Affordable Beginner Motorcycle Gear Guide: Essentials Only


I remember when I had to make my first big investment in motorcycle gear and just how painful all the price tags were.

Most new riders are on a budget, so it makes sense that you want to know the minimum basic gear you need and how you can get it without overdrawing your bank account. 

This list of gear runs from most essential to least and includes affordable and value options.


The first and most essential piece of motorcycle gear you need is a helmet. In fact, in many places, it’s legally required. Motorcycle helmets can range widely in price, but there are definitely affordable options that give you a good bang for your buck.

Budget Option
HJC i90 Helmet HJC i90 Helmet
The HCJ i90 is one of the best values for the money when it comes to motorcycle helmets. It’s also the one I currently use. It's comfortable, thanks to adjustable ventilation and a moisture-wicking interior and includes advanced features like a drop-down sun shield.
Treat Yourself
AGV Pista GP RR Carbon Helmet AGV Pista GP RR Carbon Helmet
Though you have to pay for it, the AGV Pista GP RR is one of the best helmets ever made. Made completely of carbon fiber, it's incredibly lightweight and is much more likely to fit just right because there are four different shell sizes. Plus, it has luxury features, like an IVS ventilation system and MotoGP hydration system that lets you drink water while you're riding.
Style Pick
Bell Bullitt Helmet Bell Bullitt Helmet
I recommend the Bell Bullitt if you want to add a little style to your ride. With a retro cafe racer design, it's fashionable, comfortable, and lightweight. It also has a nice mid-range price if you want something in between the other two options.


After a helmet, a jacket is the next piece of gear I’d recommend for every beginner, even if you’re riding in the summer.

Read: Summer motorcycle jacket guide

If you have an accident, your elbows and shoulders will likely hit the ground first, so some armor and protective material can make the difference between walking away or going to the emergency room. 

Budget Pick
Highway 21 Turbine Jacket Highway 21 Turbine Jacket
With the Highway 21 Turbine jacket, you can stay safe without overheating on summer rides or going over budget. It's made of mesh to allow maximum airflow but still has abrasion panels and removable armor to protect you in the most vulnerable places.
Treat Yourself
Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v3 Air Alpinestars T-GP Plus R v3 Air
The T-GP Plus R is my go-to for long rides in the summer. It's a higher price range than the Turbine but has more quality features, like Velcro closures and waist adjustment, in addition to Nucleon flex armor at the shoulders and elbows.
Leather Pick
First Manufacturing Rocky Jacket First Manufacturing Rocky Jacket
Leather is generally safer than textile and more resistant to abrasion, but unfortunately it's generally more expensive as well. That's why I love this real cowhide leather jacket and its affordable price tag.

Shoes or Boots

Boots, or at least dedicated motorcycle shoes, are also important. Standard leather boots often work well, but you can get motorcycle-specific boots that are affordable and offer extra features, like ankle protection.

Budget Pick
Tour Master Solution 3.0 WP Boots Tour Master Solution 3.0 WP Boots
These Tour Master boots are a reliable choice for long adventure riding and can keep you safe and comfortable in a range of weather. They offer great protection with molded nylon shin and ankle guards and thermoplastic heel cups and toe caps. Plus, they're waterproof and breathable, so you stay dry when the ride gets tough.
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Stylmartin Rocket Boots Stylmartin Rocket Boots
The Stylmartin Rocket boots are more my personal style. I love how they match classic jackets and pants while still having features you won't find in everyday leather boots, like gear shift protection.
Style Pick
REAX Fulton Air Riding Shoes REAX Fulton Air Riding Shoes
If you don't want a full boot, you can still get adequate protection with a motorcycle riding shoe. These ones from REAX are made with Nubuck leather and have a reinforced heel and toe box for more protection than you’ll get from ordinary shoes.


I always wear gloves and highly recommend them as essential motorcycle gear. Most of us use our hands constantly, and injuring them would be a big problem. You can keep your hands protected for a small investment.

Budget Pick
Joe Rocket Super Moto Gloves Joe Rocket Super Moto Gloves
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more affordable pair of motorcycle gloves. These Super Moto gloves combine goatskin leather with stretch textile fabric to be protective, flexible, and comfortable.
Treat Yourself
Dainese Blackjack Gloves Dainese Blackjack Gloves
Take a look at these Dainese gloves if you want something that better matches a leather jacket. I especially like how adjustable they are to give you a good fit and plenty of dexterity while you're riding.
Adventure Riding
Held Air N Dry Gloves Held Air N Dry Gloves
For adventure riding, consider getting a pair of gloves, like the Held Air N Drys, that are waterproof but highly breathable for hot weather. Of course, they're safe, as well, with molded knuckle guards and kangaroo leather.


Pants are last on my list because many riders get by without them, opting instead for the protection of denim jeans. While this works, especially for short rides, I’d recommend some dedicated riding pants for long rides.

Budget Pick
Sedici Marco Mesh Pants Sedici Marco Mesh Pants
Finding comfortable but affordable riding pants is hard, but that's just what you get with these waterproof pants from Sedici. For a low price, you get reinforced fabric and mesh for comfort over CE Level 2 armor to protect your knees.
Treat Yourself
Dainese New Drake Air Textile Pants Dainese New Drake Air Textile Pants
The New Drake textile pants are a top-shelf option that are a pretty good value considering all the features. They have removable knee armor and extra-tough anti-abrasion material. They're also highly adjustable and have a jacket–pants fastening system for comfort and convenience.
Riding Jeans
REAX 215 Jeans REAX 215 Jeans
If you prefer to ride in jeans, consider some motorcycle-specific jeans, like the REAX 215s. Although they provide the same laid-back style of a normal pair of jeans, they have reinforcement in the seat, thighs, and knees as well as armor at the knees.