Sweat stains are fine, helmets really aren’t.
Motorcycle gear is damned expensive. It’s not hard for motorcycle gear bills to climb into the thousands of dollars, especially if you ride more than one type of bike. Used gear is a good way to save money and lower your overall consumption footprint. There are some things you should look out for when you buy pre-loved moto apparel and no, we don’t just mean the stains.
First let’s address the most common question we hear: Is it illegal to sell a used helmet? In most states no it is not illegal. You are allowed to sell your used helmet. Still, I would ask that you don’t. Or at least don’t buy one from someone you don’t know.
When your friend that you know and trust has a helmet for sale then sure go ahead If you know it’s been in no collisions, it meets all the safety standards, isn’t too old, and it has been stored correctly than it is reasonable to buy a helmet. When you don’t know for sure that all those things are true, then you shouldn’t. At the end of the day, your head goes inside it. Heads are too important to muck around with to save a few bucks.
Dirt Bike Gear and Racing Gear
My favorite pair of dirt-riding boots is second hand. They’re also about 10 years old but show no signs of wear. They’re good quality, comfortable, and I paid a quarter of their value when I picked them up. You can usually buy boots with confidence but check for signs of water damage on the stitching, and for signs of repairs on the sole before you take on someone else’s shoes. I sprayed mine on the inside with a bacteria-killing spray before I put them on too. Yes, we wear socks, but we also sweat buckets into our boots.
Chest protectors, LEATT braces, and other pieces of armor should be looked over thoroughly before you buy them. I’m not too bothered when it comes to brand-name products, but unknown brands or knock-offs from sub-standard manufacturers need special attention when used.
Internal armor is important to check as well. If you’re buying a used jacket or pants, make sure you pull out the internal armor (if it’s removable) and verify it’s not cracked or broken. If it is, see if there are replacement pieces available. It might be worth investing in new armor, especially if it’s back armor, anyway.
Gloves are trickier. Our hands are way dirtier than any of us think. Besides, we sweat directly into our gloves, pick our noses with them [um, speak for yourself – Ed] and generally abuse them. Gloves are most likely to have stitching that’s damaged or coming apart, and if you see a pair of used gloves with fraying happening in the stitching, don’t buy them. All jokes aside (and the nose part was a joke) – gloves are literally our first line of defense in most crashes. We put them out instinctively in a lot of cases, so don’t buy used gloves.
Depending on what you wear on the street, there’s a good chance it is absolutely worth buying used. A good quality leather jacket can last many lifetimes, so too, brand-name Kevlar-reinforced jeans. Just remember to check the armor for damage, and the inside of the jeans for stains.
Second hand clothing is no big deal. Be careful of badged or patched items, as you might inadvertently find yourself representing a cause, value set, or club that you don’t actually align with. Look for quality. Denim and leather are usually durable, remember the stitching is usually the most vulnerable part.
When shopping for any pair or jeans, make sure you look inside the seat and groin area, as small holes often start in those spots and spread embarrassingly at inopportune moments.
Moto Gear I Would Never Buy Used (But You Can If You Want)
Helmets: I covered this already, but I personally don’t buy used helmets. You can, but be careful.
Inner liners: I always replace the inner liner on used jackets I buy, but I’m a bit precious. You can just wash it before wear and that will get rid of most of it.
Under Armor: The skin-tight clothes we wear under our race suits, leathers, or dirt gear is essentially underwear. Don’t wear second-hand underwear. Unless you’re into that sort of thing.
Anything with a stain: “Man, I nearly crapped my pants in corner three”. No thanks.
Anything torn up: Leathers can be repaired but make sure you know they can be restored to full status before you buy a busted set. There are probably good sets around for similar money and less angst.
Who Sells This Stuff Anyway?
Ultimately, buying used gear isn’t a big drama. There’s lots of it around, and lots of reasons people sell. Sometimes they just stopped riding, sometimes they upgraded. Sometimes somebody is selling off the stuff a loved one used to own. Sometimes it’s retribution from a scorned lover – always be aware of that one.
The last and most overlooked piece of advice about buying used gear is to look out for scams, scumbags fencing stolen goods, and fraud. Online purchases should be done through a reputable site, and money exchanges should be done via verified companies. Be aware of deals that seem too good to be true, people who will only correspond via text message, and dodgy email addresses.
If you go about it with a bit of common sense, buying used gear is a good way to save money and it’s better for the environment.