Dirt Bike Gear: The Essentials for a Serious Rider
Folks who have been into dirt bikes for some time know that there’s a great deal of gear available for riders to choose from. Depending on the rider, the ‘essentiality’ of dirt bike gear varies. Here, we’ll try to list the absolutely essential pieces along with a few honourable mentions that are good to have at hand.
Full face helmet
Regardless of the form of dirt biking, a full face helmet is definitely a must-have. In a bike crash, it’s easy to fall face down, and without a jaw protector, riders risk breaking their jaw. Unlike cheap ones, quality dirt bike helmets use elastomeric dampers that reduce the rotational forces on the brain during a crash.
They protect your eyes from all kinds of debris, including roots, dust, bugs, branches and water. Not only can these debris permanently damage your eyes, but they can also cause you to crash if your sight is temporarily impaired. Therefore, the larger the size of the goggles, the easier it is for a rider to see, which is especially important for peripheral vision. Another important aspect is ventilation. Good biking goggles are designed to ventilate when moving forward.
Having evolved drastically over the years, today’s biking boots protect against impact and provide support that helps prevent accidental twisting of the ankle. They should also feature enough room at the front, so they can fit well with knee braces. Quality brands offer boots made of sturdy materials that protect from all sorts of flying debris a rider may encounter, yet have enough flex around the ankle to ensure a comfortable ride.
They’re good for slow cruising ‘Easy Rider’ style, but a pair of jeans won’t cut it at a motocross trail. Instead of tearing up a pair after pair of regular pants, invest in a quality pair of durable dirt bike pants. While highly resistant to rips and tears, these pants also provide an essential freedom of movement. The best material combination is a polyester blend for the body and leather on those areas which get into contact with the bike a lot, such as the inside of the knees.
Not only do they offer a comfortable and sure grip during long and intense rides, but a good pair of gloves also protects your hands against abrasions and burns, as well as blisters. Their padding is designed to dampen the vibration, which positively affects the hand endurance. When shopping for dirt bike gloves, make sure you don’t pick a pair that is too baggy. Different manufacturers use different fabrics, but nonetheless, the gloves need to be stretchy, breathable and abrasion-resistant.
A biker shirt will provide your skin with an extra layer of protection by stopping the trail debris from causing abrasions on your torso and arms, as well as shielding you from the sun. A proper dirt bike jersey is the best choice, because they are designed to endure the hardships of trail riding. Alternatively, you should at least wear a long-sleeved shirt that will provide additional protection in a crash.
Tools and spare parts
When riding on trails in remote areas, bikers often have to rely on their own skills of a mechanic to solve any issues that might arise with their machines. Such skills don’t come solely from the experience, but also from having a smart set of tools and spare parts for field repairs and maintenance. Whether it’s the tyre lever, bead pusher, valve puller, lubricants or CO2 cartridges, this comprehensive list of dirt bike parts will have you covered.
Knees are usually a part of every biker’s body that take a lot of damage. During a crash, they are easy to hyperextend or twist in a way they aren’t supposed to. When looking for knee braces it’s important to see how they fit in person, because what might be perfect for one rider might feel disastrous to another. On the other hand, a lot of knee braces models are adjustable, so that a comfortable fit can be achieved.
While not considered a part of the essential gear, a set of dirt bike body armour is far from a gimmick. It offers an excellent protection for your vital organs, as well as the spine, depending on the design. On the downside, a body armour can get very hot and restrict the freedom of movement that many riders are just not ready to trade for extra protection.
Basically, it’s the type of dirt biking and your personal style that determines what gear you should be wearing. It’s important, however, to try on the majority of items listed here, so that you can decide what works for you and what doesn’t.