When it comes to choosing helmets and pads, the big challenge is balancing the best gear with the best value for your money.
After getting my first bike (a Yamaha XVS1100A), I was trying to figure out if I needed gear (why wear gear right?). Eventually, I figured I did, so then came the hard part: finding the best gear with the best value for my money.
Is the Most Expensive Gear Really the Best?
Price is a good indication of how good something is, but when it’s your life at stake you want to be damn certain it protects you, and that you're not just overpaying for a fancy brand.
First, I went for the helmet (I value my head). Turns out there are a wide range of helmets with very different prices and certificates, such as DOT, ECE 22.05, and Snell. Research showed these are all different certification programs with their own examinations and conditions. But which one is the best?
I read a ton of reviews, forums and advice about which one was the best, but none were conclusive at all, so I ended going with the most expensive helmet within my budget.
Next I went for knee and shin protection. I saw an accident once where the rider got an open shin fracture (argh! Not a pretty sight.) Just like the helmet, I went for the most expensive one I could afford, even though empirical safety information wasn't readily available.
There’s got to be a better way to choose gear!
The Best Criteria to Choose Motorcycle Gear
It really irritated me that there are apps for this and that, but it’s still hard as hell to figure out which gear actually works and is worth the money. Gear is 100% about protection, so obviously how well it protects is the most relevant criteria for me, with style and price coming afterward.
So why aren’t there reviews and crash reports of motorcycle gear measuring real protection in crashes? In search of a solution for such problem, RideAndStayAlive was born.
I decided to gather and process reports about real crashes involving motorcycles to amass good stats on the most popular gear items:
How did the crash happen?
How did the rider fall?
What gear was used?
What injuries were sustained?
This non-profit project is being carried out by my friend Dennis and I. We aim to help thousands of lives around the world by educating riders about gear while saving your wallet when you decide what to get. Please help us out by submitting your crash report or tweeting this to your friends!
RideAndStayAlive is a non-profit that collects and organizes stats about motorcycle crashes. Our goal is to understand which gear really protects the best and help save the lives of riders around the world. Gathering data about crashes is complicated so we'll appreciate the help. Please submit your crash report or tell a friend!