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News Should You Spend Your Money on Motorcycle Gear or Motorcycle Training?

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' started by NetriderBot, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. Most riders have it drummed into them the importance of wearing a full range of protective clothing, colloquially known as ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). Yet surely the phrase “prevention is better than cure” applies to riding motorcycles equally as much as our general health? So why is there so much emphasis on covering ourselves head to toe in protective gear at the expense of motorcycle training? When you only have so much money spare, should you spend it on motorcycle gear or motorcycle training?

    For the vast majority of riders the only training or coaching they receive on a motorcycle is when they go for their license. Depending on the country you live in that could amount to a single day of training by a qualified instructor. Can you think of any other highly dangerous pursuit which requires such a small qualification period before handing you the keys and letting you go on your way? Yet as riders we seem happy with this and don’t give it a second thought.

    A small amount of riders will at least head to the track which does teach motorcycle control in a relatively safe and controlled environment. But that itself can give a false sense of security on a surface with huge amounts of grip. It does nothing to teach recovery techniques on poor surfaces that are often coated in oil, sand and other debris that is the norm for public roads. Nor does it do anything to train riders on the dangers of other traffic.


    The issue with protective gear is that at the end of the day it does very little to prevent broken bones or internal injuries. Studies have shown that motorcycle gear – even the best money can buy – can only do so much. Gloves, pants and jackets are fantastic for reducing or eliminating nasty abrasion injuries (and the potential for skin grafts) but save for helmets, current technology used in motorcycle gear (at least until airbag technology becomes commonplace) won’t do a great deal more – the energy at play when a two ton car hits you is just too great.

    This is the argument many make about rider training – you’re far better off spending the money on advanced training and defensive riding courses than motorcycle gear if it won’t actually save your life in a seriousness enough accident. Being a competent rider means you’ll have less chance of being involved in a crash.

    In an ideal world, advanced rider training would go a long way to preventing or eliminating accidents. The trouble with a heavy emphasis on rider training is that it doesn’t eliminate the one variable that we have little control over – other drivers.

    Quality motorcycle training does provide guidance and advice on how to read traffic, position your motorcycle correctly to minimise risk as well as a host of other defensive riding techniques. But at the end of the day, you cannot avoid every single eventuality on the road. No matter how good you are or how alert you may be, there are situations that you cannot avoid. It might be a drunk driver crossing on the wrong side of the road, the inattentive soccer mum texting and running a red light or perhaps the car up ahead has dumped its oil all along the blind corner up ahead. Perhaps on one day you’re not in the right head space and are not concentrating as much as you should – and that’s when the worst may happen.

    Physics and human imperfection will and can intervene and its because of this that one cannot solely rely on advance motorcycle training – gear is your backup and it’s a very important one.


    So what should you spend your finite resources on, gear or training? The answer obviously is both which may mean buying cheaper gear in order to have enough funds to pay for advanced training. You can always pick up some ‘cool’ Dainese or Alpinestars gear in the years ahead – but you may not have the opportunity to if you don’t get proper training.

    Expensive helmets don’t equal safer helmets. Certain helmets that are cheap are just as safe as top of the range ones. It’s the same story with gear – CE2 rated armor is CE2 rated armor – regardless as to whether it’s fitted to a REV’IT jacket or an Icon one.

    What everyone should always keep in mind is that getting a motorcycle license isn’t the end of your training – it’s only the beginning. Don’t take the lazy option and purely concentrate on top of the range gear – train yourself every time you ride your motorcycle and try your best to get qualified professional training. It may do more than just save yourself from a case of road rash.

    Continue reading...
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  2. Spend it on racing
  3. You'll probably need full safety gear first before you can book into many riding courses. If you've made the decision to ride, you'll need all the gear and lots of training. Work out your budget to do both, that is buy protective gear and get advanced training.
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  4. Gear would not avoid death or injury to the rider that was hit in that picture. Better bike handling training wouldn't have helped either, BUT better road craft might have, e.g., Did the rider keep an eye on the mirror? Did they leave an escape route ahead of them? If they had developed an extended planning cycle, could they have anticipated the congestion that caused them to stop and ultimately become rear ended? etc.

    Gear at best is passive protection that mitigates injury. It does nothing to reduce the frequency of near misses or incidents. Only smarter more robust riding tactics and strategies will do that. But you can't control everything, so protective gear is insurance. Go with both. The mutually exclusive decision in the title is a misdirection.
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  5. You do see a lot of 'weekend warriors' that by the best gear money can buy (along with their liter bike straight after their license is open) who probably would never set foot on a track or at an advanced training course. They're the ones who should be having a think about it.
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  6. #6 BitSar, Jul 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
    Gear is good.
    Training is better.
    Riding is the best.

