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Biker Clothing Basics What Do Bikers Wear, and Why

Biker Clothing Basics: What Do Bikers Wear, and Why?

Biker clothing is not just about looking cool and dangerous.

Sure, there’s plenty of leather, a dash of denim and a whole lot of attitude involved.
But biker clothing is more than a fashion statement.

Just like the motorcycle itself, there are a lot of moving parts at work here.
And these different parts all have a job to do.

Biker clothing is not only about being cool.
Most biker gear is about safety before fashion.
It needs to function as a suit of armor in case something goes wrong out on the road.
And if it happens to look good too, well, that’s a bonus.

Let’s take a closer look at biker clothing, and how it works to keep you safer.

The 5 Core Elements of Biker Clothing

1.  Biker Leather

A lot of essential biker clothing is made of leather.
You can get biker gear in leather from your neck down to your feet.

Like your:

  • Jacket
  • Vest
  • Pants
  • Gloves, and
  • Boots.

And yep, all that biker leather looks pretty good.
It might make you feel like James Dean looking brooding and dangerous on a movie set.

But it’s also highly practical.

That’s the main reason bikers choose to wear it.
Leather is the best protection against injury, and the challenges of the weather.

For example:

  • Leather will protect your skin if you slide down the road.
  • It’s water resistant if you need to ride in the rain.
  • It’s thick enough to keep the icy wind out.
  • It moves with your body and is comfortable to wear for hours in the saddle.

So while biker leather definitely makes a style statement, its main purpose is to protect the person on the motorcycle.


biker clothing includes biker leather

2.  Biker Jeans

Biker jeans are another practical part of biker clothing.

At first glance, biker jeans often look like normal jeans.
But look a little closer, and you might notice a couple of key styling differences.

You might spot some extra seams and double stitching.
And the denim looks a little thicker than usual.

That’s because there’s a layer of fabric based ‘armor’ or Kevlar, sewn into biker jeans.
It offers extra protection in case something goes wrong.

Single layer denim will just split right open on impact with the road.
Ask me how I know (OUCH)…

But biker jeans are designed to help you slide down the road without losing any skin.

The CEO of one of the original biker jeans brands, Draggin Jeans, famously starred in his own advertising campaign back in the day. He was towed along the road behind a car, wearing a pair of his company’s jeans.
He got up with not a scratch on him.
It was a bold statement about the kind of protection this kind of biker gear offers.

Learn more about biker jeans here.


biker gear includes biker jeans

3.  Biker boots

I’m willing to bet you’ll never see biker boots in a fashion show.
Never ever ever.
There’s nothing elegant about them.
In fact, biker boots are the ugly sisters of biker clothing.

But that’s because they’re not supposed to be pretty.

They’re designed as safety gear rather than high end fashion.
They’re all about motorcycling comfort.

A good pair of biker boots will transform your riding experience.
The internal padding helps to keep your feet warm, no matter how hard the wind is howling.
The leather or synthetic outer layer is designed to fasten up tight to keep the rain out.
And the sturdy sole provides grip on slippery or wet surfaces and stops you dropping the motorcycle or falling off in the dirt.

Arriving home with warm, dry feet after a cold ride in the rain is a joyful thing.
At that point, you really don’t care if your shoes look good.

(But if you DO care about making your biker gear a little prettier, try this link.)


biker gear includes biker boots

4.  Motorcycle helmet

A motorcycle helmet is a must-have piece of safety biker gear.
And you’ll notice that bikers are pretty careful with them.

There are two reasons for that.

  • They can cost a small fortune.

The more features they have, the more they cost.
A flip top front and drop down tinted visor changed my life, so I’m happy to pay for that.

But I don’t want to buy a new helmet of this quality every few months!
I’d have to get a second job to pay for it.

  • They shouldn’t be dropped or damaged.

If you drop your helmet, you potentially compromise the helmet’s ability to protect your head in a crash scenario.
So you want your helmet to be in tip top condition, and be ready to save your life.

As you can imagine, finding the right motorcycle helmet is an absolute mission.
It’s a big investment.
You’ll be wearing it a lot.
So you need to like it, and it needs to feel fantastic on your head.

Yes, it’s nice to find a motorcycle helmet that looks good.

And there’s a massive range to choose from.

From a basic black half face helmet, a more visible full face white, a glittery candy apple red, or a sleek black helmet with detachable cat ears…
Your choice of helmet really reflects your personality.

But a cool helmet is no use if it doesn’t fit right.
A helmet that’s too tight or too loose will ruin a ride.
It’s distracting, uncomfortable, and can even be painful.

You’ve got to protect your precious head with a helmet that’s comfortable and ideally looks good.
Finding the right one takes time and skill!

(Here’s an explanation of different motorcycle helmet types.)


biker gear includes motorcycle helmets

5.  Biker Accessories

Many people think that biker gear accessories work just like fashion accessories.
They’re just pretty extras in the biker clothing wardrobe.

And OK, some biker accessories fall into that category.
Jewellery, for instance.
Or badges and patches.

But many biker gear accessories also serve a practical purpose.
They have a role to play in a motorcyclist’s comfort or safety.

For example:

  • Gloves

Motorcycle gloves are definitely not an optional extra when it comes to biker gear.
Riding a motorcycle without gloves in cold weather means your hands will freeze in a matter of minutes.
And in hot weather, your hands will be sunburned raw by the end of the ride.

Not to mention if you come off the motorcycle, the first thing you do is put your hands out to break your fall.
It’s instinct. If you don’t have gloves on, you’ll be losing all the skin on the palms of your hands and fingers.
Not to mention probably break a few fingers.

Yep, this is another piece of biker clothing that’s about safety rather than being cool.

  • Sunglasses

If you have an open face helmet, you’ll need some form of eye protection to save your eyes from the wind and the glaring sun.
It’s hard to ride a motorcycle when your eyes are watering in the wind or screwed almost shut against a blindingly bright sunny day.

  • Scarf or bandana

A scarf or bandana is a highly practical piece of motorcycle clothing.
A scarf works to seal the top of your jacket against the wind and keep the icy rain out.

It keeps you warm and protects your neck from windburn.

A bandana can do the same – and you can also bring it up over the lower half of your face as protection from the sun or wind.


biker gear includes accessories

There’s more to biker clothing than meets the eye!

As you can see, biker gear is about way more than just looking cool.
It’s much more about keeping the rider and motorcycle passenger safe.

All that biker leather, combined with specialist biker jeans and biker boots come together to help protect the motorcyclist first and foremost.

It’s all about safety and practicality.
And if black leather and denim happens to look good, well, I guess we just have to live with that!


If you liked this article, you might also enjoy this one:

What Not to Wear on a Motorcycle (Must-Know Tips for Women)

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