Motorcycling - Story

Expert Talk: What Motorcycling Gears To Use

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A true riding experience is not only about the motorcycle but also the gear you use. Not only for safety and protection but also for comfort and style. A pro rider has gone through lots of gears before they settle on their favorite. 

So how does one choose the best gear for motorcycling?

There are lots of motorcycling gears available in the stores as well as online. But have you ever thought about what type of gears you should use? Which ones will offer a better experience on the roads as well as add to your personality?

We at Livingit decided to talk to experts and riders from all across India. In this "Expert Talk" series we bring you some great insights and tips from the experts in your passion. This time we asked them how they choose their gear, what is more important to them, and their thoughts on 'All The Gear All The Time' (ATGATT) concept. Here is what they had to say.


Read More: 11 Items That Every Rider Must Carry 


 

Sarah Kashyap

 

 

Sarah was only 16 when her passion for bikes began and it was her brother who introduced her to motorbikes and rides. She is the only Indian female biker who has finished all the major motorcycle rallies like Desert Storm Rally, Raid De Himalayas and the likes. 

Bike:  KTM EXC 250 R Enduro Bike
Longest Ride:  She is a rally racer and her longest races have been Desert Storm & Raid-de-Himalaya
Riding Since:   Sarah is riding bikes since she was 16 but racing only since last 4 years. 

Livingit: What is the bare minimum gear that you take for your rides?

Sarah: I'm always covered from head to toe when I go for long rides, there's no bare minimum then! A good helmet, riding jacket, riding pants, neck brace, motorcycle boots, a hydration bag, and all-weather gloves! That's my bare minimum.

I'm a big fan of riding pants over wearing jeans and knee guards! Not only because riding pants are convenient to wear and you save on luggage space by not carrying tons of pairs of jeans in your bags, but also it's highly protective from abrasions etc. due to the fabric and inbuilt knee guards and hip protection. 

Livingit: What is more suitable for Helmets. Full face or half face helmet?

Sarah: There's no argument whatsoever on what's better! Full Face helmets win hands down! The complete protection to the head, eyes, nose and jawline is something which half face can't promise. 

Obviously, investing in a good quality full face helmet is equally important. Just buying something to save yourselves from the cops is not gonna save your head in case of a crash. And trust me a bad crash can happen anywhere, even when you're going just 'down the road' to 'buy veggies'. So buy a full-face helmet.

Livingit: Do you believe in ATGATT? Is that overdoing it?

Sarah: I totally believe in ATGATT! All The Gear All The Time should be a basic rule for everyone who rides (whatever vehicle). At least a good full-face helmet, closed shoes (ankle length preferably) and gloves are a must even in city rides.

 


Read More: Gear Basics - Must have summer riding gear


 

Shahnawaz Karim

 

 

Shahnawaz Karim is one of the top 3 fastest riders in India in the 600cc classification! His love for motorcycling is evident from as he prefers to spend as much time on the road when not at his regular day job in a tech corporate. 

Karim also runs a website called wheelsguru.com where he shares his enthusiasm and expertise on bikes and automobiles. 

Bike: BMW R1200GS/ KTM Duke 390/ Hero Impulse

Longest ride: Longest ride in one go - Kaza to Delhi 34 hrs

Riding since: 2001

Livingit: What is the bare minimum gear that you take for your rides?

Shahnawaz: Since I am a trainer myself I make sure that I cover the majority of my limbs and back while riding. Even if it’s a casual ride I make sure I wear a jacket and trouser with knee protection. 

I usually have a separate set of clothing for my kind of riding style and the kind of riding I’m doing. E.g. when I’m training adventure riding I’m fully covered with my adventure riding gear. For track days it is one piece leather suit and for off-road trails, it is off-road riding suit.

Livingit: What sort of helmet is more suitable. Full face or half face helmet?

Shahnawaz: Full face helmet provides the most protection as it covers more than 80% of your face and your head. Injury can not just happen from the skull area but also from the face area. That is why a full face helmet helps. 

A flip-up helmet is a good compromise to having a flexibility of flipping open as a half-face helmet. However, anything that is not rigid, would change its direction at the time of impact and that can lead to damage.

Livingit: Do you believe in ATGATT? Is that overdoing it?

Shahnawaz: I am a firm believer of all the gear all the time. I myself have had instances earlier where I was not wearing at least one of those things like a knee pad or an elbow armor and at that point of time I had a fall and I bruise my elbow or knee, which made sure that the next time whenever I was riding motorcycle, I wear riding gear. 

It might look overboard but in the long run, it will help you to prepare for a crash and ride longer. if I have a crash it will affect my riding time for months.

 


Read More: Gear Basics: Motorcycle Boots Buying Guide


 

Shirin Shaikh

 

Shirin is a biker, a single mom and a person who doesn't have faith in generalizations. She was just 14 when she started riding her bike Yamaha RX 100. It was her Uncle who played an important role in her passion for riding.

Once on her Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350CC, she completely transforms from her regular personality to turn into a biker diva. 

Bike: Thunderbird 350CC

Longest ride:  She uses to go for long and short rides by the coastline of Dapoli, Goa etc. Apart from that, she frequently rides to Lavasa, Amby Valley, Lonavala, Mulshi, Panshet, Panchgani, Mahabaleshwar, etc.

