BEST V-TWIN GEAR
Big on power and personality, we’ve got the best gear of the year for V-Twin and cruiser riders everywhere. Your riding style may carry you far from home. Or, you're the around-town type who throws a leg over their ride when heading to work or for free-time fun.
Best Touring V-Twin and Cruiser Motorcycle Gear
Born to ride and ready for anything, this kit is for the die-hards
Large cruisers are born to conquer tours with style and comfort. Long-haul cruiser gear should do the same. Our choices for this rider are ready to tackle road trips and tours of all kinds. No one needs to know that this classic gear hides fully modern features and technologies under the surface.
The Shoei Neotec 2 is a modular helmet, which tourers prize for full-face protection with three-quarter helmet convenience. Nothing beats a modular for roadside breaks and conversations. Shoei carefully tuned the aerodynamics of this helmet for maximum touring comfort. It’s purpose-built for the long-haul cruiser. Shoei’s advanced shell hides a drop-down sun visor and plenty of ventilation for a versatile package. Inside, you’ll find helpful features like eyeglass-friendly pads, Noise Isolator cheek pads, and a Bluetooth-ready design that accepts the Sena SRL Communication System. Shoei even includes the anti-fog Pinlock EVO insert. We especially appreciated the ambidextrous central chinbar lock with its one-touch button.
Street & Steel’s Independence jacket is perfect if you’ll be taking your cruiser on extended rides in warm to cool conditions. The Independence uses full grain cowhide, perforated for airflow at the chest and inner arms. The timeless cut steers clear of overstyling or excessive branding. Protection is provided by CE Level 2 armor at the shoulders and elbows. It’ll also accept a back protector if you want complete protection. (Back protector not included.) Street & Steel adds touches of quality with details like the shoulder gussets, brass snaps, and quality zipper pulls. A removable thermal liner extends the Independence jacket’s range and comfort when the temperature drops.
The K Forty jeans bring Klim’s bulletproof build quality to the world of jeans, made possible by their 13oz stretch denim with abrasion and cut resistance woven right in. This single-layer construction produces the most comfortable riding jeans available, in our experience. Klim takes comfort another step further with mesh linings at the front of the legs to promote air circulation. At the hips and knees, the K Forty jeans pack D3O IP Ghost armor, rated to CE Level 1. D3O’s low profile armor avoids the kneepad look to keep your impact protection on the covert side. Choose the K Forty 2 for a straight leg fit, or get the K Forty 3s for some taper. They both carry the impressive CE AA rating (EN 17092-3), so you know Klim’s got you covered.
The REAX Tasker Perforated gloves are an understated evolution of the classic leather motorcycling glove. Their cowhide backs offer ample abrasion resistance, while the palms feature goatskin for improved feel. Perforations allow for airflow as you put down the miles. TPU inserts at the knuckles give a low-key performance look to these gloves. Their most advanced tech is invisible: touch-capable fingertips, vibe-damping palm inserts, and a wicking poly tricot liner. Overall, these gloves check all the boxes for today’s cruiser riders by delivering modern glove performance in an old-school package.
Cruiser specialists Street & Steel recently introduced their new Oakland boots. Perfect for long-haul cruiser riders, Street & Steel focused on materials and style with these workboot-inspired classics. The Oaklands use a full leather construction, double- and triple-stitched for long life. A Hipora waterproof membrane shrugs off rain and road spray to keep your feet protected and dry. Reinforced ankle cups, toe boxes, and heel cups give the Oaklands some serious impact protection, along with the composite midsoles. Flat laces with speed eyelets finish off our favorite long-haul boots of the year.
Best Around-Town V-Twin and Cruiser Motorcycle Gear
Blend in with the best V-Twin riding gear for local adventures
Our second set of gear is for riders who cruise around town during the week, and out to the fun roads on weekends. This gear plays to the timeless cruiser style with materials like plaids, denim, and leather. Riders in this category are probably riding Sportsters, Dynas, Scouts, bobbers, metric cruisers, and other “light” V-twins. Our picks play to the sheer fun of blasting around with your favorite crew.
Stripped back and menacing, Biltwell’s Lane Splitter helmet is just right for cruiser riders. It makes no attempt to hide its no-nonsense personality with vintage flair. Biltwell uses a polycarb shell for lightweight and DOT/ECE approval. Of course, there’s the classic face shield that looks especially good in dark smoke or mirror finishes. Ventilation is deceptively good with Biltwell’s built-in vents. Airflow helps the hand-stitched liner to keep the rider cool and comfortable. No wonder it’s an annual best-seller.
The Axe riding shirt from Merlin is our favorite jacket for today’s cafe rider. It adds moto-specific protection to the work shirt style with DuPont Kevlar protective lining throughout and heavy-duty zips. Impact protection is provided by unobtrusive CE armor at the shoulders and elbows, backed up with a pocket for an optional back protector. (Back protector sold separately.) The Fairmount scores big points for its brawny execution and spartan branding. What cruiser or custom doesn’t look good with plaid like this?
You’re not rolling up to the spot in hipster skinnies or dad jeans. Cruiser riders prefer quality denim that flies under the radar, and that’d be the Bull-IT Covert EVO Straight Riding jeans. They’ve got a stretch built in to hint at their two-wheeled origins, although these riding jeans don’t make a big show of their protective abilities. The Covert stretch denim with abrasion resistance throughout creates a durable chassis with increased abrasion resistance. Pockets are on board for optional armor under the knees and up at the hips. (Knee and hip armor not included.) The fit is tapered for minimal flapping while on two wheels. In our experience, the Covert EVO jeans can take a beating and come back for more.
When it comes to the best around-town cruiser gloves, only the Dainese Blackjacks bring the protection we need to the look we want. The Blackjack gloves fit a wide range of riding styles and climates, and they have a proven track record as customer favorites. A pair of Blackjacks will quickly become your daily gloves with their short cuffs and goatskin construction. Elastic inserts boost comfort and lever feel, while soft inserts at the knuckles and backs provide impact protection.
The new Blend 2 boots from TCX are perfect for the casual cruiser rider. The Blend 2 uses grain leather with T-Dry waterproofing for versatile protection in all conditions. TCX uses a full-length Groundtrax outsole with cushioning for superior grip and longevity. Padding, ankle cups, and reinforced toe boxes add impact protection, not bulk. Laces allow the Blend 2 boots to keep their vintage laced style without risking a shoelace-sprocket entanglement. Rear reflective accents give a pop of visibility in low-light conditions for additional safety. We couldn’t find a better high-top shoe or boot for daily riding, and we think you’ll agree once you’ve ridden a mile or two in the Blend 2s.
Frequently Asked Questions
Inherent in the name, these motorcycles go for a cruise at speeds you set. Domestic V-Twins, be it Harley or Indian, are mainstays while metric cruisers from overseas brands are just as capable of tearing up American backroads. There's a certain laid-back pace to cruiser motorcycles, probably due to the generous seating and handlebar positioning, that makes them largely beginner-friendly. The machines themselves are often vessels for eye candy add-ons and DIY improvements.
Our guide covers two types of riders and the right outfit for each. The touring mindset of cruiser motorcycle gear needs a helmet that enhances comfort at speed, jeans and boots that are moto-specific while still staying wearable plus an armored leather jacket to top it all off. If you're more of an around-town rider in need of Harley riding gear, there's more room for style and comfort over strictly performance-oriented apparel. Robust flannel riding shirts and jeans are best capped off with retro-inspired helmets that sport all the modern safety features you've come to expect.