We have seen several changes in products over the years. Some old players are still going strong and some new players are coming out with effective and unique gear for protection when riding your dirt bike.
There are three pieces of gear, that in my opinion are essential when riding a dirt bike. The helmet, the boots, and the knee braces. I chose these three pieces of gear because they protect the three places that commonly get injured when riding.
There are other common injuries that these pieces of gear don’t protect, but if I were to get only three pieces of gear I feel these are the most important for common injuries.
We’ll talk about tips you can use for choosing gear and what these types of gear can help you with. With an assortment of materials, fabrics, prices, and styles, everyone can find the type of gear they need.
Tip 1 – Helmet 1st, Boots 2nd, Knee Brace 3rd
1. Get a Helmet
While everyone is different and each person may face different dangers when riding, the number one reason people get hurt when riding an off-road motorcycle is not using a helmet.
People often fall off their dirt bikes. It happens to almost everyone. Those with helmets are far less likely to have a head injury than those who wear them.
Evidence has shown that helmets save lives more than any other equipment you can buy. So this should be a top priority before buying any other equipment for your off-road dirt bike.
Along with your helmet, you may want to get one or more of the following items:
- Goggles – Most off-road motorcycles are open-face, so you need to buy goggles with them.
- Neck Brace – To ensure your spine is protected if you fall from your bike you’ll want a neck brace.
- Back Armor – This usually comes with an armored jacket or chest protector. It helps protect at least part of your spin from impacts.
2. Get some Boots
A common injury among riders is the ankle. People often twist or break their ankle bones. Having a riding boot will protect your ankle from impacts and twisting.
Boots are great to have for protection from plants, shrubs, and branches that often hit riders’ legs while on a trail.
Boots will ensure your feet and shins are protected from the heat of the engine/exhaust, injuries, and things hitting your legs.
Along with your boots, you may want to get one or more of the following items:
- Dirt Bike Pants – Most off-road riders scrape their legs on one thing or another. Pants may protect from heat, scrapes, and impacts if they are lined with armor inside.
- Armored Shorts – Worn under your dirt bike pants, armored shorts ensure your lower body from the waist to the knees has some impact protection.
3. Get a Knee Brace
Another common injury for riders is the tearing of the ACL. Riders need something to prevent their knees from hyper-extension and side-to-side movement.
Some riders will buy knee guards which can be good at impact protection but don’t help with stabilizing the knee. A knee brace will keep the knee joint from twisting too much so it won’t get injured.
They can start at about $100 and go up from there. Deciding on which one to get may be difficult because there are many options to choose from, but I would get the ones that are most comfortable and fit the best.
Check out our article about knee braces to find out which one you would like the most.
Along with your knee brace, you may want to get one or more of the following items:
- Knee pads – If you already have a knee brace without any protective armor on it, you might want to wear it under your dirt pants and wear knee pads on top of your pants. This will ensure your knees stay safe and help you save money.
Tip 2 – Buy The Best You Can
There are multiple options available for buying professional-grade dirt bike gear. This gear is created with different people in mind.
- Those who are just trying out dirt bike riding.
- Those who have been riding for years.
- Professionals who need the best gear available.
Whichever category you are in getting the most for your money can come down to buying from a trusted brand, and looking for discounts when they are available.
Some people will buy brands that are less well-known and have mixed results as far as quality. Depending on the gear you are buying, you will find most equipment has several brands that are good to buy at a reasonable price.
I would probably look at these brands first if I were just beginning to ride a motorcycle or have been riding for some time before going to a discount brand or something more expensive:
- Fox Racing
- Fly Racing
These brands usually have both less expensive and more expensive gear so that you can find a range of gear with various levels of quality. This way the beginner can get good gear at a less expensive price and more experienced riders can get better quality gear that will last longer.
Then those who have more money and professional riders can buy more expensive equipment that has “better” features. Sometimes price doesn’t always translate to better quality, but they do usually have better quality material in them.
