With winter now more than halfway over, spring is just around the corner. And for those of us who enjoy traveling on two wheels, that means it’s almost time to get the bike ready for its first spring ride (related: preparing your motorcycle for winter storage).
However, in many places, spring, fall, and even summer can have cold, wet, miserable days (see also: how to ride safely in the rain), and others that roast you in your gear as you ride. So we decided to recommend some three-season riding gear for the three main types of riders: casual, sport, and adventure.
It looks just like a regular leather jacket you might see someone wearing as they stroll down the street, but this one hides massive protection under its casual exterior. It has fully-armored elbows and shoulders, with a space for a back protector insert. It’s also made of hand-distressed motorcycle-grade leather.
On hot days, the inner liner can be detached and removed. Doing so allows air to flow in and out through the hidden vents under the arms and along the sides of the torso, then leave via the zippered rear vents. Also, since the jacket is made from motorcycle-grade leather, it is water-repellant (although if you want full waterproofing, we suggest a waterproofing wax or spray that is certified for leather).
Casual riders don’t want flashy logos screaming from their hands—and for them, Dainese made the Blackjacks. Classically Italian in their look, the gloves are made of premium goatskin leather, with double reinforcements on the heels and palms of each hand. The fingers, back of hand, and knuckles are also protected with soft plastic inserts that are CE impact rated.
The point of being casual is to look like you aren’t wearing armor at all. These jeans let you accomplish that, all right—but they’re also waterproof, kevlar reinforced throughout, and sold with CE-approved knee armor inserts.
The Brooklyn jeans also have a three-layer inner liner that lets you add or remove layers depending on the day’s weather. On top of that, Huntsman waterproof coating helps them repel water, dirt, and oil—all while looking like a normal pair of jeans.
Maybe you can’t find riding jeans in your size, or the slim/regular cut leg that most of them have won’t fit your legs. However, if you have a regular pair of jeans that fits a little loose on the legs, Icon has you covered with their Field Armor series.
The pants are made of tear resistant, double stitched poly-Hydradry sweat-wicking cloth. They also have D30 grade armor and kevlar reinforcements at the sides of the knees, over the knees, and on the thighs, hips, buttocks, groin, and tailbone—providing maximum abrasion and impact resistance.
Look at these shoes. Just look at them. Do they look like motorcycle boots in any way? We think not. In fact, we think these are some pretty sexy high tops for any occasion, let alone riding.
The geniuses at TCX have provided some high top riding shoes that will keep your feet both dry and safe. The upper is full grain leather. Hidden malleable heel and toe armor is also included. Additionally, these “boots” feature high-wear-resistance rubber soles to provide the best possible grip on your pegs.
There’s even a double-reinforcement panel over the left upper foot so that shifting is comfortable and won’t wear out the leather. Lastly, a waterproof gore-tex membrane prevents water from seeping in, even while riding in heavy rain.
Type: Waterproof Long Distance Sport Touring Boots
AlpineStars designed these boots from the outset to be somewhat clandestine and low-key (again, this is exactly what a casual rider generally wants). But these are some of the most impressive boots on the market today, and are designed for long distance sport touring as much as they are for inner city riding.
A full leather outer shell hides microfiber line accordion zones on the front and back to allow maximum flexibility. Heel protection is provided with full shock resistant armor. Toes are kept safe with a shaped shock absorbing soft plastic armor box. The upper foot is lined with TPU shift pads so you don’t bruise or bend when shifting. And full calf high ankle closures are reinforced with impact resistant armor that will keep your ankle from bending or twisting during a crash.
3 Season Sport Riding Gear
Generally, sport riders are interested in being able to tuck close to the tank and enjoy the twistier roads around their town. They might own a bike like the KTM RC390 or Yamaha YZF-R6.
Comfort isn’t as high a priority for these riders as protection is, and they also like to look sporty (while being safe, of course). Also note, we are not looking specifically at track-rated gear here—just comfortable gear for the average sport rider.
AlpineStars are well known for their sports gear, from FIM approved leather race suits to comfortable riding jackets such as this one. The T-Fuse Sport WP jacket is made from a breathable softshell exterior, but comes with a waterproof membrane to ensure you’ll stay dry in practically any conditions.
As for protection, you get a CE level one shoulder protectors and dual-density TPU sliders on the shoulders. There are also plenty of reflective details here, so you’ll be able to ride in the dark on the shorter days of the year with reasonable confidence.
The ICON Hypersport GP Gloves are recommended here because at the price point, they are absolutely unbeatable.
The chassis features a perforated french cowhide backhand. A kangaroo palm provides great abrasion resistance and a supple already-broken-in feel from the very first wear. The TPU and titanium molded knuckles are fully CE impact-rated. Extra value comes in the form of palm, thumb, fingertip, wrist, and side-of-hand TPU sliders that prevent the glove from gripping (and ripping) with the tarmac in case of a crash.
These gloves also feature a two-step closure system for maximum security, a pinky-to-ring finger connection panel, a double-wrapped inner thumb to prevent wear and tear from cranking on the throttle, and all stitching is double reinforced for maximum durability. The only thing these gloves don’t have is waterproofing—so just avoid riding in downpours and you’re golden.
