Motorcycle Gear For Women Riders Who Are Tomboys

Riding gear under $300 sans pink

Let’s start this off by saying I am a complete tomboy. I have always favored video games and sports over dolls and dress-up. The stereotypical “girlie” things never appealed to me. Even when it comes to my day-to-day apparel, I reach for jeans, a dark top, and boots rather than a dress and heels. Don’t get me wrong—that doesn’t mean my (decent) sense of style is lacking. So when it came down to selecting riding gear that appealed to me, I was looking for a helmet, jacket, gloves, pants, and boots that not only suit my monochromatically dominated closet but that look awesome, are protective, and—with my penny-pinching mind-set—cost no more than $300 each.

If you are looking to get gear that fits that bill, keep on reading.

Bell MX-9 Adventure Helmet

Bell MX-9 Adventure Helmet
The MX-9 Adventure helmet comes in many graphics, but the Roland Sands Design graphic is arguably the best.Julia LaPalme

The Bell MX-9 Adventure helmet has been on my radar ever since I saw it at a company meeting about a year ago. When we had another meeting with Bell more recently, I was glancing through its "2018 Shop Manual" and landed on the MX-9 Adventure page. I love the look and versatility the helmet offers with its removable visor and dark shield (both of which are included). Attach the visor and you have an ADV helmet, but swap it for the tinted shield and you've got a cool look for the street. While many helmets are gender-neutral, the MX-9 Adventure comes in a variety of bright colorways that could appeal to anyone, but my closet, you'll remember, is filled with gray. Thus my choice naturally gravitated toward the RSD Matte Max model that you see here.

Bell Helmets MX-9 Adventure
For $219.95, this MX-9 Adventure helmet packs a versatile punch with the removable visor and interchangeable face shield.Julia LaPalme

So how’s this thing made? Well, it starts with a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell. Under the shell is a MIPS energy-management system. MIPS comprises a foam liner, low-friction liner, and four elastomeric bands that are engineered to ensure the slip plane (to reduce rotational forces in a crash) stays in the correct position. The shield did not fog while I was riding thanks to the proprietary NutraFog II coating, and the Velocity Flow Ventilation system kept me cool. This helmet comes with a five-year warranty and is DOT and ECE certified. Best of all, the whole package carries a price tag of $219.95. All the goods and still under my $300 limit.

Icon 1000 Tuscadero Jacket

Icon Tuscadero Jacket
Gray, black, and all-around stylish, the Icon Tuscadero looks cool both on and off the bike.Julia LaPalme

Next on my list was to find a jacket that met all my personal requirements. Combing through various websites, I found Icon’s 1000 Tuscadero jacket for $250. Perhaps I was feeling reminiscent of my Green Day punk days, but I was sold on the asymmetrical YKK zipper and leather faux-stud accents on the shoulders, not to mention the black fabric.

Icon Tuscadero Jacket
The asymmetrical zipper, gold liner, and accents are just the right touches in my book.Julia LaPalme

While this jacket isn't waterproof like Icon's Fairlady, the Tuscadero can still take on light rain with its polyurethane-coated nylon shell. This jacket comes with amenities too, including a removable, insulated SatinCore vest liner, and D3O impact protection in the shoulders, elbows, and back.

Alpinestars Riley Women's Denim Pants

Alpinestars Riley Women's Riding Pants
The Alpinestars Riley denim, like the Tuscadero jacket, is another piece that works well both on and off the bike.Julia LaPalme

There was no question about it, riding jeans are a must. Their casual look goes well with many different styles of jackets, boots, etc. and yet are designed for the ride.

For $239.95, these denim pants from Alpinestars offer protection through reinforcements in the seat, hips, and knees for abrasion and tear resistance, as well as internal compartments in the knees that let you adjust the CE-certified padding to fit the length of your legs. I also like the accordion-stretch panels that not only add a nice accent but contribute to comfort on the bike.

