Anytime you’re on a motorcycle you’re basically a target. It’s a sad fact, but one we as motorcycle enthusiasts accept when we throw a leg over a saddle. Not until people stop stuffing themselves into clown cars disguised as “smart cars” a fully embrace the freedom, agility, and eco-friendliness of jamming around on two wheels and a motor will we motorcyclists get the upper hand and the warm fuzzy feeling of safer travels on the road.
It can be a battle out there as drivers love to resort to the excuse that they didn’t see us as they explain to a police officer why they cut us off, ran us off the road, or worse slammed into us. Yes we are much smaller objects and occupy less space on the road, so sometimes it can be difficult to see a motorcycle, but if more people rode they would be more likely to actively look for motorcycles when they operate a car or truck.
As motorcyclists there are several ways we can help combat the “I didn’t see him/her,” excuse with the most effective being the donning of hi-viz riding gear. Sure this type of motorcycle gear might not be the most attractive or fashion forward but it definitely helps attract other people’s attention and makes it much easier for others to see us, especially in low-light or night time conditions. Most hi-viz motorcycle apparel comes in bright colors like neon green and fluorescent yellow or orange. But you can also find some more subtle color schemes on items like full face helmets, motorcycle jackets, riding pants, and motorcycle gloves that offer safety features like reflective piping and paneling. Here are some ideas on riding gear that will help get you noticed.
Protect the Dome:
Starting at the top is often a good route to go when getting kitted out for a motorcycle ride and there are many options when it comes to choosing a hi-viz motorcycle helmet. For those that like the versatility of a full face modular motorcycle helmet, Vega offers the Summit 3.0 helmet. Available in hi-viz yellow, the 3.0 has the ability to go from a full face to a half helmet by simply pushing a button and rotating the chin bar to the top of the helmet. This feature not only provides a ton of ventilation at stops but also the ability to communicate easier with those sitting next to you. In full face mode a multi-adjustment chin vent provides superior airflow while minimizing fogging and additional venting at the forehead and back of the helmet helps maximize flow from front to rear. This helmet also has the benefit of two shields, an optically correct, six position adjustable outer shield and an easy to use interior drop down sunshield. Utilizing a clear outer shield along with the tinted drop down shield means riders can ride all day and all night without having to pullover to switch eyewear in order to properly see in different lighting conditions. If you want even more out of your full face helmet, there’s the Vega Summit 3.0 V-Com Hi-Viz Bluetooth Modular Full Face Helmet which comes loaded with a Bluetooth communication system that lets you connect wirelessly to your smart phone or Bluetooth media device. When paired with another 3.0 V-com system you and your passenger or riding buddies can chit-chat with one another the entire motorcycle ride.
If you’re the less is more type when it comes to head protection AFX has its FX-50 Hi-Viz Open Face Helmet. A little more aggressive looking than your standard open face helmet, the FX-50 has a visor that gives the look of a dual sport style helmet (visor is removable). Similar to the Vega helmet this AFX half helmet has two shields as well—a tinted drop down sun shield and a quick-release face shield. While open face helmets provide a ton of ventilation, this helmet offers the benefits of additional ventilation with vents right at the forehead and exhaust ports at the top of the head. Another bonus to the FX-50 is its aerodynamic shell design and lightweight composite poly-alloy construction.
Speaking of Dual Sport, if you spend your time riding your motorcycle both on-road and off-road then the SS2500 Hell ‘N Back Hi-Viz Dual Sport Helmet from Speed & Strength is a great choice. Comprised of a lightweight tri-composite fiberglass shell construction, the extended chin area allows for superior ventilation and breathability when your activity levels pick up while riding off road and the large eye port offer great visibility and peripheral vision. To help keep you cool, dry and comfortable it has a moisture wicking fabric liner, integrated cooing channels incorporated into the EPS liner, and multiple adjustable intake and exhaust vents. Available in either bright orange or yellow, with its aggressive styling, the SS2500 will look just as good on the road as it does off road.
If you want to have more of a selection of Hi-Viz colors when it comes to choosing a full face helmet Icon has a couple options to choose from. For example the Airmada Volare Hi-Viz Full Face Helmet is available in three hi-viz colors: orange, yellow, and pink. Not only is the helmet easy to sport with its bright colors but it has highly reflective decals around the shell that catches light and shines in the night. To help fit a wide array of head sizes, Icon offers this helmet in four shell sizes along with Icon’s exclusive long oval headform for the ultimate fit and comfort. The injection-molded polycarbonate shell offers strength and durability while multiple ports in the forehead, chin, and rear of the helmet provide industry-leading ventilation.
Your core (upper body) allows for you to really broadcast your presence with hi-viz motorcycle jackets and vests. Many street bike jackets are made of textile materials because they are lightweight, breathable, and highly durable, and that’s exactly what you get from the Eddy Vented Textile Jacket from Scorpion EXO. This vented motorcycle jacket is offered in three bright color options: orange/white, orange/black, and neon yellow/black as well as several more toned down options like red/black and blue/black. Just because this mesh motorcycle jacket offers superior cooling with its perforated venting doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice protection. This jacket is loaded with safety features like heavy duty armor in the elbows and shoulders, a back protector compartment with included foam pad, chest padding, and 600 denier nylon panels in the elbows and shoulders to provide abrasion resistance. To help regulate your temperature in changing riding conditions the jacket also comes with a windproof, removable liner.
