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Construction crews use it. Tow truck drivers use it. Hunters use it. There’s a reason anyone that operates where being seen can make the difference between life and death wears hi-vis gear – because it works to keep you safe!

 

hi vis motorcycle gear guide motorcycle paramedicAn Australian motorcycle-mounted paramedic in hi-vis REV’IT gear. They wear it because it works.

 

What is Hi-Vis?

Hi-vis clothing consists of bright fluorescent colors that exist in the part of the spectrum the eye is most sensitive to – namely neon yellow, orange and green, and often includes reflective accents that blasts a flash of light back at the source (i.e. a driver’s headlights.) They are the same colors you see used by road crews, construction workers, and emergency personnel.

 

hi vis motorcycle gearRiders sporting hi-vis gear. Even these guys’ bikes are hi-vis!

 

Hi-Vis does NOT mean simply “more visible than normal,” so while colors like white and red might stand out more than black or gray, they are not considered hi-vis. Wearing brighter colors will probably help get you seen, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that wearing a white helmet can really get you noticed (probably because people mistake you for a police motorcycle at a glance.) But when shopping for actual hi-vis gear, your colors are going to be limited to bright yellow, green, or orange.

 

Why Ride With Hi-Vis?

Hi-vis colors work because they exist in the part of the spectrum that the eye is most sensitive to, so they literally appear to be glowing even in lower light. But it’s not just the science of the way the color spectrum works that gets hi-vis seen; there’s actually some psychology to it as well.

As a motorcycle rider, you should be aware of something called inattentional blindness, a phenomenon of human psychology where people completely fail to see things directly in their field of vision due to an overload of other stimuli (this is actually the basis of virtually all sleight-of-hand ‘magic’ tricks.) On the road, this explains why drivers can look right at a motorcycle and still pull out in front of it; expecting a car and not seeing one, they literally didn’t “see” anything, because their brain just didn’t register it.

 

hi-vis motorcycle gear road crewWe mentally associate hi-vis colors with road hazards and emergency personnel. This helps get drivers’ attention.

 

Hi-vis clothing overcomes this because all drivers are conditioned to think “hazard” when hi-vis is present, since its usually only road crews or emergency personnel who use it. In other words, their brain is trained to believe that hi-vis colors are something they need to pay attention to from the day they begin driving. Because those colors help to snap drivers out of the daze they tend to go into while humming down the road, it can also help you get noticed while you’re sharing it with them.

 

Hi-Vis Has Finally Become Cool

Years back, if you recognized the benefits of riding in hi-vis, your options were pretty much limited to the same gear that road crews and firefighters wore; probably some kind of neon safety vest or jacket. If you were lucky, you could find a neon yellow or orange helmet in a brand that you liked, and the funny stares and comments you got were all just part of the tradeoff for safety. All in all, hi-vis has always been a tough sell to riders, whose official gear choice – regardless of bike style – has pretty much always been cool-guy black leather.

 

hi vis motorcycle gear buyers guide icon helmetThe rad-looking Icon Airmada “Stack” helmet in a hi-vis yellow color scheme.

 

But thanks to major sports apparel manufacturers, racers like Valentino Rossi (who has incorporated hi-vis yellow into his color schemes for years), and to neon colors generally just coming into style, hi-vis has gradually made its way over to almost being “cool.” A number of motorcycle gear makers have hi-vis product lines that are particularly sweet-looking these days, and you really can get a complete set of gear with hi-vis accents that works these bright colors in with the badass looks we motorcycle riders love.

 

hi vis motorcycle gear guide valentino rossiValentino Rossi has an affinity for this hi-vis yellow; I’d argue he has a lot to do with making hi-vis gear finally become cool!

 

Hi-vis Gear Options

Vests

One thing hasn’t changed after all the years hi-vis has been around; your easiest, cheapest option to try out hi-vis is still going to be the good old safety vest. You can get one at any hardware store and easily throw it on over the gear you already have. If you don’t want to wear it full-time, it’s a good idea to at least keep one in your bike for night-time riding or if you get caught in the rain (rain not only cuts deeply into visibility, but it tends to distract drivers more than they already are.)

