BEST SPORTBIKE GEAR
Today’s sport riders have endless options when selecting their gear, and sport protection has never been better thanks to advances in materials, armor, aerodynamics, and airbag systems.
Our first rider type is heading to the track. We’ve selected some serious equipment here that represents the pinnacle of track day tech for those of us who aren’t pro racers. That said, you’ll find some of this gear in competition around the world, so don’t hesitate to chase that checkered flag. Read on to learn what we recommend for today’s track day rider.
The Corsair X is Arai’s flagship line of sport helmets. In testing, we found it to be our favorite in its class. The Corsair X is an aggressive package that calls the racetrack its home. The helmet starts with its PB SNC2 “Super Fiber” synthetic shell that uses Arai’s signature sphere concept. This stronger, smoother shape is meant to redirect energy in the event of a crash. The Corsair X’s heat management makes a huge difference in comfort when riding at the limit. All vent controls are easy to operate with a gloved hand.
Inside, you’ll find Arai’s Eco Pure liner with adjustable temple padding and antibacterial protection. The VAS MAX Vision face shield offers the clear, wide view sport riders demand. A Pinlock insert is included to prevent dangerous fogging. With Snell M2020 approval and emergency release cheek pads, the Corsair X is our choice for a day at the track.
A key upgrade to this helmet is the GP Spoiler Extension for the Corsair X. This attachment maximizes the high-speed stability of the Corsair X’s aero package. Arai designed the GP Spoiler Extension to break away, so there’s no safety penalty here. And what sport rider doesn’t love that GP style?
A one-piece race suit is necessary if you’re primarily riding at the track. Our favorite option is the Alpinestars Missile v2 Race Suit. The Missile v2 suit checks all of our boxes, looks the part, and delivers a ton of value for its $1,100 price. Alpinestars crafts this suit from premium bovine leather for outstanding abrasion resistance. That’s followed up by a full suite of Alpinestars’ GP-R protectors at the shoulders, elbows, and knees. Dynamic Friction Shield sliders further defend the elbows and knees. Even so, leather and hard protectors are table stakes at this level of sport riding, so what truly sets the Missile suit apart? For us, it’s all about comfort and agility. Alpinestars absolutely nails their placement of stretch materials, accordion panels, vents, and gussets. The suit moves with the rider in a full race position, encouraging proper form. These suits satisfy protective requirements for most track and racing organizations, too.
We’ve tried all the latest sport gloves and selected the REV’IT! Jerez 3 gloves for our best pick. REV’IT! employs a variety of top-notch materials, like kangaroo leather and technical synthetics, to deliver an ideal balance of protection and flexibility. TPU protectors at the knuckles and fingers provide defense against impacts and slides, while adjustment straps lock them into place. Ventilation panels flow air where it’s needed to maintain comfort at race pace. Natural hand movement is safety-critical on the track, and the Jerez 3 is just the ticket for serious sport riding.
The SMX Plus line is intended for serious track riders, and the SMX Plus v2 is no exception. It’s sleek, protective, innovative, and our favorite track day boot. Alpinestars starts with their microfiber upper and incorporates flex panels, accordion stretch, ventilation, and track-grade hard parts. One of our favorite features is the Multi-Link Control system that supports the ankle to address common trackday injuries like hyper-torsion and ankle impacts. Major hard parts are replaceable for maximum longevity. These boots slip on and off easily with their side entries and accordion sections. The interiors are among the best in their class according to our test feet. We can’t recommend these boots enough.
Alpinestars also leads the airbag segment in our testing. Motorcycle airbag technology has progressed so much in the last few years that every serious sport rider should be considering one. The Tech Air 10 System is the best available based on its protection, packaging, and algorithms. This vest is slim and completely self-contained, so you can slip it under any race suit with a few centimeters to spare around the chest and hips. The Tech 10 carries 12 sensors and an onboard computer capable of deploying the full-coverage airbag in 40ms or less. This means the airbag can be deployed before you even touch the ground. Alpinestars’ algorithms earned our trust over many miles of testing without any malfunction or connection issues, which is exactly what you want in safety equipment. The airbag has a battery life good for 24 hours of riding time on a single charge, and an LED display system status directly on the belt. The system features Bluetooth connectivity to pair with the Tech-Air App, which uses the rider’s phone to display the system’s operational status, battery status and provide detailed ride analysis. Ultimately, airbags bring too much protection and rider confidence to ignore. Top marks to Alpinestars for their impressive Tech Air 10.
