There’s a lot of things that keep me up at night.

Things like “what tires should I buy?”, “how can I get my hands on that fancy new bike?”, “why is that person so much faster around the track than me?”, “what if I only ‘think’ my deodorant works?”

The more you get into motorcycling, the more you will pain over tiny details. When I first started riding, tires were something that connected my bike to the road, and cost a lot of money. I almost always had to go for the cheapest options and learn to ride around the pitfalls that come with being thrifty with one of the most important parts of the bike. Then I started looking for tires that would let me ride for longer between changes. Now I will often change tires before the old ones are anywhere near worn, just to try something else and see what works better for my and the riding I’m doing.

It was the same way with riding gear. I started with denim, and a few odds and ends that I managed to make work. Then I started getting actual motorcycle gear. The difference in comfort and protection was beyond anything I could have imagined before I tried the different options for myself. Now I own different pairs of boots, pants, gloves, jackets, and helmets depending on what kind of riding I plan on doing, and on what kind of bike.

Incremental improvements, and upgrades are an easy way to make riding gear affordable, but you really should start off with the best of what you can afford when you start. There is no reason to do something risky like buying a used helmet, when perfectly good, new helmets can be bought for around the $100 mark. If you can read this, your brain must be worth at least $100.

Boots and gloves are more important than most people realize. The odds are that you will put your hands out if you take a minor tumble, and something to protect your hands from road rash is important. Broken ankles are one of the most common injuries for motorcyclists, and boots can help to prevent that.

Denim doesn’t tend to offer any impact protection, and the abrasion resistance is only slightly better than that of your skin. Motorcycle pants and jackets tend to have much better abrasion resistance, and also have padding in key points to protect you from the initial impact of hitting the ground.

Nothing offers better protection than not needing protection, but things can go wrong once in a while, so it’s a good idea to give yourself as much of an edge as you can.

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