ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME (ATGATT) If you ride, you know – All the Gear, All the Time (ATGATT). Safety first. The right gear, and all the right gear, will help minimize potential injuries. Riding gear is available for smaller body types, larger types, females, males and children. Consider visibility. The brighter the colours, the easier it is to be seen.
The best way to fit riding gear is to try it on while sitting on a bike similar to yours. Make sure the helmet and the jacket work together and don’t bunch up or puff out. Jackets and suits are designed in riding position. Some jackets and pants zip or snap together for added protection. This feature also minimizes drafts coming up your back.
Protective riding gear is constructed of many different materials. Leather is the original material and still offers the best protection if it’s motorcycle grade. There are many variations of textile fabrics including Cordura nylon, Kevlar, polyester and mesh fabrics. Generally the heavier the fabric the better the protection. Specifically designed motorcycle apparel should have the following features including venting, removable liners, body armour and special coating for weather protection.
Goretex is a name brand used in motorcycle clothing to waterproof the garment while still allowing it to breath. This is not a protective layer but it is a membrane in between the outer and inner layers. General rule of thumb is that the more breathable the membrane the less waterproof it is. The same applies with venting, the more vents the less waterproof.
Air bag vests are the newest piece of protective gear. They are divided into two types, tethered and electronic. The tethered type is less expensive but requires you to tether to the bike. If you come off your bike, the tug on the tether cord will activate the air bag. The electronic type has gyroscopes and motion sensors that will detect a sudden change in direction and deploy the air bag. This type of protection is becoming mandatory in most road race organizations.
If you are a believer in Murphy’s Law you will know that if you wear all the gear all the time you won’t need it. The time you leave it in the closet is the time you will need it most.