If you're new to the motorcycle scene, it can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to making decisions about upgrading both your bike and your gear. There seems to be an endless number of options from helmets to taillights, and quite frankly picking out what's right for you and complements your style is part of the fun.

We're here to streamline things for you and get you heading in the right direction. If you are preparing for your first motorcycle, a recent recipient of your motorcycle endorsement or maybe someone who is coming back to motorcycles after a long hiatus, then this article is for you. We’ve specifically selected products that are available for a wide range of motorcycle models and varying riding styles. As you continue along your motorcycle journey your likes and dislikes will inevitably change as you grow as a motorcycle enthusiast. And these recommendations will continue to be a solid base to build on as you build out your bike and riding gear options. Let's get into it.

Best Beginner Parts

Stockton Tool Kit

A tool roll is just short of a must-have for almost every type of riding. Whether you're going on a weekend trip or ripping around your favorite trails, having a tool kit can save your bacon.

Everyone needs a good tool kit. J&P Cycles Illustration.

And if you are new to motorcycling, there is a good chance you have purchased a used motorcycle, which means there is a bit higher likelihood that you could have a failure of some sort. Tool kits obviously are very handy to have in case of a major technical problem, but you’ll probably find yourself using this kit more than you think for small repairs like a screw backing out of a rattling fender, your windscreen needing adjustment or maybe just replacing a blown fuse. All things that can be addressed quickly with this tool kit so you can keep enjoying your ride.

The Stockton Tool Kit comes as a classic “tool roll” and is available in both standard and metric versions. Although this isn’t a tool set for your garage, it's a portable roll that covers a lot of the basics of what you might need for a roadside repair.  It comes with a ⅜-inch ratchet, extensions and five of the most common sockets, an adjustable wrench, ball Allen wrenches, combination wrenches, vise grips, a set of needle-nose pliers, wire cutters and an assortment of screwdrivers. In addition to tools, it also includes some very handy consumables like wire, electrical tape, fuses, extra fuel line and of course the ever-important zip ties. With a price tag of under $40, it’s cheap peace of mind to have on your bike.

Street and Steel Slanted Saddlebags

As a fledgling biker, the more time you spend on your motorcycle the more you start to value having storage.

Some extra storage always in comes in handy.

Model-specific storage can get a little pricey, especially if you are early in your time as a motorcyclist. Chances are you are more than likely going to move on from your current steed on to bigger and better bikes, so it’s nice if you can move your luggage on with your new bike purchases. Street and Steel Slanted Saddlebags are great way to do just that. They are a heavy-duty buffalo leather throw-over-style set of bags. That means they will work with basically any style of cruiser motorcycle. The three-millimeter full-grain buffalo leather bags are available in a small and large size, have a full coverage lid with leather over straps featuring quick-release buckles so you can get at your cargo easily. The adjustable yoke in the center allows you to tailor the bags to fit your ride and mounting is very simple. You lay the bags across your bike either over or under your rear seat and tie the bottoms off to a point on the frame. If you want to step up your luggage game, you can always add a set of saddlebag brackets for a bit more stability. This is a great way to add storage capacity to your ride and easily remove it for aesthetics or if you change motorcycles.

Memphis Shades Windshields and Fairings

As a new rider, the thrill of having the wind in your face can quickly turn annoying on a longer trip or particularly gusty day. It can cause you to fatigue quicker, cause undue stress on your neck, take your concentration off of the road and just be plain annoying. With the addition of a windshield or fairing, you will notice a huge difference in the amount of windblast on your chest and face and the constant wind buffeting of your helmet will be relieved.

