Unexpected situations happen when motorcycling. Every ride carries a degree of risk, which is why I wear full safety gear, all the time. Good gear also blocks out the elements and keeps me focused on the road. Researching and using protective equipment is even something I enjoy. In this post I share the gear I currently rely on, and what I think of it.


I wear Arai’s flagship helmet, the Arai Corsair-X (RX-7V Evo in Europe), homologated to ECE 22.06 standards. The Corsair-X is one of the few helmets that didn’t need a redesign to meet ECE 22.06. It’s a testament to Arai’s focus on safety. I appreciate the helmets classic shape, unique style, and its proven protection at the highest levels of racing. One drawback, especially at smaller shell sizes, is that the helmet’s visor doesn’t fully seal against the eyeport’s rubber gasket, contributing to noise.

ARAI helmets are famously focused on safety

A good helmet goes a long way in protecting your head, but it can’t block out everything. Especially on longer rides, the constant wind noise can take a toll on your hearing. That’s why I regularly use earplugs. My preferred option are high-fidelity earplugs tuned for motorcycles, like those from EarPeace. But for maximum noise reduction, disposable foam earplugs with a high Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) are best.


A good helmet is essential, and an airbag is close behind. I won’t ride without one anymore. The unmatched upper-body protection and peace of mind that an airbag offers is worth the investment. For city riding, I use the Alpinestars Tech-Air 3. It’s a lightweight electronically activated airbag that fits over my existing leather jacket. I like that it has haptic feedback, a clear LED indicator, and that it’s easy to take off when I reach my destination. But I do wish it provided a bit more shoulder coverage.


For more spirited riding, I’ve been using the Alpinestars Tech-Air 10. This airbag provides the most coverage of any airbag on the market – neck, shoulders, upper arms, chest, full back, and hips. It’s comfortable enough that I don’t really notice it under my leathers while riding. However, I wouldn’t say I fully “trust” it yet. The software is glitchy, and it doesn’t always arm reliably, which is frustrating for a safety device. Still, when it comes to sheer protection, nothing else compares.



Motorcycling clothing is designed to protect against abrasion – not to mention the sun, wind, and insect strikes. For city riding, my go-to is the Dainese HF D1 Perforated leather jacket. The perforated leather keeps me cool, and I think it’s got that classic motorcycle look. The downside is limited mobility since it doesn’t have accordion or stretch panels.


On casual rides, I pair the jacket with Hood Motorcycle K7 Jeans. They’re one of the few Class AAA jeans (once armor is included) that provide a full Kevlar-lining, which is reassuring. But let’s be honest, even the best jeans are a compromise compared to leathers. That’s why I now mostly limit the jacket-and-jeans combination to the times when speed is less likely to be a factor.


For dedicated rides or practicing skills in a parking lot, I rely on my Alpinestars GP Plus V4 Leather Suit. This is the most technically advanced motorcycling clothing I own. It’s very clearly designed for performance motorcycling, but the high degree of protection and comfort during riding are worth it. I removed the suit’s inner liner (because the Tech-Air 10 includes a base layer) and upgraded all the armor to CE Level 2.


Armor and base layers

The best modern motorcycle armor is surprisingly thin and affordable. Almost all the armor I use is SAS-TEC TriplexFlex SC-1. The only exception is my leather suit, where I use bulkier Forcefield Isolator 2 elbow armor.


Under my leather jacket, I wear a Forcefield Pro Jacket base layer with pockets designed to hold motorcycle armor close to the body. For any ride, whether in jeans or leathers, I use the Bohn Armored Motorcycle Pants base layer, which includes SAS-TEC TriplexFlex armor for the tailbone, hips, thighs, and knees. My only gripe is that I wish the knee-and-shin armor was a bit wider - extra coverage in those areas would be welcome. Still, it’s tough to beat the value and protection.

I also use an Alpinestars balaclava and Alpinestars socks. I find that good base layers help to keep outer gear clean and comfortable.


My preferred gloves are the Alpinestars SP-8 V3. Even though they’re only CE Level 1-KP rated, they’re excellent, comfortable, affordable, and the protection is more than adequate. Touchscreen compatibility is another plus.


The other gloves I use are the Alpinestars GP Pro R3/RS3. They’re CE Level 2-KP rated and provide exceptional protection. But honestly, I don’t find them as comfortable as the SP-8 V3s. Inexplicably, these gloves don’t conform to the size and fit typical of other Alpinestar models. And the quality wasn’t as good as I expected, considering the price. (Fraying seams are unfortunately something to watch out for with Alpinestars gear.)



I own two CE Level-2-2-2-2 certified boots, but the protection they offer in practice is surprisingly different.

First, there’s the REV’IT! Portland. A classic tall boot style, comfortable enough for errands and walking, without lacking too many protective features. Unfortunately, mine started to fall apart after a few weeks. The lace eyelets suffer from a serious design flaw that caused them to detached from the leather. Luckily, warranty covered professional repair with heavy-duty eyelets that have been rock solid, but it was disappointing nonetheless.


My favourite boots are the TCX RT-Race. Very comfortable on the bike (not so much off), quick to put on, and the protection is best-in-class at this price point. They even have a (squeaky) ankle torsion control system that you usually only find on more expensive racing boots like the Alpinestars Supertech R.

Despite having the same CE certification, the TCX boots provide greater protection in all areas, and I trust them far more than the Portlands. They’re also just quicker to put on, and have a fastening system that helps keep motorcycle pants secured in the boot.

Closing thoughts

The more I ride, the more I respect the balance of risk and reward that motorcycling demands. The fun of motorcycling comes with inherent vulnerability. But as technology evolves, so does the protection available to riders. Investing in protective motorcycle gear is one of the ways I try to be as prepared as I can be, ride after ride.