In the past, AlpineStars pants seemed to vary between relaxed commuter-style pants and full-on track leather pants without much in the middle. The Raider Drystar V2 pants fit into that gap nicely—they’re a great set of textile pants that are totally viable for three season wear.
Waterproofing comes via the permanent drystar lining, but there’s also a removable thermal liner for when those summer days get too warm. CE-rated knee protectors are also built in, and space is provided if you want to insert optional hip protectors. There are also thigh vents in case you need extra cooling.
Finally, these pants can mate with the AlpineStars T-Fuse jacket recommended above if you want to form a full one-piece riding suit.
The second generation Alpinestars SMX 6 Drystar Boots are a force to be reckoned with. With newly refined ergonomics, the accordion stretch paneling has been augmented on the forefoot as well as the back of the ankle for added flexibility and comfort.
These boots offer race-ready protection. They feature high-modulus TPU biomechanical ankle supports, injected shin guards and calf protectors, a heel counter, a reinforced shift pad, and hard toe sliders.
The air vents have been integrated into the heel counter and shin plate to help with both moisture evaporation and heat evacuation. The Drystar membrane is the ultimate waterproof protection, guaranteeing prolonged comfort in even the harshest of conditions.
The Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 Drystar boots offer a fantastic package of protection, dexterity and waterproof performance without making any noticeable compromises.
3 Season Adventure Riding Gear
Adventure riders expect to get dirty, wet, and into situations where they might have to scrabble their bike up a bit of rock and dirt. They might own a Ducati Multistrada or Honda Africa Twin, and they’ll usually want to be protected from sharp rocks as well as wet, windy weather.
Even at $370, this adventure jacket is almost criminally underpriced. First off, it’s waterproofed with HyperTex, an evolution of Gore-Tex that allows for more breathability. It’s also made of 420D and 300D rip stop nylon, making it incredibly lightweight. In terms of impact-protection, the D30 T5 grade CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows is penetration resistant, in case you fall on sharp rocks.
The venting on this jacket is unbelievable, with two large chest vents, two underarm vents that run almost to the base of the ribs, and two massive rear exhaust vents, all zippered. An under-helmet rain hood is built into the collar in a hidden compartment. There is a tail pocket that is 14 inches wide and fully waterproof for storage. Multiple pockets inside and outside the jacket mean you can carry a lot of stuff.
The collar button is on a slider to adjust to a perfect fit. The arms have bicep and forearm straps to find the perfect fit and keep the jacket tight in windy conditions. There’s a removable inner thermal liner. There’s even a thick, built-in EVA foam back protector.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a 1.5-liter water pack with a drinking tube that clips into four easy mount backpack clips and can be secured over either shoulder with restraining straps. This is pretty much the motorcycle equivalent of a Dune stillsuit.
The Rukka R-Stars are pretty incredible in terms of what they do. Not only do they offer a full cowhide leather construction with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner; not only are there knuckle and finger armor sections (and abrasion resistant palm double layering)—but there is also a dual chamber system depending on what weather you’re riding in.
The dual chamber system is operated by sliding a hand into either the top (warmth) or bottom (grip) chamber of the glove from the wrist opening. With the top opening, the rider gets full insulation across the entirety of the hand. In the bottom opening, the rider only gets insulation to the back of the hand, and gets a better feel of the handlebars. Talk about versatile!
Much like the Kathmandu jacket we recommended at the start of the adventure section, the FirstGear Kathmandu overpants are ridiculously underpriced for what they do.
They have D30 T5 CE approved armor in the hips and knees. The back of the waist, groin, inner thigh, and back-of-knee areas feature HydraTex stretch sections to allow for perspiration to escape without allowing water to come in. The knees and inner calf areas are made of soft suede to prevent them from scratching the tank or fairings of your bike.
Nearly 11-inch-long thigh vents provide maximum cooling, and are held open by simply folding the zipper cover into the vents. An insulated two-thirds length thermal liner can be easily inserted or removed. Two front pockets are fully zippered and waterproof. A storm gator around each leg opening prevents splashes and rain from coming up inside the pants.
And just to top it off, there are removable suspenders to keep the pants snugly on—or you can remove the suspenders and the pants will zip together with the Kathmandu jacket. Nice.
While many boots are available for adventure riders, we found that the Forma Adventure boots simply provided the best amount of features at a reasonable price point.
The boots are made of full grain oiled cowhide leather, with a Drytex integrated inner lining for waterproofing and breathability. The soles are made of dual-density, penetration resistant rubber, with an integrated steel shank surrounded by rigid nylon in the mid-sole to prevent your pegs poking into you hard over rough terrain.
Ankles and toes are protected by full TPU-molded plastic. There is a full-length, foam-backed shin protector to shrug off branches and hard impacts on the legs. Plastic closure buckles made of aerospace grade material are nigh unbreakable, and help keep the boots tight over the velcro closure. And lastly, the top of the foot has a rubber covered TPU plastic protector to let you shift all day without hurting your foot.