How do you even tell?

Making sure your motorcycle gear fits properly is one of the most important things you can do, beyond wearing that gear, for your on-road safety. If your gear fits poorly, it can be uncomfortable and distracting, and it won’t protect you when you need it.

Since being distracted by anything while you’re piloting a motorbike is itself a danger, comfortable gear is a must. Anything that is too tight, itchy, pinches when you move wrong, chafes, causes pain, or moves too much, means you’re paying attention to that when you should be paying attention to riding.

Helmet

First and most importantly, your helmet. If it fits you well, you will never think about it. How do you know if it doesn’t fit you well?

  • It shifts when you turn your head to change lanes on the highway.
  • It will press on some spot on your head and turn painful after more than a few minutes.
  • You can’t fit your glasses into the visor hole.
  • Your chin touches the chinbar on the inside.
  • You can roll the helmet off forward while the chin strap is fastened, or twist your head around inside of it.

If any of these things sound familiar, get to a good gear shop and let the helpful salespeople there fit you for a good helmet.

Jacket

Your riding jacket should be snug enough that with all the zippers secured, you can’t move the armor away from the spots it’s trying to protect. Your elbow, shoulder and back armor should all stay put no matter how you try to squirm around. Since that armor needs to be there for you to keep pavement off your skin, it should fit like it’s part of you. The neck opening should be snug without choking you, and it should not cut into your skin. The sleeves should be long enough to cover all your skin but not so long they argue with your gloves. The shoulders should allow you to move your arms without displacing the armor. Fit is very important, and you shouldn’t try to make a jacket work that was made for a body type that does not match yours. This definitely means that some of us have a real struggle when it comes to finding a riding jacket that fits well, but keep trying and be noisy about it.

Gloves

Your gloves should fit your hands around the circumference of your palms as well as in finger length. If the fingers are too long you can’t do anything with them on. If they’re too short they’ll hurt you. Does the wrist cinch get tight enough to keep the gloves on should anything untoward occur? Keep all of this in mind as you are selecting and trying on gloves. Your hands are important!

Pants

Your riding pants should have armored knees, and the placement of that armor should make them sit correctly when you’re on a bike, such that the armor joint lines up with your knee joint. Move that an inch in either direction and you’re in for a world of hurt as the pressure on your kneecap creates a really surprising amount of pain. Any good motorcycle gear shop will let you sit on your bike with the pants on to make sure they fit. Many riding pants have adjustable knee armor, so check to see if that’s the case before you give up on them.

Boots

Your boots are not made for walkin’. You should find something with a stiff sole and armor that will protect you from crushing injuries, since your feet are awfully prone to having a large metal machine land on them. Good, protretive riding boots are not, on the whole, all that comfortable to walk in. Get boots that are comfy on the bike, and bring a change of shoes with you.