Just wanted to post a video that my brothers and I made with Youtube’s makeup guru, Jerlyn Phan aka makeupfreeek-hit that subscribe button! This video was used for promotional purposes for my fraternity’s “Philly’s Best Dance Crew.” Check out the video and let me know what you think!
The following youtube clips are some riding techniques that you guys should practice and master in an controlled area; preferably a large parking lot.
Quick Stop Emergency Braking
And this last one is for your enjoyment. This guy killed that course …
Here is a great post from a member on the Ninjette.org forum, Moldbuster. This pretty much sums up the importance of proper gear and what riders should look for while shopping for their own.
Link to the thread: http://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=75010
3 Decades, that is how long I have been riding two wheel forms of transportation. Enough to have gone down more than once. Enough to have serious injuries, to see others with serious injuries…and yes, long enough to see people I know die. Long enough to know that safety gear isn’t a nice thing to have..it is an absolute necessity. Something which you need to budget for when you purchase your first motorcycle. The question is, WHAT gear to get? This is a question that is asked on forums with beginning riders time and time again. The quantity of equipment out there is staggering and confusing So, here is a little guide which hopefully will help the newbies…
Why do you Need Safety Gear?
Riding a Motorcycle involves a degree of risk. The purpose of safety equipment is to minimize some of the risk. When you fall off a bike, the forces involved are very high and those forces can cause injury.
What Causes Injuries?
There are two things that you are going to experience in a crash which are likely to cause injury…
1) Impact. Impact from your body hitting the pavement whether it be a small distance as in a slow low side crash, or impact from up high as in a high side crash or an trip over the hood of a car. There is impact from other objects…your bike, an SUV with somebody on the cell, animals or static objects like curbs. If a cyclist tumbles during a crash, this is likely to cause impact injuries. Typically, impacts are going to break things…usually bones.
2) Friction. Friction from parts of your body skimming slong the pavement. Friction typically causes two types of injuries…
1) Road Rash. Road Rash is caused by pavement directly contacting your skin at speed and ablating (wearing away) layers of it. The higher the speed, the more layers which are removed. Serious Road Rash is life threatening or disfiguring. The treatment is identical to burn treatment. Take a drill, put a wire wheel on it, turn it on high…apply to a bare portion of skin, rub dirt in the wound…that is the equivalent of a medium speed road rash.
2) Burns. Friction causes heat. The heat can be great enough to cause severe burns under your clothing. It can be enough to melt things. See the note on coated fabric at the end.
What Proper Gear Must Do
Proper Gear must protect the body from impact. This is done thru padding the material or added layers, and thru armor. Armor is additional impact protection added to safety gear to protect the most vulnerable and commonly damaged parts of the body in a crash. This includes the head, shoulders, scapula, elbows, hands, knees, hips, thighs, spine/back and chest. The amount of impact armor varies. The better the equipment is, the more impact coverage it has. Impact armor also comes wearable. It is strapped to the body. Very common to see knee armor worn under jeans (see Jeans).
Proper Gear must protect from friction and heat. The degree of friction resistance varies tremendously. See individual notes on fabric types.
So…what gear do you need and what are the differences? Lets take them one by one.
If you need to ask why you need to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle, stop reading now. Call your insurance agent and buy a catastrophic coverage policy and a large life policy. At least take care of your loved ones. People have died from simple tip overs, stopped…in parkimg lots. Nuff said. You want a FULL FACE HELMET. Why? Because far and away statistically the most common impact point on a helmet in a crash is the front lower jaw. Your helmet should fit you properly. There are many guides on helmet fitment. If you are unsure, ask for help. It is best to try helmets on. Everybody has a different shape head. Get a recognized brand and ALWAYS BUY A NEW HELMET!
Hand Injuries SUCK. And unfortunately, instinct causes a majority of hand injuries. Why instinct? If you fall, what is your reaction? You Put your hand down. Onto pavement. Moving at 70 mph. You need gloves. Gloves vary wildly in design and cost. Expensive gloves offer several things you won’t get in a cheap glove. Stronger stitching, if your hand hits the pavement and a seam blows open from the force, you got hamburger. Better gloves now employ slippery materials in the palm. You fall, put your hand down, the glove slides, taking the stress off the stitching and preventing arm and hand fractures from sudden decelleration if the leather catches. At a minimum, you want gloves with reinforced palms and knuckle and finger armor. Full length, or Gauntlet gloves are unquestionably better. The extra length allows for additional securing of the glove to your hand, helping preventing the glove from being torn off in an ass backwards slide and securing the sleeves in place.
