Best beginner motorcycle gear 2021

Beginner riders, you’re at the start of a deeply rewarding journey. Many rewarding journeys!

Getting started on two wheels can be as daunting as it is exciting, though, because you’re probably looking for your first helmet, jacket, riding pants, gloves, and boots. But which gear is best for you? 

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Top gear picks for beginners 2021

Riders like you are why we assemble a list of our absolute favorite beginner gear every year. This is meant for the recent MSF graduates, the novices, or even the motorcyclists climbing back on the bike after some years away from riding. The vast majority of beginner riders will be well served by the choices below.

The selection process

We’ve deliberately selected gear that suits a wide range of motorcycle styles. It’s totally possible that you don’t know what kind of street riding you’ll prefer, or what motorcycle you’ll be riding. Any of this gear will look at home on just about any bike out there, and most importantly, it’ll protect you as you gain experience and confidence in the saddle. All our beginner picks are either unisex or available in both men’s and women’s versions. Let’s dive in.

The best beginner motorcycle gear of 2021

Gear

Category

Price

Details

Scorpion EXO-R420 helmet

Best beginner helmet 

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$150

    • Snell M2015
    • Fits most heads
    REV’IT! Eclipse jacket

    Best beginner jacket

    $180

      • Clean styling
      • Excellent airflow
      ICON Pursuit Classic gloves

      Best beginner gloves

      $75

        • Knuckle protection
        • Perforated version
        Street & Steel Oakland jeans

        Best beginner jeans

        $130

          • Armor included
          • Aramid reinforcements
          TCX Street 3 boots

          Best beginner boots

          $160

            • Casual styling
            • D3O ankle cups

            Best beginner helmet: Scorpion EXO-R420 helmet

            Your helmet is the single most important piece of gear, so we turned a critical eye to the entry helmet segment to find the best option for most riders. It’s the Scorpion EXO-R420, a versatile street helmet that fits a wide range of riding styles without sacrificing style or protection. The polycarbonate-shell helmet carries SNELL M2015 and DOT approval (sizes XS-2XL), which is very impressive for the price point.

            Scorpion EXO-R420 helmet and REV’IT! Eclipse jacket. RevZilla photo.

            We also like the EXO-R420’s intermediate oval head shape. That’s the most common head shape in most of the North American market, a big improvement over Scorpion’s old EXO-R410. Other thoughtful features include a wide field of view, a 100 percent UV-protected face shield, eyeglass-friendly padding, and ample ventilation for riding in warm weather. Two speaker pockets are built into the helmet’s interior to accommodate a Bluetooth communicator. (Check out our Bluetooth gear guide to learn more about these units.) The whole package is quiet, aerodynamically stable, and versatile without looking generic. And the light weight keeps neck fatigue to a minimum.

            Scorpion managed to bring together the best entry-level features into one helmet with the EXO-R420, and we’d recommend this helmet to any beginner rider. From sport bikes and standards to ADVs and cruisers, this helmet is a true chameleon and an excellent companion for your riding journey.

            Best beginner jacket: REV’IT! Eclipse jacket

            REV’IT! knocked it out of the park with their Eclipse jacket, also available in a women’s-specific cut. Crisp lines and generous mesh panels offer the best of modern mesh jacket technology in a beginner-friendly package. REV’IT! takes their jacket construction seriously with reinforced seams, abrasion-resistant main construction, and strategically placed impact armor. You simply can’t get that kind of protection out of a non-moto jacket. The Eclipse doesn’t skimp on style, either. It flies under the radar with its subtle style and muted colors. No giant logos here! And we especially like the range of subdued colors that REV’IT! used for the Eclipse. 

            REV’IT! Eclipse jacket and Scorpion EXO-R420 helmet. RevZilla photo.

            The jacket’s cut allows a wide range of movement, so you can tuck in on a sports machine, or stretch upright on a long ride. The Eclipse’s other strength is its terrific airflow. Mesh jackets allow air to pass through to your torso and arms to keep you cool while riding in warm weather. The only thing we’d add is the optional SeeSoft back protector for an additional $50 to complete the protection package. 