But if you’re looking for something more durable, useful, and better-looking than a throw-away safety vest, there are several awesome options made by gear manufacturers specifically for riders. They use the same hi-viz colors and reflective panels, but add features like adjustable fit, storage pockets, and ID holders for riding on military bases.

 

Budget Mil-Spec

Joe Rocket Military Spec Vest

Joe Rocket Military Spec Vest

Price: $49.95

Features:

  • Hi-vis yellow or orange
  • Reflective stripes
  • Free-air poly mesh construction
  • Fully adjustable fit

Mesh Mil-Spec

Icon Military Spec Mesh Motorcycle Vest

Icon Military Spec Mesh Motorcycle Vest

Price: $60.00

Features:

  • Hi-Vis yellow or orange
  • Storage Pockets
  • Mesh chassis for airflow
  • Meets US Mil-Spec

Premium

Olympia Moto Sports Blaze Hi-Viz Safety Vest

Olympia Hi-Viz Safety Vest

Price: $79.99

Features:

  • Rugged rip-stop construction with mesh panels
  • Fully adjustable fit
  • Four storage pockets
  • 3M Scotchlite panels

 

Helmets

If you’re going to go hi-vis, a helmet is an important investment; it sticks out higher than anything else on your body or bike, and tends to move around as you do head checks and what not, which attracts attention to you. Going with a helmet in a full hi-vis color is probably ideal, but if how cool you look while you ride is important to you (like it is for most riders), you’ve got some excellent options to choose from that work hi-vis colors into slick-looking graphics.

 

Budget Option

Scorpion EXO R410 Airline Helmet 2014

Scorpion EXO R410 Airline Helmet 2014

Price: $179.95

Features:

  • Advanced Polycarbonate shell design
  • Emergency release system
  • DOT/SNELL M2010 Approved
  • Aero-tuned ventilation system

Mid-range/Sport

Shoei Qwest Solid Full Face Motorcycle Helmet

Shoei Qwest Hi-Vis Motorcycle Helmet

Price: $349.95

Features:

  • All-new aerodynamic AIM+ shell
  • Five shell sizes and six liner sizes
  • Shoei’s new CW-1 visor with quick-release
  • Removable inner pads

Premium/Touring

Arai Signet-X Solid Helmet

Arai Signet-X Solid Helmet

Price: $611.96 – $638.96

Features:

  • Industry-leading quality, handmade in Japan
  • All new PB-ScLc laminate shell with elegant new VAS shield
  • Multi-Density Single piece EPS liner
  • Removable, replaceable, washable interior

 

Jackets

There are a number of hi-vis jackets of all styles available, from touring jackets made almost entirely from hi-vis and reflective material to sport riding jackets with sleek hi-vis accents. Almost every style of jacket you can think of has a number of hi-vis options, from fairly subtle to in-your-face.

One thing to consider: hi-vis is like any other light color, in that it will get dirty easier than dark colors. If you tend to get grimy when you ride, consider going with hi-vis accents rather than a fully hi-vis garment.

 

Budget/Textile

Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 Jacket

Joe Rocket Atomic 5.0 Jacket

Price: $152.99

Features:

  • Combined waterproof RockTex and Hitena outer shell
  • Removable 5-piece CE-rated armor
  • High visibility reflective panels
  • Cross Linked Ventilation with Wind Tunnel Cooling

Mid-range/Sport Riding

Icon Sanctuary Motorcycle Jacket

Icon Sanctuary Motorcycle Jacket

Price: $300.00

Features:

  • 1.2-1.4mm Brazilian leather and Dynax ballistic nylon outer shell
  • 5-piece D3O flexible armor
  • Accordion stretch shoulder/elbow panels
  • Fused mesh panels and chest perforations

Touring

Tour Master Transition 4 Jacket

Tour Master Transition 4 Jacket

Price: $269.99

Features:

  • Carbolex 600 denier outer shell
  • CE-Approved shoulder and elbow armor
  • Waterproof, breathable Rainguard barrier
  • Phoslite 360º reflective piping

 

Gloves

Just like with jackets, you’ll see a number of different options for every riding style, from bold, almost fully hi-vis construction to gloves with simple hi-vis accents.

