New Harley Rider: Smart Gear Tips From American Iron Magazine
When you first start riding a motorcycle many new riders are not sure where to turn for advice on the best gear to buy and use, especially on a Harley. The editors of American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine, and Motorcycle Bagger, have a simple list of best riding gear for new riders of Harley motorcycles.
- We are not going to go into the discussion of helmet laws, but rather focus on what is available and the pros and cons of your motorcycle helmet choices. The first rule on motorcycle helmets is buy a new one. No matter what the quality when new, a motorcycle helmet has a limited life and then the become less effective in the case of impact or other serious accident. Also make sure you buy a DOT approved helmet and not a cheaper, less protective “novelty” helmet. Helmets come in full, 3/4 and half helmet designs. The full helmet will be the most expensive and heaviest option, but it will offer the best protection from the weather, road debris and impact.
- Yes, you can wear any kind of over the ankle boot for protection when riding your Harley motorcycle. The American Iron Magazine Harley editors recommend wearing a high quality over-the-ankle boot that is comfortable to wear and has a strong rubber sole that will not slip on wet road surfaces.
Once again, you have many choices in a good motorcycle riding jacket. These include traditional leather or lighter, high-tech fabric. And colors are a personal choice. Whatever you chose make sure it is comfortable and covers you arms all the way past the wrists, and is long enough to protect your waist (front and back). The choice or protective body armor is up to you. In some motorcycle jackets this is available at the elbows, shoulders and spine.
- You can use any kind of full finger gloves (we do not recommend fingerless riding gloves) when riding your Harley. Ideally, you need to make sure they are comfortable, especially when gripping the handlebars. They come in choice of leather or textile, and in short (to the wrist) or gauntlet in light, medium and heavy weights. Many experienced motorcycle riders carry more than one set of gloves on the road so they can swap them out based on thew temperature or weather conditions (wet or dry).
- This is an item many new riders overlook and then regret it. When it comes to riding your Harley, getting caught in the rain is not a matter of “if” as much as “when” so think about it before you need the motorcycle rain gear. If you have a choice, pass on the cheap gear as it ends up ripping and becoming useless. Invest a bit more and get some good rain pants and rain jacket. The American Iron Magazine editors prefer bright colors or dark colors with plenty of reflective materials. Remember, when you need motorcycle rain gear it is often dark and you want to be highly visible to drivers in the dark rain. Some people also guy rain boots to slip over your riding boots, and rain gloves, but that is up to you. Whatever motorcycle rain gear you do buy, we recommend you try it on a few times at home in the dry to make sure it fits properly and you know how. It is not fun to be sitting on the side of the road with your Harley in the heavy rain trying to figure out how to put on your never used motorcycle rain gear.