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Common Tread

Best cruiser motorcycle riding gear 2020

Mar 21, 2020

Has there ever been a better time to choose some cruiser gear? Today’s offerings cover everything from the traditional to the technical, so no matter how you ride, there’s a perfect match out there somewhere.

Stop by the ZLA headquarters in Philadelphia and you’ll see plenty of cruisers and V-twins in our staff parking lot. Our team includes year-round commuters, long-haul tourers, and urban riders, and their experience informs our top picks. We also rely on a trove of customer feedback. Through the experiences of riders like you, the best gear can’t hide for long. Add the work of our gear experts, and you’ve got a complete list of all things excellent in cruiserdom.

Best urban/casual cruiser gear

We’ll kick things off with the urban/casual riders. These folks frequently use their bikes to slice up city traffic or ride out to a favorite spot. Most trips involve both riding and walking around. For that reason, the urban/casual rider wants protective gear that looks good both on and off the bike. With that in mind, we preferred clean, timeless options that actually protect the rider. No fluff. Just the real deal.

Top Casual Cruiser Gear of 2020
Category Product Price Details
Helmet Bell Broozer helmet $230
  • Lightweight polycarb shell
  • Removable chin bar
Jacket REAX Fairmount shirt $179
  • 12-ounce coated denim
  • 140GSM Aaramid Knit lining
Pants Street & Steel Oakland jeans $130
  • 12-ounce stretch denim
  • Aramid-reinforced impact zones
Gloves REV’IT! Fly 3 gloves $100
  • Goatskin and karvin cowhide
  • TPR hard shell knuckles
Boots TCX X-Blend boots $200
  • Full-grain vintage leather
  • Waterproof lining

Best urban/casual cruiser helmet: Bell Broozer helmet

Bell dropped a big surprise on the cruiser world this year with the release of their Broozer helmet. It’s in a class of its own, thanks to a unique removable chin bar. Slide the locks back, and the whole front disconnects. It’s like owning a full face and a three-quarter helmet.

The polycarbonate shell has four intake vents, but oddly no exhaust. In actual use, the Broozer flows enough air for romps around the city. If you need to, you can always pull that chinbar off. Enormous channels in the EPS liner help air move over the rider’s head. Deploy the internal half shield at your leisure.

Bell Broozer Motorcycle Helmet
Bell Broozer Helmet. RevZilla photo.

A few surprising features cemented the Broozer’s lead. First, it’s actually a dual-homologated helmet, for both DOT and ECE. That means it’s been tested as a full-face and as a three-quarter helmet. Pretty impressive! Then there’s the micro ratchet chin strap closure. This is a sweet feature to find on a sub-$250 helmet, and it makes the overall experience feel more premium than a basic double-D ring closure. Finally, the dark smoke shield is included in the box. Look at this thing. Of course you want the dark shield! Thanks for including it, Bell.

We especially liked some of the graphics Bell rolled out for the Broozer. Super simple, super clean. There’s always plain black, too.

Nitpicks: The Bell Broozer doesn’t have speaker pockets for a Bluetooth communicator. In practice, we found that the speakers can still fit in there just fine. It would be a lot nicer to have pockets specifically for those speakers, though.

Best urban/casual cruiser riding shirt: REAX Fairmount riding shirt

The REAX Fairmount riding shirt, or perhaps “shacket,” is our pick if you need both protection and casual style. The Fairmount seamlessly transitions from protective apparel to stealthy streetwear with its classic lines and low-key moto features. Take the reflectivity, for example. It’s blacked out so you don’t look like a spaceman while off the bike. Get a car’s headlights behind you, though, and those subtle strips boost visibility instantly.

The Fairmount’s 12-ounce denim/poly blend offers a durable chassis. Even up close, it looks like a high-quality work shirt, but don’t let it fool you. The Fairmount hides a full liner of Aramid knit for slide resistance. At the elbows and shoulders, CE 2 armor from SAS-TEC protects against impacts. (There’s also a pocket for a back protector. Back protector not included.)

