Get Lit: Low Light Motorcycle Riding Gear Buyers Guide
We've reached that
time of year again where we (well everybody except for those in
Arizona, Hawaii and the US territories) have to set our clocks in
accordance with daylight savings. For the past eight months we've
had the pleasure of experience one extra hour of daylight after
setting our clocks forward one hour back March, not it's time to
fall back into darkness as we lost an hour on November 5th.
As a motorcyclist daylight savings is great because it gives us extra time in the evening to enjoy sunlit roads and theoretically be more visible to other motorists. When the clocks roll back though, that two-wheeled commute home from work can be nerve racking as it can already be fairly dark by 5:30 making it even tougher for other drivers to notice you. The best way to increase your safety when riding at night or during low light conditions is to wear either high-viz or reflective motorcycle riding gear. A combination of both bright and reflective gear would be ideal. In other words, in low light go bright. This guide will show you some head to toe options to help make you more visible to others on the road.
Arai Quantum-X Full Face Helmet
It's hard to be any more noticeable than when wearing a brightly colored fullface helmet. Over the years Arai has built a strong reputation for quality helmets that deliver excellent safety and comfort. The [mageProductLink sku="381-806471" title=""]Quantum-X[/mageProductLink] is available in several colors and different graphic options but if you want to be seen the flo-yello version is where it's at. Devoid of graphics or weird designs, the solid hi-viz yellow color scheme will have your head sticking out like a sore thumb-and that's the point right? Other features of the Quantum-X include a round shell design to better fit riders who have a round head shape, a Variable Access System (VAS) Max faceshield that provides excellent visibility in all conditions, and plenty of adjustable vents to fine tune inside temperatures. The Quantum-X comes with a clear pinlock insert to eliminate fogging. When summertime comes back around you can pop in the optional VAS Pro Shade to reduce sun glare.
Joe Rocket Atomic Ion Textile Jacket
Don't let the black and hi-viz yellow chassis of the [mageProductLink sku="225-1743-5602" title=""]Atomic Ion jacket[/mageProductLink] fool you. It might look like every other hi-viz textile jacket, but as soon light hits the jacket it reveals a big trick up its sleeve-actually on its sleeve. Joe Rocket has incorporated some really unique reflective elements on the shoulders and elbows that light up like a flare when illuminated. With a ton of tiny little dots comprised of Innolite reflective material the shoulders and elbows this jacket will definitely get you noticed at night. The tiny dots are almost unnoticeable in daylight but then pop as they reflect light in low light settings. To go along with the Innolite shoulders and elbows the Atomic Ion jacket also has reflective panels and logos front and back to really make the jacket shine. Comfort features include six points of adjustment, neoprene cuffs, a removable insulated liner, and plenty of pockets inside and out for storing all your items. Protection-wise, this textile motorcycle jacket features removable C.E. approved armor in the shoulders and elbows, as well as removable spine armor.
Icon Stryker Mil-Spec Field Armor Vest
Speaking of armor, [mageProductLink sku="038-2701-0515" title=""]Icon's Stryker Mil-Spec Field Armor Vest [/mageProductLink]delivers the best of both worlds, hi-visibility with high impact protection. Available in either mil-spec yellow or mil-spec orange this motorcycle vest also features swaths of reflective material all over the front and back side to ensure you grab the attention of others. Additional safety is incorporated with armor and padding to help keep your core protected in the event of an impact. On the front side is an injection-molded chest plate while the other side has a C.E. approved back armor, D30 back insert, and an injection molded spine on the exterior. You can tailor fit the vest to fit over or under your motorcycle jacket with adjustable waist and shoulder straps. With plenty of ventilation points and a HydraDry moisture wicking liner you could ride during warm weather conditions and still be comfortable.
