Dirt Bike Protective Gear – Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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Dirt bike riding is a thrilling sport, but it has plenty of risks for the rider. Dirt bike accidents can get quite severe or even fatal, and you need to protect yourself on the road.

Protective gear like helmets, gloves, goggles, and riding boots will cushion your body in case of a fall and minimize the extent of injuries. The essential gear includes:

Dirt Bike Helmet

A helmet is the most vital equipment as it protects your brain, which is your most critical organ. Head, brain, and neck injuries account for most of the fatal injuries among motorcycle riders.

Even a minor blow can lead to a concussion or traumatic brain injuries that can interfere with a rider’s cognitive, emotional, and physical functions.

Most countries also necessitate all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. A helmet will also enable you to ride in all kinds of weather.

When buying a helmet, look for factors like:

– Fit

Head shapes vary, and you should lookout for a good fit in a helmet. Manufacturers will release a size chart that you can use to make an informed decision.

To determine the size of your head, wrap a measuring tape around your head half an inch around your eyebrows and take note of the measurement. The standard head shapes are the round oval, long oval, and intermediate oval.

It also helps to try on a helmet before buying one. You want a helmet that sits squarely on your head, with its eye port’s top part slightly above your eyebrows. A big helmet will move easily, while a small one will be too tight.

– Construction

A good helmet should have a tough outer shell that will withstand impact. A shell formed from carbon or similar material is your best bet as the helmet will also be durable.

Carbon fiber is preferred because it is very light, but it can get quite expensive. Fiberglass will handle more strain, and it is a common material in aircraft and boats. Fiberglass is, however, heavier than polycarbonate.

– Ventilation

A helmet with a sound ventilation system will keep you cool and comfortable, even in humid conditions. Sweat can quickly build up as moisture in your helmet, and distract you from the road.

An ideal helmet will have vents along the chin guard to allow air to flow from your mouth and nose. Other vents should be placed in the eye-port, on the back, and the helmet’s crown.

– Certifications and Ratings

Certifications can help you assess the protective capacity of a helmet. The most common rating in the US is the DOT (Department of Transportation), while in Europe, it is the ECE 22.05. The latter is regarded as the better standard.

The highest rating is considered to be the Snell standard. Manufacturers have to send their helmets to Snell’s advanced testing facility to go through multiple and rigorous assessments.

– Aesthetics

A helmet can represent your style as they are various kinds to choose from. You can opt for patterns, multiple colors, or motocross aesthetics. You can even have the helmet customized to your preferences.

– Used or New

Helmets will have a lifespan, with the most common being five years. The materials used to make them degrade with time, and most helmets are designed to handle only one impact.

You should, therefore, forego a used helmet for a brand new one that will provide optimal protection.

Dirt Bike Goggles

A decent set of dirt bike goggles will protect your eyes from dirt, debris, branches, insects, and weather elements. Some features to look out for in dirt bike goggles are:

– Lenses

You will need different tinted lenses to accommodate various riding conditions. Clear lenses let in maximum light, making them perfect for late afternoon and nigh-time riding.

Grey/smoke lenses are recommended in direct sunlight since they reduce eye strain and glare. Light-colored lenses enhance depth perception in all weather.

Lenses made from Lexan are quite popular thanks to their anti-fog and anti-scratch capabilities. This polycarbonate resin thermoplastic is also flexible, and it will mold to your head shape.

– Frames

Frames come in various structural designs, but you want a flexible and comfortable one. Most frames are forged from polyurethane to provide maximum flexibility for riders.

High-end frames feature an articulated strap positioning system that balances the pressure distribution of the strap and gives a comfortable fit.

– Size

Large lenses are in-trend because they maximize a rider’s vision. Wide goggles also enhance the peripheral vision and enable the rider to be more aware of their environment. A good set of riding goggles should fit comfortably within the helmet of your choice without interfering with visibility.

– Foam

The foam on a set of goggles lies in direct contact with your face. It is, therefore, easy for the foam to deteriorate since it absorbs a lot of sweat. You want high-quality foam or the multi-layer kind that comes with some goggles. Look out for comfortable foam since it will sit directly on your face.

– Tear offs vs Roll-offs

These mechanisms involve the use of layers of clear film across a pair of goggles. You can tear these films if mud or dirt clouds your vision.

Tear offs are more common where you only need to grab an extended tab while riding. In the roll-off system, you will need to pull a chord and replace the old layer with a new one. The old film is not thrown away like in the tear-off system.

Dirt Bike Chest Protector

You should also invest in high-quality body armor to cushion your upper-body in case of accidents.

Chest protectors should feature impact-absorbing foam layers and a firm fit. You can mostly adjust such protectors to fit your body shape. They should also enhance ventilation and offer a good range of movement. You want to still move your arms comfortable even with the protector on.

Chest protectors are often confused with roost deflectors, but the latter offers significantly less protection. A roost deflector consists of extra padding worn under a jersey to absorb the regular impacts from roost. It will not protect you from severe blows and falls.

Body armor, on the other hand, covers your entire upper torso and arms. It will protect organs like your ribs, shoulders, spine, arms, and collarbones.

Dirt Bike Knee & Shin Guard

Your knees will take a lot of impacts, and you can protect them with high-quality guards. One common knee injury is that of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) that links the tibia and femur.

