Shopping for motorcycle clothes is not an easy task! Different styles, materials & constructions, hundreds of brands and price ranges. Not even talking about the different sizing available out there! Should you choose Kevlar® jeans or go for the Dyneema® trousers? Is a textile or leather jacket better option? Which size should you choose and how to know it will fit you? These and many similar questions are on a mind of every motorcycle rider. Therefore, in this blog post we want to help you answering them and ensure you have an easier “road” towards finding your perfect mc fit.
Dress for the ride, not ride for the dress!
When it comes to finding a perfect motorcycle clothing fit, the first and most important thing to remember is choosing your gear based on your riding style. If you use your motorcycle for daily commute in the city, your gear need is likely very different from the one that would be required if you were a long distance or touring rider. If you ride your motorcycle mainly on a highway or high speed roads - maybe even try the race track - you will definitely be looking into different clothing than someone who enjoys slower speed relaxing mc trips.
So when you shop for mc clothing, you should first of all choose the gear that has a good safety rating based on your riding style. A, AA or AAA rated motorcycle clothes differ in the protection they provide, and therefore you should choose accordingly. Generally speaking, A rated apparel is great for casual riding that does not involve high speed or extreme situations. For example, A rated clothes are usually a perfect choice for urban riding or relaxed country trips. Those clothing provide less safety than AA or AAA rated pieces, but they are also usually lighter, more comfortable to wear and move in, and do not look like protective motorcycle gear (even though they definitely are!), which makes them a perfect choice for city and casual life. AA rated garments are often suggested for touring experience or longer distances, the rides under more challenging circumstances. These clothes provide higher abrasion resistance and often, impact protection, than the clothing rated A, but are still in the “comfortable" category. And finally, if your riding style requires the highest protection possible - always go for the AAA rated gear to ensure you can safely enjoy your riding. AAA rated clothes are often (but not always!) a bit heavier or less comfortable, but their protective features compensate for the inconvenience. Luckily, with motorcycle fashion developing so fast we can now enjoy more and more AAA rated options that provide the same comfort and functionality as A or AA - for example like these magical Sherrie leggings from Moto Girl. Mind blowing, we know!
So in short - when it comes to choosing your mc gear, remember - your driving style and frequency are the first thing to consider.
Different materials and constructions
Another aspect to consider when choosing motorcycle clothing is their construction and materials used. Today the industry has developed many aramid fibers that are used in motorcycle clothes, and they all come with different qualities to offer. For example, many motorcyclists know Kevlar® developed by DuPont and traditionally broadly used in motorcycle industry (you can read more about Kevlar here). However, Kevlar® is only one example of aramid fibers, but certainly not the only one that provides protective qualities for mc clothes. In fact, today we have stronger and more reliable materials than Kevlar that are used in creating motorcycle clothes, and therefore the choice can be very broad. And while materials themselves should not be the deciding factor when choosing the gear (the main factor should be clothing safety rating and their fit for your driving style as discussed above), different materials serve a different purpose.
If you are after the summer gear consider single layer trousers/ jeans and a lighter mc shirt or mesh jacket. These will provide you with a better ventilation and temperature regulation than double layer trousers or less breathable jackets. The best part is that single layer trousers these days can also provide great safety, for example the ones made from aramid fibres such as Dyneema®, Armalith® or similar.
Sizing of motorcycle clothes can be a real deal breaker when finding your perfect fit. Not only sizing in mc gear often does not match the ordinary sizing, different mc brands or even certain products often have differences.
Sizing is usually based on the market(s) that certain brand is mainly creating for. So for example, if you are looking at the mc gear from the brand originating from Italy, sizing will likely be smaller than the ones of the brand from Germany. Or if the brand’s main customer focus and market is in Asia, their sizing will likely be way smaller than the ones who focus on Europe. And while this makes good sense from the business prospective, it creates many challenges for users like us.
So the most important when buying mc clothes is to properly check the size charts of the product. Pay attention how the size charts are made - usually you will either find your body measurements or the garment measurements indicated.
If there are garment measurements given in the size chart, one of the best ways to find the perfect fit is to compare the size chart of the product with the piece you already own that fits you well. Just like explained and suggested in this video for example.
If the product size chart provides measurements of your body, you need to measure certain parts of your body to find the right size. When taking your own measurements remember to always keep one finger on the inner side in between the measurement tape and your body.
Do not be surprised that after analysing size charts you will end up with the size that is one or few sizes bigger than your regular size. As a general rule, motorbike clothing are often smaller in sizing, so there is no surprise you might need to go a size or few up.
Finally, even when identifying your ideal size, the product might not be the perfect fit. How come?
This is because every product design is different (e.g. mc jeans might be generally long in a model, so won’t fit someone of 1.6m tall, as for example Sansa from Shima), and the materials used might provide different qualities (e.g. different ability to stretch). Therefore always pay attention to the product description and size chart information if shipping online or ask the shop assistant is visiting the store - they are there for a reason!
When it comes to motorcycle clothing fit, there is one main thing to remember - mc clothes have to sit tightly, to ensure that impact protectors do not move (or move only very little) and the garment is close to your skin to provide the best protection. So if you feel “too comfy” in your mc jacket - there is a great chance it is slightly too big. The task is to find that special spot where a gear sits tight, but it is still comfortable enough for you to move freely. Since motorcycle clothing are mainly for a purpose of riding, it is also a good idea to check motorcycle clothes in your riding position, not only in front of the mirror. Remember, things like a bike you ride or even the height of a seat or handle bar on your motorcycle will influence your siting position and so the “fit” of the gear. So make sure you test it properly.