How Much Does Motorcycle Gear Really Cost?
Updated: Feb 3, 2021
After sharing my most recent post on shopping for women’s motorcycle gear I decided to ask a few of you what you wish you’d known before you started riding. The most popular response by far was “I wish I’d known how much it costs!” and ladies, I couldn’t agree more.
There are many unexpected costs that new riders (myself included) forget to account for when starting out and although the running costs like fuel, insurance and tax are significantly lower than owning a car you might be surprised by just how much you need to spend on everything else that comes with the territory of owning motorcycle.
Before we get started, I’m not planning on talking about the costs of getting your license, buying your bike, tax, fuel, insurance or modifying your motorcycle here as there are so many variables at bay (plus this could all warrant a second post). But I will be discussing all the other things that you’ll need to consider before purchasing your first bike, so let’s get started!
A helmet is an essential bit of kit that you’ll need to buy before getting your motorcycle and as there are so many on the market (which vary greatly in cost) it can be hard to know where to begin. Helmets can start from as little as £50 and can reach anywhere up to £1,000 and beyond (yikes!) Although this might be quite an exciting purchase spending a lot of money on a helmet might not actually be the wisest decision when you’re a newbie, here’s why.
If you type ‘motorcycle helmet’ into eBay you’ll find hundreds of listings for lids that have only been worn once (according to the seller). There are lots of people that start motorcycling and realise soon after that they don’t want to continue with it (for a whole host of different reasons) and you don’t want to go spending £700 or £800 on a helmet that you potentially don’t end up using. So try to think about this one sensibly.
You might be surprised to find that cost doesn’t necessary equal better protection when it comes to motorcycle helmets. Yes, you might get a more stylish helmet which some fancier features and a nice plush interior, but these things aren’t going to prevent you from a serious injury if you’re involved in a crash. So my advice is this, when buying your helmet make sure you get the best safety features and ratings for the price you can afford and don’t forget to check that it meets all the legal requirements for whatever country you’re in.
UK Retailer Halfords currently offer a helmet by brand Duchinni that has a 4 star SHARP rating for just £54, YES, £54! However if you feeling like spending a little bit more than this most mid-range helmets come in at around £180-£400. I’d recommend visiting a store that has a wide range of helmets available and try on as many as you can before deciding on which one to buy. Oh and of course, don’t forget to read the ride like a girl helmet buying guide first!
I must admit, I don’t think I was quite prepared for how much I’d end up spending on clothing before getting my first bike. Unfortunately if you want decent protection (along with comfort and style) you’re going to have to fork out a few quid on this.
Whilst it’s not a legal requirement in the UK to wear these whilst riding, don’t be a dummy! Wearing a proper pair of protective trousers along with a jacket, gloves and boots could literally save your skin so don’t skimp on these.
Fun fact: the most common injuries obtained whilst riding motorcycles are to the lower extremities. What’s the solution to this I hear you ask? Well first of all it comes down to your footwear.
The safest choices for motorcyclists are undoubtedly ‘full-height’ boots (i.e. boots that reach the middle to top of your shin) as they protect not only your feet and ankles but also your legs. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more subtle there are now plenty of options on the market that look so much like a regular pair of shoes that you wouldn’t even notice that they’re specially designed for motorcyclists.
Pricing seems to be fairly consistent for shoes and boots (of course there are some very boujie options out there but I can’t even afford to look at these *cries inside*) so set aside about £150 - £250. Also don’t forget, during the colder months a lot of retailers put these on sale so grab a bargain if you can!
When purchasing gloves make sure to check if they have sliders (little hard bits of plastic that wrap around the bottom of your palm) because if you’re launched across the tarmac in a crash these could potentially prevent your hands and wrists from breaking. Also look for hard knuckle protectors as these will protect your fingers. Gloves without these features aren’t going to do much except shielding your hands from the elements and maybe a few mild scrapes. You can pick up a pair of decent motorcycle gloves with sliders and knuckle protectors for around £50 to £100.
Speaking of the elements, gloves are the kind of thing that you’ll probably need to have a few pairs of. You can buy ‘all season’ gloves but these usually aren’t warm enough for winter, although they’ll be fine for the rest of the year (in the UK anyway!) If you’re a winter rider you might want to also consider purchasing some heated gloves which start at around £180. Heated gloves can get pretty expensive but if you do ride in colder temperatures these are an absolute game changer and I’ve seen some on sale for as little as £99 so shop around and make sure to check for any on clearance.
Jackets and Trousers
When it comes to jackets and trousers there are a number of variables to consider which can drastically affect the cost (such as the material, safety features and armour) so it’s pretty difficult to put an average price on these. Jackets can go from £100 to well over £1,000 and trousers between £120 up to £500.
Just as I would suggest with any other piece of protective clothing, buy the best you can afford and prioritise items with the highest safety ratings. As jacket and trouser pricing can vary so much I’m going to tell you some of my personal faves to give you a rough idea as to how much you might spend.
