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Ten Motorbike Accessories for a Safer Commute

Here are ten motorbike accessories we recommend investing in for a safer and more comfortable commute.
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Ten Motorbike Accessories for a Safer Commute

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Motorbikes are excellent vehicles for commuting. They can make dealing with heavy traffic easier and reduce the time it takes to get from door to door. Here are ten motorbike accessories we recommend investing in for a safer and more comfortable commute.

1. The right licence

Riding a motorbike without being licenced for a motorbike is dangerous. That’s because motorbikes handle differently than cars, and unfortunately, the risks are more significant. Many car drivers don’t give motorbikes enough space on the roads, and some motorbike riders engage in risky behaviour.

You must have a motorbike licence in New Zealand to be road worthy. Getting a licence and sitting the tests to hold a full licence will make you a safer rider. Sitting your motorbike licence will teach you the basics of being a rider. You’ll be tested on skills including basic turning and stopping motions, handling your bike in figures of 8, parking, riding at increased speed and completing an emergency stop. Before getting your licence, you can practice riding on private property or at a motorbike training school.

Once you have your learner's motorbike licence, you’re free to ride on the roads. If you’re unfamiliar with riding a motorbike, signing up for riding lessons is always a good idea. This way, you’ll get more comfortable riding your bike and build your confidence faster.

2. A safe bike

A safe commute starts with your bike. The condition of your bike will influence how safe you are on the road. If you’re buying a second motorbike, make sure you have done your due diligence before you hand over your cash to the seller. Ask as many questions about the history of the bike as you can. Avoid buying a motorbike that has crash damage, rust, or dents.

If not repaired correctly, damage to a motorbike can put the rider in danger. You’re better off buying a new bike than one that has been crashed and repaired. Fortunately, online sites can tell you about the history of any bikes for sale.

3. A helmet

All motorbike riders and passengers are legally required to wear an approved motorbike helmet in New Zealand. In the event of a crash, your head will likely hit the road at force. Wearing a helmet will protect your brain and your head and increase your chances of walking away with minimal injuries. An approved motorbike helmet will have a sticker that shows it meets the NZ safety standards. Never buy a helmet that does not come with a sticker. Your helmet should:

  • Fit snugly. It should not be too tight or too loose. A loose helmet can come off during a crash. A tight helmet may be uncomfortable and impair your eyesight or hearing.

  • Be secured when riding. Always make sure your helmet is adjusted and fits your head.

  • Be a bright colour. Bright colours help other motorists and vehicles see you on the road. Motorbikes are less visible than cars. A bright colour such as white, red, pink, orange or yellow will help draw attention to you on the road.

  • Include reflective tape. Reflective material on the back and sides of your helmet will reflect light at night and make you more visible.

Look after your helmet and remember to replace it if it gets cracked, dropped, has loose padding, exposed metal or is damaged. A damaged helmet won’t protect your head.

4. Earplugs

You may wonder how earplugs can keep you safe on the road. The truth is that riding a motorbike can cause permanent damage to your ears.

Riding a motorbike is much louder than riding in a car. You can roll your windows up in a car, and your vehicle's exterior helps absorb some road noise. On a motorbike, there’s nothing to dull the sound of the road. Most motorbike engines produce sounds around 90 decibels or more than 100 decibels. However, engine noise isn’t the only reason to wear earplugs.

The rushing sound of the wind against a rider's ears is a significant health risk. Not only is constant wind noise distracting, but it can also create earache, ringing and permanent hearing loss. Riding at speeds of over100km/h can produce wind noise up to 116 decibels an hour. Medical professionals warn that exposure to noises over 100 decibels for as little as fifteen minutes can cause hearing damage.

Wearing earplugs will protect your eardrums.

5. Lock

Motorbikes are expensive. Losing your bike to theft is annoying if your bike is your primary mode of transportation. If you leave your bike outside your home, a bike lock is a good idea. Many different types of locks will prevent thieves from targeting your bike.

A ground anchor can be fixed to a wall or floor and attached to the wheel of your motorbike. Once your bike is immovable, it’s much harder for thieves to steal. A ground anchor is a good option for your home, but it is not practical when you need to leave your bike on the street.

A security chain and padlock are better for locking your bike when you’re away from home. You can attach the chain to any immovable object like a lamppost or railing and lock it up, knowing it’s safe until you return. Use a short chain. This will prevent thieves from cutting the chain or destroying the padlock by bashing it against the ground.

6. Motor jacket

A motorcycle jacket is one of the first clothing purchases you should buy. Motor jackets don’t just look cool. They are hard-wearing and protect against the elements.

In the event of a crash, a motorcycle jacket will prevent you from skidding while keeping your skin protected from the asphalt. They also protect you from the cold of the wind. Some jackets are also waterproof, which makes them perfect for wearing when it rains. Look for a jacket with reinforced shoulders and elbows.

Another good option for protection is a leather jacket. Leather isn’t waterproof, but it will protect you from wind if you crash.

7. Trousers

Trousers are another great piece of motorbike kit you can add to your wardrobe. While we recommend investing in a motorcycle jacket first, purpose-made motorbike trousers can make your ride more comfortable.

Motorbike trousers come in various fabrics, including leathers, waterproof materials and even jeans. Make sure you buy the pair with the best fit. There’s no point in investing in a pair of pants that makes riding uncomfortable. If you ride in all types of weather, consider a matching waterproof set. Some waterproof sets allow the rider to zip the jacket and trousers together for added water protection.

8. Gloves

Gloves are a must-have for any motorbike rider. In winter, your hands are exposed to the elements and can quickly turn cold and numb. Even in summer, the wind temperature can easily make your hands cold and hard to use. You want your hands to have as much movement as possible when riding.

Make sure your gloves fit well, and you can easily move your fingers and wrists. Your gloves should feel fitted but not too tight. You may want to invest in different types of gloves for summer and winter. Wearing thick gloves in summer can make your hands sweat.

9. Boots

If you are riding your motorbike regularly, we recommend investing in a pair of motorbike boots. These boots provide support to the ankles and make it easier to control your bike better. Boots also protect your feet and ankles from the engine or exhaust heat. A good pair of boots will also minimise the vibrations and shocks coming from your bike. If you have an old ankle injury, you may want to invest in a pair of boots for added protection. 

As motorcycle boots are more fitted than regular shoes, there’s less of a chance they will come off in the event of a fall or if you need to steady yourself against the road at speed. There’s less risk you will break your foot or a toe when wearing motorcycle boots.

10. Extra layers

Building out your motorcycle wardrobe will keep you warmer and safer through any type of weather. We recommend investing in base layers like singlets, long sleeve thin layers or long johns for winter. Choose these in a breathable fabric such as merino wool. A balaclava will also keep your head and ears warm on the coldest days.

Breathable fabrics are also great for summer when you need layers but don’t want to get too hot. Most natural fabrics are breathable. This includes cotton, linen, wool and silk. Synthetic fabrics like rayon, polyester and nylon are better at wicking away sweat. These fabrics are often used for performance clothing like athletic shirts and shorts. Build a wardrobe of garments you can layer on in winter and summer. This will prevent you from sweating or shivering on your bike.

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