Aside from head and hand injuries, foot injuries are the most debilitating. Why? Because feet are incredibly complicated and have the least bloodflow. Foot injuries are very common. Why? Because the most common form of crash is the low side crash and it is very common for the feet to be trapped under the bike as it skids along the pavement. Also, your feet are in a vulnerable place on the bike. Good full length riding boots are an absolute must. Notice I said FULL LENGTH boots. There is a disturbing trend among sportbike riders…the “Street Shoe” this is essentially an armored shoe or short boot. Why is this a bad idea? Crashes often involve feet impacting with objects. The bike, the curb, the cage that didn’t see you. When those impacts happen, two things often occur. First, the object will often catch the boot/shoe and try to tear it off. Second, the impact will cause the foot to be twisted in unnatural ways. A short shoe or boot does not have enough surface area to resist being torn off and it does not have the height or holding power to prevent from being torn off . It does not have enough height to provide for enough structure to deliver ankle stability. The result is a drastic increase in the chances of a debilitating foot injury. Full length motorcycle specific boots stabilize the foot ankle and heel. The extra height and additional fasteners keeps the boot secured to the foot. They also provide one other degree of protection. Remember the foot trapped under the bike thing? What else is under the bike? How about a sizzling hot exhaust? If your shin is trapped, that extra long boot will help prevent you from hearing the sound of sizzling until you can get your leg out. The best boots are race boots. They are armor for your feet with multiple systems to protect the foot, heel, ankle and shin. They are nearly impossible to get off in a collision and more than one rider has kept their leg after being side swiped by a car wearing top notch race boots.
JACKET AND PANTS
Your Jacket amd Pants protect the majority of your body from impact and friction. You will note I put down Jacket AND Pants. Why? Because all too many riders buy a jacket and then wear jeans. This is a very bad idea.
JEANS…NO! Denim Jeans are perhaps the most commonly worn pant on a motorcycle. They are also utterly useless as protective equipment. Denim has a tear resistance of 4.5 lbs. Compare this to good leather at 80-110 lbs and Air Mesh Kevlar fabric at 1250 lbs. The abrasion and heat resistance of cotton denim is nearly non existant. This means if you go down in them, they are likely to rip open and if you are lucky enough to not have them tear, the friction is likely to burn the fabric into your skin. A special mention must go to “Kevlar Jeans”. In this version, the jeans are lined with Kevlar. However…there is a problem. The jeans are the same cotton denim as regular jeans so ther is no additional tear resistance. Even if the denim is doubled up, it is pretty weak. They fail often. The kevlar is loosely sown in and it adds no strength. Why? Because Kevlar, in order to be strong, must be woven in with other fabrics. Pure Kevlar doesn’t have much strength. It does have good insulating properties. In addition jeans have no armor protection for impact.
PROPER PANTS AND JACKET
You want pants and a jacket designed for motorcycle riding. Designed to handle friction, heat and impact. The choice of material is what determines how well the article will work, how long it will last and whether it will survive after a crash. Here are the most common materials…
- MESH. Used in warm weather gear, mesh is cool and flows a lot of air. Unfortunately, most mesh gear is so so when it comes to protection and it is usually a 1 crash only item. It offers poor friction burn protection. The exception to the rule is Air Mesh Kevlar made by a company called Motoport. It is the strongest motorcycle fabric available, has exceptionak heat reistance and comes with a lifetime crash warranty. It is, as you would expect, more expensive.
- Textile. Textile Is typically 500 Denier Polyester, Ballistic Nylon, or 500 Denier Cordura. A compromise between mesh and leather or Kevlar, it offers decent protection at low to medium cost. Most textile gear is about 1/2 the strength and abrasion resistance of full leather. There is an exception…1000 Denier Cordura has the same strength and abrasion resistance as full competition leather at a significant price discount. The only company I know of making full pants, jacket and suits from it is Motoport. If others do, please post.
- Leather. Leather has been the gold standard for decades. For good reason. It is strong, abrasion resistant, heat resistant and will often hold up for multiple crashes. It does have its’ drawbacks however. Leather is warm, hot to be precise. You can get perforated leather which helps. Leather is a natural material and the quality of the material varies. Good leather is expensive and it has a limited lifespan. It weakens with age and sweat. It can be spendy. Plan on spending from $800-$3000 for a leather track suit. It is heavy. You want thick but thick means weight. Some manufacturers get around this by using alternate animal hides. Kangaroo turns out to be the best, but a full Roo suit will run $1500 or more. For the average rider on the street, halfway decent leathers can be had for $500.
