When you are considering purchasing a motorcycle, gear should always be in your budget. You'll need to carve out at least $1000 to find some of the more expensive, higher quality gear at lower prices. Although you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on race suits, or the most expensive leathers/textiles, you do need to spend more than $100!
If you're in denial about the risks of not wearing gear, you're in for a world of hurt as well as expensive medical bills and a ton of physical therapy. Don't forget about disability, time off work and unpaid wages because you had to spend a week at home recuperating. Then of course, on top of all that there is still the risk of riding motorcycles. You could very well die or be injured permanently regardless of what you're wearing. That's simply a decision you make from the very beginning.
Theoretically, you could buy a used/questionable helmet for $100 on craigslist and nothing else, and then climb aboard and ride. But, just because you can, does that mean you should? And if you can carve out $5,000-10,000 on your bike, then $1,000 for gear shouldn't be that much harder!
There's a part of me that says everyone should be able to do whatever they want. But the bigger part of me says, before you jump in, try and prioritize yourself a bit here and avoid major risks that will cost you far more than gently used or new gear might cost you in the short term.
If you've decided to say yes to safety, yet you don't have a fancy job to support the dream wardrobe you've dreamed of, then here are some tips to help you shop while looking for gently used, higher quality gear.
1/ Get to know Your Size, Shape, Measurements and Weight
Every now and then I love perusing craigslist to see what kind of unworn, brand new gear is out there. inevitably there's everything from race suits to 2 piece touring leathers to expensive custom gear that someone doesn't want or need anymore.
This is of Utmost importance. I know how difficult it is to size and fit yourself online. Especially if you have a few curves, disproportionate body shapes (different size on top v. bottom) or a simply hard to fit size.
So the first step to take advantage of all this luscious gear is to know and understand your measurements / sizing. take out a tape measure and figure out your chest (over the bust), waist and hip measurements. Heck, go all out and get your shoulders/arms/thighs/ sleeves while you’re at it.
One thing to be aware of with Motorcycle Gear, is that it will not be vanity sized in the way that you're used to. When you shop for casual clothes, sizing is sometimes lower than we expect because companies have created sizing charts in the last 20-30 years that didn't exist for (0/00) and that makes us feel better about ourselves when we shop. So it’s best to be well armed with real measured numbers. Get to your closest RiteAid/CVS/Walgreens and pick up a roll of measuring tape for a couple bucks, it’s the most accurate way to get your numbers! And make sure you measure starting from the 0”. Some tapes don’t start the 0” at the very end, so be sure you’re starting in the right place.
Something that I know a lot of women hate talking about is our true size/weight. But understanding these numbers and knowing exactly what they are will make the difference between finding the right gear or not finding anything at all. I also want to remind you that the way you're supposed to wear motorcycle gear is Completely different from your casual clothes so remember to read all the articles in my Gear Fit 101 Tab , so you know what to look for when you start trying things on.
Now that you've read everything, it's time to start measuring.
A) Bust / Chest: Over The Bust v. Under The Bust
This page has a nice overview of exactly where to measure: http://magicdressukprom.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-buy-custom-made-prom-dresses.html
However, when you compare the “over bust” and “bust” numbers, go with the biggest number and use that as your overall bust measurement. One thing I’ve noticed is that some manufacturers use one or the other. I've found my over the bust number lines up perfectly with Dainese’s “Bust”. But my under the bust number lines up with Revit’s “Chest” measurement. Confusing, I know. One thing to be aware of is if that you’re sizing yourself for a jacket with multiple liners, you might match up better with the jacket shell, not the liners.
Also measure yourself with your bra on, not off since it keeps the girls in a bit and you’ll most likely be wearing one while riding. I always wear sports bras because they’re more comfortable under my gear as well. If you can spare the push up bra, you'll have a little more room to work with or conversely, if you aren't filling up the bust spaces very well, consider one for a snugger fit.
Where exactly is your waist? If you look at my pic above, my hands are right on my waist. Basically the smallest part of my upper body. where it tapers in like an hourglass. If you don’t have a defined waist then measure the largest point around your belly or your belly button, whichever is larger.
Your hips are right over your hip bones, or the widest part of your beautiful booty. :-)
If you don’t have much of one like I don’t, then that certainly makes things easy!
When you look at my pic, notice how my shoulders line up almost perfectly with my hips. I’m a straight shot with a fairly straight proportion. This helps me fit into a lot of gear and I could *almost* wear men's gear if it weren’t for the fact that I have narrow shoulders (from front to back, not side to side) as most women do.
Take the tape and hold it at the bottom of your crotch all the way to your ankle bone. Riding pants don’t have the same fit as your casual jeans. Remember that riding pants should be articulated nicely so when you bend your knees, the pant leg will not rise up on you like a pair of boot cut jeans will. Realistically, you do NOT want pants that meet your true inseam! Otherwise they will be dragging on the floor when you walk. You only need the inseam to hit your ankle bone at the most, especially wearing them over boots. And an incredible pair of pants (like my Rev’it or Dainese) will hug your knees at the right spot so they fit perfectly even if they’re a little too short. :D
Of course, if you have any problem areas that need to be addressed, like really wide shoulders or extremely large hip-to-waist or bust-to-waist ratio, that’s going to take a little advice on my part. I’m going to be brutally honest here.