Billboard-style windshields are very effective in redirecting the wind away from you but can be unsightly on your cruiser. That's where the Memphis Shades and their Trigger Lock hardware comes in so handy. They allow you to quickly take the windshield off your bike in literally seconds. So if you aren’t going to be in touring mode and just running around town, the windshield doesn't have to be on the bike. The hardware is available in both chrome and black, so it practically fades away when the windshield is removed. If you are looking to add style to your machine with the added bonus of wind protection, then a fairing may be more to your liking. Memphis Shades offers a handful of different styles for a wide variety of models. The Road Warrior is the classic “T-sport” looking fairing with an option for different heights of windshields while the Gauntlet and Cafe fairings resemble the Harley-Davidson factory optional quarter fairing. The fairings use the same Trigger Lock hardware for mounting that allows you to remove the fairing without tools in a few seconds. Installation is on par for a beginner-level project and can be done with just a few hand tools in under an hour.

Wild Ass Seat Cushion

One of the issues a new rider can encounter is saddle fatigue on longer rides. If you aren’t used to being perched on a motorcycle for long periods of time, it can become uncomfortable and take the fun out of your trip. Instead of enjoying the ride, you become focused on the soreness in your posterior regions.

A little extra cushion on road trips will keep the smile on your face.

A seat swap can be a cure for this, but seats can be on the expensive side and probably won’t be transferable to your next bike purchase. And oftentimes a comfortable seat isn’t aesthetically very pleasing, so there is the give and take of sacrificing the look of your bike for a comfortable ride and vice versa. A Wild Ass seat cushion is a great solution in lieu of purchasing a whole new seat. You can easily take it on and off the bike, and on trips when you aren’t using the cushion it packs away easily. They are offered at three different price points based on material and construction, but the basic design is the same.

Heat is what causes a large portion of discomfort when it comes to the uncomfortable pressure points from spending long periods of time on your bike. The way the air cushions work is that they spread your weight across the entire cushion and the space between the air cells allows ventilation to disperse heat and moisture. The constant transfer of air from air pocket to air pocket in the cushion reduces numbness, shock and vibration. This all adds up to a more comfortable ride and longer, more enjoyable trips. Smiles for miles, as it were.

Best Beginner Gear

Sedici Sistema 2

If you are a new rider, then you are more than likely new to helmet buying. And the helmet marketplace is a vast and often confusing space to fledgling riders. You can be bombarded with price points, features and graphic options that will leave your head spinning. Allow us to help you out and give you our recommendation of the Sedici Sistema II.

The Sistema II is packed with features at a reasonable price. 

This is a great option for new riders for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is a great value at $250, so you get a ton of helmet for not a ton of helmet dollars. The shell construction is a unique blend of fiberglass and aramid fiber that is molded into an aerodynamic shape designed for reduced turbulence and lift, which translates to a more comfortable ride at higher speeds. It's a modular helmet, which means that you can flip the front of the helmet up to talk to another rider at a stop light or grab a drink at a fuel stop without having to remove your helmet completely. It also features a dark smoke internal sun visor that can be deployed with the swipe of a gloved hand to make those sunny riding days easy on the eyes. Ventilation is via EPS air channels that route fresh air from front intake vents to rear exhaust ports -- keeping the rider cool at all speeds. A stronger, re-engineered hinge and post mechanism for the modular chin bar helps the helmet achieve overall DOT and ECE safety certifications. A chin skirt helps seal off the bottom of the helmet and further manage wind noise is included. For sport riding, touring and everyday commuting, the Sedici Sistema 2 Helmet is a great choice.

Reax Fairmount Riding Shirt

Finding a jacket that doesn’t have you looking like a Power Ranger or feeling like a pirate is essential to keeping you comfortable and safe. The Fairmount Riding Shirt from REAX is 100 percent easy-going style that packs a protective punch.

The Fairmount Riding Shirt from REAX is 100% easy-going style that packs a protective punch. J&P Cycles Illustration.

