After months and months of sacrifice, of talking your loved ones round and more besides, you’ve finally managed to buy your first (and hopefully not last) motorcycle. Congratulations! As well as dedicating yourself to learning riding technique (you might consider a course with a federal instructor), however, it’s good to know something more – on a motorcycle, you need to protect yourself. That’s because while riding a motorcycle can be the most amazing, captivating activity in the world, you have to bear in mind that the right technical clothing is essential. Would you ever go skiing without snow gear? Well, it’s the same when you ride a motorcycle. And that’s not only because of safety, but also comfort. Specially designed clothing will let you focus on riding alone, without any other bother. You won’t have to think about anything except riding.
The first and probably most important item of motorcycle clothing is the helmet, which, by the way, is the only one that’s mandatory by law. We don’t think we need to explain why – it protects the most delicate and precious part of our body. Today there’s a truly vast number of motorcycle helmet types (full-face, modular, open-face…) to adapt to every personal riding style and preference, as well as being available in a huge variety of color combinations. If you want maximum protection and lightness, however, you might consider a full-face helmet like the AGV K6. Its shell is made of composite fibers, it’s equipped with loads of front air vents (extractor at the back), and the strap has a Double D fastening system, while the interior is removable, washable and hypoallergenic.
The back protector is actually just as important, even though the law doesn’t consider it a requirement when riding. But we treat it like the law of the land all the same. Protecting your spine is no less important than protecting your head. Basically, if you want to ride a motorcycle, buy and wear a certified back protector. Today there are different types of back protector, each of which has specific characteristics and strengths, but as a first purchase we can recommend the Pro-Armor back protector, which is lightweight, extremely breathable, flexible and equipped with adjustable straps.
Technology doesn’t stand still, however, and great strides have been made in the motorcycle clothing sector for ten years now, too.
The Smart Jacket is a perfect example, a vest with integrated Dainese D-air® motorcycle airbag system. Smart Jacket is a garment with D-air® airbag that’s lightweight (just over a kilo), electronically activated, protects back and chest and can be worn over or under any jacket (not necessarily a motorcycle one). It doesn’t require any connection with either other garments or the motorcycle and is easily foldable. It’s ventilated and water-resistant, so you can use it even in the summer, without having to worry if it rains.
The D-air® airbag technology built into the Smart Jacket is the same as that developed for professional MotoGP™ riders’ suits, which we at Dainese have been working on for more than 25 years. D-air® is based on two main elements, the airbag and the electronic component. The Smart Jacket airbag covers the back and chest and is built using patented microfilament technology. This unique solution allows uniform high-pressure inflation across the entire surface, to offer equivalent protection in each area covered. The impact energy absorption capacity of the Smart Jacket airbag is comparable to seven conventional back protectors combined.
The electronic component of D-air® consists of a control unit, an algorithm developed over more than two decades and a series of sensors. 1,000 times per second, the control unit analyzes the data received from the sensors, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a GPS, and can independently recognize the dynamics of an accident and so cause the airbag to inflate.
One of the most iconic articles of clothing is the motorcycle jacket, which can be made of leather or fabric. To start with, you could consider a jacket like the Air Frame D1 Tex, a fabric garment that’s particularly suitable for high temperatures because of the large breathable mesh inserts. A removable windproof lining means that the jacket can be worn even in cooler temperatures, so that it can be used in a wider variety of situations. There are of course certified protectors on shoulders and elbows, whereas there’s a pocket for dedicated back protectors on the back.
Motorcycle pants go hand in hand with the jacket, which in this case too can be made of leather or fabric. But if you’re also going to use the motorcycle to get around the city, either for work or leisure, you may be interested in the Casual Slim Tex Pants. They’re made using a fabric called Armalith®, which is soft but extremely resistant to abrasion and tears. It’s a mix of cotton, Lycra and a special fiber called UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). It offers greater mechanical resistance than steel, but at the same time you can wear them all day long just as you would with casual pants. They incorporate soft certified protectors on knees and hips.
Often underestimated, motorcycle gloves are actually extremely important. Think about a potential fall. Instinct will make you attempt to protect your body using your hands. That’s without considering events that are distinctly more everyday, like the classic case of a little stone right on the knuckles on the highway… You will have understood that it’s important to wear gloves when you’re riding a motorcycle, even on short trips. There are very light and flexible ones that are quick to put on and take off. One example is Mig 3, short gloves that are suited to warm and temperate climates, made of a mix of leather and breathable/stretch fabric. There are of course knuckle protectors as well.
Last but not least, there are motorcycle shoes, which again are more important than you might think. Returning to the example of a fall, your foot could get stuck under the bike, but you don’t need to fall to put your foot down roughly. Technical shoes like Metropolis Shoes drastically reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries. They look like classic sneakers and share their comfort, so you can also use them in your free time, but they’re actually PPE, personal protective equipment.
From head to toe – when riding a motorcycle, you have to protect every part of the body. It may seem excessive, if you’re starting now, but you’ll see that with the right technical clothing you’ll become aware of the freedom that only protection can offer you. And that’s our goal.