Our next type of rider has taken all the necessary steps to get on track. They'll know soon if this fast-paced riding style, where there's zero margin for error, is right for them. In the process of getting geared up, they're investing in head-to-toe safety apparel that's likely required by the circuit to ride and, frankly, the smartest way to gear up. You won't find every last bell and whistle here, but rider well-being is at the forefront so safety is the top consideration during manufacturing.
Scorpion’s EXO-R1 Air helmet is a budget powerhouse, offering features and protection usually reserved for premium sport lids. Scorpion uses a multi-layered Ultra-TCT shell that combines fiberglass, aramid and poly-resin fibers for low weight and serious protection. The shell design is impressively aerodynamic, and inside, you’ll find plenty of comfort with technical materials to wick away sweat while turning laps. Additional comfort comes from the EXO-R1’s ram-air intake system with efficient exhaust vents. The face shield is wide and optimized for a clear field of view. It even comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert straight from the factory, plus a bonus dark smoke shield for bright days. Final details like titanium D-rings and emergency cheek pad releases make this a true bargain that doesn’t skimp on safety.
Don’t let the price tag fool you. The Sedici Corsa one-piece suit is built to withstand the rigors of trackdays. Sedici uses an aggressive race fit and race-ready cowhide for a formidable package at an affordable price. Stretch panels and accordion sections allow a full range of motion as you develop your sport riding skills. The suit includes CE Level 2 armor, perforated airflow sections, an antimicrobial mesh lining, and knee panels for better grip on the tank. This suit has all the technical features you’ll need for track riding, and it can also pull double duty when riding technical canyon roads.
Beginner sport riders need leather gauntlets with plenty of protection. The Sedici Corsa gloves stand out from the pack with highly technical features at an affordable price. Goatskin main construction is bolstered by TPU sliders. The Corsa gloves are precurved, so they will break in quickly to a shape that naturally fits to your hand. Superfabric provides abrasion resistance in key zones, and accordion segments allow for rapid, controlled hand movements as you manipulate the controls. The Corsa gloves stay put while riding hard with dual wrist closures for confidence and protection.
Sedici’s Corsa Vented boots don’t just wear aggressive sport style. These microfiber boots back up their looks with all the sport essentials, including dual hinged ankles, reinforced midsoles, TPU sliders, and replaceable alloy parts. Sedici also gave the Corsa Vented boots some premium features like rubber shift pads, air mesh lining, and one-piece molded heels. Grip is ensured by oil-resistant rubber soles with plenty of grip. Ride all the way to your limits; the Corsa Vented boots duct air where it’s needed so you can focus on the ride. We’re thrilled to see boots like these for just a couple hundred bucks, and we hope to see more gear like this from Sedici in the future. re among the best in their class according to our test feet. We can’t recommend these boots enough.
Not so long ago, the Tech Air 5 was the most advanced airbag available from Alpinestars. Now, advancements in motorcycle airbag tech made this system more attainable than ever for beginner riders. The Tech Air 5 has a leg up on the competition because it is completely self-contained, so there are no wires or cables to attach to the motorcycle. Also, it is universal, and will work with any track suit or jacket as long as there is a little room for the airbag to expand. We haven’t experienced any issues or shortcomings with this system in our testing, and for the money, there is no better way to improve confidence and safety at the track.
Leather gear has long been a mainstay in street riding. It'll hold up for years, provide unbeatable protection in a spill and simply looks good on the bike, in the paddock or parking lot. The products we've picked here are suited for sportbikes that can pull off highway duty and the occasional track day appearance. It's the best of both worlds and this is truly the best street and sportbike leather motorcycle gear to hang in your gear closet.
