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Phoenix Motorcycle Training LTD

There’s no doubt trail riding is an exhilarating adventure. You’re always pushing yourself and your motorcycle to the limits. But amidst the excitement, do you pause to consider your dirt bike protective gear? It’s as essential as your motorcycle. Gearing up right means you’re ready to tackle any challenge the trail throws your way.

When wearing the essential bits of off-road gear, every adventure is thrilling, but not ridiculously risky. Because you’ll want to do it again and again. That’s a little difficult if you’ve busted an ankle or damaged your hand. So, what exactly do you need to ensure you’ve got proper protection on all off-road adventures? Our list of essential off-road gear needed to protect you properly will help you ride safe.

It’s the same gear that we insist on for the groups we take on trail-riding days. We don’t just provide off-road motorcycles. You’ll get a helmet, goggles, gloves, body armour and knee protectors, and lunch on the full-day rides. You’ll need to come wearing high-leg adventure-style boots or dedicated motocross-style footwear. Ankle sprains and breaks are one of the most common dirt bike riding injuries.

Stay safe and ride smart: why dirt bike protective gear is essential

If you’re wondering “Do I need to wear protective gear on a trail bike?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. Trails might be a little softer than tarmac, but they’ll still do damage if you come off your bike without the right off-road gear.

Trail riding comes with its fair share of risks. Having the right gear literally cushions you from the worst. A fall can happen in the blink of an eye. When you’re not wearing protective gear, the consequences can be dire. Bumps and abrasions or worse, broken bones and ACL ruptures can keep you from the trail for weeks if not months at a time.

A dirt bike helmet protects your head from impact and keeps you cool. It’s madness to be out on public roads and Green Lanes without protecting your head. Proper head protection increases your chances of surviving a collision by six.

Goggles, gloves, knee guards and body armour cushion and protect against flying debris or coming off your wheels. You’re not only minimising the chances of injury but also boosting your confidence to tackle tricky trails. Always wear the five essential pieces of protective gear.

Hit the trails with confidence: the 5 essential bits of off-road kit

There’s a LOT of off-road gear out there. We’re not saying you shouldn’t assemble gear to protect yourself from head to toe and keep you comfortable on the trail. We are saying that these five pieces of protective off-road gear are where you need to start. Before you hit any trail on your off-road motorcycle, make sure you have these essential pieces of protective dirt bike gear.

Head first — dirt bike helmets

The law requires you to wear a helmet when you ride—even on Green Lanes. These trails are unsealed public highways, so the usual road rules apply. You could be fined £500 for not wearing one, just like you’d get in trouble for riding on Green Lanes without the correct motorcycle licence. Of course, you could legally wear a road helmet on a trail bike, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Trail riding helmets have better ventilation because riding off-road is usually harder work. That means you’ll raise a sweat and a few more outlets to keep your cool on twisty, challenging tracks are necessary. Look for a lid that meets British safety standards for helmets, otherwise known as Sharp ratings. Dirt bike helmets typically have a pointy chin guard but an open face, which makes the next bit of kit equally important.

The eyes have it — protective goggles for dirt bike riding

Goggles aren’t a legal requirement for off-road riding, but they are essential dirt bike protective gear. Can you imagine riding hell for leather on an off-road trail with just a mean squint for protection? You’ll end up with an eye injury in no time! 

Dirt bike goggles keep your peepers safe and give you a clear vision of the challenges ahead. Choose from tinted lenses with UV protection or a simple pair with full coverage between eyeballs and projectiles. Try them on with your helmet. That’ll help to make sure you get a secure fit and seal around the eye to stop stray debris from getting in. Off-road goggles are almost as important as your helmet.

Stay on your toes — dirt bike boots

Remember that earlier mention of ankle sprains and breaks? A good pair of trail-riding or motocross boots will minimise that risk for you. You’re on your feet a lot when you’re off-road riding, so find a pair that’s comfortable to stand in.

It’s a good idea to look for boots with reinforced toes, ankle support to minimise twisting and a longer boot shaft to protect your shins from stray rocks. You’ll want a good grip to keep your feet stable on the pegs. Finding shoes or boots that fit comfortably is always easier in person than online. So even if you are going to buy online, try on the same brand in a shop before you part with your cash.

Keep it in hand – dirt bike gloves

Lighter and more flexible than typical motorcycle riding gloves, off-road gloves lead the way on trails. They’ll wick sweat and allow you to keep your grip on tough trails. The lighter materials provide better hand ventilation along with flexibility for fingers. It may seem unnecessary, but your hands lead the way when you’re trail riding. They bear the brunt of the wind, rain and roost kicked up in front of you. A pair of quality off-road gloves is an essential piece of your dirt bike protective gear.

Spine-tingling safety —body armour to complete your essentials dirt bike kit

Dirt bike body armour is available for almost every inch of you. We recommend protecting knees and elbows along with your chest, back and spine. Lots of off-roading body armour comes sewn into clothing. Other types fit snuggly beneath clothes or strap on with Velcro. The amount of body armour you choose to wear is a personal choice. We recommend starting with your knees because ACL injuries are one of the most common in this sport from twisted, over-extended knee bends, or simply having knees in awkward positions.

Chest and back protectors should be next on your list. Follow that with a neck brace to avoid collarbone breaks and neck injuries. Some riders swear by neck braces, others hate them. We recommend you give one a try and decide for yourself. Comfort is a key consideration when it comes to trail riding. If you’re uncomfortable with your gear on, you’ll be distracted and unable to give the trail your full attention. That compromises your safety anyway.

Fit your kit: sizing for dirt bike protective gear

If your off-road motorcycle gear doesn’t fit well, it won’t protect you properly on the trail. Make sure you check the sizing and wherever possible, try things on before you make your purchase. Finding the best fit for a helmet is obviously going to be a different game from getting a good fit for boots, so we’ve got some top tips for each bit of essential kit below.

Keeping on the right side of the law with dirt bike protective gear

The only off-road protection you have to wear by law in the UK is your helmet. Even so, we strongly recommend you give yourself the best chance of riding again tomorrow (and the next day) by investing in all five pieces of essential off-road riding kit.

Choose a helmet that meets the British standards for safety too and never buy second-hand. A helmet that has been in a severe accident is no longer safe to wear. Check the sharp ratings and choose a lid with the highest impact resistance you can afford.

Ready to ride? Book your trail riding adventure

Protective gear for dirt bike riding can seem like a hefty investment, especially when you’re starting out. Even if you’re moving from cruising on tarmac to the fun of off-road trails, you’ll need different gear. One way you can make sure it’s a wise investment is to book a trail riding experience (or two) first.

One of the riders who joined us last Easter had this to say about his experience:

“Had a fantastic day out with Phoenix Trails on the Easter weekend. We were met by the Salisbury Plain Stig who was our guide for the day. All kit was supplied along with coffee.

Started off with some practice on the course which is right next to the lockup before heading up onto Salisbury Plain. The instruction was excellent and his knowledge of the area was fantastic.

Definitely improved my skills and am now keen to learn more. Would highly recommend.” — David Edge.

You’ll have a blast with a group learning to tackle Green Lanes and trails while getting a real taste to decide if this is for you. Our trail riding days include all of the essential off-road gear you need to have an exhilarating ride without risking your skin. Book a trail riding experience with us today, or contact our team to find out more about our trail riding adventures around the UK!