Motorcycle rider putting on a motorcycle glove

What riding gear do I need for a motorcycle?

Motorcycle riding gear is specifically designed to keep your head and body safe when riding.

Motorcycle gear is specifically designed to fit over layers, provide the best protection and minimize injuries from weather elements, road debris, noise and most importantly, accidents. Whether you are on a weekend ride or commuting to work every day, wearing safe motorcycle gear should be a top priority. Hopefully, you'll have safe riding days and not have to test first hand how well your riding gear protects you. And while cost, fashion and comfort may influence your riding gear, safety from head to toe should be top priority. 

The six important pieces of motorcycle gear

Motorcycle helmet

Helmets are available in a variety of styles, shapes and colors. Whether full face, open face or even a hybrid, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 “Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatalities to motorcycle riders and 41% for motorcycle passengers.” According to NHTSA, “wearing a helmet is the single most effective way to protect yourself from a head injury”. Helmets also protect against the wind, sun, bugs and road debris. Make sure the helmet passes the safety requirements and standards of the DOT (Department of Transportation).

Full-face helmets can offer more protection overall and generally, cover the need for eye protection. No matter the style of motorcycle helmet, it is essential to make sure the fit and feel of the protection liner is right for you. Learn how to find the right motorcycle helmet.

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Eye protection

Protection is built into a full-faced helmet, but if you are wearing another style, you might want a set of motorcycle goggles — even if you wear glasses. Motorcycle eyewear not only protects you from debris, but also insects that can fly into your eyes. It should provide UV protection and be made of shatterproof materials. Make sure your chosen eye protection fits snuggly and works with your helmet. If you choose to wear motorcycle sunglasses, a pair with padding around the sides can be helpful to shield air and debris from your eyes.


A motorcycle jacket may make a fashion statement but it’s also another key piece of protective riding gear. Made from abrasion-resistant materials such as leather and/or textiles, a weather-resistant motorcycle jacket offers protection from rain, dirt, debris, and most important, the pavement in the case of a crash. Motorcycle jackets are made with a smooth surface to help prevent getting caught on pavement.

Some jackets also have “pockets” for armor and materials typically associated with bulletproof vests. There are also other types of harder plastic armor to provide an additional level of protection. These motorcycle jackets with armor are a popular option for riders because the armor typically covers the joints and along the spine to provide some protection to vital areas in a slide during a crash. Also check that it’s cut a little longer in the back, so that it covers your lower back when you lean forward on your motorcycle. There should be closures around the neck and wrists.

With a lot of people doing most of their riding during the warmer months, a motorcycle jacket will also need ventilation options such as zipped vents, perforations or mesh panels to make riding more comfortable.

Also, consider the color of the motorcycle jacket to help ensure you will be seen by other drivers. Some jackets will have reflective material built in, which can be very helpful if the jacket is a darker color.


Motorcycle gloves are often overlooked when riders pick out their protective riding gear. Not only do motorcycle gloves help protect your hands and wrists from bugs, debris and weather, but they also offer protection from road rash and chapping. Because they are made from leather and synthetic material, gloves also help provide a better grip on the handlebars.

Just like motorcycle jackets with armor, motorcycle gloves include options with armored areas to help protect your hands and fingers in a crash. Consider gloves that provide protection for your knuckles, palms and wrists that will allow for flexibility and grip control. Also, a thicker, more insulated pair may be needed for cold-weather riding.


Whether you wear riding pants or leather over your jeans, motorcycle pants may help protect your legs from the rigors of the road and road rash in the event of a crash. Like jackets, motorcycle pants are made from leather or synthetic materials. Some motorcycle pants are designed to fit over your regular clothes and others are styled so they can be worn on their own.

More and more, motorcycle protective gear takes advantage of the use of stronger materials often associated with bulletproof vests. This includes motorcycle pants and jeans. Motorcycle pants include designs that offer armor at the knee and hip joints as well as slide protection.


Motorcycle boots are also sometimes overlooked in favor of more stylish footwear. However, motorcycle boots help protect your feet and ankles from hot exhaust pipes and in case of a crash.

A good pair of motorcycle boots need to be flexible enough to allow you to shift gears, engage the rear brakes and provide stability to protect your feet against the pavement. Properly fitted boots, should cover your ankles, have low heels and non-skid soles to provide maximum grip on the pavement and pegs.

Other motorcycle gear to consider

  • Rain gear – Compact and comfortable, rain gear should be easy to take on and off. Designed to fit over your motorcycle gear, this rain gear is typically light in color to make you visible to motorists while protecting you from the elements.
  • Cold weather gear – If you live in colder climates, you know how the temperatures can change quickly. You can start with thermal underwear and expand to insulated versions of your standard motorcycle gear.
  • Saddlebags –  Typically made of durable plastic, motorcycle saddlebags are designed to keep your equipment and gear safe from the elements and crashes.

Does insurance cover my gear?

This coverage can vary by insurance carrier. Some insurance companies like State Farm® include coverage for your motorcycle gear, up to a preselected amount, when you have comprehensive and/or collision insurance. Other insurance companies offer coverage for motorcycle gear, just not as a part of the comprehensive or collision coverages.

Like your protective gear, a State Farm agent can help protect your motorcycle against theft, damage, floods and crashes.


The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
State Farm Indemnity Company
Bloomington, IL

State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas
Richardson, TX

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