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Budgeting for Motorcycle Gear: What You Need to Know

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

In the wake of my recent blog post about shopping for women's motorcycle gear, I decided to dive deeper into an aspect of riding that many of you wished you'd known more about before embarking on your journey - the cost. Undeniably, the financial aspect of motorcycling often catches newcomers, myself included, off guard. While the ongoing expenses like fuel, insurance, and tax are comparatively lower than those of owning a car, the other expenditures that come with the territory can be surprisingly significant.


Before we delve into it, it's important to clarify that this post won't touch upon the costs of obtaining your license, purchasing your bike, tax, fuel, insurance, or customizing your motorcycle. These variables are vast and multifaceted, warranting a discussion of their own (perhaps in a future post!) Instead, let's focus on the often-overlooked essentials you need to consider before acquiring your first bike.



Helmets


Your helmet is a non-negotiable purchase before you hit the road. With countless options on the market, ranging from £50 to £1,000 or more, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. While splurging on a stylish, high-end helmet might be tempting, it might not be the wisest choice for beginners.


Consider this: Many motorcyclists sell helmets on platforms like eBay after realizing that biking isn't for them. Spending £700 or £800 on a helmet you might not use extensively would be regrettable. Safety should be your top priority, and cost doesn't necessarily correlate with better protection. When buying a helmet, focus on the safety features and ratings within your budget, as well as ensuring it meets your country's legal requirements.


For instance, Halfords currently offer a certified ECE 22.05 helmet for just £59.99, proving that you don't have to break the bank for safety. However, if you're willing to spend a bit more, mid-range helmets typically range from around £180 to £500. It's advisable to visit a store with a wide helmet selection and try on as many as possible before purchasing, and of course, consult resources like my Helmet Buying Guide!


Clothing


Preparing for the costs of clothing can be an eye-opener for aspiring riders. While it's not mandatory to wear protective gear in the UK, it's a choice that could save your skin, literally. Be sure to invest in proper protective trousers, a jacket, gloves, and boots.


Boots/Shoes


Fun fact: the most common injuries obtained whilst riding motorcycles are to the lower extremities. To protect yourself, invest in a pair boots that cover your feet, ankles, and calves. However, if subtlety is your preference, there are options that resemble regular shoes but offer the necessary protection. Budget approximately £150 to £250 for this essential gear, and consider shopping during the off-season sales for potential bargains.


Gloves


When selecting gloves, prioritize those with sliders (hard bits on your palm) to prevent hand and wrist injuries during a crash. Look for gloves with knuckle protectors. Expect to spend approximately £50 to £100 for a pair with these features. Keep in mind that you might need different gloves for varying weather conditions, and heated gloves, starting at around £100, can be a game-changer in colder temperatures.


Jackets and Trousers


The cost of jackets and trousers can vary significantly based on factors like material, safety features, and armor. Jackets can range from £100 to well over £1,000, while trousers typically range from £120 to £500. Prioritize safety ratings and invest in the best gear you can afford.


Accessories


Additional accessories like bags, visors, goggles, neck warmers, and phone mounts may be necessary based on your needs and riding style. These items can be purchased gradually, with an estimated cost of around £200.


Security


Protecting your bike from theft is paramount. Depending on your circumstances, you may need various security measures. Multiple locks, data tags, bike covers, and lid locks are examples. Budget at least £150 for robust security items, and consider items with Sold Secure Gold or Diamond motorcycle ratings for added protection.


Cleaning and Maintenance Products


To keep your bike in top shape, you'll need cleaning and maintenance products. These may include cleaners, chain lubricants, chain cleaners, disc brake cleaners, brushes, cloths, sponges, helmet care products, and anti-fog or rain repellent products. Depending on your bike's finish, you may need specialized cleaners or polishes. Consider eco-friendly options such as Muc-Off cleaning products, which offer both quality and environmental responsibility.

In summary, I estimate that I spent around £1,500 on all the essentials before getting my bike. While it's possible to spend less, I decided to invest in quality items, confident that motorcycling would be a long-term pursuit. But despite the unexpected costs, motorcycling undoubtedly brings immense joy to our lives, making it a worthwhile investment.


Feel free to share your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments section. Ride safe and enjoy the journey!


Jennie x

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