Words from the readers – What safety gear?

Sat, Apr 26, 2008


We got an email the other day that said:

Could you do a post about what gear you should get for a starter like myself?

SURE Tony! I’m glad you asked. New riders are smart to budget some safety gear into their “big purchase”. Many times, if you finance your scooter, you can add your gear into the total and just finance the whole shootin’ match.

So what should you get? Maybe start out with a lower priced helmet and jacket since you’re just getting started? I wouldn’t. If you ever needed top notch protection, it’s when you’re just starting out. I personally recommend a full-face as a first helmet especially for new riders. If you don’t have experience with impacting the concrete you could easily mess your face up and even if you DO come from a skater/freestyle bike background it’s hard to beat the protection of a full face helmet to keep your face pretty in case of a t-bone. My first helmet was an Icon. I know this post will end up looking like an Icon advertisement, but they really are my favorite for comfort, quality, style and value. Mine was an Icon Mainframe in Yellow… I believe that bright helmets save lives. OH! And another good thing about full face helmets is protection from the elements. Just drop the visor and you are pretty safe from dust, bees, birds, bugs, chilly air, rain, cigarette butts. It’s not just the bees that sting… All those things sting at 50 mph.

Today I’m using a Momo Mini in “bright-ass orange”. You can’t miss it. Benefits? It looks cool, it is easier to be a social rider (people can read your lips) and you boost your protein intake (making reference to the bugs again). I can’t say open face helmets are the wisest choice, but if you really want to go with it, I’d stick with a 3/4 helmet and get a good pair of googles or even some cheap weedwacker eye protection to keep your eyes safe. Here is a GREAT resource on helmet types.

Your local shop can help you choose a lid. Make sure it fits snug. You know, maybe you should watch this Video on fitting a helmet. Also remember – NEVER let your helmet hit the ground. Even a small drop can cause fractures that can compromise the helmets ability to perform in an accident. If you set your helmet on a wall, 5ft off the ground and it falls? Go buy a new one.

NEXT UP? Your arms, chest, back, spine, shoulders… in other words, you need a jacket. Most good brands will make a multi-season jacket with zip-open vents for the summer and a zip-out liner that you can put in place to keep the cold out. I use an Icon Super Duty jacket and I love it. Great styling and enough options to keep me comfortable through out Austin’s hot summers and (relatively) cold winters. Most good jackets will have some sort of armor at the major impact points. My jacket is canvas, but has leather sleeves to help protect from road rash. Scooter riders may want to be cautious about coordinating your gear though; it’s not like matching a tie to your shirt and jacket. Work too hard at matching and you’ll end up looking like a Power Ranger. It seems to work ok for crotch rocket riders, but it’s just not right on scooters.

Now what? Gloves. Please get used to riding with gloves. You use your hands more than anything else on your body. You don’t wanna be eating hot wings, or putting soap on your hands, or typing on a keyboard or massaging your hunny with Tabasco sauce (what?) with shredded hands and your fingernails all fudged up. You can probably guess who makes my gloves. In cold areas, some riders will wear a second pair of gloves on top of their riding gloves to keep their hands from freezing solid. Not a problem here in Texas.

That’s it.. that’s the basics. If you’re gonna be riding distances at 50+ mph you should definitely consider a pair of riding pants or armor to go under your pants and some boots to keep your ankles safe. But, having them on at slower speeds wouldn’t hurt either.

Whew. I may come back and edit this later (it’s 3:13am and I have to wake up at 6am), but I wanted to get it out before you went shopping this weekend. Ride safe!


12 Responses to “Words from the readers – What safety gear?”

  1. Tim Says:



  2. Tony Mora Says:

    Wow! Thanks for all the helpful info.
    I think I’m been putting off getting a scooter because I’ve been so unsure about what to get gear wise. I’ll be taking that motorcycling class soon. Thanks again Steve!


  3. Anonymous Says:

    For all those who consider jeans to be protective gear, they’re not. Standard blue jeans offer less two seconds of abrasion resistance.


  4. Jeff Siddons Says:

    Wear shoes that at least cover your ankle bones. I’ve seen scooter riders with flip flops. It’s an automatic reaction to stick out a foot to keep your ride from going over and feet and ankles get damaged easily – even at relatively low speeds.


  5. Cervus Says:

    I have a Scorpion EXO-700 helmet, a 3/4 armored canvas jacket, and Icon boots. I’m considering getting a pair of armored overpants, since I ride on the freeway often on my new Burgman 400.


  6. Tony Mora Says:

    Any preference on where you guys get your gear from?


  7. Steve Says:

    Sometimes, when you take a motorcycle safety course, you’ll get a discount coupon (10% maybe 15%) from a local shop.

    It’s nice to support local shops because, I mean, how else are you going to know if something fits right or is comfortable? Especially with helmets. There are so many different head sizes and shapes. They only way to know if a lid is going to be comfortable is to try a few on.

    If you find something you like in your local scooter shop, it’s all the better. Your independent shop will greatly appreciate the support.

    That’s just my take on it.


  8. Tony Mora Says:

    Noho Scooters it is.


  9. Anonymous Says:


    stretch kevlar

    if you are in a real accident it will save you incredible amounts in money and pain. they make gloves which fit beautifully, zip on pants which i wear every day and a couple of different jackets.


  10. Anonymous Says:

    Honda Riders Club of America offers $75 towards an MSF safety class. Pretty good deal considering membership is less than half that amount.


  11. Anonymous Says:

    SG: “Scooter riders may want to be cautious about coordinating your gear though; it’s not like matching a tie to your shirt and jacket. Work too hard at matching and you’ll end up looking like a Power Ranger.”

    Steve I have to disagree. I have a yellow Honda Reflex and wear a yellow Icon Alliance helmet and a FirstGear Mesh jacket with yellow accents and I look awesome coordinated with my bike! I look nothing like a Power Ranger… more like a bumblebee!!!

    By the way I’m a big fan of Icon to. The stealth perforated leather gloves are the best!


  12. ScooterScoop Says:

    No, my wo/man! (not sure with a name like Anonymous)

    You went for the bumblebee look and bumblebees are TOTALLY cool.

    And… while I do love Icon, I have to ask scooterists to avoid gearing up in their TiMax gear with the sewn in ab muscles and the Icon bling gauntlets (http://www.hardracing.com/images/icong1.jpg)
    UNLESS you ride something like a Honda Spree or 50cc Yamaha Riva, then the contrast is COMPLETELY and utterly cool.

    In conclusion, “gear coolness” is totally subjective… much like everything I write here at the Scoop. I am biased. I tend to ONLY write about the cool stuff. :P~ Hehe. I kid, I kid. We also talk bad about the dumb stuff. *teeheehee* I’ve had entirely too much caffeine this morning!


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