Finding the right gear and apparel can be a challenge, especially if you’re a woman riding competitively. Even if you’re not going for performance gear for a track event, you’re going to find a lot of brands make heavy assumptions about who is buying their products and why. Still, there are more and more apparel manufacturers coming to understand the potential motorcycles hold for women who want effective, efficient transportation in a world with rising fuel and automobile costs. They’re also paying attention to the rapid increase in women buying bikes over the past two decades, including dirt bikes and other primarily recreational models. Still, depending on the gear you are looking for, it can be hard to find brands that specifically target your needs.
Overwear and Safety Apparel
For the most part, overwear is less gendered than other apparel. While shirts can be form-fitted even when they’re supposed to be for informal events and pants tend to predict your hip and waist proportions to a certain degree, helmets, gloves, jackets, and full riding suits are more likely to be unisex. The hard part is figuring out whether the sizes for motorcycle casual apparel are truly unisex or if they’re actually sized for men, because a true unisex medium will be a lot closer to a women’s medium than a medium designed for a man would be. That being said, if you can compensate for the size difference, the choices aimed at men will work for you too. It’s more important to have good padding for protection and a fit that works for you. Remember to have all the following for your safest riding experience:
- Riding gloves for warm and cold conditions
- A helmet capable of full face protection from the elements
- A jacket rugged enough to protect you from road rash, preferably leather or denim
Padded Pants and Shirts
Padded flannels, hoodies, and jeans are the core of the casual rider’s apparel lineup, partly because they are easy to clean and hardy when you don’t need to dress up and partly because it’s easy to put in the extra cushion that helps riders if they need protection from debris or even from the road itself. No one likes to plan to take a spill, but it’s a fact of life and your apparel is a big part of your safety gear. If you are riding without a jacket, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing full coverage on your arms and legs. Even if you don’t buy specially padded jeans, thick work jeans offer protection from road rash. Similarly, riding with exposed arms is asking for trouble if there’s an accident, but a zip up hoodie or flannel can go over your t-shirt or tank top for the ride without adding a lot of weight to your apparel. Luckily, when it comes to riding apparel, the everyday informal stuff is the gear most likely to have wide availability for women, with some casual apparel brands specializing in gear designed for the female form.
Finding the Right Boot
Last but not least, you need a good, safe boot. Ankle coverage and support is a must, and consider what is available with a steel toe instead of just a hardened one. You can find great riding boots wherever you see motorcycle clothing on sales for cheap motorcycle riding gear.