Well, now you’ve done it; you’ve finally joined the thousands - nay MILLIONS - of women who find their freedom with a twist of the throttle as the pavement rolls beneath your feet. Welcome, friend. And though this freedom feels wild and unparalleled, there is a fair amount of risk that you assume each time you hop behind the handlebars.
Fortunately, building a solid set of entry-level gear is all it takes to help stay safe, no matter where the road takes you. But as a beginner, it can be tough (mayhaps confusing 😵💫) to dig through pages and pages of gear only to wind up more perplexed in the end.
Well, that’s why we’re here. Let’s dive into the world of motorcycle gear for beginners and everything else you need to know to stay protected while riding.
What Does ATGATT Mean?
Close your eyes and describe what comes to mind when you hear the word biker. Some older dude wearing a leather vest (with nothing underneath, btw), tassels hanging off the handlebars, and music blaring? Maybe throw in a pair of ripped jeans or cargo shorts, and the image is complete.
You’re not alone, and there’s a reason that many of us conjure this picture.
Historically, the concept of ATGATT has been slow to catch on with old-school and veteran riders. Many mistakenly believe that protective riding gear doesn’t actually do any good during a slide. Others will (shockingly) cite anecdotal evidence that you’re more likely to survive an accident without a helmet. Sorry, what? 🤯
ATGATT is a term that is slowly starting to spread through the ranks of female riders, especially for those who are just starting out. It’s an acronym that stands for “All The Gear, All The Time.” It’s more of a philosophy, a way of life if you will. An approach to safety in the most uncompromising way. Practicing ATGATT means you’re putting on protective gear every time you swing a leg over your seat.
Now, keep in mind that there are a range of protection levels, and some gear will protect you better than others. In general, we look at two categories of injury methods that your gear can address: dermal and subdermal.
What does that mean, you ask?
Dermal injuries include anything that damages your skin and dermal layer. Think abrasions (i.e., road rash), bruises, lacerations, etc. Subdermal injuries happen below the skin level and tend to be more severe. Some examples of subdermal injuries include sprains, broken bones, fractures, or even organ damage (news flash: your brain is an organ!) 🤕
Does Wearing Protective Riding Gear Even Matter?
Now, back to those protection levels. Yes, you may be practicing ATGATT, but does it matter if your jacket has armor? What if you don’t have armored motorcycle pants? Is it still worth it to invest in those pieces?
In our humble opinion, yes. Even if your protective gear doesn’t guarantee protection from subdermal injuries, you should still wear it to help mitigate the risk of dermal injuries. Yeah, yeah, nerd alert, right? 🤓 We’re just not interested in discovering what road rash feels like, tbh, so we’re gonna ATGATT whenever possible, with whatever gear we have.
But what if the old dude at the gas station makes fun of me for wearing a riding jacket on a 90-degree day? Don’t listen to those guys, kid. Studies show that wearing a helmet alone can almost half your risk of a fatal brain injury. They call ‘em brain buckets for a reason! Plus, they reduce the risk of overall head injury by a staggering 69%. That’s infinitely better odds than playing those lottery scratch-offs, so why take the gamble?
The same goes for protective motorcycle clothing, like pants, jackets, boots, and gloves. Armored gear can help distribute the blow to your knees and hips, which significantly reduces your chances of broken bones, and the protective fabrics (i.e., Kevlar, Dyneema, and Cordura) help keep your skin intact in slide situations.
What Kind of Women’s Moto Gear Do Beginners Need?
Now, you may be wondering if you have to spend all your hard-earned money on building out your beginner riding gear kit. The straight-up answer is no, you don’t have to. There are a lot of budget-friendly women’s motorcycle gear options out there, so you’re sure to find what you need at a price point that works for you.
But here’s the thing: as a new rider, motorcycle gear can feel a bit like a safety blanket. There’s SO much for you to experience yet: the first time you have to stop quickly, the first time you have to dodge an obstacle in the road, the first time you have to yell at a cager to get off their phone (ok, that one’s optional) Having a solid set of gear can help keep you safe at all times so you can spend less time stressing about protecting yourself, and more time enjoying the ride.
Keep in mind that there are a TON of great, budget-friendly motorcycle gear options out there. Here are the pieces that we consider essential every time you hit the road:
This one is a no-brainer 🧠(har har har, see what we did there?) Everyone, regardless of where they live, should be wearing a helmet every time they ride. We always recommend full-face helmets because they offer the most protection, but you could also consider modular, open-face (¾), half, dual-sport, or off-road helmets. You can learn more about the different styles of helmets here.
Have you ever gotten a sunburn on your bottom half? Not so much fun. Now multiply that by a thousand (this is facts, btw), and you’ll come close to what road rash is like. Protective motorcycle riding pants are a must for new riders.
Keep in mind that, while armored options offer more impact protection, just having your skin covered during rides can do you a world of good. Fun fact: for every one mph over 30 mph, you lose one mm of skin in an unprotected slide. Maybe don’t test that stat; just wear protective riding pants.
