Dress for the Dirt: A Guide to Motocross Clothing and Gear
Motocross is a physically and mentally challenging adrenaline sport. Motorcycle racing on enclosed off-road circuits or cross-country attracts many thrill seekers who fall in love with it instantly. And they all know just how important it is to have the essential gear to really feel the buzz without worrying about safety.
Riders compete on off-road courses like gravel, mud, or grassy roads and their entire bodies are vulnerable to injuries from potential accidents. This is why protecting yourself from head to toe is crucial, with gear specifically designed for MX or dirt bike racing. Proper apparel, footwear, and protective equipment can make all the difference between an uncomfortable fall and serious trauma.
Although you might get away with a simple long-sleeved shirt when you are just starting with this sport, if you are taking up the sport seriously you definitely need to get a proper jersey. It will protect your torso from the sun’s rays as well as chafing.
Comfortable, well-fitting, and cool-looking – that’s what you want when shopping for motocross jerseys. They need to fit your chest gear or body armour, so if you wear it under the MX jersey, go for a larger size. Other than that, you might want to get one with extra features, like padding around the elbows and forearms. This will make your dirt bike jersey more durable and it won’t wear in places with high impact and friction. Many of them have anatomic cuts such as pre-curved sleeves for greater movement.
For instance, the Fox jerseys are made of super light, vented stretch material that offers enough airflow to keep you cool. It is also moisture-wicking, which means that even in the hottest weather you won’t feel soaked in sweat. A Fox motocross jersey will also offer you a layer of protection and prevent your skin from scratching to a certain extent that is. You should still wear other protective gear as well.
Avoid wearing anything too baggy as it might get caught in or pulled while you are racing. The specialised motocross jerseys are usually full-sleeved but have a shorter cut. And let’s admit it, they look cool, even off the tracks. A lot of fans of dirt bikes like wearing them as part of their outfits, and many women in the sport prefer wearing the male versions.
Another essential piece of clothing is the pants. They are also specifically made to enable easy movement and provide comfort while at the same time serving as protection for your legs. Most of them are constructed from nylon and polyester with extra padding at the knees, fewer seams to stop gear chaffing and vents for air cooling.
If you are competing, it is better to get lightweight, sweat-wicking pants that will stand up to the elements. You might want ones that feature ballistic panels for abrasion resistance and reinforced material since you can easily get burnt by the pipe.
The MX pants are slightly different from regular pants when it comes to fit. They have adjustable waistbands that you can tighten or loosen for a perfect fit. The length is shorter to provide more comfort for when you wear boots and they are roomy around the knees allowing space for knee braces.
Dirt bike gloves are a must-have accessory. They will give you a firm grip during the intense rides and prevent your hands from slipping off the handles, something you want to
They should be made of strong but stretchable fabric to provide comfort and if they have extra padding it will lessen the vibration and increase their durability.
It goes without saying that you need additional gear apart from the clothing to be fully safe when riding off-road. The helmet is the first thing you should consider, as well as goggles, boots, and braces for your chest, neck, knees and elbows.
Riders usually wear full-face helmets when they are riding at speed hitting jumps and tearing up the dirt. When they are in trial riding you will see them wearing open-face helmets. In any case, it’s a must equipment. Crashes happen frequently and the helmet can protect you from impacts on rocks, stones or sharp edges. It’s not uncommon for riders to go over the handlebars and fall a large distance and the helmet radically reduces the chances of concussion or serious head injuries.
Manufacturers are constantly improving the safety features of helmets, so now you find some with impact-absorbing gels and materials like carbon fibres. Premium ones have advanced features like reducing rotational forces with 6D dampers in the lining construction.
Since it is important to see clearly what’s happening on the track and around you, look for helmets with a wide field of vision. Another vital part of helmet construction is good ventilation. The more vents there are, the better. They will prevent overheating, which can cause disorientation and discomfort, not desirable if you are heading into a triple jump.
The aim of the boots is to protect your entire foot, ankle and lower leg. The specialised motocross boots will absorb impact and encase your ankle joints, while still allowing flexibility.
Maintaining a grip on the pegs when you are at a great speed with objects and mud flying around is only possible with a high-quality pair of boots. They look quite technical and enable a number of adjustments for other essential gear. Build from sturdy, supportive material, they might feel heavier than normal shoes, but they provide the adequate protection needed for extreme conditions.
The Final Word
Once you get into the ins and outs of the sport you will discover that there is other safety equipment as well. The braces for different parts of the body come in plenty of varieties and you can adjust that to your needs and riding style. Depending on the type of dirt biking you do, you can prioritise certain gear and decide whether the rest is optional.
The motocross experience is only worth it if you can repeat it again, and you will be able to do that if you keep yourself safe. Enjoy the ride!