Riding since: Shirin is riding the bike since last 15 years.

Livingit: What is the bare minimum gear that you take for your rides?

Shirin: A helmet and riding gloves are something I wear every time I start the ignition of my bike.

Depending on the distance and the weather conditions I decide if I want to wear the riding jacket and my riding shoes. The knee guards is another very important riding gear which normally people ignore. 

For any distance over 100Km a riding jacket, riding shoes and knee guards will always be on me! :) the helmet and the gloves go without saying! 

Livingit: What sort of helmet is more suitable. Full face or half face helmet?

Shirin: For me its always been a Full-face helmet. The chin-bar area hits the ground in most of the crashes and hence I have always felt safer in a full-face helmet.

Currently, I am using an LS2 Full Face helmet and I feel like I am in my own personal cockpit. I feel that the half face helmets lack the safety feature that a full face helmet provides.

Livingit: Do you believe in ATGATT? Is that overdoing it?

Shirin: Maybe I have personally overcome the ATGATT because I have been through accidents while wearing all the gears and still managed to hurt myself where I had to!

Definitely, being fully geared at the time of long road trips or difficult terrains is a basic instinct of any motorcyclist. But putting in rules like jeans or open face helmets do not count under ATGATT is sheer overdoing it. 

Also, I personally feel a rider is free in the head and loves the road and his own safety. If he wants he will wear the right gears at the right time and if destiny calls for it, no gears can save him from fate.

 


Read More: Select The Right Motorcycle Gloves - An Expert's Buying Guide


 

Sankara Subramanian

 

Sankara Subramanian's enthusiasm for travel and motorcycling developed from a hobby to a profession. He is a professional travel blogger and left his 8-year old corporate sales and marketing career in the IT industry to pursue his passion.  You can read his exploits on  his blog - Be On The Road.  

Bike: Royal Enfield Thunderbird (Modified)

Longest ride: Sankara traveled a solo ride across India for 46,000 km over 9 months. He is a full-time traveler and one of the top Indian biking bloggers.

Riding since: 1997

Livingit: What is the bare minimum gear that you take for your rides?

Sankara: A good 'ol simple leather jacket, a good set of polarized sunglasses, good pair of boots and a helmet would be my bare minimum gear. I try to avoid armoured gear unless absolutely necessary as it is difficult to lug it around when you are not riding.

Livingit: What sort of helmet is more suitable. Full face or half face helmet?

Sankara: I prefer full-face helmets. While half face helmets look stylish, full face helmets protect your teeth and face when you need it. A helmet is a safety accessory and safety is what we should keep in mind. Even in a full face helmet, I prefer a sun or rain shade to protect the rider from the elements.

Livingit: Do you believe in ATGATT? Is that overdoing it?

Sankara: It works only when you are riding from point a to b, which means home to hotel or destination. It becomes an overkill for scenic rides and for trips where you have to leave your motorcycle behind and go for a short walk, hike or climb. Personally, I don't prefer it.

If you are a speed maniac or rash rider, then it is prudent to wear all your safety gear, but if you are a sensible rider and prefer to stay flexible, then yes, it is an overkill.

For long highway rides, I prefer all the gear. For other rides, I take a call on a case to case basis.

 


Read More: Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guide: How to Select a Helmet


 

Shilpa Balakrishnan

 

 

Shilpa has a passion to travel across the world with her motorcycle. She works in an MNC and believes in a simple living.

While she never dreamt of becoming a motorcyclist. Keen to learn, once she started it, she fell in love with it.  Whenever she gets time, she loves to travel across the country on her CBR 250.

Bike: CBR 250cc

Longest ride: The ride across my beautiful country covering all 29 States and 5 Union Territories.

Riding since: last 14 years.

Livingit: What is the bare minimum gear that you take for your rides?

Shilpa: For all my rides in the city, I definitely wear a jacket, proper shoes/boots, gloves, full face helmets.

For long or short tours, I wear Riding Jacket and pants, gloves, boots, full face helmet.

It is very important to keep ourselves protected all the time during our travels. Prevention is better than cure. This is the best policy to follow.

Livingit: What sort of helmet is more suitable. Full face or half face helmet?

Shilpa: A full-faced helmet is always the best. It not only protects the head, but also the entire face including the jaw bones which gets impacted badly during a fall.

Livingit: Do you believe in ATGATT? Is that overdoing it?

Shilpa: Yes, I believe in ATGATT. To protect yourself in the best possible way and to stay safe can never be considered as overdoing it.


Read More: Motorcycle Jacket Buying Guide - Find the Right One For You


 

Final Thoughts

While there might not be a full consensus on ATGATT, safety is definitely a key priority to everyone followed by comfort and style. While the gear can ensure safety to a certain degree, it needs to be backed up by the riders’ own instincts and common sense while riding on long distances.  No amount of gear can protect a 100% in a high-speed crash. So gear up and ride safe!

Checkout the LIVINGIT INDIA (www.livingit.in) store to buy the best motorcycling gear, helmets, jackets, pants, saddle bags & more.

Happy Riding!

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