The Ultimate Guide to Dirt Bike Protective Gear
Riding dirt bikes is a dangerous sport, and that's why you need to make sure you're wearing all of the correct protective gear to keep yourself as safe as possible. In this ultimate guide to dirt bike protective gear, we cover every aspect of getting yourself equipped in the best motocross safety equipment.
What safety gear do I need?
Dirt bike safety gear covers you from top to bottom ensuring you're protected as possible. The main pieces of gear you'll need is a helmet, boots and the actual gear set you'll ride in, while additional pieces of protective gear include a body armour or chest protector, knee pads or knee braces, elbow pads or elbow guards, neck brace, goggles and kidney belt.
How to choose the right helmet:
A full-face dirt bike helmet is the most important piece of protective gear you'll ever have the buy. So how do you know what is the best motocross helmet for you? Well, it simply comes down to what your budget is, and what type of riding you're doing.
First a foremost, it's crucial to have a correctly fitted helmet, as a helmet that's loose will fail to protect you in the way it's designed, while if it's too tight, it will be a highly uncomfortable experience. A perfect helmet should be firm fitting without being too loose or too tight.
The next thing to look at is the type of riding you're doing - if you're just learning the ropes of dirt bike riding, then a lower-end helmet will offer adequate protection. If you're an experienced rider, riding at higher speeds, or even a racer, it would be wise to invest in a top-end premium helmet. We always recommend investing as much as you can afford when it comes to selecting the best dirt bike helmet for you.
So what's the difference between an entry-level helmet and a top-end helmet?
All of our helmets meet the necessary standards in Australia, however the difference is that a top-end helmet will exceed the official standards of testing, rather than meeting them.
Premium helmets are equipped with the latest helmet technology, all of which are designed to offer maximum protection for your head and brain.
Top-end dirt bike helmets also generally have a better fit and comfort, increased ventilation, and a stronger lightweight construction. You can learn more about the latest helmet technology in this guide: Dirt Bike Helmet Technology
Deciding on the best body armour for motocross:
Motocross body armour comes in many different shapes and styles. A lot of racers will typically use a minimalistic chest protector, mainly as they offer adequate protection, yet they still allow you move around quite easily.
These typically come in two forms - a foam roost deflector, and a hard-plastic chest protector. They both generally cover the chest and back, with minimal coverage on the shoulders.
The next level of protection usually uses the same back and chest body armour, although there's added protection on the shoulders and upper arms. This is a really popular option amongst riders, especially for kids.
There is one more type of upper body protection, and that is a body armour suit. These typically look like a jacket, and feature hard-plastic protection on the chest, back, shoulder, arms and elbows. This type of body armour can be used both under and over the jersey, and it also offers increased protection, it does limit movement on the bike.
Choosing which style of body armour comes down to personal preference, and how much protection you're willing to sacrifice for comfort on the bike, or vice-versa.
Do I need dirt bike boots?
Absolutely! Riding in anything other than motocross boots can result in serious injury.
Motocross boots offer superior protection from not only impacts, debris and objects, but also offer an incredible amount of support to prevent ankle and lower leg injuries.
Off-road boots range in pricing, with lower-end boots offering a great way to get yourself out of those work boots and into something that's going to actually protect you. Mid to top-end motocross boots provide increased protection, comfort, support and flexibility, giving you best feeling on the bike while being well protected.
Just like choosing a helmet, selecting a pair of boots comes down to how much you can spend and the type of riding you're mainly doing. An entry-level boot is perfect for riders new to the sport, but if you're looking for something with more protection, support and comfort, or you're getting into racing, a mid to top-end boot is a must-have.
Remember, you'll need a good fitting boot to ensure you're protected correctly - that means choosing the right size and making sure your foot is firm inside the boot without any movement.
What's the difference between entry-level and top-level riding gear?
Riding gear comes in so many colours, sizes, designs, and prices - so what's the difference between an entry-level and top-level set?
An entry-level gear set usually has more of a relaxed fit and is made from cheaper materials, meaning it usually won't have the same amount of durability of its top-end counterparts.
A top-level gear set generally has a tight, athletic fit, and is made from premium and flexible materials. This style of dirt bike gear is designed for the most comfort on the bike and added durability.
Choosing a set of riding gear is one of the most exciting aspects of buying protective gear, as you can really find a set that matches your taste and budget.
How to decide between knee pads and knee braces:
When it comes to protecting your knees while dirt bike riding, there are two types of protection: knee pads or knee braces.
Knee pads, or knee guards, are designed to protect you from impacts, dirt and debris, and are a great option if you're just getting into riding and are still learning the ropes. Knee pads are also really popular amongst growing kids and offer great protection for them.
Knee braces are the next level of knee protection, and that's because they also offer protection from impacts, dirt and debris, but they also provide support to help prevent serious knee injuries such as torn ligaments.
Knee braces are a must for racers or any riders looking for the maximum amount of knee protection. You can learn more about differences in knee braces and knee pads here:Knee Braces versus Knee Pads
I need goggles, what should I buy?
There's an abundance of motocross goggles to choose from, and most are quite affordable. The key differences in goggles is comfort, fitment and lens protection.
A top-level goggle will generally have an 'outrigger' design, which allows the goggle to fit nicely on your face and the helmet. Most will come with multi-thickness foam as well for better comfort and sweat absorption, while the lens is generally more robust and resistant to fogging.
An entry-level goggle is essentially a stripped-down version with a much more basic and traditional design. These are really great if you're just entering the sport and need to kit yourself with some good eye protection.
You may have heard that some goggles don't fit some helmets, and this can sometimes be the case, however most of the latest goggles and helmets are designed to accommodate each other.
What other body protection should I look at?
There is actually a selection of added body protection for motocross and enduro riders, and these are usually considered as optional. This includes elbow guards or elbow pads, kidney belts, neck braces, back protectors, and wrist braces.
These items really come down to personal preference, or perhaps you have an existing injury that requires one of them for added support, such as a kidney belt or wrist brace. Elbow guards, back protectors and neck support devices are optional pieces of equipment that will give increased protection while dirt bike riding.
How do I bring all this gear to the track?
Now you might be thinking how do I cart all this gear to the track or trail? There's a simple answer, and it's a gear bag.
Most gear companies offer a gear bag that is designed to fit all of your protective equipment inside of it, as well as being robust and durable to handle the weight and elements it will face at the track.
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