When I go to the race track, I have a gear bag with all my essentials: Helmet, spare shields in various tints, leathers, gloves, boots, back protector, and ear plugs. I wear ear plugs whenever I road-race on a motorcycle whether it's the Ducati Monster I own or the Harley-Davidson Street 750 I borrowed.
But, the last couple years I've developed more of an interest to ride on the street. I've been road racing for quite some time, but I never really had the urge or need to ride motorcycles on all the nice roads Oregon offers.
I got my motorcycle endorsement just after I turned 16, but I really never took advantage of it since I didn't own a street legal motorcycle until I was 21 years old. I finally bought a bike so I could join my girlfriend on rides and that's where I took an actual interest in owning and maintaining something for the street that wasn't going to be turned into a race bike.
So why not wear earplugs when street riding?
The thought didn't occur to me until just recently. I was near Fresno, CA riding in the hills up to Shaver Lake on a Yamaha YZF-R1 along with my girlfriend who was on her Suzuki GSX-R 600. After a few hours of following that loud Gixxer with an M4 GP Series slip-on through miles of twists and turns, the only ache I felt was in my ears and head.
That's when the lightbulb popped on. Wear ear plugs.
Obviously, this isn't a new idea, but it's a good reminder to protect those ears of yours. You can't log onto MotoSport.com and purchase a new set of ears, but you can purchase ear plugs.
So, I've since started keeping a set of ear plugs in its own little container in a pocket of my leather jacket. I don't use them when I take out my bone-stock Honda Grom, but I'm definitely thankful for them when I throw a leg over the Harley.
I've discovered while wearing earplugs I enjoy a more soothing and quiet ride. Of course you can still hear the bike and enjoy its sound, as well as the pleasure of the road, but not so much you end the day with a headache or ringing in your ears. In fact, the only negative I've found to wearing ear plugs is they're easy to lose!
A lot of bikes top 85 decibels (the sound limit ears should be exposed to without protection according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and higher, especially at speed with wind and other background noise in the mix. If you commute or ride a loud bike, you should consider throwing a set of ear plugs in your gear inventory just to be safe and wear them on every ride or as you see fit.
Ear plugs come in a variety of styles including disposable and reusable. Check out the entire selection of motorcycle ear plugs at MotoSport and don't ride away without them.