Attention to detail put the Fairmount at the top of our riding shirt list. REAX included snaps to keep collar flaps down, for example. They’ve also added a waterproof Napoleon pocket, belt loops, and a dropped seat to extend the jacket’s coverage while riding.

Nitpicks: The Fairmount’s cut is very American. If you’re on the skinny side, you’ll probably be better off with a more Euro option, like one of REV’IT!’s riding shirts.

Best urban/casual cruiser jeans: Street & Steel Oakland jeans

We’ve featured the Street & Steel Oakland jeans for a couple of different gear guides over the past few years, and until someone can deliver better bang for buck in a pair of riding jeans, we can’t help but choose them again. They’re simple, effective, and inexpensive.

The Oaklands use a double-layer construction, like most of their competitors. That means an outer layer of denim is backed by an inner layer of slide-resistant aramid fibers. Double-layer construction isn’t as fancy as some of the single-layer stuff we see in more premium brands, where they combine the denim and the aramid directly together. The urban/casual cruiser doesn’t necessarily need fancy pants. The Oaklands are probably a better choice for most riders, since the double layer aramid is easy to live with, and you could get two pairs of Oaklands for the price of one premium pair!

Stretch denim makes it easy to swing a leg over the bike or get a foot down in traffic. CE 1 knee armor is included. You get a traditional five-pocket design with a straight cut and mesh lining for comfort. And for $150, you just can’t beat the Oaklands. We’d use these jeans hard.

Nitpicks: Maybe in a future pair of Oaklands, we’ll see Street & Steel upgrade their aramid material to DuPont Kevlar. Generic aramid is adequate for now.

Best urban/casual cruiser gloves: REV'IT! Fly 3 gloves

For a blast across the city or a spirited cruise, you’ll want to travel light. REV’IT!’s Fly 3 gloves are a perfect blend of comfort and minimalism. Perforated goatskin makes up the main construction, and if you’ve read any of our other gear guides, you’ll know that we’re huge fans of goatskin gloves. Hard knuckles elevate the Fly 3s to serious protective equipment, though it’s almost invisible under the leather.

REV'IT! Fly 3 Motorcycle Gloves
REV'IT! Fly 3 Gloves. RevZilla photo.

Their regular cuff design is comfy on the bike, and they stash away easily in a jacket pocket or saddlebag. Touch fingertips are ideal for punching in your next destination or calling to find out why your friends are late again.

Nitpicks: The touchscreen-capable fingertips seem to work better for some people than others. Whoever perfects the touch fingertip will make a fortune.

Best urban/casual cruiser boots: TCX X-Blend WP boots

Where would a cruiser rider be without a good pair of boots? The market is absolutely flooded with options, and lots of them look the same. What’s the right move?

We can say with confidence that the X-Blend WPs are the boots you’ll want. Their neutral styling fits in with just about any cruiser out there. And like any good boots, they come in black or brown, lightly distressed. We appreciated the minimal branding.

TCX X-Blend WP Boots
TCX X-Blend WP Boots. RevZilla photo.

From a moto perspective, the X-Blend boots have a steel shank, the universal mark of a serious boot. Ankle protection is also along for the ride, plus tough toe boxes and heel cups. Inside, a nice soft lining awaits. The waterproofing makes these boots an easy choice.

Nitpicks: These would be our very favorite casual boots if the toe box and heel cup design was a little beefier. That might detract from the X-Blend’s slim silhouette, though.

Best touring/long-haul cruiser gear

On the other side of the cruising coin are the touring/long-haul motorcyclists. These riders are putting big miles on their bikes every year. Cruisers and V-twins excel at this kind of riding. These riders' needs, however, are drastically different from the casual rider’s. They need more technical gear to adapt to the changing conditions of the road, but they aren’t going to give up on style, either. That makes this a challenging class of rider to outfit. Lucky for you, we’ve already done the research. Here’s what we found.