    The more you ride two things happen.
    1. Your "contact time" with other road users increase which reduces your risk profile (time spent on road/incident occurrence)
    2. Your bike is incidental to your progress. You are thinking about where you are going and evaluating, not about what you are doing with your machine.
    Distraction and hesitation will get you creamed.
    Own your space and choose your risk (as much as possible)

    If you are timid/complacent you are a target.
    Don't be.

    Be dynamic. Use the road, space and the agility of the bike.

    Movement attracts the eye and commands attention.

    I've completed advanced training. It was good.
    I usually ride ATGATT.
    I always commute ATGATT.

    I ride everyday I'm going somewhere, which is most days - primary form of transport.

    And I wouldn't have it any other way.
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  7. Yup....

    These are the ones where the (contact time/incident occurrence) ratio skews.

    They ride when the weather is good and get amped up to 'take the bike out'
  8. if you're going to stack it, you may as well do it in style :)

    jealous some people can afford "nice things"? :D (it's a joke...)
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  9. #9 malJohann, Jul 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
    I commute, therefore I ATGATT, can't very well take on the cold and wet without it. Fair call on rider training, but IRL training and riding every day teaches you stuff you won't find in any course.
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  10. There are many things you will learn in riding courses that you would never discover or understand from just experiencing it on the road or track. None of us has the time to experience end survive every mistake that can be made. Rider training will highlight the most common mistakes and teach the rider the skills necessary to survive them.
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  11. The other issue with teaching yourself is it can reinforce bad habits - some of which are reinforced over a lifetime of riding.
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  12. It teaches you roadcraft stuff, which training organisations don't do well here, but it can also reinforce bad habits that get reinforced because the consequences occur so infrequently.

    In the UK it's a whole other story. The police encourage supervised group rides, discuss advanced approaches to riding and thinking about on road situations and riders can go off and get training only on roadcraft if they wish, which is nothing to do about bike handling skills, but everything to do about bike thinking and decision skills.
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  13. Thanks for all'y'alls feedback on the one aspect of my comment, its been taken on-board. That said, there's something to be said for the excellent on-line resources you get these days and practising it yourself.
  14. Have you got the book, twist of the wrist II? Written by a man who believes in Thetans and Engrams, but try not to let that put you off.
  15. I would be 50/50 on this. We do courses to advance our skills and make us better riders and we buy the gear we want / can afford (or justify) to avoid / minimise long term injuries (leather wont stop you breaking a bone etc).

    No ATGATT discussion here. This is just my personal view.

    You can be the best trained rider in the world who is unfortunately taken out by someone else with very little experience / training / drunk / drugs etc. You cannot always be alert and ready with a plan 100% of the time, sometimes accidents happen and there is no way to avoid them.
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  16. I've seen TOTW2 multiple times?
  17. Despite his beliefs in Scientology, Kieth Code has the best resource available for a rider to learn cornering techniques. If you don't know how to handle your bike, you can't make decisions on what is a safe buffer in traffic. This is because you don't know how well you can turn you bike or how hard you can use the brakes when an emergency occurs.
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  18. There's no scientology in TOTW materials, but interestingly scientological principals helped him break things down so that motorcycle riding "technology" could be communicated to riders.
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  19. I almost had a very bad time yesterday coming back from Kinglake when I entered a turn a bit too fast. I genuinely thought I wasn't gonna make it out of the turn without coming off but thankfully I pushed harder in and leaned in more rather than trying to break mid-turn.

    This was my warning, I need to get better. And I do hope advanced training courses help.

    I would really appreciate if anyone shared their experience with their training course. I found out that Honda has HART courses. There is also motoDNA but I don't think they do anything in Melbourne.

    Any recommendations?
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  20. I do hope you are wrong there, BitSar.

    I don't think learning is ever "completed", except when you die.

    Here in Oz, we do have several good training organisations..... SuperBike School, HART, StayUpright and MotoDNA, spring to mind..... but most of these folk train in machine handling skills rather than actual roadcraft.

    That's not to say that machine handling skills aren't worth spending money on, but, as RobSalv pointed out, in the UK there are more roadcraft courses and training available than here, and both types of training are really useful.

    Dunno if they still do it, but StayUpright used to do an evening classroom session as part of their "advanced" rider courses, where they did try and teach much more road craft, in the sense of riding into a space, buffering, lane positioning and "owning" your space.

    Can I please put in a wee plug for the Ulysses Club here, because they accept and encourage ongoing training, giving a subsidy towards the cost of an advanced riding course once every three years to members.