Motorcyclists have been a very common sight on Indian roads for years, and we are adding hundreds of new riders each year who are riding not just for commuting but also as a passion and hobby. While many motorcyclists today understand the importance of safety and riding gear, some misconceptions still persist, especially amongst new riders. Here are 5 such misconceptions that we’d like to help clear up-
1. “This helmet looks big and fits very tight, so its not the right choice for me” - A common concern amongst new riders is the helmet size. A good helmet comes with a thick EPS liner inside, making the outer shell seem big. It is this thick EPS liner that protects the head from internal injuries during impact. Therefore, don’t worry too much about the ‘size’ of the helmet, and buy one that fits well on the head. Speaking of fit, the best fitting helmet is one that is comfortable on the head and snug fit on the face. You’ll break in to the cheek pads after some time, so that should not be a concern while assessing a helmet’s fit.
2. “I'm a new rider, so I want to start with cheaper basic gear” – Many new riders think “I’m a new rider so I don’t really need higher range gear or anything beyond a helmet. Let me start off with just a basic helmet and get used to wearing that first”. It’s great that the rider understands the importance of wearing a helmet, but at the same time he underestimates the importance of other riding gear, and also of good quality gear. In fact it’s in the early days of riding that a rider actually needs proper gear, as one is prone to making more mistakes. And it’s also a good time to get into the habit of gearing up.
Of course you get what you pay for! Cheap riding gear is bound to compromise your safety sooner or later. And good quality gear need not cost the moon! For example, Bell starts of at a very affordable price of Rs. 8,000/- for the Qualifier helmet. One needs to view riding gear as an investment in one’s own safety, rather than an expense.
3. “Cheaper copies of after-market parts are as good as the original”- Cheaper copies of aftermarket products such as exhausts may make your bike sound good, but they do more harm than good. The exhaust pipe is the second most R&D-consuming part of a bike, after the engine. Therefore, be very careful when looking to upgrade your bike’s exhaust. An equally big problem arises is using fake crash guards, foot pegs, levers, etc. You may be jeopardizing your safety by saving some money on cheaper copies of the original after-market parts.
4. “Hard armors are good” - Hard plastic armors are not meant to absorb impact. In fact plastic can crack and cause further harm. Forcefield armors are a great example of soft and flexible armor made of energy absorbing materials that reduce impact significantly, while keeping the rider comfortable.
5. “I am just riding to somewhere close-by, so I can skip the gear” - Riding gear isn't meant just for long rides. Chances of a spill are the same whether on a short or long ride, and in accordance with the time spent on the road. The additional 5-10 minutes spent getting into your riding gear are nothing compared to the discomfort and damage that a mishap can cause in the absence of the gear.
Enhance your riding experience with a set of good fitting, good quality riding gear!