The new Contour-X helmet is the latest advancement in Arai’s spherical helmet concept. Offering superior safety and minimal weight, the PB e-cLc shell uses a sophisticated construction with advanced composites for a safer ride. Arai then adds vents and spoilers for an impressive aerodynamic package. The Contour-X is one of the most aggressive helmets in its class, but it also performs well as a daily street helmet with Arai’s superb VAS MAX Vision face shield setup. The Contour-X carries SNELL 2020 and DOT approval, so you can ride with confidence in its protective abilities.
The Racing 4 Perforated comes from a long line of customer favorites. And in our testing, this is the best leather street sport jacket available. The jacket’s main construction is supple Tutu cowhide with Dainese’s S1 bielastic fabric in a key locations. Tutu leather also covers the protective thermoformed shoulders. Complete your torso protection with a chest protector and back protector. (Both sold separately.) The Racing 4 shines in the street because it offers track-level performance in a jacket that’s comfortable for street use, where a sport tuck isn’t the only riding position. Generous perforation and chest/side air vents keep the breeze flowing on those warm weather rides. The Racing 4 won us over with its protective abilities, sharp Italian style, and overall comfort.
A zipper connects the Dainese Delta 3 leather pants to the Racing 4 jacket for a versatile street sport suit. The Delta 3s also use Dainese’s Tutu cowhide and S1 bielastic for enduring sport performance. Various adjustment points allow the rider to dial in their preferred fit, while a Nanofeel liner keeps your legs as comfortable as they can be in a pair of leather sport pants. Dainese uses composite protectors on the knees and soft protectors at the hips. The knee sliders themselves are replaceable, so go ahead and hit that apex. Overall, the Racing 3-Delta 3 two-piece suit is the best street sport combo of 2021.
The REAX Castors are sporty gloves with short cuffs for the street. Nobody else packs this much protection and attention to detail into a street glove, which is why we have no reservations in recommending the REAX Castor gloves for today’s street sport rider. The leather main construction is augmented with hard knuckles, TPR inserts, and reinforcements at key strike zones. The fingertips are compatible with touchscreens, too, which comes in handy while navigating to the twisties. We specifically recommend the perforated version for its improved ventilation.
The Alpinestars SMX 6 v2 boots can handle the track or the street with their Goldilocks design that’s neither too sporty for the street nor too casual for a track day. These boots bring together the industry standards of microfiber, accordion stretch, and TPU hard parts, but they offer more comfort and finesse than the competition. That’s why they easily won top honors among street sport boots for this year. These would be our first pick for riders who routinely keep a spirited pace on tight roads, and you’ll spot these exact boots on our staff riders when riding high-performance motorcycles near their limits.
There's something to be said for "looking the part." Still, not every trip on your sportbike is a MotoAmerica race and that means street-worthy sportbike gear that's toned down just a shade. You still get the premium fit and safety features that would work on track, but you're currently fighting with rush hour traffic.
Sedici's new Strada II Mips helmet is our top choice for the casual sport rider in 2021. One of the Strada II Mips best features is its Snell M2020 safety rating, which we highly recommend to any rider. The fiberglass and Kevlar shell is impressively light and strong. The other major consideration here is the Mips liner that diminishes rotational impact. This is a fantastic safety feature that isn’t offered on too many other lids in this class. Sedici worked over the new shell to keep its aerodynamics balanced and free of unnecessary noise. Simple vent controls allow for airflow when you want it, even with gloved hands. We especially liked the adjustable helmet liner that offers 5mm of pad adjustment at the forehead and temples. This is typically seen on high-end helmets, so we're glad to see the Strada II Mips come into its own as one of the best sport helmets of the year.
The T-GP Plus R v3 Air is the most refined version of an Alpinestars legend. This textile masterpiece uses abrasion-resistant 600D polyester fabric with stretch panels for comprehensive protection with plenty of agility. It’s best for warm weather sport riding. Under the surface, you’ll find respectable Nucleon Flex Plus armor at the elbows and shoulders. There are also hard sliders on the outside in case you take a spill. Alpinestars uses a proper sport fit for this jacket, and it can be further upgraded with Nucleon chest and back protectors. (Chest and back protectors sold separately.) There’s even a waterproof internal pocket for storing your phone, wallet, and other valuables that might not like water.
