Looking after your gear
Money spent on good gear is never wasted, but you’ve got to look after it. Care for your gear and it will continue to look after you.
A new helmet will last three to five years, depending on use. After that, the interior cushioning and structure will start to break down under attack from the sweat and oils from your scalp. Meanwhile, sunlight and heat cycles can begin to degrade the strength of the outer shell, reducing its protective performance.
If you buy a used helmet you won’t know if it has been dropped. When a helmet has fallen onto a hard surface from any real height, even out of your hand, the impact can compromise the integrity of the shell. You can’t tell by looking at it. The tough truth about helmets is they are designed to work once, then be thrown away. Avoid buying a used helmet; always replace a dropped one.
How to keep your lid in top condition:
A crash can happen at any time, often when you least expect it. So, make sure you wear All The Gear, All The Time: ATGATT.
Every garment needs an occasional check over for loose threads or fasteners. There are different ways to clean and maintain different fabrics. Start by dusting off any loose material with a soft brush.
On hard foam armour damage will show up as crushing or cracks and need replacement. They’re inexpensive or you could go for an upgrade to viscoelastic type armour that is generally reusable.
Washing also degrades the Kevlar. The useful life is around 25 to 30 washes, then you’ll need to replace the jeans.
If anything is loose, worn or missing, it’s time for a new pair. Leather gloves are hard to keep clean, but it’s worth doing.
Never ride with your arm shoved through the aperture or fastened strap of a spare helmet. It affects your control, and can cause severe injury in an accident. The same goes for carrying one in a normal rucksack. Also, don’t ride with it strapped to the helmet hook. You’ll likely damage the helmet and your bike. Use the hook only when parked.
The only ways to carry a helmet are:
Prevent damage by wrapping your lid with soft cloth or bubble wrap.
Store helmets collar side down on a shelf or use a helmet bag. Don’t use a mannequin head, it will compress the interior padding. Never hang them by the chin strap.
Transport clothing inside a proper motorcycle gear bag. A normal rucksack is fine for soft clothing but be wary of armour. It can cause serious injury if you land on your back.
Strapping clothing to the pillion seat may be more comfortable, but keep the load small and wrap the clothing securely. If a sleeve or leg comes loose it could catch in the chain and lock the rear wheel. Use cling wrap or a strong plastic bag big enough to fold under itself. Bungy the package down tightly so it cannot slip or slide in any direction.
Store clothing in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place, not a damp shed or garage. Clothing can be stored flat but a hanger with large, round shoulder support is best for jackets and one piece suits. For bottoms, use a waistband clip hanger. Kevlar-lined denim jeans are fine on a normal hanger.
For transporting gloves and boots proper motorcycle luggage is always best. Gloves may just fit under the seat, but make sure they won’t interfere with electrical connections or the seat locking mechanism.
At a push, you can bungy boots to the pillion seat. Just make sure they’re done up and cannot move around.
Store boots in a dry place, not in a damp shed or garage. The main issue with gloves is to avoid shoving them in your helmet because they’ll contaminate and degrade the inner cushioning and liner. Also, if you’re putting leather gloves away for any length of time give them a good feed of dubbing or conditioner.