Motorcycle Equipment and Gear for the WNC Rider
Basic Equipment - Don't Leave Home Without It!
- Helmet: They are not only required by law but they are also a darn good idea. Full faced, and snell approved are recommended.
- Gloves: A good leather or synthetic protects you from flying debris, wind, sun, gives you a good grip, and if you go down you will be glad you had them on. Many of the new style gloves have Kevlar skid plates.
- Boots: A sturdy motorcycle boot protects your feet, keeps them dry and warm, but most of all protects your ankles in case you go down. The rule is boots must cover the ankle, everything else is preference. Some motorcycle boots have Kevlar skid plates which are just that extra bit of protection.
- Jacket: A good jacket feels like armor and there are many good synthetic and leather options out there. Summer and winter options are available, as well as varying degrees of built in armor. A jacket is never a bad idea, and has saved the author's butt on more than one occasion.
Other Useful Equipment
- Rain Gear: Parts of the Mt. Pisgah Wilderness Area are considered Rain Forest and lets face it, we get a ton of rain in WNC. It is best to be prepared and to be dry when we reach our destinations. One shower a day is sufficient for most of us.
- Cold Weather Gear: If you are planning to ride in the colder months you may as well take this and move it up to the Basic Equipment category. A cold weather jacket and shell pants, or a full suit are a must. Some bikes have the option for heated gear which is also nice. Good gloves and a thin balaclava (this is the mugger mask looking thing) are also good to have on hand.
- Tool Kit: Nowadays most bikes come with a toolkit which is usually located under the seat (in the trunk). Inevitably something is going to happen that will require you to get your tool kit out and you will be glad when you have it.
- Snacks and Water: This may seem silly to include but riding can take "it" out of you and a little H20 and a granola bar will put "it" right back in.
- Cash: Having a little cash on hand is a good idea, and some places around here don't take cards. Being prepared is never a bad thing and in some cases can save you a headache. Besides, cash can be traded for beer at the end of the day when you are done riding.
- Tank Bags: This is the most simple and easy to use luggage option. Strap connected and magnetic versions are available in all shapes and sizes. The tank bag is great to carry a small amount of gear and many have windows for maps or directions.
- Tail Packs: This is usually an aftermarket addition and they come in soft or hard variations. The hard cases require a rack and all tail packs are useful for that extra cargo capacity. The Soft Tail Packs can usually fit on any style of motorcycle.
- Saddle Bags: These are standards for most touring bikes but aftermarket on other types of motorcycles. They come in soft and hard variations and don't always fit on all bikes. BMW is known for their hard cases and the author couldn't live without his.