Most cruiser motorcycle riders prefer to opt for more stealthy gear like a black leather motorcycle jacket as opposed to bright neon colors. With the Scout Leather Jacket from River Road you can have that tough, all black leather look and still have the ability for others on the road to see you with its broad swaths of reflective tape at the shoulders and across the back. Unlike other types of reflective piping or material that is easy to spot in the daylight, the reflective strips on the Scout are very understated and have a dark tint to them so that it practically blends in with the black leather. For comfort the this men’s cruiser jacket features power stretch panels on the sides and under the arms which help provide freedom of movement and a flexible fit. Perforated ventilation ports hidden behind zippered panels at the chest and exhaust ports in the back of the jacket allow you to control the internal temperature. When things get chilly the snap-out liner reflects body heat back at you while also allowing for humidity to escape. Safety-wise the Scout is stuffed with removable CE rated armor inside a heavy-weight leather chassis.
For those that serve in the military and ride motorcycles it’s often a requirement that they wear a hi-viz jacket or vest. And that’s exactly why Icon Motorsports created the Mil-Spec Vest. Available in several different styles, the Instructor, Interceptor, Women’s Corset, and Field Armor Vest, each piece offers the utmost in visibility with a combination of bright coloring and large sections of highly reflective striping. With convenience features like an easy to remove Velcro ID badge holder on the upper left chest panel the Mil-Spec is perfect for those who live on base and have to continually show identification when they enter and exit base. Breathability is fully optimized with all these vest as they are made of heavy-duty mesh. The Stryker offer quite a bit more in the way of protection with its injection-molded chest plate and CE approved back armor. Basically it’s like an exoskeleton for your torso—ideal for sport bike riders and dual sport enthusiasts. Female riders will appreciate the Women’s Corset Mil-Spec Vest with its waist slimming lines and elastic side adjusters that provide a comfortable and fine-tuned fit. Available in hi-viz pink or yellow with reflective scroll graphic panels this corset will get attention on the road and off the road.
Full Go From Head to Toe
If you’re a sport bike rider that spends a lot of time carving canyons or at the track looking for ways to shave time of your best laps, Scorpion EXO just released its first ever in-boot race suit. The EXO Podium 1-Piece Leather Suit offers you coverage from the bottom of the helmet to the top of your motorcycle boots. The suit is made from 1.2 to 1.4mm Monaco top-grain leather and has been optimized for comfort and mobility with molded shoulder and knee protectors, Sas-Tec C.E. armor, a padded torso and coccyx protectors, perforated and non-perforated paneling for temperature regulation, and accordion leather stretch panels in the elbows, knees, shoulder, and lower back for exceptional flexibility. Neon yellow patches mixed with small swatches of bright red and white accents break up a sea of black leather and help the suit stand out on the track or in low light settings of heavily shadowed canyons.
So maybe you haven’t quite shed your winter layer yet and zipping a tight fitting leather race suit over that basketball you’re hiding under your shirt just won’t do—don’t worry you’re not alone, this author’s unsuccessfully been trying to conceal a pony keg under his shirt for years—but you still like the idea of a 1-piece riding suit. There’s a great solution the Scorpion EXO Passport 1-Piece Textile Suit. Available in a black and grey color scheme as well as black and neon yellow, the Passport Suit makes it easy to go from the motorcycle to the office without the stress of your button up shirt and slacks getting covered in road grime. And with its waterproof/breathable membrane system you’ll stay dry in the rain and won’t feel like you’re riding in a mobile sauna. Ideal for long distance rides when you might encounter less than ideal weather conditions, this 1-piece suit will keep you comfortable and well protected.
Wearing hi-viz gear on your hands and feet is another way to help you stay visible while riding. While it might not be as obvious as say a jacket or a helmet, every little bit helps. Also some riders just like to match their motorcycle gear from head to toe. To that end there’s Icon’s Hi-Viz Leather/Mesh Anthem Gloves. These street bike gloves are great when you’re going to be riding in warm weather and you need good airflow to keep your hands from overheating and sweating. While the mesh back keeps your hand cool, the leather goatskin palm helps you get a good grip on the hand controls and provides tough abrasion resistance in the event of a crash or low side slide.
If you really want to take the hi-viz motorcycle apparel to the extreme Fly Racing offers its M21 Hi-Viz Riding Shoes. Aside from their bright yellow color-way, these shoes have reflective accents in the toe, sides and Achilles area to help them glimmer at night. Shorter than a standard pair of motorcycle boots, the M21s still provide stability and ankle protection with their high top design. For warm weather riding comfort the shoes have large portions of perforated venting while down below there’s a crush resistant, high traction sole with a strong isolated shank that helps reduce engine vibration transferring through the foot controls. To keep shoes laces from hooking onto footpegs or getting caught up in moving motorcycle parts the top of these high top motorcycle riding shoes have Velcro covers to keep the laces under control.
One more option we wanted to highlight that isn’t a piece of motorcycle clothing but might appeal to those that do a lot of long haul rides or dual sport camping trips is Nelson Rigg’s Survivor Edition Adventure Dry Hi-Viz Saddlebags. As far as motorcycle saddlebags go these bags are great because they can be mounted to just about any bike and can be removed very easily for transport to the tent or motel room. They have a hard backing on the inside of the bag which not only helps them keep their shape but also makes it easy to keep the bags out of the wheel well when using saddlebag supports. Each bag holds up to 27.53 liters providing a good amount of storage for a weekend or weeklong motorcycle trip. Made of waterproof and durable tarpaulin PVC and featuring heavy duty-construction these bags will keep your gear dry and well protected. Okay, so we’ve covered just about every type of motorcycle gear to help make you brighter and hopefully more visible to other motorists on the road. Basically you could dress head to toe in neon yellow gear and look like a brand new Penn tennis ball or get decked out in fluorescent orange and easily slip past any road constriction while looking like a highway worker. All joking aside, sporting any sort of hi-viz gear whenever you ride a motorcycle is a very smart decision and will help you stay safer on the road.