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Form Versus Function: Women’s Riding Gear

Form versus Function: Women’s Riding Gear

No rider plans to be in accident, but it happens, even to the safest of riders.  When these accidents happen, the gear worn matters and can make a big difference. Good quality riding gear minimizes the risk of severe injuries and can save a rider’s life. Investing in proper riding gear is essential – but must women sacrifice function for fashion?

As a motorcycle rider who enjoys spending time on her bike, and as an injury law paralegal working as part of the League and Williams team, it is my pleasure to make the case that safety should never be foregone for style, and that today’s riding gear manufacturers are up to speed on women riders’ need for fashion. Simply put, there are no excuses to be improperly outfitted before hitting the road on your bike – women can look great while ensuring that safety is not sacrificed.

Ensuring your Riding Gear is Good to Go: Minimum Requirements

Many riders may not be aware of the minimum standards that their riding gear should meet. At a minimum women’s riding gear should include:

  • An approved helmet; ensure that it is DOT, Snell or ECE rated – this is perhaps the most important piece of gear a rider owns, protecting against brain injuries, as well as eye and face injuries;
  • A 1.2-1.4mm leather jacket or an approved textile jacket – a good jacket can protect a rider from severe lacerations and abrasions that can happen in a crash; jackets with armour offer more complete protection and if choosing a thinner jacket (less than 1.2mm), investing in the armour will offer better protection;
  • Gloves;
  • Boots, with at least a 6” shaft (from bottom of the foot to top of the boot); and,
  • Proper riding pants (again, leather or textile, with or without armour) offer more complete protection.

Investing in the Jacket – Four Suggestions from One Rider to Another

Finding a suitable riding jacket that meets safety standards, looks great, and fits a rider’s budget can be a challenge. Having recently completed this challenge myself, I am happy to provide the following suggestions. After all, after a rider’s helmet, a suitable riding jacket is a key investment that will be worn for years to come. Thankfully, the industry has recognized women riders’ need for function, form and price. There are some great options out there that offer great protection, will turn heads on and off the bike and won’t break the bank. My four top picks include:

  1. Roland Sands Design (RSD, @rolandsands) the Maven, available in black or oxblood.  This jacket offers top grain pre-oiled cowhide (1.1-1.3 mm); perforated; performance fit; equipped for RSD armour (sold separately). This year’s model, the Riot, is made thinner for even better style, at only 0.8mm-0.9mm; this might suffice in warmer weather but the Maven would be a better option for three-season riding in Canada.  The Maven or the Riot will run you about $850-$900CAD and can be found at Town Moto (@townmoto).
  2. Black Arrow – Ain’t No Sissy Motorcycle Jacket. This is a favourite for style, and equipped for armour (again, sold separately), but like the Riot, may be too thin for Canadian riding in Spring and fall.  This jacket costs about $650CAD.
  3. Alpinestars (@alpinestars)  Vika line – coordinating pants, gloves and boots available.  This is one stylish, yet safe, line. If the budget allows, it is possible to be totally outfitted in safety while feeling like a model!  Like the Roland Sands Design and Black Arrow, the Vika line is armour-ready but the amour is sold separately.  Again, this line may not offer the warmth needed for Canadian shoulder-season riding.
  4. On a tighter budget?  Check out the women’s line at First Manufacturing Company (@FirstMfg), offering stylish, safe and armour ready jackets at very reasonable prices.  You may have to ship up from the US; however, Town Moto does carry at least one of their jackets, the Warrior Princess, at $350CAD.  Unlike the more expensive options above, most of First Manufacturing Company’s jackets come equipped with full-sleeve zip out liners, making them a great three season choice for Canadian riders.  I am happy to don the #FMCPrincessCut myself.
Form and function in riding gear that is good to go.

Women’s riding gear that is good to go: Helena’s picks.

If you are looking for a stylish helmet too, my favourite is the Gringo S line by Biltwell.

Many riders could benefit by also equipping themselves with a high-definition helmet camera.  Riders may enter to win a high definition helmet cam from League and Williams lawyers, by going to our Facebook page and commenting “League and Williams has your back” on the Hindsight: 1080p post – draw happens on July 12, 2017.

Even with the appropriate gear, when accidents happen, even to the safest of riders, injuries can be significant. It is good to know that the injury lawyers and legal team at League and Williams has your back. Our legal team pays for treatment when ICBC won’t, offers free consultations, and works to get injured riders their best recoveries. If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, we may be contacted either by phone at 250-888-0002 or by email at We serve clients across British Columbia.

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