Motorcycle: Riders View - The Gear
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 15:36:58 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Modern motorcycle clothing is almost as sophisticated as the bikes themselves. These days a serious rider wears a full-face helmet made from lightweight composite materials, and brightly-coloured, one-piece protective leathers. The well-dressed motorcyclist is likely to draw some suspicious looks if found wandering around on foot.
Riding gear was very different in hiking's early years, when motorcyclists wore cloth caps and tweed jackets, just as they had for riding the bicycles from which many early machines were developed. Before the Second World War many riders"' kit comprised nothing more specialized than a back-to-front cap and pair of goggles. Others would wear a leather flying helmet, and maybe a leather trenchcoat, heavy leather gauntlets and thick boots.
After the War, motorcyclists began to adopt a uniform of ex-airforce flying jackets and boots, with various items of army-surplus clothing-being used for bad-weather gear. Crash helmets, which had been used for racing since the 1930s, became more common among road riders, and the early leather-sided pudding-basin design was gradually superseded by a more protective open-face style.
Black leather jackets were popular with American motorcyclists by the early 1950s, and hit the big time with the release of The Wild One in 1953. Marion Brando's character Johnny, in his turned-up jeans and double-breasted Schott jacket, epitomised this classic style along with James Dean, Elvis and others. Over the years the basic item has been added to and modified with various tassels, patches, badges and metal studs, but its essential appeal—and attitude—remains.
Leather suits became IBH9' increasingly popular in the 1970s. Full-face helmets were common by then but their easily-scratched visors made night riding difficult, and waterproofs that lived up to their name were rare.
By the 1990s full leathers were common-place among serious riders, with many firms offering wide ranges of colourful one- and two-piece designs. Many modern suits incorporate sophisticated body armour; racers and some road riders wear spine-protectors too. Helmets feature sophisticated air vents and long-lasting anti-scratch visors.
Bad-weather clothing ranges from simple unlined waterproofs to elaborate suits, made from breathable, man-made fibres, featuring high-visibility reflective patches, detachable linings and padding of their own. In cold weather riders can switch on electrically heated gloves, vests or full suits. Modern motorcycling gear isn't cheap, but the best of it is extremely effective.
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