I recently went out to check out cycle gear. There were a couple places my friend and I went and here’s some things about that adventure I’d like to share. This is mostly geared toward women getting riding equipment, but in no way is it specifically anything.
Disclaimer: I’ve never owned a motor bike or cycle. I am getting my Vespa in just a couple of weeks though. So on this trip, merely a scouting expedition really, I learned a thing or two.
1) As a woman, you’re going to be limited in “women’s gear”. There IS a growing market as more and more women are coming to the sport and demanding female oriented gear, if you step into a store, there’s going to be much fewer options for you than the guys. You can definitely get away with wearing a men’s jacket, but it’s not necessarily going to fit you as well, depending on your body style.
2) I recommend going to an actual store, at least once. Since we are all (obviously) shaped differently, it’s a good idea to try on a few different styles, cuts, materials etc. If you’re getting an armored jacket (highly advisable), you need to make sure that the armor fits in the right places… such as elbows, forearms.
3) Once you’ve gotten a good idea what’s out there, then check online. It’s much easier to know how certain brands fit your body style before you try to select something. I say that because I am usually a medium to a large, and while I was absolutely a large in some jackets, the one I ended up buying, was actually a medium.
4) Scooter cut jackets are different than sport bike cuts. The scooter jackets, also touring jackets, are cut to allow you to sit more upright than a sport jacket. That’s really important, especially if you’re doing a lot of riding, because if it’s cut wrong, it’ll be uncomfortable.
I ended up trying on probably 10 jackets between 2 stores and the one that I fell in love with fit like a glove. My problems are this: I have a smaller chest and really long arms. Finding a jacket with long enough arms, where the armor is in the right places and doesn’t slip around that ALSO has a smaller chest area, I have to say is almost impossible. I’m sure they make them, but finding one to try on, limited. While I am most definitely a “tee-shirt and jeans” kinda girl, I want to still look like a girl. I want to look cute and also be comfortable. Enter the houndstooth armored jacket that I found!
Not only is it smashing, but it was also on sale. Which brings me to
5) Look for sales. Money is tight, keeping your skin attached to your body is important and you’ll be surprised what you might find for really inexpensive.
I also tried on helmets… a LOT of helmets. So the following info is for new riders or inexperienced gear buyers. Getting a helmet is a VERY personal thing, even more so than jackets. Your helmet is what will protect your brain, cost more than most things (in some cases) and can save your life. Many states don’t require helmets be worn, like my home state of Arizona, HOWEVER… I strongly recommend it. Scoots are usually quiet and hard to see on the road. The incidence of car- scooter collisions is high, even with experienced riders. Please be safe while riding.
I happen to like the style of the half helmet. They’re super cute and they go with a vintage look. However, they provide MUCH less protection than other types (full face, modular, 3/4). I’m probably going to wear one of the half helmets around my neighborhood, but for longer jaunts: going modular. They have a button release that flips the front up so you can see and talk comfortably without taking off the whole helmet.
I hope this helps with gear info… But please note that this is all my opinion and observation. As with all things, it’s up to you to find what works.