The best new motorcycle kit for 2021

From jackets with airbags to the latest tech in helmets and gloves, we've uncovered the newest motorcycle gear you need to check out this year

Best motorcycle kit 2021

by Jim Blackstock |

Motorcycle kit design and performance moves on just as the bikes themselves do. In the past, riders would be protected by thick leather jackets, rigger boots, jeans and welding gloves. Today, those same riders are wearing breathable and waterproof jackets and trousers with better abrasion resistance than ever before; in gloves and boots that offer unheard-of levels of protection and comfort and are protected by personal airbags that deploy in literally a fraction of a heartbeat.

Manufacturers of all forms of motorcycle kit introduce new products annually and these are what we reckon are the top bits of motorcycle kit new for 2021. We’ve got helmets, jackets, boots and gloves as well as tech and safety protection, including airbag jackets and vests. Some might think these are over-the-top but when you consider that the vast majority of fatal motorcycle accidents involve chest injuries, then an inflatable airbag is an excellent way to help protect against injury.

Safety ratings

There has been much talk about the ‘new’ standards and safety ratings for motorcycle clothing. It was classified as Personal Protective Equipment some time ago by the European Union and a new set of testing and rating standards were developed; EN17092. This set out new test methods particularly for jackets and trousers and gave a rating based on the garments’ abrasion resistance and construction techniques. These range from B to AAA, the latter being the highest award for the best resistance.

Realistically, most road jackets and trousers will be rated AA at best; some leather jackets will be AAA rated and some riding jeans will too but without going in to the numbers, an AA-rated jacket and trousers, for the road, is pretty much the top level. A rating tends to be a bit more relevant to urban clothing, as it’s resistance is based on lower speeds. Jackets will use armour in the elbows and shoulders and will either include or have provision for back protectors (some may also accept chest armour). There are two levels here – Level-1 and Level-2 – L2 is better than L1.

There are different standards for gloves and boots, the former rated as either a 1 or a 2 with KP denoting Knuckle Protection and boots to a 2017 standard showing a series of four numbers, either 1 or 2. The more 2s, the better.

Up until December 31 2020, all motorcycle clothing for sale in the UK had to carry a CE label to show its rating. Although the UK left the European Union on that day, this is still current regulation (at the time of writing!).

What to read next:

All the best advice from MCN's experts

Found your perfect kit? Now find the best bike for you

The latest motorcycle technology and gadgets you need to know

Best motorcycle bodywork add-ons

Top motorcycling TV you won’t want to miss

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us