Off Road Protection Guide - The Essentials
Protective gear is an absolute necessity when riding an off-road motorcycle. The best riders hit the dirt from time to time but accidents aside, protective gear reduces the chance of serious injury from roost, banging into other bikes, exhaust burn and even a snapped chain.
On the track or the trail, protecting the most vulnerable parts of your body is essential to prevent an injury that could keep you off the bike forever. In this guide we cover the essential protective gear for your extremities.
You can find some great deals on dirt bike apparel online but as your local bricks and mortar bike shop, Wimmera Motorcycle Co makes a commitment to provide you with the same products you’d see online at pricing as good as you’d see online but with the assurance you’ve got backup and support from local people who employ local people. Talk to us if you don’t see a product on our shelves that you are interested in; we want to help you get exactly what you need to ride with the protection you want.
The most important gear an off-road rider can wear is a properly fitted helmet, designed to protect a rider’s head and face from impact and prevent serious injury.
The elongated chin area on off-road helmets provides added protection against rocks and other debris thrown up by other riders. Off-road helmets come with different features such as venting, lightness or high comfort and removable liners for washing. All helmets sold by Wimmera Motorcycle Co meet or exceed the Australian Government safety standards, amongst the toughest in the world.
Helmets are constructed with 3 main layers. The outer shell may be injection moulded polycarbonate, fiberglass or a composite using high-tech light and strong carbon fibre or Kevlar. EPS, (expanded polystyrene foam) is the 2nd layer, designed to cushion the crush on impact. The interior layer is designed for comfort. Premium helmets normally have more comfort and safety features such as moisture wicking, venting, multiple layers of EPS, lighter and stronger shells and Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS is a revolutionary technology that lets the helmet slide relative to the head, adding more protection against rotational violence to the brain caused by angled impacts.
Goggles are designed to protect your eyes from debris while offering good vision.
Bring your helmet with you when you go shopping for goggles to see how they fit when worn together.
Important features of Goggles are layered foam for dusty riding, ventilation, and some goggles come with anti-fog lenses. Tinted lenses can offer higher-contrast views of the track, making ruts and hazards more visible. If you expect to ride in muddy or even powdery conditions, you might want to consider tear-offs or roll-offs, thin layers of film that attach over the goggle lens. When mud is sprayed across your goggles and find it hard to see, simply tear off a layer or roll the film to have a clear view again. Some tracks require roll-offs only, so check the rules before you race.
The purpose of a Neck Brace is to redirect some of the forces that would stress the cervical spine through alternate load paths into other areas of the body.
Secondly, a Neck Brace is designed to limit extreme ranges of motion of the neck in instances when the neck is injured, Spinal Cord Injury has not yet occurred, but the rider is still mid-crash. A Neck Brace is designed to be able to slow the head in a controlled manner and have failure points where the brace will break or deform, under extreme forces, so that it cannot cause damage to the rider.
Designed to reduce neck hyperextension injury risk, Soft Collars are generally constructed from a soft material which usually compresses upon low-grade impact. Soft Collars however, offer little or no load reduction from a rider's cervical spine in medium to high grade impacts. Soft Collars are often the choice for riders who will be travelling at relatively low speeds.
Body Armour provides essential protection from crashes and falls as well as rocks, sticks and debris thrown from other riders. Armor typically includes a chest protector and shoulder pads while some incorporate kidney protection and integrated neck braces. Armor can be designed to be worn under the jersey though some types of protective plating are designed to be worn on the outside.
Knee and shin guards or pads protect the joint and shin bones from impact, both from debris, and in the event of a crash. Jerseys and pants offer some built-in elbow and knee protection but separate guards provide added safety. Elbow pads may not be as thought to be as vital as knee guards but is there any body part that sticks out more than your elbows? Guards are held in place on your arms and legs with broad elastic and/or Velcro straps. Shin guards can be slipped into the top of your riding boot.
When dropping your foot through the curve, a Knee Brace may be the difference between riding through, surgery or arthritis as you get older. Knee Braces help prevent the knee from being twisted or turned beyond its natural range of motion. Designed to take over from the pressures placed on your knee ligaments, Knee Braces provide stability and more importantly, limit the movement, particularly side-ways to prevent over-extension. Junior-sized Knee Braces are sold in pairs. Adult-sized Knee Braces can be purchased as single, left or right, so riders who need to support weak or injured knees have the option to buy just the brace they need.
Next to Helmets, Boots may be the most important piece of off-road riding equipment you will need. Boots provide protection for your feet and ankles as well as your lower shins and calves. Boots are usually constructed from leather with polycarbonate plates, though some models may have steel sole, with additional features such as inbuilt ankle bracing and replaceable soles. You may also want to invest in some socks designed for riding. Like your boots, motocross socks go up over your calves. The extra padding fills in the space in your boot, improving the fit, and they can help prevent blisters from developing. If you use a Knee Brace, brace socks that are longer are very effective in preventing chaffing.