Icon Squad II Mil-Spec Backpack
If you ride a motorcycle that doesn't have saddlebags but you tend to carry a lot of stuff with you when your ride, then you know a backpack is a must. [mageProductLink sku="2501.2801" title=""]Icon's Squad II Mil-Spec Backpack[/mageProductLink] not only offers a ton of storage but it's basically a giant mound of hi-viz and reflective materials resting on your back-perfect for catching the eyes of those speeders behind you eager to get home for Monday Night Football. Don't get it twisted, Mil-spec isn't just a fancy marketing term used to describe this backpack, it actually meets U.S. Military Hi-Visibility specifications, so it's perfect for those in the military that are required to wear a piece of hi-vis gear when on a motorcycle. The backpack has a compartment that can hold a 15" laptop as well as a jacket carrying system, and helmet compartment to store your gear when off the bike. The main compartment offers 18 liters of storage. The comfort fit chest closure system helps take some of the weight off your shoulders and keeps the jacket close to your body at high speeds. If you don't like orange the backpack is available in orange as well.
Alpinestars SP-8 v2 Leather Gloves
With the end of daylight savings comes the end of warm riding weather for most of the country, so moving over to a gauntlet style motorcycle glove is a smart decision. The [mageProductLink sku="020-3558317-12-s" title=""]SP-8 v2 Leather Gloves[/mageProductLink] from Alpinestars packs a ton of features. First of all they're available in a variety of colors all of which have a broad strip of reflective material running across the back of the hand-exactly where opposing headlight would hit when your hands are on the handlebars. Colors option are great, but we want to be seen and Alpinestars delivers with its black/white/hi-flo yellow version. With patches of bright yellow material scattered throughout it's just enough to make people take notice. Supple leather offers a comfortable fit while also holding up extremely well to abrasion resistance. Advanced over molded polymer knuckle protectors come in handy when you inadvertently clip the mirror of that inattentive motorist creeping over on your space when lane splitting. A perforated cuff helps keep you from overheating when using the gloves in warmer temperatures and foam padding reinforcements in key areas provide an extra layer of protection and comfort. For those addicted to their smart phones the index finger is touchscreen compatible-just don't text and ride.
Tour Master Venture 2.0 Air Vented Textile Pants
While they might not light you up like a strobe light, there's just enough reflective paneling and piping on these Venture 2.0 Air Vented motorcycle pants from Tour Master that you should quickly get spotted by daydreaming motorists. These textile motorcycle pants have longs strips of Phoslite reflective piping that run the length of the sides of the legs and have reflective panels just above the knees for extra visibility. The pants can be used as over pants or standalone pants. They are vented so they aren't the best option for the extreme cold but they do come with two removable liners; a waterproof liner and an insulated liner to help get you through some miserable weather. Like a Timex these pants are built to take a licking with double stich construction and an armor-link mesh shell with 1680 denier ballistic polyester knee panels and seat panel. To help reduce injury in the event of an accident the pants feature removable, C.E. approved knee armor with Tour Master's exclusive three position knee armor alignment system. There is also removable soft hip armor. You'll ride in comfort with a dual elastic panel waistband with adjustable waist belts, accordion style expansion panels at the rear waist and above the knees, and fitStretch materials in the calf and inseam.
Fly Racing Milepost II Boots
These [mageProductLink sku="133-361-98107" title=""]Milepost II[/mageProductLink] motorcycle boots from Fly Racing offer a lot of great features such as waterproof and breathable leather construction, ankle, shin, and toe protection as well as a built in shift pad. Where these boots literally shine however, is on the strips of reflective piping running along the outer chassis of the boots. There is piping at the toe along the shin/ankle and over the back of the heel. On the backside you'll find a large patch of reflective material that stretches over the Achilles area and lights up when headlights behind you hit them. Off the bike these boots provide all day comfort with their E-Z Walk soles and removable/replaceable comfort insoles.
Whether you choose to wear all this gar at one time or only bits and pieces as you ride at night, as long as you do something to help get you noticed you'll be increasing your odds of a safe ride to your destination.