Alpinestars Riley Women's Riding Pants
Accordion-stretch panels contribute to overall riding comfort. The internal knee protection is like a silent guardian, hiding out of plain sight but ready to protect when you need it.Julia LaPalme

Fit is another plus in my book. At just under 6 feet tall, I have always had an issue finding the right length, but when I first slipped into these pants, they not only fit like a glove (don't worry—I'm getting to those) width-wise but also sat nicely at the ankles.

Highway 21 Vixen Gloves

Highway 21 Vixen Gloves
Highway 21’s Vixen shorty gloves fit nicely and provide just a hint of lace design, which is fine by me.Julia LaPalme

I opted for the Vixen gloves from Highway 21 because they not only are easily under my price range ($44.95), but they offer just the right amount of style with comfort. The millennial in me liked that they claim to be touchscreen compatible, but I was more than disappointed with the effectiveness of that feature.

Highway 21 Vixen Gloves
The fit is there, but unfortunately the touchscreen compatibility is barely there.Julia LaPalme

After several failed attempts at swiping the screen of my smartphone with my thumb, I switched to the pad of my index finger to no avail. Then I tried using the very tips of my index fingers and that did the trick, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, the comfort is there with the soft goatskin leather and inner lining.

On the safety front, these gloves have comfortable knuckle protection, as well as reflective piping that helps increase visibility. Although the Vixens also come in solid black, I liked the touch of white and gray this version offers.

Icon 1000 Eastside Boots

Icon Eastside Boots
Icon’s Eastside boots look pretty sweet matched with the Riley pants from Alpinestars.Julia LaPalme

As indicated by their $190 price tag, the Icon 1000 Eastside boots easily fall within my budget yet still come with top-level waterproofing. The boots feature reinforced toe boxes, as well as axial-metric steel shanks (which, according to Icon, give the boots rigidity and support the foot against flexing or twisting), internal ankle coverage, metal heels, and leather shin protection.

Icon Eastside Boots
Although the shifter patch is tucked a little too far to the side, the supple leather of the Eastside boots, the arch support, and overall design make up for that shortcoming.Julia LaPalme

I also like how the asymmetrical zippers on the sides of the boots complement the jacket. (Most people don’t pay attention to that sort of thing, but for those of us who do, it makes a big difference.) When I first tried to slip into the Eastsides, they were a bit tight. Once completely on, however, the leather was supple and flexed enough to increase comfort. Icon claims the boots accommodate high arches, and, in my experience, that couldn’t be more true.

The Eastsides also cater to women with narrow feet. My samples fit snuggly and were even a tad tight around the toes. With all that being said, I was surprised at the high comfort level when I walked around in them. Walking up and down stairs and around for the photo shoot in these boots was not as bad as I expected given that they started out feeling tight.

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
Vibes’ Hi-Fidelity reusable earplugs are small and discreet and protect from both high- and low-frequency sounds.Julia LaPalme

Protection does not stop at the outwardly visible portions of your body. Sometimes motorcyclists (I, too, am guilty) forget to protect their hearing. With the Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs, you can reduce the likelihood of irreversible hearing damage in a discreet way thanks to the clear, inconspicuous design.

For $23.99, you receive two reusable earplugs in a pocket carrying case with three sizes of soft ear tips to help you find the right fit. What makes these earplugs different from foam earplugs, you ask? Generally speaking, foam earplugs decrease the volume of high-frequency (treble) sounds but not so much at lower frequencies (bass). According to Vibes, the Hi-Fidelity Earplugs lower the volume of all levels equally, which helps you hear more clearly, just at a reduced volume.

With each purchase, Vibes donates 10 percent of its profits to the Hear the World Foundation, which helps provide hearing aids and health care to children in need. A Vibes representative informed me that donations from this past year are funding a project that over the next two years is expected to give hearing health exams to 30,000 children in Lima, Peru, and provide hearing aids for those who need them. Some children will be able to hear for the first time thanks this partnership.

All this just goes to show you that motorcycle riding gear doesn’t have to be pink and frilly to appeal to women. There are quite a few of us who prefer a rougher-around-the-edges style. An opportunity to give back to the community is always a plus, as well.