Shoes are one of the most overlooked pieces of women’s riding gear, but can also be the one you need the most. Foot injuries are one of the most common ways you can get hurt while riding. Plus, if the injury is severe enough, you may even lose that riding foot to amputation 😬
And the crazier part is that you don’t even need to lay the bike down in order to injure your foot. Simply getting your foot caught or pinched in a weird position is enough to damage your skin and break bones. Look for zippered or lace-up protective shoes that cover your ankle for maximum protection.
Gloves can be extremely tricky for beginner riders, but they’re one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to stay safe. Sure, getting knocked in the knuckle by a giant piece of gravel on the highway is bad without gloves, but consider an impact or slide without gloves - no, thanks!
It’s all about striking a balance between protection, comfort, and temperature regulation. Gloves designed for colder weather can be challenging for new riders because dexterity may be more limited, while warm-weather gloves may not offer the same level of protection. Details like zippers, reinforced panels, and armored knuckles can all help keep your digits safe and secure.
If you ask seasoned riders why they don’t wear a jacket, you’ll probably get the same response: it’s not comfortable. But we’re gonna let you in on a little secret: if it’s not comfortable, it’s not the right jacket for you.
There’s a right (and a wrong) jacket for every rider in every season. Many riders have multiple jackets to accommodate different needs and different riding seasons. In cooler temps, thicker jackets with liners or heated features are a must. Many of these options also come with armor. In summer, swap out the heavy-weight jacket for ultra-light Dyneema or Cordura jackets. You may even layer a breathable mesh armored shirt underneath (like this one).
Last but not least are visibility aids. As riders, our biggest challenge is usually just being seen. And while some women’s motorcycle jackets and shoes have reflective details, we’re all about going big or going home on this one.
Bonus: visibility aids can be one of the most budget-friendly items you add to your newbie gear collection. Adding reflective vests over your jacket or panels to your helmet can help you stay bright and shiny so that every four-wheeled cager on the road can see you.
Our Top Gear Recommendations for New Riders
Ok, enough of all that technical talk. Now that you understand what kind of gear beginners should invest in, here are a few of our favorite recommendations if you’re just getting started.
- Atmosphere Airflow armored leggings: these puppies are so comfy you’ll forget you’re wearing gear. Layer under your favorite pants, wear them by themselves, or layer under riding pants that don’t have armor. Perfectly breathable for warm-weather riding.
- MG Summer Gloves: designed with aero mesh and perforated leather, you can kiss sweaty palms behind. Plus, they’re designed with armored knuckles and abrasion-proof inserts on the palm for extra protection.
- Genesis Jacket: Fully CE-approved, plus D30 shoulder and elbow armor are already included, which makes this jacket extra protective and SUPER budget-friendly. Mesh-lined for warm-weather comfort. Size up for layering in cold weather.
- V3 Shoes: Not really a boot kinda gal? These slick-looking women’s riding shoes are perfect to keep your feet protected. Made with a breathable membrane, these can be worn both on and off the bike.
- Speed Gloves (Dune Yellow): If you feel like knuckle armor is always a lil too chunky for you, then give the Speed Gloves a try. You get optimal airflow for maximum temperature regulation but without all the bulk. Available in other colors!
- Lara Cargo Pants (Camo): The Laras are a fan favorite for a reason. They’re slim fit, but don’t constrict you, and even the curvy gals love ‘em. They’re fully lined with Kevlar, and you can put armor in the knee pockets. In between sizes? Use the waist adjustment buckles, and forget about your belt!
- Lili Retro Jacket: This all-season jacket is cotton-lined and water-repellent, which makes it the perfect piece to transition throughout every season. With a reflective back design, you’re sure to be spotted out on the road.
- Figg Sneakers: Love a good high-top sneaker? Meet the Figg. They come with D30 ankle armor, Kevlar shoelaces, and front impact protection so you can focus more on the road ahead.
- Jodie Jacket: Abrasion-resistant but single-layer design? Say hello to your new favorite light-weight Summer jacket. With all the pockets you could ever need, you can add your own back armor for extra protection.
- Ellie Jeans (Blue): Say hello to slim, stretch denim that’ll have you forget you’re wearing riding gear altogether. The Ellie jeans come in multiple colors and lengths, so you’re sure to find your perfect fit.
- Lennox Boots: Nothing says live to ride like a pair of classic moto boots. The Lennox Boots take it one step further with included D30 ankle armor and a modest 1 ½” heel for all-day comfort.
- Jailbird Gloves: Why be basic when you can add some pizzazz to your moto gear with the Jailbird Gloves? Zipper entry makes these a breeze to get on and off, and they’ll help keep your hands warm in cooler weather.
Find the Gear You’ll Love & Discover the Best Motorcycle Gear for Beginners
There’s incredible beauty in new beginnings, and we’re so proud of you for joining the community of women riders. Now, all that’s left is to create your perfect collection and stock up on the women’s motorcycle boots, pants, and jackets that’ll keep you safe and dry, no matter where the road takes you.
Need help finding the best gear for your riding style and needs? Contact us for FREE customized gear recommendations!