There’s an age-old adage that states; ‘You get what you pay for’. And, to an extent, that is the case with motorcycling kit. You can pay upwards of £1,000 for a jacket or a helmet and they will excel when it comes to performance and comfort, for example.
However, you can also buy jackets or helmets for a fraction of that price – but does that mean they are cheap and cheerful or do they offer good value for money?
Related: The best budget motorcycle helmets
When it comes to buying inexpensive riding gear, the key is to look for decent brands that have entry-level kit. That way, you know you should be getting quality gear that will stand the test of protecting you if you need it to.
The savings over much more expensive items will be the details – weight, breathability, comfort perhaps - and while some features may be lacking, the basics should be there. So, you might be looking at a jacket that offers decent protection but doesn’t have a breathable membrane, or vents to allow cooling air in. A helmet may be a bit heavier than one costing far more or not as quiet but the difference in price might be worth it – you pay your money...
Related: Top motorcycle riding jeans
Here is a selection of products that have what it takes on paper to keep you safe without breaking the bank. Some of them we’ve tested too, and we know you can get very good performance for great value.
Viper Skull Motorcycle Helmet
The Skull, from budget brand Viper (or the RS-44 as it is also known), gets four stars under the SHARP rating scheme (a government-run testing system) and comes with a clear visor, though dark and iridium replacements are available as optional extras. It has a removable, washable lining and is also approved by the ACU (UK motorcycle motorsport governing body) for track use, for racing or trackdays.
Duchinni Hurricane Motorcycle Jacket
Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and have found it performs well. The Hurricane's spec on paper is impressive; AA CE rating, Level-2 armour at the shoulders and elbows, waterproof, windproof and breathable and a removable thermal liner. I've tested this and its paper spec is backed up on the road; it's comfortable, does indeed keep water and rain out and while the thermal liner is only thin, it does a good job of keeping the cold out too, though the breathable claim is a little optimistic.
Tuzo TZG10 Motorcycle Gloves
Editor's Pick: We've tested this product and would spend our own money on it. If you can find a pair of these (M&P has them in XS and 2XL and this eBay seller has M), they are well worth a punt. I've used these for two summers and found them to be of amazing value. They fit well, are very comfortable and give a great feel for the bike's controls. They have plenty of hard armour, with Keprotech panels and Knox palm sliders but despite some claims, they aren't waterproof. In fact, I think I'm going to buy another pair while I can...
Bull-it Covec Atlantic Straight SP120 SR6 Jeans
These denim jeans with internal Covec abrasion-resistant liner are currently on a huge discount at SportsbikeShop but, according to the manufacturer, the SP120 lining is 'AAA achieved for abrasion' and the outer layer is shower-resistant with a mesh lining to keep you cool. Knee and hip armour is not included but can be added for a reasonable cost that should keep the overall price less than £100.
Agrius Rage SV Tracker Motorcycle Helmet (Pinlock Ready)
Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and have found it performs well A four-star, AGU Gold-stickered helmet for less than £65 seems too good to be true, but it is true. This full-face lid from Agrius is of remarkable value; I've ridden in it and it's comfortable and not stupidly loud. It's got a drop-down sun visor that actually works but the vents are less efficient than ideal, particularly in wet weather when you need some de-misting air flow. But for that money, it's a great bet for warmer, drier rides.
Richa Zenith Motorcycle Boots
Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and have found it performs well. These waterproof boots from Richa are another product I've ridden in and was impressed by. They are comfortable and have the highest CE rating for protection. They work well on the bike, allowing the foot to move every way it needs to and kept all but the very worst rain away from my feet. For the money, these are definitely worth considering as a general-use boot, if not for the depths of winter or torrential rain.
RST Axiom WP Gloves
Described by RST as an 'everyday glove', the Axiom has a MaxTex outer with a SinAqua membrane to keep the weather out. The glove achieves a CE rating of 1KP and has carbon knuckle protectors as well as padding on the heel of the palm. There is also padding on the front of the fingers and there is reflective detail to aid visibility.
Duchinni Pacific Motorcycle Long Jeans
Seal of Approval: We've tested this product and have found it performs well. Like the Hurricane jacket, the Pacific trousers are CE AA rated and come with Level-2 knee armour and basic hip padding. They are waterproof and windproof and have hand-warmer pockets as well as two handy thigh cargo-style pockets. They come up a little snug so consider sizing carefully, but for the money, they do a great job.
Spada Commute CE Motorbike Jacket
This softshell jacket is AA CE rated and comes with Level-1 shoulder and elbow armour, though you would probably also want to add a back protector (£20 extra). It has a waterproof membrane lining and uses Ventech air-cooling vents system to get air into the body when the going starts to warm up. It has connecting zips to trousers and loads of useful pockets scattered around.
TCX Street Ace Waterproof Boots
These low-rise casual boots from TCX may look like a pair of trainers, but they're far from it. Reinforced areas protect the heel and the toes, while there is a waterproof lining to keep the weather out. The footbed is replaceable and they do up with laces to the front. In addition to the brown, they're available in black and grey and are discounted at SportsbikeShop currently.