The Bull-IT Ranger Easy Jeans have a contemporary fit that’s perfect for sporty riding. Riding jeans are a great choice for street riding, especially if you’re not looking to put on a full leather suit every time you ride your motorcycle. The Ranger Easy Jeans feature a new single-layer denim with abrasion-resistant Dyneema woven right into the 14.5 oz chassis for full protection on the street. Cargo pockets haul all your essentials, and a water-repellent finish keeps water off your legs long enough to find shelter when the skies open up. Best of all, the Ranger Easy Jeans earn a CE Class AA rating for abrasion and a AAA rating for tearing. That’s serious protection, textile or otherwise.
The REAX Superfly Mesh gloves are short-cuff juggernauts with burly mesh construction for hardcore riding. The precurved design quickly adapts to the shape of your hands, and a touch of leather across the knuckles adds both class and protection. Styling is aggressive and purposeful, just the way we like it. Gloves provide one of the most important connections between you and your motorcycle. Throw in some extra niceties like touchscreen-capable fingertips. high-airflow mesh, and a moisture-wicking lining, and you’ve got a surefire street sport offering.
Alpinestars’ SMX 1 R v2 Vented Shoes don’t just wear aggressive sport style. These microfiber riding shoes back up their looks with all the sport essentials, including a streamlined profile, reinforced midsoles, TPR inserts, and plenty of ventilation. Alpinestars also gave the SMX 1 R v2 Vented Shoes some premium features like shift pads, breathable mesh lining, and sport-ready closure straps. Grip is ensured by upgraded rubber soles with plenty of grip. Ride all the way to your limits; the SMX 1 R v2 Vented Shoes draw air where it’s needed so you can focus on the ride. We’re thrilled to see shoes like these at this price point, and the CE Cat 2 certification seals the deal for street sport protection.
Airbag protection for the street is well worth the investment, and thanks to the Tech Air 3 Airbag system, sport riders can access this critical piece of kit without spending premium prices. This is the lightest, most affordable, and most convenient system offered by Alpinestars, and no other system comes close at this price. Wear it under or over your sport jacket for full torso protection. It uses the same algorithms and activation systems as the Tech Air 5, so you can ride with confidence in the airbag’s ability to watch your back while enjoying your sport motorcycle’s abilities. The system does not require any external connections or sensors. Six internal sensors are automatically activated when the zipper is closed. Electronics are waterproof and totally enclosed for protection from foul weather. Even better, the internal battery is good for 40 hours of riding on a full chage, and the Tech Air 3 will charge to full in just four hours. There’s simply no reason to leave an airbag out of your street sport protection with an option like this on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most track day organizations will require full leather protection for your torso, arms, and legs. There are one- and two-piece options, so check with your track day organizer before spending big bucks on a suit. Track riders also use leather gauntlet gloves, full-height racing boots with ankle support, and full-face sport helmets. Armor is needed for the elbows, shoulders, back, knees, and hips. Airbags are also a smart investment.
Leather is the traditional choice for sport riding, and for good reason. It is durable, repairable, and strong enough to withstand abrasion after high-speed crashes. Textiles are lighter, more comfortable, and less bulky, but they aren’t as tough as leather. That said, they are a perfectly fine option for most street riders, and you’ll be a lot less sweaty after a hot day riding. Most tracks require leather gear for maximum protection.
At a minimum, you should have a back protector tucked under your jacket. There are lots of options and sizes out there, so do some research before ordering for the best fit and protection. Motorcycle airbags are an increasingly popular option for all kinds of riders, but they are an especially common sight at track days and amateur races because they offer a big boost in protection for riders in track environments.
Knee sliders are another common piece of sport riding gear. They attach to your riding suit or pants with hook-and-loop fasteners, so you can replace them once you’ve ground down the slider material beyond its limits. As your sport riding form and abilities progress, you’ll have more need for sliders. They are not essential for beginner or street sport riding.
Often, the answer is yes! Look for small screws that hold the sliders in place. These are usually at the shoulders and toes.