With a full aramid knit lining and CE Level armor coming standard on the shoulders and elbows, the Fairmount offers protection to go with its relaxed style. Its 12-ounce coated denim exterior is matched with a mesh air flow liner and snap-down collars to keep them from annoyingly flapping against your helmet in the wind. It features snap-down chest pockets, a hidden YKK center zipper to keep scratches off your tank, adjustable snap cuffs, internal cargo pockets and interior waterproof pocket to keep your phone in, all of which add a ton of functionality to the stylistically muted riding shirt. The Fairmount is a perfect way to get you started on your journey of accumulating motorcycle gear and comes in under the $200 mark.

Reax Tasker Perforated Gloves

Riding gloves don’t have to be giant gauntlet-style mittens that keep you from feeling the feedback from your machine. They also should have fingers. The classic fingerless biker glove from the movies should remain in a fantasy world.

Finger flexibility, perf panels and cowhide backhand provide protection and comfort. J&P Cycles Illustration.

You don’t have to compromise protection for style or function with the Reax Tasker glove. It's simple, sturdy, and crafted from quality leather. They feature a pre-curved fit that quickly breaks in, and that excellent fit is further enhanced with flex ribbing in key areas. Cowhide leather backs and goatskin palms ensure protection that doesn’t detract from your feel of the controls. We appreciated the Tasker Perfs’ reinforced outseams, moisture-wicking lining, and anti-vibe palm pads. These gloves are perforated for improved airflow, but if you’d rather skip the ventilation, there is a non-perf version available. REAX stands by the Tasker Perfs with a two-year warranty on materials and workmanship. They’re ready for anything short of cold weather or serious rain.

Klim Jeans

Riding jeans need to be more than a thick pair of denim pants you scored at the local Fleet Farm. They should be an engineered riding pant that offers real protection. That's why we have been massive fans of Klim’s K Forty series of jeans since their debut.

Look great on and off the bike with Klim riding jeans. J&P Cycles Illustration.

Klim brings their reputation for bombproof gear to the world of riding jeans, and the result remains unmatched among Klim’s competition. We’ve featured these jeans in multiple Gear Guides articles, and for 2022, they remain undefeated. The K Forty 3 jeans get their robust protection from 13-ounce stretch denim that bakes abrasion and cut resistance right into their main construction. This keeps them as comfortable and breathable as possible. A mesh liner also helps with ventilation. Hips and knees are covered by CE Level 1 D3O Ghost armor for full coverage. Klim checked all the boxes in terms of protection with these jeans, earning an outstanding CE AA rating overall. All that in a pair of riding pants that look convincingly like standard jeans? The K Forty 3s are easily the best in their class.

Reax Tasker WP Boots

Riding boots are similar to riding jeans in that you are much better off with a boot that is designed for riding motorcycles and protecting you from a possible crash rather than just throwing on your favorite set of hiking boots. Some of our favorite boots also come from REAX’s Tasker line.

Leather and textile unite to form the waterproof REAX Tasker Boots. J&P Cycles Illustration.

Available in black or brown, these boots look right at home on any cruiser with their oiled full-grain interpretation of the timeless engineer boot. The upper gets textile inserts for some breathability, but don’t worry about water ingress; a waterproof inner membrane keeps your feet dry when the skies open up. Waterproofing can be the difference between being absolutely miserable after riding through a summer rain shower or continuing on with your ride completely comfortable. In the event of an unfortunate get off, the Tasker WP boots don’t skimp on protection. They have reinforcements at the heels and toes, plus internal malleolus protection (medial and lateral) and shock-absorbing insoles. As for comfort, we appreciated their leather interior with thick padding and gusseting at the tongues. The Tasker WPs even have a shift pad on the left boot to prevent premature wear. We’d recommend these boots to anyone seeking a workhorse pair of riding boots that just won’t quit. And the Goodyear welt means they’ll outlast the competition.

We hope you’ve found our beginner gear guide helpful and pointed you in the right direction to not only make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable but also safer. There’s never been a better time to start riding, we hope your 2002 is full of many happy miles. You only get to be a beginner once, so take your time and enjoy the ride.