Fishtail Riding School is geared to the street rider and track day enthusiast, so we keep our gear requirements to a minimum to maintain safety. If you typically wear good gear on the road, you probably already have what you need.

Suit - You need a full coverage protective riding suit. The suit can be a one piece suit or two-pieces that zip together.  

Most motorcycle jackets and protective pants come with zippers at the back, designed for zipping the jacket and pants together. The zipper does not need to be a full circumference zipper. A short zipper that securely joins the jacket and pants will suffice.

 
motorcycle jacket zipper

zipper used to zip the jacket to pants

The suit can be textile or leather as long as the textile is not mesh. Lightweight mesh textiles are not acceptable. Mesh jackets may be fine for casual street riding, but they do not have enough protection for the track.  Here’s a hint:  if you ride fast enough to get re-entry burns, think really hard about a 1-piece leather suit.

Feet – You must have boots that cover your ankles.  If the unfortunate happens and you fall down, your foot could end up under the motorcycle doing double duty as a frame slider.  Ouch! 

We do not require motorcycle specific boots, but you should strongly consider them. Motorcycle specific designs have hard plastic protectors for  toe, ankle, shin,  heel and other bones. Track specific models have toe sliders to protect against toes dragging on the pavement, which happens at speeds seen even in the intermediate group.

Hands – Look for hard material on the knuckles and fingers to protect you in falls where your hand grinds against the pavement. Choose gloves with a generous gauntlet and a strap that encircles the wrist. Make sure your glove won’t be taking an aerial tour of the facilities when you need them the most.

Head – You’ll need a full face helmet with a certification more stringent than Bob’s Bait Shop and Safety Testing Shack.  D.O.T. and Snell are good indicators and the European Union has an effective standards as well. We’ll honor those.

The Snell 2010 standard, induced in October 2009,  has been revised to bring North American and European standards into alignment. The new standard uses more realistic testing for different head sizes, resulting in helmets that are better tuned to head weight. This change will mainly benefit riders with smaller head sizes.

For more information about motorcycle helmet certification standards, see this 2005 Motorcyclist Magazine article.

Your helmet must be in good condition. The foam degrades with age and begins losing effectiveness after three years. If your helmet is more than five years old, has been dropped or crashed you should replace it.

Make sure your helmet fits properly. Many experienced motorcyclists are wearing helmets that are too large for them. For more information on fitting a motorcycle helmet, see "How to Fit a Motorcycle Helmet".

Back – We do not require back protectors yet, but it is a great idea to have one. There are two styles: one is integrated into your jacket or suit; the other is held on by straps and fits under your jacket.  More armor is good, plus it makes you feel manly (sorry ladies).

Motorcycle back protector

motorcycle back protector

Other stuff – Because you tend to sweat up a storm at the track, a lot of us wear some kind of synthetic undergarment to make easier to get into and out of your riding gear.   It’s a small detail, but it makes life much easier as the day goes on.

Many of our track-side sponsors can help you with protective gear. See our links page for a list of capable people to help you get the right stuff.

If you would like to rent gear, Seacoast Sport Cycle and Cyclewise Ducati-Vermont rent faa full line of protective gear available for track day rental.

Rider in full leathers
Rider in full leathers