What Off Road Motorcycle Equipment Do I Need?
If you want to ride a motorcycle off road, you’ll find you need different kit to what you’d use for road riding. Here are our top tips for what you really need:
Obviously. You’ll notice that off-roading helmets are a different shape and generally don’t have a visor, but like every other motorcycle helmet you must spend time making sure it fits properly. Try it on, do up the strap and check it doesn’t move around on your head (get a friend to try and turn it). Always buy new, and look for British Standard BS6658 or United Nations Standard ECE 22.05.
Because the last thing you need is mud in your eye. Don’t forget to try them on with the helmet before you buy them.
And we do mean proper motorcycling gloves. Bear in mind that they’ll quite likely get wet, so if you don’t want to ride in damp gloves, think about having a spare pair with you. For this reason, hefty leather gloves are less useful than a tough pair of textile gloves, with Kevlar or plastic reinforced knuckles if you want to protect your fingers.
Off road boots tend to be more rigid than road-riding boots. The first time you land in a ditch with a motorbike on your leg, you’ll understand why. But you still need to be able to operate the controls, so make sure you can move your feet. Try walking around in them before you set out on a 12-day ride.
Most off road riders put their protection under the shirt and trousers. How much to wear depends partly on what you plan to do. For motocross and enduro racing it’s essential to protect your ribs and internal organs. Gentler riding might demand less, but since you can expect to fall off a few times, basic armour and a kidney belt will save you some bruises.
Trousers (or pants)
Padded or armoured, to protect you from the inevitable knocks. You’ll notice they’re looser and more breathable than road riding trousers. That’s because off-roading is a lot more strenuous!
You could ride in any loose sports shirt, but avoid anything close fitting. Not only will you build up a sweat, if it gets caught on anything it’ll tear and you’ll find your skin is uncomfortably close to the action.
Don’t forget a good lock. Off road bikes are only too easy to steal, and you don’t want to make it any easier. Getting a security marking like Datatag can help, too.
If you’re starting out, talk to your trainer, or the club you’re riding with, or ask a motorcycling expert through the Get On community. Go to a dealer who knows about off-road riding. For more tips, go to www.rideoffroad.co.uk .