“Uncomfortable,” “pricey” and “not necessary” are often heard from people who don’t wear gear when riding motorcycles. The reason being is that typically gear is seen as being constricting and cowardly. Why wear gear? You’re a total hard ass, and you’re such a good rider you don’t need it. However, nothing is harder than the pavement.
So yes, gear is necessary while riding a bike, but just because it protects you doesn’t mean it has to look stupid. In fact, with modern constructing and materials, motorcycle armor is both attractive and safe. Working with Icon, here are five misconceptions you may have about motorcycle gear, and why they just aren’t true.
5. Motorcycle gear is uncomfortable
One misconception about motorcycle gear is that it’s uncomfortable. Regardless of if it’s safe, people whine that it’s too hot and too bulky; they just feel more comfortable without it. Icon’s Compound Jacket and Strongarm 2 pants say otherwise.
The Compound jacket is a hybrid, but not the nerdy car kind. Leather where you slide and textile to keep the weight down; you barely feel the jacket at all. It also has a bevy of adjustable vents to keep the cool air flowing. Most importantly, the Compound has armor on the elbows, shoulders and back. This jacket has the protection you need and the comfort you want, all in one package.
For the other half of your body there are the Strongarm 2 Enforcer pants. Rather than full motorcycle pants that are unbearable to wear any time off the bike, the Strongarm 2 Enforcers look and feel like normal jeans. And aside from the Aramid reinforced knee plates, they basically are. This is good for comfort, but I would recommend purchasing the optional kneepads for more protection. But still, the comfort and style of jeans with the protection of traditional motorcycle pants is a fantastic bargain.
4. Motorcycle gear is ugly
No one wants to wear clothes that look stupid. Luckily, if you want to be protected on a bike, you can choose not to look like a rolling safety cone. Icon’s mission is to get people to wear gear, regardless of their tastes and preferences. Because of this, they design gear that will appeal to everyone from the guy looking for something subtle, to those looking to make more of a statement.
For instance, the compound jacket is firmly in the former category. Aside from the red logo on the small, exposed armor plate on the back, the all-black Compound jacket is subdued and stylish. The fit is spot on – snug but not tight – and the quality is top notch. Being all black, it’s as if the classic leather motorcycle jacket was updated for the 21st century. It makes a statement, without screaming it, or sacrificing safety for style.
In the latter category are the Strongarm 2 pants. If you are a firm extrovert and want everyone to be able to spot you from a mile away, buy these jeans. The wash is dark, and the fit is straight, but that’s where the subtlety ends. These pants are packed with embellishments. Fake stiches, contrasting colors on the pockets, and the cherry on top, a giant skull and crossbones on the back pocket. These pants are not for shrinking violets.
The Alliance Torrent helmet continues this theme. Skulls, stars, slashes and streaks are all over the place on this piece. It’s a basically a fireworks display on your head. It is a bit subtler because the black graphics are set against a dark silver background, but it definitely isn’t a piece that blends with the crowd. The best part, though, is that both the jeans and helmet can be had in more subtle colors and design schemes. So if you want to ride under the radar, or into the spotlight, pick whatever armor suits your taste and ride on.
3. Helmets aren’t comfortable
All too often you will see a motorcyclist fully geared up with their helmet hanging off the back of the bike. This choice has always baffled me, but it goes with the line of thought that helmets are too cumbersome to ride with. It is just more comfortable to have your bare face in the wind than it is to wear a helmet. This is patently false.
The Alliance helmet is a perfect example of a helmet that is comfortable, stylish, and of course, protects your head. Yes, a full-face helmet is comfortable. For example, the Alliance has plenty of ventilation to keep your head cool, and Icon’s HydraCool inner lining to keep you from stanking it up with sweat. Also, it’s light enough to not wear on your neck like many cheaper helmets. Plus, as mentioned before, it comes in just about every color scheme you want. Stop making excuses, start wearing a helmet; your head needs a helmet a lot more than the back of your bike.
2. Gear is expensive
This isn’t a myth as much as it is an excuse. Why people all of a sudden become scrooges about gear but not the motorcycle their buying is beyond me, but at the end of the day, you can have full protection on a bike for a reasonable price. For example, here’s a breakdown of all of the gear in this review plus a few extras:
Alliance Torrent Helmet: $225
Compound Jacket: $320
Strongarm 2 Pants: $115
Stryker Knee Armor: $105
Justice Mesh Glove: $60
Superduty 4 Boot: $120
That comes out to just under a grand for quality gear that you can use season after season. That’s a deal not only for your face, but also for your wallet.
1. Gear isn’t cool
The main reason people don’t wear gear is that they think it’s not cool. But let’s name a few professions that require helmets: jet fighter pilots, football players, astronauts, medieval knights and racecar drivers. Now, let’s name a few professions that don’t need helmets or armor: ballet dancers, pastry chefs, clowns, and figure skaters. Not having a helmet isn’t so bad now, is it?
Don’t be a squid; wear your gear. No, you do not look cool on your bike with shorts and flip-flops. Plus, the pavement will gladly wipe that douchebag smirk off your face. With Icon offering gear that is affordable, comfortable and stylish for whatever your style may be, there are just no more honest excuses anymore to not wear your gear.