Let’s face it: there are many reasons why we all got involved in motorcycling to begin with. Some of us were drawn in by the lure of exploring the world on two wheels, and others of us were attracted by the idea of the nexus between man and machine. It’s true that there are very few experiences quite like riding a motorcycle, given that when you get behind the handlebars you are essentially sitting on top of the engine. That connection can be found nowhere else.
In addition, many of us were attracted by a certain image that comes along with motorcycle riding. Those of us who are a bit longer in the tooth may remember the stunts of Evel Knievel or possibly have wished to be a Rebel Without a Cause.
However, it’s also true that motorcycle riding has become more and more popular over the past couple of decades. Much of this popularity is due to motorcycle becoming more mainstream. Ten or twenty years ago, the only people you saw on the backs of Harleys were members of the Hell’s Angels or something along those lines, but now, many children are growing up with Dad (or Mom!) riding to work on the back of a Sportster.
This means more and more people are becoming interested in motorcycling. Generally speaking this is a good thing, but many veterans look upon the increasing popularity of motorcycle riding with a disdainful eye. Not to mention, in the event that somebody wants to become involved in motorcycle riding, they definitely don’t want to be known as “that guy.”
Interestingly enough, a new publication sheds light on the influx of newcomers to motorcycling. The book “Biker’s Handbook: Becoming Part of the Motorcycle Culture” by Jay Barbieri is written from the perspective of a motorcycle oldster giving advice to those who are getting behind the handlebars for the first time.
What is an RUB?
One of the more common acronyms that is found in this book is RUB. This acronym stands for Rich Urban Biker. Basically, this is Barbieri’s term for “that guy.” Nobody wants to start off in a new hobby looking like they don’t know what they are doing, and the point of this book is to help newbies fit in. One of the first things to pay attention to is how to choose motorcycle gear.
Basically, in addition to learning how to operate the motorcycle correctly, you are also going to want to have the protective gear you need in order to fit in and be comfortable. Plus, if you are interested in projecting a specific look, it’s important to know the options.
Choosing Motorcycle Gear
The first thing to be aware of is helmet laws in your particular locale. Assuming that you are in the United States, different states have different laws regarding helmets. The majority of states do have helmet laws in place, but some allow you to ride without a helmet if you have a certain amount of insurance or are of a certain age. While we heavily recommend that you always wear a helmet (given that being a smear on the side of the road is never a good look), if you prefer to ride without one you need to ensure that you are on the right side of the law.
There are a variety of different helmets on the market. You want to ensure that any helmet you purchase is DOT-approved, but beyond that you have tons of options for styling. The main choice you’ll need to make is if you want an open faced or full face helmet. If you like the idea of wearing a military-style helmet, that variety of helmet is considered open face. If, on the other hand, you want to project a sportier image, a full face helmet may be the way to go.
In addition to style, there are some comfort issues to take into consideration as well. Many people love the feel of wind in their face as they ride, and an open face helmet gives this to you. However, in the event of a crash a full-face helmet gives you more protection. Additionally, too much wind in your face can end up hurting your ears. A full face helmet gives you more protection here, and it also makes it easier to look up Bluetooth connections if you would like to chat with other riders or listen to music as you cruise.
In addition to the helmet, there are few things more iconic than the motorcycle jacket. If you are going for the traditional bad boy image, you definitely want to go leather. Please be sure to purchase an actual motorcycle jacket and not one off the shelves of a fashion store in your local mall. A real leather motorcycle jacket should at least be a centimeter in thickness so that it protects you in the event of a fall. Fashion leather simply shreds in this situation.
Basically, if you are looking to get a true leather motorcycle jacket, you’re probably looking at spending a minimum of $300 to $500. If you truly want to avoid looking like “that guy,” we recommend going with something classic and simple to begin with. While veteran bikers may have tons of patches all over their jackets, trust us when we say it took years to earn the right to wear those patches. Don’t try to skip the line.
A more affordable and popular type of motorcycle jacket to get is a textile jacket. Textile jackets tend to be far cheaper then their leather counterparts, and there are tons of options to choose from where styling is concerned. Another great advantage of textile jackets is that you can purchase separate armor to insert into the jacket for extra coverage. If you are a biker on a budget, we recommend starting out with a textile option. Another advantage of textile options is that they tend to take less effort to care for properly.
Textile jackets are also fantastic for those who want a more sporty look. It’s also possible to buy multiple textile jackets for the price of one letter jacket so that you can adjust your look and the weight of your jacket depending on the weather. Many textile jackets also come with liners that can zip in and out for additional versatility. No matter what look or feel you prefer, make sure that you research the best authentic motorcycle gear to avoid looking like “that guy” and, instead, find your own authentic style.