You've been eyeing that bike for a while and finally pulled the trigger. Now it's sitting comfortably in your garage, begging for some time on the road, but you still have a few items to check off the list before you ride off into the sunset. But being a new rider means it can be hard to know where to start, because there is a lot of cool stuff out there. We'll tell you right now, some of it's not necessary. In fact, there's a lot that's not necessary. We're here to separate the wheat from the chaff, to give you a quick reference guide to what you absolutely need to have before you start on your new motorcycling adventure.


Number one on the list is a full set of gear. As a new rider, the chances are pretty high that you'll have some type of spill and you've got to keep your body intact. That means a helmet (full-face preferably if you're on the street), a jacket, gloves, boots, and pants. A thick pair of Levi's, work boots, and your Carhartt jacket aren't going to cut it either. Motorcycle gear is designed with special materials to protect against abrasion and tearing, and most jackets and pants come with impact armor also. You can get mesh gear for hot weather, waterproof pieces if you're setting out in the rain, and thermal lined gear if you're dealing with the cold. Some of it can get expensive, but there are lots of really great, budget-friendly options in all the categories. Better to spend an extra $400 or $500 than get saddled with a huge hospital bill, right?


You've probably figured it out by now, but your bike is a piece of machinery, and as such, it has a lot of parts that need to be checked, adjusted, and over time replaced. This is all to keep your bike running in safe, proper order, so can't be overlooked. Simple maintenance will require you to have things like a tire-pressure gauge, set of socket wrenches (most likely metric unless you're riding a Harley or Indian), flat-head and Phillips-head screwdrivers, a torque wrench, and some pliers. Thankfully tool kits are for sale on every motorcycle retail site with everything you'd need to get started for around 40 to 50 bucks.


This is where things can get out of hand. If you're new to riding, there's probably no need for a lap timer. But a cover will keep your bike protected from dust in the garage, and the sun and rain and everything else if you're storing it outside. A bike lock, available in a variety of styles, wouldn't be bad to consider either. Some cleaning supplies for your chain and bodywork in particular will keep your ride looking fresh and operating safely. If you're using your cellphone for GPS directions or have it connected to Bluetooth on the bike, a phone mount is a cheap, easy way to ensure your information is easily visible.

Beyond those, however, it is a matter of preference and riding style. If you're commuting or doing weekend long trips, some luggage will be a good investment, or if you've got a group of riding buddies, a Bluetooth communicator will probably be a purchase to make somewhere down the road.

But if you’re simply looking to be well prepared to ride safe, to keep your bike and yourself protected, a good set of gear, some essential tools, and a few well-considered accessories will have you dialed.