If you’re looking for online sites for gear, I’ve had great luck with NewEnough and MotorcycleSuperstore. They both have closeout sections with low prices on great gear. Closeouts are usually from a manufacturer’s previous year(s), and sizes and colors can be limited — but it’s worth looking. Depending on your size and fussiness over color, you can get a good armored Cortech or Fieldsheer textile jacket on closeout for under $100. Both companies stand by their gear and are good about returns (for defects). But if you order the wrong size, you’re typically paying shipping for the return.
I have mostly Cortech, Teknic and Fieldsheer gear and have had no problems. First Gear appears to the value brand on alot of sites. Their gear looks decent, but I have no personal experience.
For boots, I love Zappos. They ship free, if the size is wrong, they return and reship for free. They carry Harley and other cruiser style leather boots, but not moto-specific armored boots — so may not be what you want.
The two sites mentioned above are also great for helmets, but I would STRONGLY recommend against buying any helmet that you haven’t tried on first. There are just too many variables and nothing is more unsafe, distracting and sometimes painful than a poorly fitted helmet.
Some of the cheapest gear I’ve purchased includes: Armored Fieldsheer jacket at MCsuperstore – $70; HJC helmet at NewE – $120 (my son has a helmet we got for $50 — it’s gaudy as hell, which is why it was marked down from $200, but he’s 12 and loves it); armored leather gloves, NE — $15. So if you look around, you can get some good stuff for low bucks. There’s no reason to go unprotected.