport-touring tires are the perfect compromise. They are more durable than sport tires, so they’ll stand up to a commute, but are “grippy” enough to take the fun way home.
Scooter and dual-sport tires are also available.
The dirt can be as unforgiving as the street, and off-road helmets are one of the many pieces of protective gear that keeps you ready to ride another day.
The most noticeable feature of any off-road helmet is the extended chinbar, which prevents jaw injuries that might result from hitting the handlebar or another hard object. While most riders add a pair of goggles, you might consider a supermotard-style helmet that sports a faceshield much like those on full-face street helmets.
Off-road boots aren’t only about good looks. When you use your feet as much as your tires, you need boots that are up to the challenge. Since these boots accommodate thick socks, knee/shin protectors, and off-road pants, they need to be size flexible. A good boot will have a snug fit at the ankle, preventing sprains and twists, and will guard your shins from stray branches. The more buckles a boot has, the more adjustable it is, and the ratcheting type is the easiest to secure.
Off-road boots should fit like regular shoes, although they won’t walk like them until they’re broken in on a couple of rides. Your toes should be properly aligned without being squished, and some styles have an inner bootie to help with sizing. When trying on boots, be sure to wear your thick MX socks.
While many women buy men’s boots for the features and unisex appeal, some may prefer a female-specific fit. Women’s boots also come in colors such as pink and light blue to match some of the women’s off-road gear.
Quad riders will appreciate ATV-specific off-road boots. Inspired by hiking-boot soles, ATV boots provide additional traction and control.
Plus, plenty of replacement parts are available to make it easy to maintain your boots.
Goggles are an integral part of your protective-gear collection. Engineered for more than just protecting eyes, they have creative ways of guaranteeing good visibility.
Many lenses support the use of tear-offs, which are stacked plastic strips that can be discarded easily to expose another clean strip. If you’re concerned about littering the pristine areas, some goggles come with trash-free “roll-offs” that have the functionality of tear-offs but mimic one film canister spooling into another.
Most goggles offer the versatility of interchangeable lenses, giving you the flexibility of using the same goggles for bright, dim, and overcast conditions. If you ride all season, there are even dual-paned vented lenses that prevent fogging-over in cold weather.
To protect them from the inevitable scratches produced by being tossed in a gearbag, be sure to get a goggle case.
Wherever you like to ride, there is a style to match.
With tall, flexible knobs that are well spaced, soft-terrain tires are best for riding in loose-dirt conditions like sand, mud, or deep loam. To resist tearing and chunking of the knobs, the rubber compound is hard.
Intermediate-terrain tires handle hard to loose dirt and have knobs that are shorter and closer together. Intermediates are the most common off-road tires used today for general off-road riding or for a prepared MX track. If you need a tire that performs well anywhere, this is the one.
Hard-terrain tires are for hard-packed dirt and very rocky conditions. They’re also great on “blue groove” dirt, which has a bluish or blackish color from the tire rubber on its surface. The short, close knobs on these tires have hardly any flex, allowing a larger contact patch and greater traction.
Specialty tires, such as paddle tires for rocking the sand dunes, are also available.
Transmission / Gear Oil
Since a two-stroke motorcycle engine operates at much higher RPMs than a four-stroke engine, its clutch and transmission oil needs to survive more abuse.
Another workhorse is hypoid oil. This heavy-duty oil is designed for motorcycle driveshafts. It is also necessary for motorcycles that don’t share motor oil with the transmission or clutch. For example, Harley-Davidsons and all multicylindered BMWs currently have this design. Special additives are incorporated to help the oil withstand extreme temperatures and pressures.
High levels of performance and protection are built into premix oils. Most two-stroke oil is sold in varying sizes of small containers, making it easy to mix at a ratio that will allow the oil to work at optimal performance levels when mixed with five gallons of gas.
Synthetic two-stroke premix has a low-smoke formula and burns cleanly with little or no deposits on the power valve. Offering excellent throttle response, synthetic premix provides the highest level of engine protection and performance at all RPM ranges and throughout all temperature ranges. It works particularly well at startup and quickly dissipates heat.
Although a ratio of 40:1 (40 parts gas to one part oil) works well for the majority of modern two-stroke motorcycles, be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Four-stroke motorcycle oil does more than just lubricate the moving parts. It cools, seals, and cleans the engine; fights thermal breakdown; protects against corrosion; and reduces engine noise. This oil also prevents the clutch from slipping, grabbing, or locking up.
That’s a tall order that regular automotive oil simply can’t fill.
Four-stroke oil comes in three different chemical compositions: fully synthetic, petroleum-based, or a synthetic/petroleum blend. Fully synthetic oil is lightweight and great for high-performance motorcycles running under the extreme conditions of racing and trackdays. Because the molecules are engineered to be uniform in shape, overall performance is maximized.
Petroleum-based oils are made from crude oil and are quite cost effective. In fact, the irregular-shaped molecules of this organic oil make it the only choice for new or rebuilt engines. During the break-in period, use petroleum-based oil to allow piston rings and bearings to seat properly. Afterward, feel free to switch to fully or partially synthetic oil.
Synthetic blends are the most commonly used oils today. Partially synthetic oil offers the best of both worlds, supplying outstanding performance at a reasonable price.
Unfortunately, motorcycles have a habit of rolling away more easily than their four-wheeled cousins. To keep your ride where you put it, add a Vault lock to your parking routine.
Disc locks attach to your brake rotor, preventing your bike from rolling past a certain point. (However, they can work a little too well sometimes—think of all those embarrassing stories about a bike downed due to an overlooked disc lock—so be sure to use the bright-colored reminder cable.)
Chains offer heavy-duty protection that is difficult and time consuming to break, deterring would-be thieves. They are covered in a fabric sleeve to protect your bike’s finish.
Cable locks are extremely versatile, protecting more than just motorcycles. Many riders love the convenience of being able to run a cable lock through their jacket and helmet, then walk away knowing their gear is secured to their ride. Cable locks are also great for keeping motorcycle covers from blowing away or being “borrowed.”
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