Top premium cruiser gear of 2020
Category Product Price Details
Helmet Shoei Neotec 2 helmet $699
  • State-of-the-art shell formation
  • Reduced road noise
Jacket Scorpion 1909 leather jacket $500-$515
  • Soft distressed leather
  • Level 2 armor at elbows/shoulders
Pants Klim K Fifty 2 jeans $290-$310
  • Cordura denim/nylon blend
  • D3O EVO knee and hip armor
Boots REAX Tasker boots $179
  • Oiled full-grain leather
  • Waterproof membrane
Gloves REAX Tasker gloves $200
  • Touchscreen compatible
  • TPR finger protectors
Rain gear REV’IT! Pacific 2 $140
  • Full-body coverage
  • 100 percent waterproof

Best touring/long-haul cruiser helmet: Shoei Neotec 2 helmet

Shoei’s Neotec 2 has appeared in our Gear Guides before, and it remains our top pick for the high-mileage cruiser rider. The Neotec 2 manages to combine low-profile street style with the functionality of a modular. The end result is an absolute pleasure over the length of a tour.

The Neotec 2 uses Shoei’s special AIM+ construction for a light, durable shell. (The helmet carries a DOT certification.) Two intakes direct fresh air into the helmet, where it’s ducted through the EPS and out the rear exhaust. The design implements a “Vortex Generator” that helps to deflect air around the chin. Even the slightest reduction in fatigue has a multiplied effect over a long tour. The aerodynamics of the new model feel like a big improvement over the original Neotec. And the styling is still compatible with any cruiser out there.

Shoei Neotec 2 Motorcycle Helmet
Shoei Neotec 2 Helmet. RevZilla photo.

The modular system itself is positively slick, as is the Sena SRL communicator integration. It’s truly plug-and-play to add Bluetooth to the Neotec 2. (SRL system not included, but recommended.) The micro-ratchet chin strap will leave you wondering why anyone puts D-rings on helmets anymore. Overall, the Neotec 2 is a true rider’s helmet with real improvements over the first generation helmet. Great work, Shoei.

Nitpicks: The top vent isn’t the easiest to find with gloves on, but it’s a good design for aerodynamics. Maybe this setup could be refined if there’s a Neotec 3 someday.

For a lighter, cheaper, and more stripped-down option, we’d recommend the HJC RPHA 90 helmet. It’s not quite as premium as the Shoei, but it’s still an outstanding choice for this genre.

Best touring/long-haul cruiser jacket: Scorpion 1909 jacket

Scorpion looked to the legendary “Brickyard” for inspiration for the 1909 jacket. For the uninitiated, that’s the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where racing history has been happening since, you guessed it, 1909. With this jacket, Scorpion wanted to combine heritage with performance, and we really dig the result. Its beautiful leather feels as good as it looks. All the hardware is antiqued brass to match the 1909’s vibe.

The protection is anything but vintage. Scorpion loaded the 1909 up with SAS-TEC CE 2 armor at the elbows and shoulders. We especially appreciated how little bulk the armor adds to the jacket. A back protector can be added if you’d like. Scorpion was smart to include a removable EverHeat jacket liner for thermal retention. They’ve been using this liner material for a while, and we’re glad to see it return.

As a whole, the Scorpion 1909 jacket expertly hides modern moto protection into a jacket packed with retro steez. The liner system extends the jacket’s utility without getting too close to a technical (read: not as cool) jacket. And that’s a win.

Best touring/long-haul cruiser jeans: Klim K Fifty 2 jeans

Klim’s K Fifty 2 jeans are the answer to many rider requests for a more fitted K Fifty 1. Between its two K Fifty models, Klim has established itself as a leading player in the riding denim universe. We’d wear a pair of Klims on our next tour, and here’s why.

It starts with the heavy duty Cordura denim, borrowed from the K Fifty 1. We loved this material when Klim first introduced it, and we’re even happier to have it available in two styles now. The K Fifty 2s are more of a Levi’s 501, versus the relaxed 569 cut of the K Fifty 1s. The jeans wear D3O EVO hip and knee armor, with Poron XRD tailbone protection. Not many jeans cover your tailbone, so props to Klim there. We also liked that Klim used knitted Kevlar, which is more breathable.

What really puts the K Fifty 2s on the podium is the clean design. No crazy back pocket stitching, no stitches across the knee, and no accordion sections. These jeans look like jeans.