I know that there are *many* body types and not everyone needs to be a small size like myself. Of course not, and that’s not realistic. However, if you know that your sizing issues are directly related to your measurements and inability to find a properly fitting piece of gear you owe it to yourself to make it a little easier. If just one dress size is really going to make all the difference in the world I would highly encourage making that dream a reality. I wish motorcycle gear were as varied as casual gear in terms of sizing and availability, but the bottom line is there are far less people to cover and motorcycle gear isn’t required like clothes are. It’s also an *extremely* expensive undertaking with a fraction of the markups that the tshirt your wearing has (i.e. nowhere near 1,000%).
I know that some of us were dealt with proportions such as short torsos, but if your height and weight are directly related to your size I recommend doing everything in your power to make it better.
Now that you’ve spent all this time measuring and measuring, it’s time to start shopping! Here are my favorite places to internet search to save tons of money:
Craigslist, Searchtempest, eBay, Google
Craigslist is one of the best places to shop for anything used. But you cannot search multiple locations at once! I love SearchTempest.org because I can put in my zip code and search XXX miles away.
I think it's pretty safe to shop regionally, so if you live in NY but see something in Philly then I think someone might be willing to ship you something. Start searching and see what comes up. Craigslist and eBay are the only ones I can think of that almost everyone uses. If you're looking for a particular type of gear, use these sites to your advantage to set automatic alerts when someone posts something.
On Craigslist, use the “set alert” and “save search” options below your city/region drop down menu on the upper right hand corner. I'm going to be on the lookout for gently used Street Triple R's so I've set up my alert below:
And of course, eBay always has a great deal just waiting for someone like you to find it. This is how I found the most incredible online deal ever. $90 (including shipping) for Daytona Lady Stars, practically new! Google emailed me when the listing showed up so I bid on it as soon as I saw it..
To set up an eBay alert, just enter your search terms in the Search box and then click on the green link that says "Follow this Search". Then everytime you log into Ebay you'll see anything that falls into that search category on your homepage. You can also set up email alerts by going to: 'My eBay', then click on 'Searches You Follow'. Now click on 'More Actions' to get emails when new searches show up.
Heheh I might have a little shopping problem. Stylish, comfortable and waterproof shoes are hard to come by!
If you want to set up an even bigger alert, like across the entire Interwebs, then you need a Google Alert.
All you have to do is log onto your google account, then go to google.com/alerts. Enter your search term and then a more detailed box shows up so you can set some parameters:
The google search will also cover websites like bikeforums and classifieds that you would never have known about otherwise. You might end up finding someone who lives across the country who has what you want but its worth a shot.
There’s always a good deal to be found on websites like revzilla.com! As much as I hate junkmail myself, it’s the best way to find killer deals when you least expect it. Especially when brands like Rev’it have flash sales! Or something is going to be discontinued, and that’s when the real sales kick in. Often 30-40% off MSRP.
Right now there are quite a few closeouts on Revzilla that I wish someone could take advantage of like this Rev'it Union Leather Jacket, Size Euro 46/ US 12-14.
Note, if you have Gmail (like most of us do) you can create an alias https://support.google.com/mail/answer/12096?hl=en for the email lists so if your address gets spammed you can easily delete it without having to give up your YouAreAwesome@gmail.com address. I'm guessing other sites like Yahoo mail offer a similar feature.
Yellow Devil Gear Exchange
Yellow Devil Gear is run by Jessica Prokup, a fellow gear enthusiast who offers much more than used gear. She has a wide variety of gear including vintage offroad and 1-2 piece race suits. Her suit room is fantastic! She also does video reviews of things that come in so check out her Youtube page.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting her shop in Long Beach and it was an awesome little spot. If there’s something you’re needing or looking for, it doesn’t hurt to send her an email to see what she has! And even better, if you live in SoCal it’s worth a trip to her awesome shop. Look at that suit room.
Moto Shop San Francisco
If you live in the Bay Area, stop by the shop and check out what my girl Aleks has on the consignment racks! Her inventory is always growing. In fact, she just told me about a gently used Rev'it CR Leather Jacket in Cream, 36 that was just dropped off at her shop recently.
Oooo, look at those Dainese boxes!
If there's something tyou need, please feel free to post on my facebook wall or email me and ill post on my blog to see if any of my readers have some used gear theyd be willing to part with. it seems that every rider who has at least a few years of experience inevitably has used gear lying around that they'd be happy to sell or give away.
I've also created a Used Women's Motorcycle Gear board on my Pinterest page. If you aren't on Pinterest, post a comment and I'll pin it on my board!
I always have my eyes and ears peeled for gently used gear, so just drop me an email using the Contact button or post a message on any of my social media channels.