The search for decent motorcycle gear

You would think something as important as safety gear should be easy to find - reasonably priced and safe. Not necessarily so. I used to ride without any gear on motorcycles besides a helmet, literally, for years. I luckily never had anything bad happen as a result, but after a break from bikes for a while, numerous things made me decide I wanted decent gear when I got back into riding.

I've driven tiny 2 seat cars forever now, having 7 or so Miatas and a 240Z dating back to the mid 90s or so, and have seen quite a few morons (AKA Soccer Moms with Cell Phones, H2 or SUV Drivers, etc) try to squish me or others into guard rails, usually entirely oblivious, wrapped up in whatever world they're in, involving cell phones, screaming kids, applying makeup while driving, or just utter incompetence. Everyone spaces out while driving, and stuff does happen, but with some types much moreso than others.

During my break in riding, I also had a few friends in accidents, and I suppose just paid more attention to what was going on on the road. I also did some track time in the cars, which made me even more aware of the fact that while bad things can happen on the track, it's a much more controlled environment that the street.

Regardless of the reasons, when I started riding again, I wanted protection. I'd have preferred to require all drivers on the road to pass a real competency test, ban cell phones, and require soundproof panels separating drivers from screaming children, but, failing that, I wanted protection. I had become a much more defensive rider than I used to be, and I suppose was a bit more aware of what could happen.

So, motorcycle gear - should be simple, no? Sadly, it isn't. I went several rounds with some 'ok' gear, including some that looked great, but even before doing research on it, I had to wonder about the construction and quality of protection some of it offered, just by looking at it and applying common I started to do more research.

Note - the original content in my MC gear section was written back in 2008 or so.  A few additions to CE standards have happened, which is good, but the general content remains applicable, and at least for the core jacket and pants - I remain wearing the same setup as I chose then.  It’s great to start to see some competent safety gear coming out, but as always - it’s not always inexpensive.  I am updating this section slowly in the meantime, so just note some specific models on some gear in the individual sections may have been superseded by newer models.