The first dirt bike was created over a hundred years ago in 1914. Since then, bikes and the sport have continued to evolve.
If you’re a newbie or thinking about getting started, read on. Here we’ll answer the question: “What do I need for riding a dirt bike?” We’ll also talk about best practices for an enjoyable ride.
Mastering the art of dirt bikes is a skill that takes time and practice.
If you’re interested in learning about dirt biking for beginners, this guide will cover the most common injuries to be aware of as well as the gear you need to ride a dirt bike comfortably and safely.
Most Common Dirt Bike Injuries
As with any sport, injuries are possible when you ride a dirt bike. A study looked at a 12-year period for bike accidents. The six most common injuries include the following:
- Ankle or wrist sprains or breaks
- ACL tears
- Broken collarbone
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears
The good news is that all of these common injuries can be prevented with proper gear and riding techniques. Let’s look at each of these injuries and what can be done.
For ankle or wrist sprains, you want to ensure you choose high-quality boots to prevent ankles from twisting. Also, a wrist brace or support can reduce the risk of injury.
The anterior cruciate ligament (more commonly known as your ACL) is the main ligament deep within the knee joint. It connects the shin bone to the thigh.
An ACL tear is a commonly injured ligament. It happens when you land a jump onto a bent knee or overextend your knee. In the event of a fall from your dirt bike, you can reduce knee impact by using a knee brace.
The risk of broken bones and head injuries can be prevented with proper gear as well as learning how to fall. Use the tuck and roll method.
Gear You Need Before Hitting the Road
Now that we’ve covered common injuries and a bit about prevention, let’s turn our attention to the gear you need.
A full-face helmet is obviously the most important part of your protective gear. Open face or three-quarter helmets don’t give you full protection in a fall or crash. Be sure to choose a full-face helmet.
Make sure to choose a dirt biking helmet because these are made differently than helmets for other uses. Be sure that your helmet is safety-rated.
Rules vary by province, but generally having a helmet with either DOT, Snell, or ECE ratings is sufficient.
Ventilation and proper sizing are also important. Measure your head to find the right helmet for you. A good helmet might be pricey, but you don’t want to put your life on the line with a cheap, non-specific helmet.
If you can’t see, you can’t really ride. Goggles protect your eyes from rocks, dust, branches, dirt, rain, and debris. This allows you to have eye protection as well as better visibility.
Your eyes are incredibly vulnerable, which makes your goggles another valuable piece of gear that should pair well with your helmet.
Choose a pair of goggles with good peripheral vision. They must also have anti-fogging ventilation. If you often ride in the sun, you can get tinted lenses.
Neck braces prevent spinal cord injuries during crashes. These days, it is possible to find ones with a low profile to fit smoothly without hindering movement.
As with all dirt bike gear, getting the right size is crucial. Too small and it restricts your movement, too large and you aren’t protected during a crash.
A high-quality, well-fitting neck brace will give you enough room to move your head without any restrictions.
Body Armour & Clothes
Body armour and proper clothing protect all the vital organs in your body, along with your spine. There are several items you will need for your dirt bike excursions.
The first is a roost protector. This lightweight deflector protects you from rocks and other debris that may be found on the track.
Note that roost protectors are not the same as chest protectors. The latter is made of sturdy material and can be a little uncomfortable at first. A good brand will focus on ventilation and comfort.
Chest protectors, also called body armour, give you peace of mind while you ride.
To protect your upper body, you’ll need to wear a strong, long-sleeve jersey. Next, you will need heat-resistant, durable pants. This will provide a barrier from the bike’s hot engine and will protect your skin even if dragged along the track.
Choose a jersey and pants that fit well and aren’t too tight. You don’t want to limit your mobility.
Braces & Guards
We already mentioned neck braces. But there are actually a few more braces and guards for you to consider when getting outfitted for dirt biking.
Knee braces or guards protect you from life-long pain or injuries. You want a pair that is sturdy yet lightweight.
Handguards protect your fingers from being crushed during a crash. They also protect your wrists and fingers during a fall.
Elbow guards help minimize any damage to your arms. They also protect you from scratches and sprains. Elbow guards usually come in two types: hard shells and soft shells.
Gloves & Boots
Gloves help prevent abrasions, bruises, and burns. Plus, they give you a better grip and increase your endurance since you’ll feel the vibrations less.
Be sure yours are made out of strong, abrasion-resistant material.
Dirt bike boots are essential, as well. Riding a dirt bike means constantly using your feet and legs. Though they might feel stiff and take a little while to get used to them, they are a critical piece of your bike riding gear.
Get Ready to Ride Your Dirt Bike
There you have it! Now you know the answers to the question, what do I need for riding a dirt bike?
We hope that you learn to love this sport as much as we do! Looking to get started? Come on in to test drive a variety of dirt bikes and ATVs on site. Our customer service is worth the trip.