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You thought you'd finally found a pair of vegan gloves or boots without any leather, but upon closer inspection there's 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 is possible to stay safe and comfortable on the road - without contributing to the suffering of any animals.
You just need to know what products, brands, and materials are vegan-friendly, which, to be honest, isn't super easy, hence why I decided to put together this buyer's guide to vegan motorcycle gear.
If you're short on time, below is an affordable, vegan set of motorcycle gear with 3-season functionality:
Our Top Vegan Motorcycle Gear & Accessories
Best Vegan Motorcycle HELMET
Best Vegan Motorcycle BOOTS
Best Vegan Motorcycle GLOVES
Olympia 760 Air Force Gel
Best Vegan Motorcycle JACKET
Joe Rocket Atomic
Best Vegan Motorcycle PANTS
Olympia Airglide 4
1. Best Vegan Motorcycle Helmet: HJC CL-17 Full Face Helmet
There’s one thing that stands at the top of the list whenever you buy a new motorcycle helmet, and that’s safety. It’s simply something you cannot afford to sacrifice on.
What I found particularly surprising about the CL-17 is that its design and materials are of the highest quality and easily rivaling that of racing helmets I’ve owned that cost five times this much.
So my first impressions were very positive.
The next thing on your list is going to be comfort from the cushioning and air ventilation. Having pressure points and excessive sweating is just not going to be a great solution.
After about 20 hours of testing out the CL-17, I can say that it fits me perfectly and is extremely comfortable.
There is plenty of adjustable ventilation so that you can cool down on hot days and stay warm on the colder ones. And with a few nice color options available, you’ll even be able to match it up with your other motorcycle gear.
Other helmets I recommend:
2. Best Vegan Motorcycle Boots: Sidi Mag-1 Motorcycle Boots
I cringe any time I see someone on a motorcycle with sneakers or other types of normal shoes.
From your head to your toes protection is a top priority, especially when you consider how easily you can suffer a serious leg injury.
My favorite boots for a long time now have been the Sidi Mag-1. Just looking at them gives you the confidence that they are designed for maximum protection.
Unlike so many other boots available, these ones are very easy to get on and off. The tightening straps can be completely loosened, allowing you to create a large enough opening to slide your foot in comfortably.
Once you tighten up the straps, you’ll notice how well these are designed. They feel like a high-tech exoskeleton.
While I haven’t had a serious incident in a long time, I did recently lose balance while reversing out of my garage and I had to drop the bike. My foot got caught under it, but I had no injuries at all. Which some might say is lucky, but I’m thanking my boots.
Just make sure you wear thick socks to cover your calves, as the boot can rub a little.
Other boots I recommend:
3. Best Vegan Motorcycle Gloves: Olympia 760 Air Force Gel
The majority of motorcycle gloves these days contain a lot of leather. Whilst it does make sense to use such a tough material, it’s not something I want as a vegan.
It took quite some time to find a pair of gloves that used synthetic materials and provided enough protection from blunt force and abrasion injuries.
If you’ve ever come off a bike, you know full well how critical hand protection actually is.
A friend of mine introduced me to the Olympia 760 Air Force gel gloves, and I have to say I was immediately convinced.
They are very comfortable, and even on hot days, there is enough ventilation to avoid excessive sweating.
And if you spend a lot of time on your bike, then you’ll love the gel padding. You won’t believe how much of the vibration is absorbed meaning that your hands don’t get sore and tired as quickly.
The only downside I found are that the sizing runs a little small and they’re not warm enough for the cold winter days. I ordered one size up and generally don’t take the bike out in winter, so it’s not really an issue for me.
Other gloves I recommend:
4. Best Vegan Motorcycle Jacket: Joe Rocket Atomic
Ever shuddered at the sight of people on motorcycles wearing just a t-shirt? I’ll tell you one thing: you only need to get a dose of road-rash once to make sure you invest in a good jacket.
This is the second season that I’ve been using the Joe Rocket Atomic jacket. While I haven’t had any accidents with it, I can tell you that the design is excellent.
It was also recommended by a friend who slid the asphalt at 50mph wearing one of these and came out of it relatively unhurt.
When you wear it for the first time, you will notice that moving is a bit awkward. This is thanks to a lot of armor plating that protects from blunt force impacts as well as skidding.
There’s even extra armor to protect your spine from impacts which is an added bonus. But it’s this back protection that makes it a little stiff to wear.
I was also impressed with the ventilation which works very well except on hot days. In the cooler spring and fall months there’s also enough insulation to keep you warm, and because I avoid the really cold winter days, that’s good enough for me.
Other Jackets I recommend:
5. Best Vegan Motorcycle Pants: Olympia Airglide 4 Pants
Do yourself a favor and never look up road rash leg injuries. They are pretty horrid but at the same time completely preventable.
For me, the only option is the Olympia Airglide 4 which are made by the same company as the above glove recommendation.
Using all synthetic materials my animal-loving spirit was satisfied, but I needed something that was safe and comfortable too.
The padding and armor are in all the right places, and what I really like is that the knee padding can be height adjusted. Even when you get the right size, if the padding is not in the right place it can start to rub. Also, the lower leg material is melt-proof, so even if you touch some hot engine or exhaust parts, they won’t disintegrate.
I’ve worn them on long rides, and the ventilation was pretty impressive as I didn’t turn into a dripping puddle of sweat However, I haven’t used them through the summer months yet, so just keep in mind that I don’t have full ventilation and heat test.
The only annoying thing is that there’s no hip pocket for easier access to things like a phone or wallet.
Other pants I recommend:
Benefits of Wearing Motorcycle Protective Gear
Before even throwing a leg over your bike there’s a lot that can be done to help keep you safe(r). Wearing quality protective gear, especially armored gear, (that fits properly) will make a world of difference in the event of an accident. Hi-Viz (high-visibility) gear will help keep you more visible to other drivers on the road
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 a whole lot of reasons. The most obvious one is to stay safe on the road.
A crash can happen even to the best of us, and in a worst case scenario, you want to wear a full set of quality 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 the first line of defence 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 mph 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 and can be avoided with the right protective equipment.
Wearing appropriate motorcycle gear will not only help keep you alive, but it also enhances the experience of riding.
During cold weather, you want something that insulates heat and keeps you nice and warm.
For hotter days ventilated gear crafted out of breathable material is a must as it'll allow air to flow through, which helps keep you cool and avoid excessive perspiration.
During rainy days as well as colder temperature, gear with waterproof and windproof membranes will be the difference between coming home soggy and in a bad mood versus completely dry and ready to bake a delicious vegan cake.
Vegan Gear Motorcycle Gear Buyer's Guide
You cannot spend several thousand on the ride and then cheap out on gear. They go hand in hand.
Wearing the appropriate 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.
Here's another insightful saying:
"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.
As far as safety gear goes, popular opinion says that leather is most likely to keep you alive should you lay it down. For me, staying alive is important, and from boot to helmet, all my armor is man-made.
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
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 hobby items such as 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, on the other hand, might lead to your death.
Basically, you want to make sure to invest in a full set of all the essentials:
Vegan helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, and pants.
The Bottom Line on Vegan Motorcycle Gear
Finding vegan-friendly clothing can be a challenge at the best of times.
But when you start looking for safety motorcycle clothing, it’s almost impossible to find something that doesn’t include leather.
When I first became a vegan, I found it a bit difficult to change my jacket and pants as I knew how well they were protecting me. Put with the help of a few friends that problem was solved.
All of the above products are suitable for anyone that is on a strict vegan lifestyle, and they work very well. I have gained total confidence in them, and I’m pretty certain you’ll love them as well.
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