New To The Sport, What Do I Need?
There’s so much to learn and know when you’re new to going off-road riding dirt bikes, and you’re bound to make some mistakes and blunders along the way that will serve as important learning curves.
We’ve been through them all ourselves, so that’s why we’ve developed this guide to give you a heads up on everything you need to get started in the sport, from the gear you’ll need, to bike maintenance and keeping everything clean.
Before you even throw a leg over your bike, you’re going to need to kit yourself out in the appropriate protective gear.
First things first, you’ll need a full-face dirt bike helmet - now this the most important piece of protective gear you’re going to have to buy, so make sure you dedicate a nice amount of your budget to a fresh lid. Regardless of your riding style, all motorcyclists agree that their helmet is the most important piece of safety gear that they own.
From motocross, supercross, enduro and trail riding through to riding quad bikes, street bikes and dual-sport bikes. From the first time getting behind the handlebars and riding a new bike through to racers who are on the bike every week, every experienced rider agrees that helmets are the best investment that you can make.
Helmets range from different shapes, colours and prices, and many of them have different types of safety technology. Helmets in the lower price bracket will be a good starting point and meet all the necessary standards, while helmets in the higher price bracket are designed to give you the best protection possible and well exceed the standards.
After you’ve selected a helmet, it’s time to start looking for dirt bike-specific boots, which are the second most important piece of protective gear.
Buying MX boots is a little like a helmet - the more you spend, the better quality protection you’re going to get. The key difference in a budget set of boots compared to a premium set is that the premium boots will offer greater protection, ankle support, all while giving you adequate feeling and flexibility.
Next up is getting yourself into a set of knee pads or knee braces - what’s the difference? Well, knee pads offer protection against impacts and are quite affordable, while knee braces offer you protection against impacts also, however they also provide protection and support to help prevent serious knee injuries.
If you’re looking to get onto a motocross track and into racing competitively, or you’re riding speed is rapidly increasing, then we recommend getting yourself into a set of knee braces - if you’re still learning the ropes of riding dirt bikes and taking things easy, then knee pads will be adequate.
One of the coolest bit of gear you’ll need that all dirt bike riders (especially motocross riders) love is your actual riding kit - this means jersey, pants and gloves. There are so many different designs and colours, so there’s bound to be one that fits your style.
Pricing varies across different ranges - the more affordable motocross gear sets are a great place to start, while the higher-priced kits are made with more premium materials and have a superior fit - so the choice is yours here!
Now there are a few extra pieces of protective gear which are somewhat ‘optional’ and can give you a bit of extra peace of mind. This includes a chest protector, neck brace, kidney belt, and elbow guards. A neck brace is a relatively new piece of protective gear but if you are riding off-road one of the next best dirt bike protective gear items to own is a neck brace. New items can take a while before people understand their benefit but if you are dirt biking a neck brace is often referred to as a 'helmet for your neck.' There are some riders of road bikes who would also wear a neck brace on the road as they see the safety of wearing one every time they are motorcycling.
Bike maintenance 101
Before you get started with bike maintenance, you’re going to need some essentials in your toolbox. Here’s a quick list of what we recommended equipping yourself with:
Now the first thing you want to do when preparing and maintaining your bike before riding is ensuring the air filter is clean and oiled.
Cleaning and preparing your air filter is one of the most important aspects of bike maintenance, and it’s also one of the most frequent.
Poor preparation and maintenance of your air filter can lead to reduced performance from your dirt bike, or worse, it could cause catastrophic damage to your engine. You can learn how to maintain your filter in our in-depth guide here: How to maintain your air filter
You’ll also want to make sure your engine oil is regularly changed, as it can be the difference between extending the life of your engine, or significantly reducing it.
Regular oil changes are key to a well-maintained dirt bike that’s going to have increased reliability while also offering the most in performance.
Irregular oil changes can lead to a poor performing engine, which as a result can cause further damage to your dirt bike. We recommend changing the oil and replacing the oil filter every four hours - you can learn and understand more in our guide here: When to change my engine oil
There’s one last step before hitting the track, and that’s doing a pre-ride check. Here, you want to go over all the nuts and bolts and ensure their torqued correctly, plus you’ll want to check your tyre pressures, ensure your chain has just the right amount of tension, and make sure your spokes are tightened correctly.
By doing this before you head to the track, you’ll help prevent any mechanicals from ruining your day on the bike.
Keeping it clean
Now if you want to get the most out of your gear and bike, it’s incredibly important to always keep it clean, and we suggest cleaning your bike and gear after every outing.
You’re riding kit itself can just go in the washing machine, and so can your goggles (ensure the lens and roll-off system is removed) and helmet liner, just make sure you put them in a washing/laundry bag.
If you are yet to invest in a pressure washer, now is the time - it will make your life so much easier when it comes to cleaning your bike, and it will be money well spent.
Before you starting washing down your bike, ensure you’ve removed the air filter and blocked all the openings, such as the exhaust and airbox (we highly-recommend getting yourself an airbox wash cover and exhaust plug!).
Use a bike wash or soap, cover the bike from top to bottom, and then blast all the dirt way. For a guide on how to wash your bike, here is exactly how we do it: How to wash your dirt bike with a pressure washer
Don’t forget hit your bike with necessary lubricants after washing your bike, such as hitting the all the metal components (stay away from the brakes!) with a silicone spray, and then hit your chain with chain lube.
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