For jackets I’ve gone with the Knox Urbane Pro which retails for £229.99 as this is an ideal piece for layering under hoodies and sweatshirts during the colder months but is beautifully breathable and can be worn on its own in the summer: https://www.planet-knox.com/product/w-urbane-pro-armoured/
My second pick goes to the MotoGirl Valerie Leather Jacket which comes in at £269.00. I’ve chosen this one as the quality of this jacket is amazing, it’s super soft with a lovely plush removable lining, it’s stylish and is available in 5 different colours and 10 sizes. Plus it has the AA safety rating and features CE Level 2 tested and approved shoulder, elbow and back protectors: https://motogirl.co.uk/collections/leather-jacket
For trousers I have to recommend my trusty MotoGirl Ribbed Knee Leggings. These sell for £149.00 which I personally think is an absolute bargain considering how brilliant they are. I’ve already written a little review of these in my ‘Shopping for Women’s Motorcycle Clothing’ post go check it out if you’d like to know more:
So you’ve got your helmet, gloves, boots, jacket and trousers, what else do you need? Well depending on your circumstances and what you use your bike for you might end up buying a few extra accessories. These could include bags, panniers, top boxes, visors, goggles, neck warmers, phone mounts... the list goes on! But most of these things can be purchased as you go so there’s no need to buy them all before you get your bike. Just remember if you’re intending to use your wheels for commuting you may need to figure out some baggage options. All in all I probably spent about £200 on these.
Just when you think you’ve spent everything you possibly could on your bike then comes security. Unfortunately bike theft is a huge issue and continues to rise particularly in larger cities. It pains me when I think about how much I’ve spent on security and it angers me so much that people think it’s okay to steal someone else’s motorcycle.
Sadly I don’t currently have access to a garage, so my motorcycle is parked on a public road which increases the chances of it being stolen. I use three different locks on my bike (it might be overkill but the harder I make it to steal the lesser the chance someone will go to the trouble in the first place) plus I installed a data tag so parts could be traced back to me if the bike were stolen and recovered by the police. Lastly I bought a good quality cover to protect it from the weather and a lid lock so I can secure my helmet to the bike if I’m out and about and want to dash into the shops etc. and not carry it around with me.
Try to think about your bike security in layers, every layer you add decreases the likelihood of your precious baby being pinched so invest whatever you can into this. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to buy these things once (unless you have more than one bike that is).
I easily spent upwards of £350 on all my security items and it was definitely the biggest expense that I forgot to consider when deciding to buy a motorcycle. Obviously if you live in a quite village and you have your own garage you probably won’t need to spend this much, but you should still ensure that you’re buying robust products that have been thoroughly tested and if possible look for items that have at least a Sold Secure Gold motorcycle rating.
Sold Secure is an independent, non-profit organisation based in the UK. They test and certify locks to make it easier to compare the security levels between different types and brands. Manufacturers can submit their locks to Sold Secure who will try to break them using a wide range of different tools and techniques. They then classify each lock according to the amount of time they took to defeat it, with four available classifications: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond.
Cleaning and Maintenance Products
In order to keep your ride looking fresh and in good shape you’ll want to spend a few quid on some cleaning and maintenance products. Generally speaking you’ll want a cleaner, chain lubricant, chain cleaner, disc brake cleaner and some brushes to get into all the nooks and crannies. You’ll also need some cloths and sponges, as well as products designed for taking care of your helmet like a specialised cleaner and perhaps some anti-fog or rain repellent products for the visor.
Depending on the finish of your bike (matte or high gloss for example) you might also want to buy a specialised cleaner or polish to give it more of a professional finish. I personally like Muc-Off cleaning products, especially the pink motorcycle cleaner as you can buy it in a concentrated formula that saves on plastic and money, plus it’s biodegradable and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) free (PTFEs can cause serious harm to wildlife when they drain into water sources).
I bought a bundle of Muc-Off cleaning and maintenance supplies when I got my bike, they no longer sell this but they have a similar option currently available for £74.99. I also purchased their helmet care kit and 5 piece brush set for £29.99 each:
If I do the maths on how much I spent on all of the above before getting my bike I’d estimate it was about £1,500 in total. To be honest if sat down and added up everything I bought it might be more than this but what I will say is that whilst I got a few items in the sale or with a discount code I definitely could have spent less. However I was fairly confident that I was in this for the long run so I decided to spend a little more on some items that I really wanted.
I certainly didn’t anticipate a lot of these costs, so I hope that this post can help to give you an idea as to how much you’ll need to spend if you’re interested in getting started. It’s definitely true that motorcycling can burn a hole in your pocket, but it makes me incredibly happy (as I think it does for all of us) so in my opinion is totally worth it.
Anyway folks, any questions comments or suggestions I would love to hear so please leave a comment below. Keep safe and happy riding!