Despite an increasing number of women taking up motorcycling, there remains a lack of choice when it comes to motorbike gear for women.
Wearing specialised motorcycle clothing could save your life, and you must wear a safety helmet which meets British safety standards when riding – it’s the law.
This blog explains what biking gear you will need, with special biking gear recommendations from motorcycling vlogger and Bikesure Ambassador Username Kate.
A motorcycle helmet is probably the most important bit of gear you will need to purchase. Helmets are essential to your riding inventory. They reduce road casualties and serious injuries and it’s illegal to ride in the UK without one.
You might assume the requirements for women’s motorcycle helmets are not too dissimilar from men’s. However, due to the risks associated with motorcycling, it needs to be a near perfect fit to provide the right protection. Generally women’s faces are much narrower and smaller than men’s, so this must be accounted for in the helmet.
The better your helmet fits, the more likely it is to protect you from an accident.
Username Kate advises: “There are many different styles of helmets that prioritise different features. For example, there are race helmets that can be used on the road like the Shoei X Spirit 3. It’s a favourite of mine because it’s lightweight, works incredibly well with my vlogging setup and it has the Gold ACU stamp for the track days I attend (you can’t ride on track if your helmet doesn’t have a gold sticker). It is also available in an XS so perfect for my small head.
“You really need to go to a reputable helmet provider to help you with the fit. When I sold motorcycle clothing, I often got asked ‘what is the best helmet?’ My answer was ‘the best helmet is the one that fits your head the best within your budget’.
If they’re on the shelf, they have passed the relevant safety standards to be there. The more features a helmet has, the more you will pay, but the fit should come first.”
Aside from the helmet, the motorcycle jacket and trousers are the next items you will need to consider. There is a wide range of motorcycle jackets that you can choose from – from robust leather jackets to lightweight nylon waterproofs.
Leather jackets provide a higher level of protection and can prevent your skin from being injured in an accident.
This makes leather biker jackets a popular option. Several brands offer jackets with added safety features, such as armour plates to provide further protection.
There are other materials available, such as textile and wax jackets which offer a lower level of protection than leather.
The upside to these jackets is that they allow you to be cooler and have different waterproof properties, which you may need to consider depending on where and when you plan on riding. With added plates and protection, lighter textile jackets can still provide a robust defence for any type of accident.
Username Kate said: “I have two textile touring suits which I alternate: The Oxford Ladies Mondial jacket and matching Mondial trousers (I have the 1.0 and the 2.0 versions) and Furygan Ladies Apalaches jacket and matching Furygan trousers. They are both excellent suits.
“The Mondial has incredible waterproofing for the price so it is my choice when the rain is heavy. The Furygan suit is more flattering for a woman’s shape and has better thermal capacity but doesn’t waterproof as well as the Mondial.
“A general benefit of the Oxford range is most of their pants have a short/reg/long option (it is rare that ladies have this consideration with most brands) so if you don’t have ‘standard/generic’ proportions, their range is very accommodating.
“For winter riding, I personally use a Gerbing heated kit under my textile jackets. They’re excellent at keeping your core warm and, when plugged directly into your bike, can provide you with hours upon hours of warmth. “Alternatively, in the summer months, my go to kit is a mesh airflow jacket. I use an Alpinestars Stella Eloise Air Textile Jacket. It is old though and they replaced it with a V2 which looks great.
“Since it only offers an A rating (a usual compromise for such ventilated kit, I like to team it with a back protector for extra safety). Knox also provides vast and fantastic clothing options for ladies. I am looking to get myself some Knox stuff soon.”
Depending on your requirements, there are several different types of motorcycle trousers and jeans available. Some, such as the Dainese Delta Pro C2 Leather Jeans for women, have additional features such as reinforced knee protectors and inserts around the hips and thighs. It’s features like these that can improve protection and lessen the risk of injury.
Like jackets, in addition to the leather models, there are other textiles and fabrics of motorcycle clothing available. Many of the “motorcycle jean” style products on the market look just like normal jeans. However, some have special features or are made out of highly durable fabrics and materials such as Kevlar, making them resistant to tears and excellent for motorcycle use.
Additional non-protective fabrics are also used in some models, such as Gore-Tex, for their waterproof and breathable properties. Most women’s motorcycle trousers offer all the same great features that men’s do, except they have slightly different styling and are cut to better fit a woman’s body.