Kevlar blended fabrics. These are rare. The company known for them is a small California company called Motoport. Kevlar blended fabrics offer a good blend of airflow, light weight, and extreme crashworthiness. The gear runs moderately expensive, about $1000 for 1 or 2 piece suit. It will last decades.
eventually, as a rider, you will get a suit. What kind of suit will depend on the type of riding you do….
1 piece. Hardcore street, track day and racing. Tightly fitted, a pain to get on and off but the best protection.
2 Piece. Jacket and pants zip together. Good for general riding, sport riding, and track days.
Oversuit. For the commuter or touring person. Goes on over your street clothes. Okay for sport riding, not usually track approved. Examples include the Aerostitch and the Motoport Ultra Trek.
A CAUTIONARY NOTE ON COATED TEXTILES
Some textiles use a polypropylene coating on the fabric. Avoid this. If you go down, the friction can melt the polypropylene into your skin requiring skin grafts.
All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT)
Statistics have seen over and over again of the risks associated with riding a motorcycle. In fact, in 2009, over 29% of motorcycle accidents were fatal and involved riders in the ages of 30-39—a shocking percentage and depressing reality for friends and families who’ve lost someone close.
For the next series of the blog, we will be exploring the various motorcycling attire to properly protect ourselves while out on the road. Going off of a sport bike background, the information I’m providing may be more geared towards the sports and touring bikes, and less of the cruiser style motorcycles. But regardless, it will be beneficial for you to read on to learn more ways of protecting yourselves.
Gear may be expensive, but it beats medical bills and skin graphs!
I don’t know why I’m even writing about this … you better be wearing one or don’t even think about hopping on a bike. Although many states do not require riders to wear a helmet, it is highly recommended to do so because most high/low side accidents causes the riders to slam their helmets into the pavement—ouch!
Be sure to pick up a Snell and DOT approved helmet, and also be sure to check the manufacturing date of it before purchasing. It is said to have the helmet needs to be replaced every 5 years to insure that the memory foam and Kevlar are all working properly and not rotting away. If you accidently drop your helmet off your bike or whatever, be sure to replace it as well because it most likely caused some stress on the foam and I’m sure you don’t want your helmet to not work properly when you really need it to. I recommend you buy a full-face helmet. Not a 3/4 or just one of those cap things. Be safe and protect yourself!
If you’ve never bought a helmet before, be sure to stop by your local motorcycle shop and ask for assistance. They will provide helpful feedback on your helmet and help you pick out the one that you’ve been looking for. You may even grab the model and check online to find one for cheaper. J
P.S. I do NOT recommend you buy a used helmet whatsoever. You just don’t know what the previous owner did to it and it’s true condition.
Here are some sites you can check out for cheaper priced helmets:
Track day. Simply put, investing a few hundred dollars to participate in a track day event can go a long way for any rider. May testimonials from individuals who have been to one said that they’ve become better riders by the end of the event. Track day is an event at a racetrack where motorcyclist pays for an instructor to learn new riding techniques and to improve their own riding style. Like the MSF, you will come out of it as a more confident and efficient rider.
These classes can range anywhere from $200-600 per class and the initial investment for a riding one-piece suit is upwards of $400. The cost of these classes is what makes riders hesitant about attending, but from all the reviews, the reward is greater than the cost. I have not been able to attend a track day this season, but would like to get a group together next season.
The site below provides upcoming track day events and the forums will give readers insight reviews on the tracks:
For more examples of track day, be sure to check youtube.com to see onboard footage
Before I dive into my rumblings, I’d like to post some comments that might of ran through your head while picking out your first motorcycle:
- I’ve always wanted a [insert 600cc supersport name here], it looks so cool!
- I only have X amount of money, so I might as well get the bike that I want now because I won’t be able to get that later on.
- I know these 600cc bikes are fast, but I’m a responsible driver so I know not to push it too hard until I’m ready.
- 500cc and under are for girls! Plus I’ll probably get bored of it quickly.
I’ve heard all of those responses hundreds of times on various motorcycle discussion forums and they are all a recipe for disaster. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with the 600cc and 1000cc supersport bikes, but they will lead you in a horrible direction if you wish to pursue riding as a hobby. The more information you gather before your initial purchase, the better. Through that process, you will slowly uncover what you’re looking for in terms of a bike and how you will actually be using it.
Don’t forget, 78% of riders will drop their bike during their first year of riding. I don’t think you want to scratch that dream bike of yours and fork out hundreds of dollars to fix that fairing when you accidentally tip it over. Luckily, I don’t know the pain of dropping my bike yet (knock on wood).
The video below is by a motorcycle Youtube Vlogger, mevd.
It’s an informative vlog about choosing your first bike!
There are dozens of other videos on choosing your first bike on Youtube.com and each will provide different perspectives to help you out on your research.