Best Vegan Motorcycle Gear in 2017 (Non-Leather)
I think you'll agree with me when I say:
Finding quality vegan motorcycle gear is an absolute pain in the backside.
You thought you'd finally found a pair of vegan gloves or boots without any leather...
...but upon closer inspection they include trace amounts of genuine leather mixed in with the synthetic stuff, or a stupidly small patch of leather for no apparent reason other than to make life hard for vegans.
However it's definitely possible to stay safe and comfortable on the road - without harming any animals.
You just need to know what pitfalls to watch out for and what products and brands are vegan-friendly. This post will provide all information required on how to find quality cruelty-free motorcycle gear i.e helmet, boots, gloves, jackets and pants.
Why it's important wearing motorcycle protective gear
There's a saying within the motorcycle community that goes ATGATT, short for:
All The Gear All The Time.
Which makes a whole lot of sense for many reasons.
The most obvious one is to stay safe on the road.
A crash can happen even to the best of us and in the case of a worst case scenario you want to wear a full set of gear to avoid injuries and protect a very valuable asset, your life.
When you're out and about in a car you're protected on all sides by a large metal chassis that acts as a first line of defense in a crash.
On a motorcycle you're completely exposed to potential dangers such as the ground coming up and slamming you in the face, other vehicles and large metal boxes on wheels running into you as well as the elements of weather.
A rule of thumb is that you'll lose approximately 1mm of flesh for every 1 mph you're going over 30 m/hour when you hit the ground. (no I'm not quite sure why we're mixing imperial and metric units here)
Hitting the ground at 55 mph means you'll lose an inch of flesh - which should be avoided and can be avoided with the right protective equipment.
Wearing appropriate gear will not only help keep you alive, it should also enhance the experience of riding.
During cold weather you wan't something to keep you nice and warm. For hotter days ventilated gear helps keep you cool. During rainy days waterproof gear can be the difference between coming home soggy and in a bad mood versus completely dry and ready to bake awesome vegan cake.
What to think of when purchasing vegan gear
You cannot spend several thousand on the ride and then cheap out on gear...
...they go hand in hand.
Wearing the approriate motorcycle gear shouldn't be an afterthought. If you spend 5000 dollars on your bike, you should also have budgeted for another 1000-1500 dollar spent on high-quality riding equipment.
"Buy once, cry once".
This is a superior method compared to skimping out and buying items of questionable quality because you want to save money.
Chances are you'll end up switching out the shitty gear for something better - and in the end buying multiple items will cost you more than simply going for quality from the get-go.
Also worth mentioning again, you're investing in stuff with the function of protecting your life and not guitar pedals or kitchen blenders.
Sure you'll get pissed off when your kitchen blender leaves lumps in your smoothie and the guitar tone isn't dialed in perfectly..
...wearing inadequate motorcycle gear might lead to your death.
You want to invest in a vegan helmet, boots, gloves, jacket and pants for full protection.
Best vegan motorcycle helmet
A quality full-face helmet is your best bet when it comes to protecting your precious face, teeth, nose, eyes, skull and brain.
As an added bonus it'll also keep the wind out of your eyes and bugs out of your mouth.
Luckily most motorcycle helmets do not contain any animal products, unless it's covered in leather or in any other way obviously not vegan.
Here are some options:
The HJC CL-17 is a great option for those that can't afford the several hundred dollars, high-end helmets but still want maximum comfort and protection on the road.
The advanced polycarbonate composite shell is lightweight and gives you a superior fit and comfort -being both DOT and Snell M2010 Approved.
The Shoei RF-1200 is a high-end helmet designed to be an industry leader in comfort, performance and protection.
The wind tunnel-tested shell provides an aerodynamic shape and reduces wind-noise and weight. Not only is it extremely comfortable, but also one of the safest as it meets DOT and SNELL M2015 safety standards.
Best vegan motorcycle boots
If your bike topples over it's good to be wearing a pair of heavy-duty vegan boots to prevent your ankles and feet from getting crushed.
Also every time you come to a stop the point of contact, with a potentially uneven and slippery ground, will be your feet. You want a good sturdy, boot to support the weight of you and your bike so you won't slip and fall over.
To the despair of many vegans leather is quite ubiquitous in motorcycle footwear.
Now there is one exception being the brand Sidi. They offer many products made from Lorica or TechnoMicro, a type of synthetic leather.
This material resembles the real deal made from cowhide but lighter, more water resistant and stronger than leather. However one drawback is when it comes to breathableness and comfort, it's usually a bit more stuffy than traditional boots.
Also be careful when browsing the selection of Sidi boots because not all of them are leather-free. The more casual touring boots and riding shoes often use leather or a mix of leather and synthetic material.
