Make sure to get all your gear before you start riding your motorcycle. I would say to buy it before you buy your motorcycle, but you may have a desire to get stuff that matches the bike. The most important things about your gear is that it is easily visible (black is cool, but it can be hard for other motorists to see), it is comfortable, and it is good quality.
There are 3 important things about a helmet.
1) Buy it new – If a helmet is dropped on a hard floor from more than a few feet up, the protective layer inside can be compromised.
2) Make sure it’s comfortable – I recommend you go to a big motorcycle store, try helmets on, and then order one from the internet.
3) Make sure it is snell and DOT rated. You need a helmet, make sure it is both DOT and Snell rated. The newest Snell rating is M2005.
Your jacket is going to be expensive, but it is essential. Make sure that whatever you buy it has armor built in for the shoulders, elbows, and preferably a back protector as well. The best protection is going to come from a leather jacket, but if you are riding a very warm area, you can also use a mesh jacket with plenty of armor.
I recommend the Alpinestars Stage jacket, it is leather, has plenty of armor, is relatively inexpensive, and is perforated so you don’t get too hot in warm weather.
Yes gloves can be a pain in the ass… especially when you try to put on your helmet while wearing them. Still, you will feel much safer when wearing them. They are great to protect your hands from cold weather and from potential road rash.
There are three types of gloves
I have to admit, I wear jeans when I ride. This is ok to do, but you have to realize that if you crash at any significant speed, denim will only hold up for 10 feet of sliding before it is destroyed, exposing your skin to brutal road rash. Leathers, on the other hand, can withstand over 100 feet of sliding. So if you are really looking to be safe, get some leather pants. You can also get textile pants, such as jeans with extra padding on the ass and knees.
If you don’t believe that leathers can save you, take a look at this guy crashing at 140 km/h and walking away without injury.