Everyone was a new rider at some point, feeling both excited and nervous is normal! We welcome new riders at our store, everyone has nearly the same questions regarding what kit to buy.
We know there is a huge range out there and you will likely be spending a lump sum on protective gear with little experience to draw upon so allow us to de-mystify the process.
We will try and keep this short and sweet so for more in-depth knowledge browse our gear guides by product type!
Required by law and a priority of your budget, make sure yours is ECE 22.05 approved for your own safety. If in doubt there is a label on the neck strap accompanied by the type of test it passed - J is for open face, P is full face testing. (Some flip helmets will have both J and P as they are certified for use in both the open and closed positions).
Open face helmets have become more popular in recent years due to the wide field of vision provided. Composite materials are now used in their production so they are safer than ever and very lightweight. The one downside? Your chin is exposed in the event of a crash.
Flip front helmets (flip up) are useful as long as they have dual-certification (J and P testing). This means they are safe to ride with in the open and closed face positions. Handy if you ride on a mixture of fast and slow roads where safety and field of view vary as a priority. Downside is they are heavier and often are too wide to fit in underseat storage.
Full face helmets give the most protection as they cover the whole face. They are also a lot quieter and warmer than an open face. Traditionally the shell shapes have narrow openings so a small field of vision, this is changing with more retro styles on the market.
Fit is paramount with helmets, the key measurement is the circumfrence of your head around the top of the ears at the widest point. However this doesn't take into account head shape and not all makes of helmet fit the same.
Second to your helmet, protective riding gloves are the second most important piece of kit. In the event of an accident you will intinctively put your hands out to soften your fall so they should be made of an abrasion resistant material and be double stitched throughout to prevent them tearing. When riding in cold weather your extremities will suffer the most, i.e. your hands! You also use them to control your bike so keeping them warm and dry is VERY important.
There are plenty of glove styles that look like 'casual' gloves but are packed full of features so they can double up for use when not riding.
For winter we recommend using a waterproof glove with a thermal layer which has a leather palm, or as a minimum textile re-inforcements on the palm. Don't get anything too thick as you will lose 'feel' of your controls. Better to buy a separate pair of inner gloves or use handle bar muffs in addition to your gloves. Heated grips are also an option but if you have a 3 mile commute can will take a while to heat up.
For spring/summer riding there are ranges of glove without the thermal layer, some even have perforations for extra breathability. Please don't ride without gloves. Ever.
Being safe, being seen, dry and warm. All things that a good jacket will provide and not at the expense of style, we promise!
All the jackets we sell have CE approved armour that can be removed easily if need be. Elbow protection is a minimum, we recommend shoulder and back if possible. Most jackets use high visibility fabrics in clever ways so you won't look like you've just walked off a building site, unless you're a builder of course! Leather jackets are more geared to motorcycle use and very popular for riding in warmer weather. Leather offers the most abrasion resistance. More common for commuting are textiles such as Nylon, Polywools and Cordura because they are lighter, more breathable and can be laminated with waterproof membranes. Many jackets have detachable linings so you can extend usage through the seasons.
Boots & Shoes
Other than your tyres, the only part of you that will be regularly in contact with the road is your foot... hence we advise wearing boots. We offer a vast range of technical shoes, from brogues though to work wear style. Many you would swear are just normal shoes, however the ranges we sell with have a steel shank in the base of the foot, thermo-formed plastic section in the toe, heel and ankle for protection. Waterproof membranes are common along with anti-slip compounds in the sole.
Roads are often damp, with patches of slippery diesel. You may put your foot on a man hole cover which has little grip. All good reasons to invest in some protective boots.
Trousers / Jeans / Leg Covers
We offer protective jeans which use aramid fibres such as Kevlar to provide abrasion protection in the event of an accident. They also include CE approved knee armour and waterproof versions are available.
The next level down in terms of protection are nylon based over-trousers that have waterproof and thermal layers and a full length ski-style zip. We sell versions such as the Panta Urbis that lack ugly branding!
Many scooter riders opt for a scooter leg cover which attaches to your bike and provides excellent weather resistance. They look a little like blankets but have been a staple item for riders in Italy for many years.
The minimum would be a pair of waterproof over-trousers.
Over time you will likely accumulate many items and gadgets, here are a few to add to your Birthday wish list:
If you have any specific queries please call our London store on 0207 736 3811 where one of the staff will be happy to help.