When selecting motorbike trousers, it’s important to consider the purpose in which it will be used before purchasing. A “sport style” trouser may offer great protection, but they may not be appropriate for shorter trips or everyday use, whereas some of the lighter textile styles may be easier to wear but they may not offer the same protective benefits as the leather models.
Username Kate recommends: “For pants, I choose Ladies Bull it Jeans as they’re super comfortable and made from Covec which claims to be 70% stronger than leather on a slide.”
If you are looking for full protection and aerodynamics then a motorcycle suit is the best choice. The lack of separation between the jacket and trousers reduces wind resistance.
Motorcycle suits often feature protective armour. In suits this can often extend further than allowed by jackets and trousers.
For added comfort, women’s motorcycle suits often feature very thin liners. These can be made out of various materials and add a comfortable protective barrier between the skin and the suit.
Username Kate said: “For a one-piece leather suit for my track riding, I use an Alpinestars Stella GP Plus Ladies 1 Piece Leather Suit. I trust this suit wholeheartedly as it’s been tried and tested by me on track at 80mph and, even after that, it is intact and wearable.
“You also have the option to buy an airbag suit to accompany it for extra safety (when I came off in it, I didn’t have the airbag suit in it, just my Alpinestars back protector).
Motorcycle boots are available in many different shapes and sizes, with both high and low cut models available, which provide different levels of protection to the legs.
It’s essential that motorcycle boots grip the bike well and are sturdy enough to handle the demands of motorcycle use, as well as of course remaining comfortable.
The feet and legs are the most vulnerable part of the body in biking. A study conducted by the NHTSA in the United States concluded that “motorcyclists sustain more leg injuries than any other type of lower-extremity injury, with bone fractures being more common than soft-tissue injuries.” With this in mind, it’s certainly important that your boots provide a high level of protection.
You may want to consider extra features, such as gear shift guards and grip control inserts for extra functionality. Of course, men’s boots are available in smaller sizes and can be used by women, but there are several specifically designed boots for women available too. Women’s motorcycle boots are commonly designed to be better suited to the shape of women’s feet and are often available in a range of smaller sizes.
When buying motorcycle boots, you will want to consider how they fit with your motorcycle trousers. Look out for calf zip features and, if you can, try your trousers on with the boots to check that they are able to accommodate them comfortably.
Username Kate’s favourites: “For road boots, I use Alpinestars SMX6 boots because they are the closest boot to wearing a slipper – they’re that comfy! Full-length boots are my preference because I feel a bit vulnerable in ankle boots.
“For off-road boots, I wear Children’s Alpinestar Tech 7S because my feet are very small, and it helps that I don’t have to pay the VAT on them because they are a child’s item.”
Motorcycle gloves need to comply with several criteria. They need to be comfortable, breathable, and of course offer protection to the hands. Features such as ventilated mesh inserts allow air to move freely through the glove.
Reinforced knuckles and other such safety features give you that extra peace of mind when riding, ensuring that your hands are well protected. Like legs, the hands can be an especially vulnerable area during an accident as they are often used to break a fall.
Many models of motorcycle gloves are unisex, but there are now many gloves designed specifically for female riders with smaller, slimmer sizes.
Username Kate said: “It’s difficult for me to recommend gloves as my favourites were Alpinestars C1s, which are now discontinued. My current RST ones are a bit naff. I’m going to order some Knox Handroids because they are apparently the best in the game for gloves.
“For bikes that don’t have heated grips, Gerbing heated gloves are a great option. Mine plug into my jacket for total toastiness.”
Managing body temperature is an important part of motorcycle riding. With high winds and the ever-changing British weather combined with the use of heavy motorcycle clothing, this can prove rather challenging when biking.
Proper base layers can assist with this and can encourage sweat evaporation, making for a significantly more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.
There are multiple base layers available for women, from socks to neck protectors, providing coverage on every part of the body. Some female motorcycle undersuits and tops also provide extra soft support for the breast area which can make riding much more comfortable.
Username Kate added: “I’m never without my trusty Bikesure buff! It’s perfect for keeping my neck warm and protected from rogue stones pinging up from the road!”
Insurance for all your biking gear
Whatever you ride, insuring your motorcycle is essential, but did you know you can also protect your helmet and leathers with an insurance policy?
From just £29.99 a year, Bikesure will pay up to £1,000 for repairs or replacements. This includes other protective clothing such as boots and gloves too. Call 0800 369 8580 or book a callback at a time that suits you.
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