Here's a couple of option for vegan motorcycle boots:
The Sidi Fusion is for the budget minded rider that wants a pair motorcycle boots with an impressive amount of crash protection.
It'll keep your feet safe with the abrasion-resistant synthetic Technomicro material, padded Achilles and protective calf panels, ankle caps and a nylon shin deflector plate.
The SIDI X-3 Boots are loaded with pro-level features without the pro-level price tag.
The X-3 model offers maximum protection as well as performance with the synthetic Technomicro material, dual-hinge ankle support, replaceable micro-adjustable cam-lock buckle system, non-bootie inner design with a heavy-duty nylon shank and a replaceable TA sole.
The Sidi Mag-1 is a tremendous high-end motorcycle boot that combines an innovative internal bracing system with well chosen design elements and materials to create a very lightweight, yet ultra-protective motorcycle boot.
Best vegan motorcycle gloves
The hands are two immensely useful and fragile tools.
It's the kind of thing that you don't appreciate fully until you suffer a hand or finger injury, and suddenly everyday life becomes 38x harder. (thanks drunken mechanical bull ride in Bangkok)
When you drop or fall off a bike you will instinctively put out your hands to protect more vital bodyparts. Hence why properly constructed and padded protective vegan gloves are essential for riding.
Here are some options:
The Olympia 760 Air Force Gel Gloves are designed with washable synthetic leather for the palm and full mesh for the back which offers great durability and allows maximum comfort.
The light material used makes these best suited for warmer temperatures.
The Alpinestars Scheme Kevlar Gloves are constructed from a type of synthetic leather and a 3D mesh upper which provides great abrasion resistance.
Best vegan motorcycle jacket
Motorcycle jackets fall into two categories: Leather or textile.
And for obvious reasons we want to go for the latter option.
Now while leather has been the traditional option for a long time, textile has come a long way in regards to protectiveness.
High-quality materials like Cordura are able to resist abrasion as strongly as leather, and it does so completely cruelty-free. And if you know that you'll be riding in some bad weather, the addition of Gore-Tex or other water-resistant membranes will keep you dry.
Here are some options:
The T-GP Pro Textile Jacket is ideal for summer riding and features a durable advanced poly-fabric main shell, subtly integrated dynamic friction shields on the shoulders and performance stretch inserts for superior fit in the riding position.
The Airglide 5 Jacket offers unmatched levels of versatility when compared to other mesh based riding gear.
Equipped with a sporty two stage, wind and waterproof, Thermolite® insulated liner jacket, this style is a great option for multi-season riding comfort.
A three layer system design allows you to customize its function by simply adding or removing appropriate layers as needed.
Alpinestars' Durban Gore-tex is a superior textile touring jacket featuring a removable Gore-tex membrane with micro-fleece to keep riders both warm and dry.
With CE certified protection and superfabric reinforced seams this jacket offers peace of mind while its frontal ventilation system helps prevent the build-up of heat.
Best vegan motorcycle pants
Last but by no means last, a pair of motorcycle pants will prevent you from losing swaths of skin if you bite the dust (cue base line)
Of course you want to look good cruising around town so you figure a pair of unwashed raw, japanese, 192 oz pair of denims will do.
A pair of denim pants will not offer adequate protection. And cotton is not going to stand the extreme heat generated from abrasive forces during a crash. The heat will literally fuse the cotton to your skin.
However if you add some heat -and abrasion resistant kevlar in the lining you get a pair of jeans that can take a hell of a lot of beating.
Other viable options are more traditional motorcycle pants made out of the same textile material that your jacket is made out of.
Here are a couple of alternatives for pants:
The Scorpion Covert Jeans combines good looks with unmatched protection - fashionable, durable jeans in a traditional five pocket design with features specific for motorcycling.
These riding jeans are made out of Cordura which is engineered to resist abrasion and on top of that 250g DuPont Kevlar is used as a lining material from waist to knees to resist tearing.
The Olympia Dakar Dual Sport is desgined with Cordura and ballistic mesh construction that delivers outstanding quality, value, function and style.
Venting and abrasion resistance is top notch and the pants also have the added benefit of turning into shorts for when you’re not riding.
Cargo style pockets give plenty of handy storage and CE approved armor along with foam hip pads offer up solid protection.
The Drake Super Air Tex Pants from Dainese are fully ventilated with huge boomerang mesh panels on the thighs, shins and calves.
They eliminate steamy moisture build up yet keep your lower half protected with Composite CE certified knee armor and the light yet durable Dainese Quickdry fabric.
I hope you found this article informative!
PS. Please share what vegan riding gear you use in the comments. Stay safe on the road! 🙂