The concept of gearing up everytime you get on your bike is relatively new to India when compared with the western biking culture. This is mainly because for a long time in India motorcycles were seen as vehicles meant merely for short commutes. Most Indian motorcycles had low engine capacity, and without much power in our bikes, we never understood the need to gear up properly.
Don't forget we're talking of a nation where it’s still difficult to get bikers to wear a helmet! However times have changed. High end bikes are now a common sight, adventure riding has picked up and racetracks have come up across the country. Awareness on the importance of protective riding gear has also increased manifold, and so we’ve put together a list of riding gear essentials to help beginners make the right choice -
1. Helmet - It goes without saying that the helmet is the most important piece of riding gear, because nothing is more vital to protect than your brain. Even if you're in a real hurry or just travelling a short distance, wearing a helmet is an absolute must. A good helmet should be fit snugly - tight on the cheeks - and have the necessary safety ratings.
The Bell Qualifier series are amongst the best helmets to begin with. The Qualifier helmets offer high performance protection and great style at a very afforadable price. Packed with features like a lightweight yet aerodynaic shell for stabilty, quick release shield system, adjustable ventilation system and ECE safety ratings – the Qualifier series is a great value-for-money investment for new riders.
2. Riding Jacket – The spine ranks as important as the brain, making a jacket with back protector the second most important piece of riding gear. In case of a crash one can hurt the upper body in unimaginable ways. Hence a jacket with a back protector, shoulder and elbow armour goes a long way in protecting the spine and torso from impact and abrasions.
The Rev’it! Eclipse jacket is a great choice as it meets all the requirements of a rider. Simple and effective in style and its functionality, the Eclipse is perfect for hot weather riding conditions. Durable 600D polyester and mesh exterior with Knox CE level 1 armour in elbows and shoulders, and an option to upgrade with CE level 2 back protector – all make the Eclipse a great start for city riders.
3. Riding Gloves: The glove is a lot more important than most riders think. Not only do gloves protect the hands from scrapes in case of a fall, they also come super handy (!) while riding in rains when water drops feel like bullets on the bare knuckles, and in very cold conditions when the wind chill turns the hands numb. Gloves also protect the hands from flying pebbles and dirt that could possible cause infections if they pierce the skin. In all these cases gloves help you get comfortable on the ride and go the extra mile.
The Rev’it! Fly 2 gloves are one of the best out there for new riders. Sleek and stylish, with hard-shell knuckle and TPR finger knuckle protectors, these perforated leather gloves are ideal for beginners riding around the city.
4. Riding boots: Riding boots are perhaps the most underrated piece of riding equipment, these are however very important. A good pair of riding boots can enhance your performance on the road, from easier gear shifting, to keeping your toes dry in rain, to total protection in case of a crash.
Our pick for new riders are the TCX Rush boots, that have a wear-resistant sole and polyurethane toe slider and suede shift pad. Super comfortable and breathable, these boots are a great value buy.
5. Knee protectors: The knees are always vulnerable and prone to impact in case of a spill. While there are touring pants and even denims with knee armour available in the market today, as a beginner it’s worth investing in a standalone knee protector.
The Forcefield Pro Tube X-V 2 is a two-in-one knee and elbow protector in a convenient tube sleeve style. It’s lightweight and breathable, and comes fitted with CE level 2 armour. So before you graduate to riding pants, an investment in the Pro Tube is well worth it.
That’s our recommendation on essential riding gear for beginners that certainly help in increasing performance while providing maximum protecting. So wear your gear, follow the rules, and ride safe!