Making motorcycles your main transportation? Good for you, but it’s going to take a little more than just finding a secure place to park. Helmets, jackets, pants, gloves and all that good stuff will keep you comfortable across varying weather conditions and safe in city traffic. But, how much should you spend and which gear works best? This is essential riding gear for commuters, whether you’re on a budget, want the best or anywhere in between.
Helmet: Icon Airmada ($180)
Our favorite sport helmet of the moment — full stop — works equally well in the day-to-day rush, where its fog-free visor, excellent ventilation and extraordinary comfort pay dividends, even while you’re doing 25 mph.
Boots: Alpinestars Roam WP ($150)
A basic set of tall, supportive, waterproof boots should be a stable of any commuter’s riding outfit. The Roams will get the job done thanks to grippy soles, strong heal and toe boxes and good ankle impact protection.
Gloves: Alpinestars SP8 ($89.95)
A basic set of quality sport gloves feature good impact protection and solid comfort. Consider the environment in which you’re riding and purchase accordingly. Expand the comfort envelope of any glove with a cheap pair of silk glove liners.
There are cheaper waterproof two-pieces available, but they’re a false economy. Spend up to a quality suit from a name brand that will last a few years and actually be capable of keeping you comfortable and safe in inclement weather.
Comms: Earplug Headphones ($20)
Want to listen to music or directions while you ride? A basic set of earplug headphones will allow you to do so on the cheap, while blocking out ambient wind noise.
Luggage: Firstgear Torrent Backpack ($60)
A basic waterproof backpack that will keep your stuff dry in a downpour. Carry your office shoes, laptop and more.
Helmet: HJC RPHA Max ($420)
A comfy, well-made, lightweight and quiet flip-front from an unexpected brand. You’ll be shocked at how nice this helmet is and the included Pinlock visor insert will keep it fog free while the flip-down sun visor will aid those early morning and late afternoon commutes.
Boots: Alpinestars Scout WP ($250)
These ADV-style boots punch above their mid-range price tag with excellent comfort, support and safety. They’ll keep your feet dry, your feet safe and your bike upright.
Gloves: Alpinestars 365 ($195)
An un-insulated pair of waterproof riding gloves that use Gore-Tex “XTrafit” which bonds the membrane to the shell so it doesn’t get tangled up when you take them on and off. These are incredibly versatile, working in reasonably hot and reasonably cold conditions and keep your hands dry throughout.
Spending more money on a riding suit nets you higher quality and greater versatility. This Long Range will work no matter how hot or cold or wet it gets and will survive years of even the most grueling commute.
Comms: Sena SMH5 ($145)
This basic helmet communications system syncs with your phone via BlueTooth, enabling you to take or make phone calls and listen to navigation or music. More expensive options feature a greater range with which you can communicate with other riders, but for commuting purposes, you don’t really need that, so save the money.
The best soft luggage available comes with a 10-year warranty and is comfortable and easy to use. Whether you go for backpack, tailpack or some other arrangement, Kriega luggage will keep your stuff secure and dry.
Sky’s The Limit Gear
Helmet: Schuberth C3 Pro ($770)
The quietest helmet on-sale today is also super comfy and over-engineered in a way only ze Germans can manage.
Boots: Aerostich Combat Touring Boots ($367)
These may not have a fancy waterproof membrane or over-the-top external armor, but they more than make up for it with simple, old-fashioned quality. Treat them with a good leather lotion and they’ll be as waterproof as you need and will last you the rest of your life.
Nice day? Racer Sicuros ($240) for the palm sliders, feel and quality. Freezing cold? Aerostich Luxury Cowhide Winter gloves ($190) and silk glove liners for their peerless warmth and ridiculously cosseting interior. Want something in between? You have plenty of options.
Suit: Aerostich Roadcrafter ($967+)
Get one custom made to your exact measurements; it’s worth the premium. This suit is designed to fit over your business clothes without wrinkling them and will keep you comfortable and safe in even the most extreme scenarios. It’s like a car you can zip on in 15 seconds, just better made. To maximize safety, tick the boxes for the “Competition Back Pad” and “TF5 Hip Protectors and Sleeves).
Comms: Schuberth SRC ($430)
Integrating seamlessly with your C3 Pro, the Schuberth SRC system fits wholly in the helmet’s neck roll and plugs into the helmet’s integrated Bluetooth/FM antenna.
Luggage: Touratech Zega Pro Topcase ($650+)
Lock anything away in total safety and security inside this aluminum safe that bolts to the back of your bike. Go for the top box, not the panniers. You’ll sacrifice some capacity, but will retain your motorcycle’s slim dimensions.
Do you commute by motorcycle? What gear has and hasn’t worked for you?