            Riders in colder or rainier climates will need something warmer than the Eclipse. We recommend the Scorpion EXO Optima jacket for men, and the Olympia Eve 2 jacket for women. These jackets trade massive airflow for warmth and additional protection from the elements.

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            Best beginner gloves: ICON Pursuit Classic gloves

            Let’s take a look at gloves next. Motorcycle gloves should be comfortable, protective, and stylish. The Pursuit Classic gloves from ICON are easily our favorites for the beginner street rider, and they’re also popular among experienced riders. The Pursuit Classic gloves offer substantial protection with their goatskin construction and integrated knuckle plates. These features allow the gloves to give excellent lever feel with rigid protection where you need it. Simple wrist closures cinch up the Pursuits.

            ICON Pursuit Classic gloves and REV’IT! Eclipse jacket. RevZilla photo.

            We also appreciate that ICON offers men’s perforated, women’s, and women’s perforated variations of this glove so you can perfectly match your needs. Metal badging adds a touch of class to these modern classics that look good on any motorcycle.

            Best beginner jeans: Street & Steel Oakland jeans

            The Street & Steel Oakland jeans have become a perennial favorite with our Gear Guides, because in our opinion, no other jeans come close to the Oaklands’ style and protection at this price point. They offer a classic five-pocket design that blends in both on and off the bike, so you won’t have to change out of your riding gear once you get to your destination. Overall fit is somewhere between a straight cut and a boot cut, so when riding, they don’t flap or snag like some baggier jeans. The women’s version features all the same materials and protection with a similar cut.

            Street & Steel Oakland jeans and TCX Street 3 boots. RevZilla photo.

            The seamless knee design adds to the stealth factor. Removable, adjustable armor hides at the knees and carries a CE Level 1 safety rating. That takes care of impacts, but what about abrasion? Street & Steel reinforce the seat, hips, and knees of the Oakland jeans with aramid fabric to increase slide and heat resistance well beyond the abilities of standard jeans. As for the main construction, it’s a respectable 12-ounce denim with elastane stretch for maximum comfort and mobility.  And best of all, that protection is all hidden away under the denim for a clean look.

            Best beginner boots: TCX Street 3 boots

            The TCX Street 3 boots are an exciting update to the beloved TCX Street line of riding shoes. We like their sub-$200 price point, as well as the clean styling that works on a large range of motorcycles. Casual riding shoes like the Street 3s are an increasingly popular option for today’s street riders, and manufacturers keep building them better. TCX remains at the front of the pack for this category, so let’s take a closer look at their latest.

            TCX Street 3 boots and Street & Steel Oakland jeans. RevZilla photo.

            The Street 3s hide reinforced toes and heels with D3O ankle cups to protect the most vulnerable parts of your foot. We appreciated the balance TCX struck between protection and comfort, since you can walk around in the Street 3s without too much restriction or discomfort from those protective elements. There’s also a Z-plate in the sole to increase rigidity. This makes the Street 3s flexible enough for walking, yet resistant to harsher bending forces.

            We also liked that the Street 3 line is split to accommodate different riders and climates. There’s a waterproof version, as well as a ventilated Air variant for those in hot or humid areas. Women’s versions are also available. Overall, the Street 3s feel refined, purposeful, and sturdy, which is why we’re recommending them for most beginner riders. Those seeking a more traditional boot that reaches farther above the ankle should check out the TCX X-Blend boots, another RevZilla favorite.

            We hope our beginner gear guide has you pointed in the right direction with your protective equipment. We envy the part of the motorcycling experience that you’re about to begin, and frankly, we also envy the incredible beginner gear that’s available in 2021. There’s never been a better time to start riding, but don’t take our word for it! Have fun, stay safe, and make sure to check out our other Gear Guides for our top-ranked picks for every kind of ride. [external_footer]