It often occurs via hyperextension or twisting when putting your foot down or during cornering, jumping and slipping off the peg.

Knee guards offer coverage for the knee cap region, although some provide shin coverage as well. They are lightweight and adjustable and are therefore comfortable for trail riders.

Knee braces, on the other hand, control the extent of motion around your knees to absorb any impact.

Whether you get a knee guard or brace, however, it should have a strong patella cap for knee cap protection. You want a well-padded and adjustable guard that will minimize twisting and hyperextension.

Knee guards often have a sturdy hinge and dual-pivot points that mimic your knee’s natural range of movements.

Shin guards protect the lower part of your leg during off-road riding. These are usually included with the knee guards, so you don’t need to buy them separately.

The best shin guards provide elastic adjustment straps to enable easy customization. Look out for a two-piece pivoting design that allows you to move your legs freely and enjoy the riding experience fully.

A padded backrest provides comfort while a ventilated foam promotes airflow. Some innovative shin guards also feature a high-impact shell that offers superior leg protection.

Dirt Bike Gloves

Gloves help you control your bike by protecting your grip at all times. Dirt bikes may have textured grips, but dirt, water, debris, and sweat will affect the control you have while riding.

Some factors to account for when buying dirt bike gloves include:

– Size

The fitting or your preferred gloves should be perfect as you don’t want a pair that keeps slipping off on the road. A tight fit also enhances your grip and adds to your overall safety.

Gloves that strap your arms tightly also discourage any elements from slipping through and affecting your hands.

Manufacturers provide a size chart that will require you to measure your fingers, wrist, palms, and thumbs to get the correct size.

– Protection

An excellent pair of gloves should have multiple safety features. The external layers should be reinforced with thick rubber for maximum protection. Some manufactures opt to use steel since it is nearly impenetrable.

Your preferred gloves should have knuckle and palm reinforcements, as well as TPU reinforcements. Seamless silicone rollover tips will protect your fingers while extra padding protects your palms from blistering. These safety features should not restrict movement as you still want to move your fingers as needed.

– Construction

The upper surfaces of gloves should have breathing perforations to keep your hands cool. You want your hands dry and cool at all times, which is only achievable through an optimal circulation of air.

The materials used should not only be durable but flexible as well. Look out for a pre-curved shape that enhances a natural grip position and reduces fatigue. You should also examine the straps or other closure systems used.

Dirt Bike Riding Boots

Your regular boots may seem quite protective, but they do not stand a chance on off-roads. From flying debris, sudden turns and twists, jumps, to changing weather conditions, you need fortified boots that will protect your feet and ankles.

The best riding boots should be based on factors like:

– Riding Style

If you are engaged in motocross, you need the most protective boot there is. These boots are fashioned with solid and unyielding materials to protect riders from impact. Steel shanks are added to prevent continual flexing and keep the foot in place.

If you are doing more trail riding, you need a boot with all-terrain soles. Trail-riding boots should have padded inner liners and should also be breathable.

– Buckle System

Alloy buckles make up the ideal system, but they are mostly found on high-end boots. If you buy a pair with a plastic compound buckle, ensure they are replaceable in case they end up broken. A snap-lock design rarely fails, and it should also work even when the boot is caked with mud.

– Safety features

TPU panels should be fitted in high-impact areas like the ankle and shin. You want a boot that also offers ankle protection, and you can try bending it at the ankle. The more firm it is, the more protection it will offer.

– Budget

Boot prices range from under $100 to $1000, where the level of protection improves as you move up the price ladder.

Entry-level boots are fashioned from low-grade leather, and they often lack ankle support. The lack of ankle stiffness means more room for movement, although you would be risking serious injuries.

Mid-range boots range in price from $250 to $500, and they are forged from full-grain leather. They will be a bit stiff to ride in because of the ankle reinforcements included.

High-end boots can be made of full-grain leather or high-tech plastic composites. Their ankle-hinged systems promote more movement, and they provide more grip and durability.

Vented Dirt Bike Jersey & Pants

You need specialized and rugged jersey and pants to ride your dirt bike and protect your skin from abrasion. Look out for tough materials like leather, Kevlar, and Cordura.

You will need water-proof and tear-resistant pants for dirt bike riding.

Off-road pants and jersey should also be breathable and vented to expel sweat during riding.

A comfortable and flexible pair lets you make the necessary movements, and you get to enjoy the riding experience.

Dirt Bike Riding Backpack

An off-road backpack will enable you to carry all your essentials as you hit the road.

You need one with enough storage compartments but which is still comfortable for you. A a good backpack with ventilation system will shield your back from overheating.

If you don’t want to carry much stuff around, get a hydration backpack, in which you can carry enough water to stay hydrated. For longer trips, you should get a bigger backpack.

It is always wise to choose a backpack that is water resistant or water proof.

Conclusion

Dirt bike accidents are prevalent, and you will require high-quality gear, whether you are doing motocross, enduro, or trail riding. A helmet is the most vital gear, and you should never hop on a dirt bike without one.

If you have kids who are enthusiastic about the sport, wearing a helmet will also show them the importance of using one. Other essential equipment includes goggles, riding pants, boots, gloves, knee braces, shin guards, and body armor.

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

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