 

Budget/Short Glove

AGV Sport Twist Motorcycle Gloves

AGV Sport Twist Motorcycle Gloves

Price: $49.00

Features:

  • Synthetic leather construction
  • 4-way stretch fabric cuff
  • Touch screen material on thumb and two fingers
  • Elastic material between fingers

Mid-range/Touring Glove

Alpinestars Arctic Drystar Motorcycle Gloves

Alpinestars Arctic Drystar Motorcycle Gloves

Price: $109.95

Features:

  • Textile upper construction
  • Goatskin palm construction with Clarino reinforcement
  • Drystar membrane insert
  • Over-molded hard TPU knuckle protection

Premium/Sport Gauntlet

Scorpion EXO SG3 Motorcycle Gloves

Scorpion EXO SG3 Motorcycle Gloves

Price: $134.95

Features:

  • Full leather construction
  • TPU molded knuckle protection
  • Kangaroo skin palm
  • Kevlar palm panel and stitching

 

Boots

With boots, you’ll typically see darker colored boots with hi-vis accents instead of boots that are completely made in a hi-vis color. This is a good thing, as dirty as boots get compared to other gear items, boots in a light hi-vis color would get nasty pretty quickly.

 

Budget/Street

Joe Rocket Atomic Boot

Joe Rocket Atomic Boot

Price: $109.95

Features:

  • 95% leather construction
  • Reinforced shifter zone
  • Double stitching in all stress areas
  • Padded ankle cuff for added comfort

Mid-range/Touring

Alpinestars S-MX 6 Boots

Alpinestars S-MX 6 Boots

Price: $269.95

Features:

  • Fully CE-Rated, with shin, calf, ankle and toe protection
  • Side-entry zipper opening
  • Breathable interior lining
  • New Alpinestars compound rubber sole

Premium/Sport/Racing

Sidi Mag-1 Motorcycle Boots

Sidi Mag-1 Motorcycle Boots

Price: $495.00

Features:

  • State-of-the-art racing boot
  • Micrometric Tecno-3 magnetic closures
  • 17% lighter than the Sidi Vortice!
  • All bolt on parts are replaceable

 

Bags

Another option, especially if you’re on a budget and can’t shell out hundreds of dollars on specific hi-vis gear, is to wear a hi-vis backpack. A bright yellow or green backpack is up high above the silhouette of your bike, and can be very noticeable.

The only down side is that it can only be seen by people behind you; but combining this with a good-looking hi-vis helmet and gloves is a reasonable way to get yourself seen on the road, without spending a huge amount of money (or looking too goofy.)

 

Compact Backpack

Icon Squad 3 Backpack

Icon Squad 3 Backpack

Price: $100.00

Features:

  • Hi-Vis yellow or orange
  • 360 deg Reflective material
  • Highly durable rip-stop nylon construction
  • Exterior tie down system

Large Backpack

Icon Squad II Backpack

Icon Squad II Backpack

Price: $160.00

Features:

  • Heavy-duty nylon rip-stop chassis
  • Helmet storage compartment
  • Orange, yellow, and black colorways
  • Holds up to 15 inch laptop

Tank Bag

Nelson Rigg Adventure Touring Tank Bag

Nelson Rigg Adventure Touring Tank Bag

Price: $44.99

Features:

  • Trimax ballistic nylon chassis
  • Reflective side logos
  • Clear top window for GPS
  • Holds 14.6L (21L expanded)

 

Got any more questions? Call our helpful Customer Service department at 888-339-3888 for more information on these or any other products we carry!

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