We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – getting the right gear for your motorcycle and the conditions is crucial. There's sportsbike kit for all budgets out there, but get it wrong and you will be uncomfortable at best and wet, cold and unsafe at worst.
Just like getting the right kit for retro bikes, for example, is all about making sure you are protected and look right on your ride, it’s the same for sportsbikes – perhaps even more so.
You may be riding more quickly on a sportsbike or you could even be tackling the odd trackday, so getting the right kit is key to making sure you stay protected and are as comfortable as possible.
Part of getting the right fit is down to the riding position; a sportsbike typically demands a unique riding stance that sees you leaning forward, on low-mounted handlebars, with a high seat and high and rear-ward mounted footpegs. This is known as the ‘racing tuck’ and means a specific kind of kit is normally needed.
However, that’s not to say that kit that works on a sportsbike will only work on a sportsbike. You can normally use sportsbike kit for a naked or roadster, for example, without it looking odd though if you wore full-on sports gear on a large adventure bike, you may draw the odd raised eyebrow.
Sports helmets normally have a relatively high-mounted visor aperture, as you may find yourself with your chin forward and your head back, looking up through the visor while in that tuck.
Related: Top motorcycle leathers
Jackets are short so that they don’t ruck up when you’re leant forward and boots, like gloves, will give great feel and protection and you can often decide if you want them to be waterproof or ventilated to allow cooling air in.
Of course, whatever form of clothing you’re looking for, you should still check the safety ratings; SHARP stars for helmets, CE ratings for jackets and trousers and their armour and the same for gloves and boots.
Here is a selection of sportsbike kit for all budgets.
Tested by Dan Sutherland for 2,00 miles and two race meetings.
Quality 4/4, Value 4/4
“These Forma race boots tick all the right boxes for me. They’re well made, have plenty of adjustment, leave enough room for your leathers, and look fresh from a MotoGP paddock. They’re also quite literally all-day comfortable, having spent the bulk of a 24-hour endurance event in them in the peak of the summer.
“In 2000 miles of road and track riding, they have shown no signs of age barring slightly worn soles and the inevitable splats of dirt captured by a white boot. They also hug your ankles nicely and can be tailored to your exact dimensions with a rubber strap across the foot and ratchet calf closure.
“My only real gripe is that the main zip is quite short, which can make putting them on a little awkward. Depending on the cut of your leathers, the leg zip may also clash here, too and don’t expect them to tuck under riding jeans.”
The Agrius Rage SV is, quite frankly, ludicrous value. It's is a very good helmet in absolute
I’ve ridden in one and would happily do so again and again. Ventilation is reasonable but could be better for damp conditions but in the dry, it’s fine and it comes with a drop-down pin visor and is Pinlock ready. It’s a very good helmet and exceptional value.
SHARP Rating: 4/5
3. Arai RX-7V Race FIM
Tested by MCN's Michael Neeves, over 2000 miles and nine months. "Arai has been experimenting
"Now the latest RX-7V has sprouted another plastic sculpture, this time designed to smooth airflow along the helmet and over the hump on the back of a rider’s leathers when they’re in a race tuck. It’s been used by Arai’s sponsored superstars for the past few years and now it’s available on RX-7V Race FIM you can buy in the shops.
"The helmet itself is the same as an RX-7V, so it fits beautifully, smells even better and having crashed hard in one on track last year I can vouch for its protection. The new scoop comes separately in the box and sticks on with strong double-sided tape provided.
"It weighs almost nothing, so you don’t notice anything different when it’s on, but while it’s designed to help you slip through the air, chin on the tank, it significantly reduces wind noise for normal riding - particularly welcome at the M25 MotoGP."
For the full sportsbike experience, and in particular if you are thinking of doing some
It’s a short jacket, typical of sports garments, and has pre-curved arms for the racing tuck. It has external TPU sliders on the shoulders, is perforated for cooling airflow and has a racing hump on the back for aerodynamic performance. Matching leather jeans are available to make a zip-together suit and cost £219.99.
CE rating: AAA
Armour rating: L1
5. Alpinestars Supertech Gloves
Admittedly these are not cheap gloves but they are exceptional. Derived directly from the Italian
There is hard knuckle armour and a hard plastic section on the outside of the wrist and protective nibs on the fingers too. There are additional Superfabric panels on the fingertips and landing zones of the palms and venting and perforations allow plenty of cooling air in. They are also rated to the higher of the two standards for gloves, 2 KP.
CE rating: 2 KP
6. TCX RT Race Boots
The RT Race boots from TCX are formed in microfibre and come with not only excellent fit and feel
There is a heat guard on the inside of each boot, a mesh liner to help promote air circulation and metal vents for cooling. There’s a double-flex system to allow the foot to move without over-extending in an accident and reinforced toe and heel cups. TPU armour on the shin and buckles ensures a tight fit on the calf. They’re also Vegan-friendly, which is nice. Recommended by our sister publication RiDE magazine.
CE rating: 2-2-2-2
The Scorpion Exo 1400 Air is a lightweight sports helmet, finished in this case in exposed carbon
It has cooling air vents at the chin and top of the head and the rear-mounted spoiler improves aerodynamics as well as helping to draw out exhaust air. The straps fasten with a double-D ring and a breath guard is also included.
SHARP rating: 4/5
8. Dainese Energyca Air Textile Jacket
The Energyca from Dainese is a sports jacket formed in textile as opposed to leather and is
It comes with Level-1 armour and pockets for both back and chest protectors and had one internal and two external pockets.
CE rating: A
Armour rating: L1
9. Held Spot Gloves
If you're after a pair of sporty gloves but want a short cuff, then these Spots from Held are a
They also feature protective padding on the fingers and there is a Superfabric padded section on the landing zone of the palm of the hand. The thumb and forefinger tips are smartphone touchscreen compatible and there is a visor wipe on the left-hand glove.
CE Rating: 1 KP
These boots from Sidi may be fairly unassuming but they offer the highest possible rating for
They’re quite tall with a long side-entry zipped section and they feature plastic armour on the shin and the outside of the ankle as well as reinforced heel and toe cups with air exhaust vents at the top of the inner section.
CE rating: 2-2-2-2
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