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Gear up before revving up

| Updated on: Sep 03, 2015
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A primer on motorcycle safety gear for new bikers

There was time when a two-wheeler was synonymous with practicality and economy. Now, those notions are being continuously challenged by the never-ending procession of high-powered performance machines flooding the market. Unfortunately, safety standards have been left far behind by the rapid expansion in cubic capacities. A dhoti was probably sufficient gear for riding around in a Chrysler on barely-trafficked roads. Today’s conditions however, demand that riders cover themselves from head to toe with protection in order to give themselves a fighting chance of making it home intact.

From the top

The helmet is probably the one piece of equipment you should never leave home without. But not all helmets are made equal. Half-helmets that only cover the crown of the head are purely ornamental, while ones with no cover for the face offer some protection but not enough. A full-face helmet is the only kind that offers complete protection. If you have a budget that permits imported kit, anything built to a DOT, Snell or ECE 22.05 standard is a good buy. The LS2 FF series which is available in India for around ₹6000-7000, is a popular pick. However, since helmets are the most widely used motorcycle safety gear, a plethora of cheaper, local options exist that will do an adequate job but might have inferior fit and finish. The Steelbird SB2020 series, the Vega Export series and the Studds Scorpion series are all worthy contenders that cost between ₹1500-2500.

Protection doesn’t end with the head– it is just as important to cover the rest of your body in something that will stop it from melting into tarmac. A black leather jacket and jeans is the popular perception of appropriate clothing for riding, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Jeans and leather are both easily shredded and black, as a colour, is not reflective and should be avoided. The key features to look for in riding gear is armor- either in the form of foam padding or mesh. Reflective bits and vents are also important for visibility and convenience. The SPG Atlas and Cramster Breezer Mesh 4S are good jacket options available between ₹4000-6000. As for pants, the Cramster Velocity 2.0 can be had for around ₹5000 and, if you can stretch your budget a bit, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Joe Rockets.

To the bottom

Riding shoes are probably the easiest to avoid, because a tough pair of sneakers looks like they could do the job. But if you want to protect that gear shifter adequately, it’s probably wise to wrap them up in something more than canvas. Spartan offers the SPG Hercules at around ₹6000 that protects the shins, is waterproof and has a reflective patch. If you’d rather go for something that can also double upon as regular footwear, Puma and Alpinestars have some interesting options in the Flat2 and S-MX 1.1 that end below the shins. They cost between ₹8000-11000

Ultimately, when it comes to gear, comfort and individual preference are crucial, because if it doesn’t feel great, chances are that even the best kit will end up barely used. Therefore, we’d recommend thoroughly perusing all available options and trying them first-hand before committing to any particular set of gear.

Published on January 22, 2018

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