Essential Clothing for all Off-Road Motorcyclists
When it comes to off-road motorcycling, equipping yourself with the right kit is of fundamental importance. While its expense may not be as significant as the bike itself, quality gear is the cornerstone of rider safety.
Whether you’re a newbie to the scene or an expert, you’ll want to be kitted out appropriately when hitting the dirt. The padding and protection you need off-road is a little different to that which you’ll be using for regular motorcycle use, so to help you know what you need and why exactly you need it, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute essentials for off-road clothing.
The helmet is the most critical component of a rider’s safety, which is why it comes first on our list.
Any biker worth their salt will tell you that riding without a helmet is categorically irresponsible. The helmet is your primary source of protection against the kinds of biking injuries you are least likely to recover from - head traumas - and riding without one can prove fatal. This is why it is important to consider which helmet is right for you and ensure that you’re investing in a quality product.
For dirt biking, you’ll want a full-face helmet with a chin bar to protect your jaw. A wide aperture will increase your field of vision, which will help when navigating corners and jumps. When it comes to materials, you’ll want to look for lightweight materials such as carbon fibre and fibreglass to ease the pressure on your neck muscles. Check the safety rating and try on the helmet before purchasing so that it fits the shape of your head.
You’ve got yourself a durable, well-made helmet to keep your head safe. The next thing you need is a pair of goggles that fit nicely into your new helmet to protect your eyes from things like flying debris (which can cause loss of vision and/or serious crashes).
A secure pair of oversized goggles will enhance your field of view and keep your eyes safe from the tiny stones and dust your tires will kick up. You may also want to opt for dark or tinted lenses to reduce glare when riding.
While head trauma is undoubtedly the most serious injury a rider can face, foot injuries might be the most common. A robust, flexible, and snug pair of boots are a must for any rider.
The boots you need for off-road biking are different to that of regular biking, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re equipped with the right type of pair for the right purpose. Off-road boots are designed to protect you from the mud, stones and general debris coming toward you at high speeds. As such, off-road boots tend to cover the whole foot, ankle, and lower leg. Good boots will have reinforced material around the ankle to prevent twisting and a strong sole to help you when standing on the foot pegs.
Each brand will have a slightly different emphasis, with some offering greater flexibility at the expense of protection and vice versa, so it’s worth comparing products to find the right one for you.
Off-road body armour protects the vital organs in your torso when dirt-biking. Everyone falls off at some point, and the simple truth is that when wearing body armour, you won’t feel it nearly as much when you do.
Just like with boots, there are different types of armour presenting you with various trade-offs regarding your riding experience. Full armour will give you the best overall protection - particularly for your spine - albeit at the expense of reduced movement.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of body armour is the increased heat. This is why it is very important when shopping for body armour to pick a design with maximum airflow. Look for armour with several cooling vents to keep yourself from overheating.
Dirt bike gloves provide you with necessary protection against blisters and other hand-related injuries. Ideally, you want a pair that’s stretchy, tight-fitting (for improved grip), and abrasion-absorbent. These days you can get a quality pair of gloves in the range of £20-£30, so you can change up your gloves without worrying about breaking the bank. A quality pair of off-road gloves should enhance your overall connection with your machine.
Elbow & Knee Guards
These should be a staple of any rider’s kit, especially if you are in competitive motocross. When you fall, crash, or collide, your natural reactions when bracing for impact will often see your elbows and knees bearing the brunt of the damage. Outstretched arms when hitting the ground often see your elbows taking the toll. A strong set of elbow guards and knee braces are a must for any serious rider, with hard shell designs absorbing the most impact and soft shell offering the most flexibility.
Improve Your Off-Road Motorcycle Performance with Venhill
Of course, having the right kit is just one of the priorities you need to have for safe and effective riding.
Another important element every rider should consider is the quality of their control cables and hydraulic lines. These are essentially the transmitters that get the bike to do what you want it to do. Your bike’s hydraulic brake lines, for example, can have a dramatic effect on your braking performance; increasing the power transmitted to the calipers, and improving feel and feedback so you have better control. It’s therefore vital that this is something you don’t overlook.
At Venhill, we have over 50 years of experience in developing and manufacturing such cables for motorcycles and off-road bikes. We specialise in providing durable pattern cables and hydraulic lines that are resistant to stretching, leaking, and bursting, helping you to enhance your performance.
See more: Getting Started with Motocross