Times are changing, and just like everything this means new products are emerging, which is especially true when it comes to motorbike clothing. More and more riders like you are looking for more casual protective clothing to ride in, that isn't heavy and uncomfortable, and can be worn around town too.
But in the attempt to look more casual and stylish while you ride there is a chance you could be compromising your safety too, which is why we've put together this guide on how you can dress a little more casually while still being protected in a crash or slide.
There is loads of gear that you can wear on a motorbike that will offer enough protection, whether it is specifically designed for riding or not. But on the flip side there a much bigger list of clothing that you should not be wearing no matter how warm it gets, or how fashionable it looks to turn up on your bike infront of a crowd with just a Superdry t-shirt on.
Read on for our breakdown of all the casual clothing you might consider wearing on a motorbike and the best way to wear it for your safety.
T-shirts & Motocross jerseys
It's never a good idea to wear a single layer of fabric on it's own out on your bike. No matter how warm the weather, where your riding to, or what size moped/motorbike you're riding; the road doesn't care, and will tear holes in it on impact at any speed above about 5 mph.
Motocross jerseys are another popular choice of kit for some riders but the same applies, they aren't in anyway protective on their own and probably offer less abrasion resistance than a normal t-shirt.
How can I wear it then?
Sometimes when you're just riding to the shops 10 minutes away, or meeting up with some friends on a warm day you want to wear a t-shirt when you get there. If that's the case then you can pair your t-shirt with an armoured kevlar hoodie or soft shell jacket which won't look out of place when you get off your bike and will keep your skin in place if you do take a fall.
Motocross & Mountain Bike Gloves
On a warm day it's pretty common to see at least one person out riding in lightweight motocross gloves, and who can blame them when they're built of mesh fabrics letting all that cool air through your fingers.
Although some off road gloves feature a leather palm, this is mainly to make the gloves last longer and keep you in control as you hold the grips; which means it's not ready for a collision with the tarmac.
How can I wear them then?
The simple answer is.. You can't. But this wouldn't be a great guide if we didn't have an answer or alternative. Thanks to the change in the way us bikers are dressing when we ride, more and more clothing brands are starting to offer more lightweight street styles gloves that look similar to motocross gloves but offer the protection they can't.
For example the Weise Wave gloves are a textile lightweight glove with a touch screen compatible finger, and knuckle armour that is hidden underneath the outer layer.
Hoodies & Jackets
Fashion hoodies are what we're talking about here, a great idea if the weather isn't too warm and you're just planning on riding to the shops. But just like any normal clothing it's not good enough to wear a hoodie alone while you ride because not matter how thick the material feels, it's no match for tarmac.
Plus, something that a lot of people sometimes forget is that falling on your elbow from stand still is painful enough, so imagine falling on it from your motorbike at speed. Armour is essential, and something that rarely comes standard in an Asos hoodie!
How can I wear them then?
Luckily there are plenty of things we can suggest that mean you can wear a hoodie and still stay protected while your ride.
First off is to consider swapping out your jacket or hoodie for a purpose built kevlar hoodie. Kevlar motorcycle hoodies are becoming more and more popular for a good reason; they look good off the bike and perform on the bike. Most kevlar hoodies are built to take protectors/armour panels in internal pockets and some come with this armour included.
Another option is to pull your favourite hoodie on over some purpose built motorcycle armour sets. This is an effective way of protecting your body from impacts, although because of the lack of anti abrasion materials your skin could still be damaged in a slide.
Jeans & Trousers
Probably the most popular piece of clothing that seems to crossover as fashion and riding gear amongst bikers is denim jeans. Trousers are not so common since they obviously offer no protection but if you're commuting to work then you might need to wear them.
Denim jeans might be hard wearing in day to day use but there are a lot of myths around how they perform in a motorcycle crash. In fact in a test done by the team at superstreetbike.com they found that standard denim jeans when hitting the ground at 30mph only slid for around 45 feet before tearing and holes appearing.
(This is all considering your jeans are actually made from Denim - some budget jeans aren't, and therefore offer even less protection)
How can I wear them then?
It's obvious that jeans are a lot more comfortable than leathers or heavy textile trousers, not to mention the fact that you can walk around town in them without chaffing or getting weird looks from people. Luckily there are a couple of options if you like the look and feel of jeans while you ride.
By now you've probably seen or heard of Kevlar motorcycle jeans and that's because they quickly becoming popular especially among riders like you who prefer to wear more lightweight gear. With this popularity comes a lot of brands getting involved and releasing their own line of Kevlar jeans, and at LDMotorcycles we stock the original leader in Kevlar jeans Draggin Jeans.
Kevlar jeans generally come in two different types, fully lined and part lined, where the Kevlar is just placed on the impact areas like around the knees and on the rear end & hips which helps reduce the overall weight and bulkiness of the jean keeping them looking more like fashion jeans.
Armour isn't included with all kevlar jeans but as a minimum your jeans should come with stitched knee pockets to insert your own armour, and possibly pockets on your hip for armour there too.
What if you want to wear your favourite jeans out on the bike and not buy specialist kevlar jeans? Then you might be tempted to get some Kevlar leggings that can be worn underneath to protect your skin if your favourite jeans do hit the road and tear.
As a last resort, if you're going to work on the bike or a meeting and need to wear your trousers on the bike then here's a little hack. Wear your lightest textile or leather trousers on top of your normal trousers; we know that most people don't have space in their bike to store the over trousers though. Instead stuff your trousers inside your helmet, and carry it around like normal or pack it in your bike. Not the greatest life hack but something a lot of riders don't think of.