Nitpicks: We might need a K Fifty 3 for riders on the thin side. The revised fit is a big change from the originals, just not enough of a change for some. Euro fit jeans like those from Dainese or Alpinestars would be better for the skinny crowd.

Of course, the K Fifty 1 is still available for riders seeking a more relaxed fit.

Best touring/long-haul cruiser boots: REAX Tasker boots

The latest boots from REAX start with a classic work boot style, then transform it into a ride-ready performer. Under the Taskers’ rugged exterior is the comfort and protection of a touring boot.

REAX Tasker Motorcycle Boots
REAX Tasker Boots. RevZilla photo.

At nine inches tall, the Taskers strike a nice balance between comfort and coverage. We found that their full-grain oiled leather wears in nicely as they age. They’ll also break in quite a bit as you wear them. Inside, the Taskers boast a waterproof membrane, which makes a big difference when riding into unknown weather. (We wish more leather boots had waterproofing like this!) The Taskers feature true Goodyear welts, triple stitching, and a reinforced shank. Add in the reinforced toe, heel, and ankle caps, and you’ve got one burly boot. Er, a pair of burly boots. They’ll handle whatever you can throw at them.

Nitpicks: The sole starts out on the stiff side. Break in takes longer than some of the competition, but once it’s set, you’re golden.

Best touring/long-haul cruiser gloves: REAX Tasker Perf gloves

Cruiser riders should check out REAX’s other Taskers: perforated leather gloves that deliver incredible bang for the buck. Although they’re intended as a two-season, warm-weather glove, we’re betting you already have a pair of bulky mitts for cold rides. The Taskers provide airflow and precise control feel for those fair-weather days. They also have a style all their own that we sure liked.

REAX Tasker Perf Motorcycle Gloves
REAX Tasker Perf Gloves. RevZilla photo.

The Taskers use a combination of goat and cow leathers in their construction. The goat leather sits at the palm, where it allows a nice range of movement without bunching. The back of the glove integrates cowhide, plus TPR knuckles with memory foam backing. This strikes a balance between the unrestricted feel of a plain glove, and the protection of a hard knuckle.

We also appreciated the Taskers’ accordion stretch and touchscreen fingertips. For warm rides, we’d pick these gloves every time. Their performance does not match their price tag, in a good way.

Nitpicks: A little reflectivity is the only big addition we’d like to see for the next generation of these gloves.

For riders who will be braving a wide variety of weather, we’d recommend jumping up to the the REAX Ridge WP gloves. They’re a bit more technical, and the waterproofing will come in handy when the skies open up. Wet leather gloves are the worst, huh?

Best touring/long-haul cruiser rain gear: REV'IT! Pacific 2 H2O rain suit

Cruise long enough, and you will get rained on. It’s a fact. While others hide under overpasses, you can keep on rollin’ with some sturdy rain gear. In our experience, the REV'IT! Pacific 2 H2O rain suit is the one to pack, and for a number of reasons. First, it’s as compact as they come. Wet weather gear is pointless if it’s too bulky to bring along, and planning to avoid rain is awfully optimistic on a tour. Forecasts are just somebody’s best guess, after all.

The Pacific 2 is nothing like the cheap plastic-bag rain suits that you might have worn in the past. REV’IT! uses a PU-coated poly material to build these suits, which means the Pacific 2 is actually breathable. It’s also very light. The whole thing packs down into a tiny stuff sack that can be stowed in your pack, saddlebag, or tank bag.

Adjustments throughout fight off leaking and high-speed flapping. There’s even a waterproof pocket on the thigh for your essentials that need to stay dry. The reflective elements are by 3M, and they’re some of the best we’ve ever seen. If you’re going to get rained on, have a Pacific 2 handy.

Nitpicks: Wet stuff can really ruin your day. We were disappointed to find that there’s no interior waterproof pocket. The external one will have to do.

Buying the best cruiser motorcycle gear... for you

That’s all for our cruiser and V-twin gear guide! We can’t wait to test all the new gear that’s coming for this segment and see how the gear makers have managed to improve over the top picks we’ve assembled here. No matter what you’re riding, or where, here’s hoping your journey to the right gear has been a little easier with this guide.