Look for brands such as these for equipment made with more premium materials:
- Fox Racing
Each brand has its pros and cons and may have special features that make it unique. Sometimes you need equipment that has one characteristic that is most important to you, and you may find it is best in only one brand.
The key is to buy the best equipment you can for the budget you have. Best meaning, equipment that protects well, fits well, and won’t fall apart right away.
Beginner Set of Off-Road Gear I Would Buy
Intermediate Set of Off-Road Gear I Would Buy
Professional Set of Off-Road Gear I Would Buy
Tip 3 – Get the Right Fit
Sometimes you buy equipment without having the chance to try it on first. It doesn’t quite fit right, but we go riding in it anyways. Then we complain that it’s not very good at doing its job or breaks easily.
Well, taking the time to properly size your gear can make all the difference. It should protect you well and stay in place. It should fit comfortably like a glove, not too tight and too loose.
If you can, go to an off-road motorcycle gear store and try on your gear first. They will likely have higher prices than online, but you will get a much better fit and feel for the equipment. Then if you really need to save money you can just buy the same gear online for a cheaper price than at the store.
But, buying local is always a good idea. You are supporting the local economy. You get to know the people at the store, get their expertise, and build relationships that can help you with the problems you will likely encounter as you continue to ride off the road with your dirt bike.
Then, they will likely see you as more than a customer and more like someone they want to help out. This can be helpful when you need to get your gear fitting just right.
After you get the right fit, your gear will work better and last longer. You’ll feel more comfortable, and when you eventually fall off your bike as most riders do, you will be glad you had properly fitting gear.
Good-fitting gear will likely prevent more injuries than improperly fitting gear. So if you are not sure how your gear should fit make sure to ask someone who has experience or watch a video for advice.
Tip 4 – Practice With Your Gear
Buying protective gear is one thing and riding with it is something very different. You should get used to it before going out for a long ride. Ride for a couple of minutes to give it a test for fit, and comfort, and to see if it will function as intended.
You’ll want to ride in all the positions and ways that you normally would but for a shorter time.
If you are new to riding, you can take a course in off-road dirt bike riding to get more familiar with the riding and how to best secure gear the right way, and what mistakes to avoid.
Each person will have their own personal preferences when it comes to gear. If you are only riding on flat trails and rarely run into obstacles you may decide you don’t need some of the extra gear that more technical riders need because they fall off their bikes more often.
Once your gear fits right and is secure, you will be better protected and know how to operate your motorcycle more effectively with the gear on.
If your gear doesn’t fit well, it’s time to return it and get something that fits properly. Loose gear can’t protect you well and may end up causing problems riding if it starts to limit your mobility or vision.
Check to see what the return policy is for new gear that you purchase and make sure you can return it, at least for credit, if it’s not working out for you.
Tip 5 – Take it Slow
Essential protective gear can save you from injury and months of pain. If you have new gear and feel invincible, that’s not going to work to your advantage in the long run.
Take it slow when learning new skills and riding in new areas. Sure, it can be fun to go fast and take some risks, but chances are you’ll fall off your bike, and even the best protective gear can only help so much.
With any new gear or bike, you want to stay within your own abilities. Practice and then practice some more before taking on more challenging riding skills.
Ride through an area slowly first and then speed up once you’re sure about how to handle it and if you can handle the track or trail you’re riding on.
Don’t worry about other riders and how they feel. You are taking risks not them. Get the skills and confidence you need, slow and steady. So, when you are ready, you can skillfully tackle the next challenge that you’re looking forward to overcoming.
The body needs time to gain muscle memory, strength, and agility. As you work on your riding and techniques you will get better at these and be able to handle your motorcycle in more challenging situations.
Getting your protective gear will keep you protected and provide a level of security as you ride off-road. Remember to get as much protective gear as you can, but if you are limited by money at least get a helmet, boots, and knee braces.
Get good properly fitted gear so it can protect you well and practice with your gear until you know it fits right and you know how to ride with it properly. If you take time to improve your skills, you’re less likely to have falls and ride better with the gear you have.
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