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> Race wear and protective armour: stuff you will need to wear

Before you spend money on a bike, get yourself some high-quality protective gear. Never scrimp on protective wear and as a general rule before you buy an item think about whether or not it would protect you in a bad accident. One thing is certain, if you race you will crash!

Listing of some of the gear you will need before you start racing motocycles

 1. Motorcycle Helmet

Always protect your brains and your wedding tackle!

Helmet: Get the best quality full-face helmet you can afford and ensure it fits snuggly around your entire head. Remember that the protective padding in a new helmet will 'pack' (i.e. compress) where there is pressure, so go for a very snug fit initially and eventually it should mold to fit your head.

Some head shapes fit better in Arai, others in Shoei, so choose the helmet for the fit and the quality, not for the brand or the graphics.

Ensure the helmet has an ACU approved gold stamp, and the visor has a British Standard logo engraved in it.

Don't scrip when it comes to buying a helmet.


 2. Leathers

Opt for quality race leathers, not skin graphs...

Leathers: If you are going racing for God's sake get some proper 1 piece racing leathers. Ensure the suit is CE approved and has plenty of armor (shoulders, knees, elbows, torso, hips) and if the back protector doesn't feel substantial get one of those as well.

Try on several different types and choose the one which feels comfortable and will let you move around freely on the bike.

If you opt for used leathers make sure they are not more than a couple of years old. Reason being stitching tends to rot as it ages and could split when you go sliding down the race track.

Get a good set of proper race leathers with plenty of armour.


 3. Knee sliders

I get my knee down every time I fall off!

Knee sliders: Go for the bog standard sliders and not those titanium sparky things as they tend to distract those following you - hence they are banned at most racing events.

If you have just bought a new pair of sliders, scrub them in the honourable way and don't resort to sandpaper or a file.



 4. Gloves

Get a good pair of gloves that will offer protection in a slide

Gloves: You'll need a good pair of leather gloves which fit well and go over top of your sleeve (so no skin is exposed when you are stretching and sliding down the road).

Some gloves have armor (and trendy carbon fibre panels) but the amount of protection they offer will vary depending on the manufacturer.

Our editor tested these gloves out in a number of spills (the best one was at circa 80 mph).


 5. Motorcycle Boots

Sidi Vertebra boots are tough to beat...

Boots: Ensure you have a good strong pair of racing boots which have good ankle movement and a realtively thin sole (so you can feel the feedback through the footpegs).

I really like the Sidi Vertebra boots because they did an excellent job of protected my feet during a rather nasty high-speed off which involved a lot of sliding and bit of cartwheeling. The cool toe-sliders make a useful scraping sound to let you know that you are getting some good lean angles through the corners.

They smell wonderful, but they work...


 6. Dog tags

You must wear a identification tag to go racing

Dog tags: You should have an engraved metal dog tag on a metal chain which lists your full name and date of birth. Putting your blood group on the tag is a good idea as well.

I think they specify 'metal' because it doesn't melt easily hmmm it makes you wonder.

Lets hope nobody will need to read this dog tag...


 7. Underwear

My mother always told me to wear a clean pair just in case I high side...

Underwear: You’ll need cotton underwear if your racing suit doesn’t have a lining (no nylon stuff – it melts when it slides down the track).

I’m not sure about horsehair underwear or rubber pants… but I’ll make some enquiries.

Be prepared...