Hard to generalize too much but I would say $500 would get you an okay full set of gear. It all depends on the deals you can get. Plus quality is a bit subjective when it comes to gear as it does not come with a safety star rating. IMO you are better off getting a full set of decent gear than getting one quality item and skimping on the rest. You can then upgrade individual items as finances allow. Hunt around the internet for deals, motorcycle gear seems to be very seasonal and you can pick up last years stuff cheaply. I also spent a lot of time reading the reviews on webbikeword to get a feel for what I wanted/could afford.