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Hello everyone,

I am looking at making a leap into the motorcycle world. I am a twenty-one year old college student living in New York City, NY. I have always been fascinated with vintage, classic motorcycles. I am an automotive technician by trade, but due to the limited work space I had to postpone my interest. Presently, I am debating over a '70's bonny or an 08 model - only a two thousand dollar difference between the specific models I am looking at. My step dad wants me to be safe and deems I purchase a newer, more reliable motorcycle; However, I would rather buy a "rat", something I wouldn't hesitate to rip apart and fix if I had to. I love the freedom and flexibility that comes with owning an older motorcycle from a mechanical standpoint.

Ok.. my main concern is about gear, I don't know what I will actually utilize and what would be a waste of money. I want to avoid making any mistakes and purchase reputable, high quality, necessary gear. I would love to get some feedback from members that have experience with selecting safe, functional gear. As crazy as I am, I was considering riding in my levis jeans and converse shoes. Aesthetically, I hate the look of bulky helmets (lollipop syndrome), matching leather tops and bottoms, and the massive biker boots. For me the helmet is the most important part and I don't mind wasting the most money on that item. I want to get a classic open face, something appropriate to classic European style.
I am planning on doing a lot of highway riding so I wanted some input on the helmet choice. More specifically, I was looking at something equivalent to the Arai Classic/m, Momo fighter, ect. Aside from the helmet I wanted to know what other brands you guys can recommend for other essential gear, gloves, jacket options (something of a tighter, slimmer fit), shoes, etc.

Thank you very much for all future help, all input is much appreciated.
 

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IMHO i'd feel safer is sneakers jeans a vintage leather and a full face (thats actually how i ride, except i wear boots) helmet, then a padded racing suit boots and an open face. I've read often that most crashes are taken on the chin. With an open face, thats not helping you much. I agree, on a classic bike, it would look much bertter with a three quarter, or even better no helmet, but its too much of a risk for me....
 

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There is a lot of good technical gear out there, with all sorts of materials, but I like leather for my jacket - good protection, good insulation, although it can get pretty warm in the heat. I have a mesh jacket with protective panels for when it gets hot - the other advantage of this jacket is that it is orange, which helps with people seeing me (another good consideration when getting your gear). I like jeans for my riding pants, and there are some good moto specific ones (such as Draggin Jeans - haven't tried these, but some really like the added protection). While boots are heavy and large, I recommend them - they give you great support when out on the road for a long time, and ankle protection is always a good thing.
 

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Unless you buy a meticulously restored, and upgraded '70's bonnie you will most likely spend more time wrenching than riding.

The new Triumphs are very reliable machines. The brakes are much better than any 30 year old motorcycle brakes. The safety margin of good brakes is invaluable on busy highways.

Also the new bikes have balance shafts in the engines, so the comfort while on the highway is much better.

I also will not ride without a full face helmet, good armored gear (leather riding jacket and riding jeans, OK) and riding boots.
There are some boots available that are not so bulky. Staying safe on a motorcycle is all about second guessing all those
other vehicles on the road who never see you, even if you wear something like fluorescent green Pepole on cell phones still will not see you. You have to watch for them and keep yourself protected and remember they do not see you.
 

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Unless you buy a meticulously restored, and upgraded '70's bonnie you will most likely spend more time wrenching than riding.

The new Triumphs are very reliable machines. The brakes are much better than any 30 year old motorcycle brakes. The safety margin of good brakes is invaluable on busy highways.

Also the new bikes have balance shafts in the engines, so the comfort while on the highway is much better.

I also will not ride without a full face helmet, good armored gear (leather riding jacket and riding jeans, OK) and riding boots.
There are some boots available that are not so bulky. Staying safe on a motorcycle is all about second guessing all those
other vehicles on the road who never see you, even if you wear something like fluorescent green Pepole on cell phones still will not see you. You have to watch for them and keep yourself protected and remember they do not see you.
+1 on full face helmets. Anything less is just asking to live the rest of your life with a veil covering the missing lower half of your face, and eventual depressed suicide (that's not a joke; most people disfigured in this fashion end their lives early).
+1 on armoured leather, at a minimum for the jacket. The vented / perforated models flow as much air as mesh jackets at highway speeds, or so it seems to me. Pay for thicker leather, it'll cost more to repair the skin later otherwise.
+1 on actual motorcycle boots (and not harley-esque boots, which seem to be more about looks); good boots will protect your ankle, which is a pain to heal up otherwise. Anything by Sidi's generally good, at least on the streetbike side of their line.
+1 provisionally on 'riding jeans'. I've seen riding jeans which made a small nod to kevlar at the knees, and then made it pointless by including a stretch panel right above it - so in a slide, it stretches the panel away from your knee. Research, and get a good pair which protects knees, butt & hips, and call it good. Racing leathers are better obviously, but a royal pain for a daily commute.

Not mentioned, gloves. Assume that fingerless means you'll end up fingerless. Racing gloves are always good, and can be gotten fairly cheaply. Check reviews.

I also go a step further from time to time: when riding in what I consider dangerous conditions (snow/sleet/thunderstorms, rides longer than two hours, rides into twisties for fun), I'll also wear off-road knee guards (which actually also protect the thigh and shin) under either kevlar jeans, or over leathers. They haven't done anything for me yet, but when they do, I expect to be thanking them profusely.

-1 on downplaying visibility. It won't save you, but it sure doesn't hurt. Anything not-black is better than black.
 

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-1 on downplaying visibility. It won't save you, but it sure doesn't hurt. Anything not-black is better than black.
My intention was not to downplay Making yourself visible.

I was trying to point out that people who are on their cell phones while they drive do not see you in spite of all of your efforts to make yourself visible. So you still have to be very aware of what is going on around you.

I should have worded it differently.

Also I agree protective gloves are a necessity, that one slipped my mind.
 
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