Every motorcyclist knows the importance of wearing a helmet and leathers. In this article we explain how to choose the right equipment and what to wear while riding your motorcycle. We will also explore what helmet and leathers insurance covers and why this is a beneficial add-on to your motorbike insurance.
Why you need bike leathers and protective equipment
A helmet and leathers are essential for protecting yourself while you’re riding. If you buy cheap or sub-standard equipment it might save you some money, but if it doesn’t protect you in a crash it will not have been worth the saving.
How to choose the right leathers
Choosing the best kit isn’t as simple as basing your choice off of the brand name. All brands make leathers for a range of budgets, using hides of varying quality for the construction. Look at the construction, including the quality of the dyes – if it looks and feels a quality product, it’s a safer bet than something you’ve chosen just because it was cheap.
When it comes to the leather itself, the best bet is to touch as many different products as you can – get your hands on the high-end stuff, like Kushitani and Hideout – for an idea of how it feels. The key is to try and figure out how well the garment is put together, that way you should be able to gauge how tough and high-quality the product is.
In terms of stitching, generally speaking, fewer panels tend to make for a tougher garment, but it also makes it more expensive as it’s harder to find large enough sections with no damage and a consistent thickness. The more panels there are in leathers, the more offcuts can be used by the manufacturer, and the cheaper they can be made. One piece of advice to go by when looking for the right leathers is that it is normal to be able to see stitching, but if the panels can be pulled apart at all, then that is a bad sign.
As with most decisions, there is no single answer as to what the right bike leathers for you will be, as lots of factors come into play. The best thing to do is to take your time, do your research and to buy the best you can afford. The main thing to consider is that the fit is really important. If leathers are too loose, the armour will move around, potentially making it useless.
The new CE standard for bike leathers
All motorcycle kit sold must be CE-approved, meaning that the entire garment has to meet one of the classifications: AAA (the highest) down to C, which is for mesh under suits with armour. An A-graded leather suit will potentially offer much reduced performance compared to an AAA-rated one. As a consumer, this allows you to better check the safety of the products you’re buying. It is also worth your consideration as it is likely that it will become a legal requirement to wear certified kit when riding, as is already the case with gloves in France, for instance.
What equipment do you need to ride a motorbike?
Whether you’re riding a moped or a high-performance bike, it is important to wear the right protective safety equipment.
Here is a list of the main equipment you need:
1. Visors and goggles
A visor or goggles will protect your eyes from wind, rain, insects and road dirt. Your visor or goggles must meet certain standards. If your visor or goggles get heavily scratched, you’ll need to replace them as scratches can distort your view and cause dazzle and glare. Moreover, when they need cleaning, wash with warm soapy water rather than solvents as these will damage the surface.
2. Ear plugs
Riding a motorbike is very noisy and the engine and air turbulence around your helmet will inevitably make a lot of noise, which can damage your hearing permanently. Wearing ear plugs can help to protect against this.
You must wear a safety helmet when you’re riding a motorbike on the road, and as with visors and goggles, all helmets sold in the UK must meet certain standards. When you buy a helmet, make sure it fits snugly and comfortably. Your helmet will get looser as your wear it so if it’s loose when you buy it, it’ll become too loose and could come off in a collision.
Think about the type of protection you are looking for. You may want all-weather protection from your clothing (man-made materials are better for this), or you may prefer greater protection and reduced wind resistance (leather is better in this case). Don't buy second-hand kit; it may be cheaper, but you don't know its history, so it might not protect you if you have an accident.
In order to effectively protect your feet, you need to wear good boots when you’re riding a motorbike. They can be made from leather, rubber or plastic. Make sure your boots are comfortable and that you can operate the foot controls easily when wearing them. As with leathers, try on lots of different types and buy the best you can afford.
Protection for your hands is really important. Never ride without gloves because if you fall off, even at low speeds, you could seriously injure your hands. Leather is the best material for gloves because it’s tough, supple and water resistant.
7. Visibility aids
Many road accidents involving motorcyclists happen because another road user didn't see the motorcyclist. Using visibility aids will help others to see you. Fluorescent clothing will make you easier to see during the day, while at night, reflective material will make you more visible.
What does helmet and leathers insurance cover?
To ride safely on the roads, we have established that there are pieces of equipment that you simply must use. Your motorcycle insurance will cover you for anything from the cost of repairs to the cost of a replacement bike depending on the type of cover you choose to pay for. But when it comes to equipment, standard policies often don't include cover for helmets and leathers. More often it’s an optional extra that can be added on for an additional fee.
Helmet and leathers insurance from Be Wiser will cover the loss and damage of your motorcycle clothing, in the event of an accident in the United Kingdom (up to the value of £1,000).
Helmet and leathers insurance covers damage to:
• Motorcycle clothing, such as Kevlar
• Leather clothing
• Protective motorcycle clothing
• Riding boots
• Protective gloves
• Motorcycle helmet
Your next steps
Be Wiser is an established insurance broker you can depend on. We work with specialist insurers to provide competitive rates and meet a wide range of insurance needs. Our team of qualified insurance professionals can find the right bike insurance cover to meet your specific needs.
When you choose Be Wiser, helmets and leathers cover comes free with all motorbike insurance policies.