Powersports like dirt biking offer you a unique blend of excitement, competitiveness, endurance, and fitness unmatched by any other sport. In addition, every enthusiast will point out that spending time outdoors is the bonus feature of diving into the adventurous world of Powersports.
There has been an ongoing discussion about whether Powersports fall into the extreme sports category or not. Whether you’re riding or racing for fun or competition, we believe that it is upon you to decide how “extreme” you want your ride to become. Because both leisurely rides and competitive tracks using Powersports machines can get quite physical and, therefore, dangerous, it’s essential that participants wear the right riding gear. Novices and experienced riders alike need appropriate and functional riding gear that will keep them safe.
We’ve compiled an ultimate guide on choosing the appropriate motorcycle riding gear to offer you the essential protection and functionality needed for dirt biking, ATV, and UTV rides. First, we answer why riders need to get high-quality protective gear, accompanied by a short list of tips to follow when choosing. Finally, we will introduce you to the essential pieces of Powersports riding gear you can purchase here at MX PowerPlay.
Why You Need to Invest in Quality Motorcycle Gear
You may be used to wearing your favorite riding jeans and old hiking boots during your casual bike rides, and you wonder why you need to look like Robocop to take an off-road ride. However, what you may not realize is how quality protective gear may save your life and even improve your riding skills. Not only is quality riding gear designed to increase motorcycle safety, but it’s also meant to make riding more comfortable.
Motorcycle enthusiasts know there are different kinds of riders. There are the casual motorcycle touring riders with their vintage motorcycles, and then there is the motorcycle rider who takes their sportbikes to a competitive level. Powersports is a completely different ball game involving greater excitement but also a higher risk of injuries. Reliable riding gear will safeguard you from severe injuries in motorcycle accidents by providing a high level of abrasion resistance. This means that the gear has reinforced parts around your elbows or knees because they are the most likely to hit the ground first. Besides protecting you from serious injuries, quality moto gear acts like an additional layer of skin that protects riders from sunburn, wind, dust, and various weather conditions.
Apart from feeling protected in your new moto gear, you should be comfortable as well. This means you need to adjust your moto gear to the terrain and the weather conditions you want to ride in. For example, look for base layers made of absorbent materials like nylon or polyester to wear on hot days and always wear waterproof or rain boots when the weather is damp. Wearing comfortable riding gear will add to your performance and the overall riding experience.
What to Pay Attention to When Buying Adventure Riding Gear
We have given you a couple of solid reasons to wear Powersports riding gear all the time. Now, we will focus on three main features of high-quality gear that you need to look for when purchasing these items for the first time. When buying new riding gear, make sure it follows the “three Fs” rule,i.e., fit, function, and fashion.
Also, bear in mind that you are making a long term investment, so you need to know you have bought moto gear that fits your riding style perfectly. Keep trying out different models and brands until you find the perfect match for you and your budget.
Here is a shortlist of other significant features you should pay attention to when purchasing appropriate gear for off-road motorcycle riding.
● Size and Fit
The primary purpose of motorcycle gear is to keep riders protected. Therefore, try to find pieces of moto equipment that fit snugly to your body, leaving enough space for built-in ventilation. When we are talking about the perfect length, your moto gear should look longer when you stand because it is essential that it covers and protects your entire body when you are in the riding position.
The best way to check if the size and length of the gear are right for you is to find a bike similar to yours and to sit in the riding position. The garment is perfect for you if it covers your ankles and wrist and fits perfectly to your body when you are in this position.
● Armor and Construction
High-quality riding gear stands out among the competition with its seamless construction and body armors with quality impact protection. These features guarantee the highest level of safety on the road. Armors are crucial for your protection. They can be incorporated in moto jackets and pants, or you can wear these like separate pieces of equipment.
Top-quality jackets should have armor covering the back, shoulders, and elbows, while pants need to have reinforcements on the hips and knees. Well-constructed gear should have tight, double or triple stitching to ensure its endurance. Highly protective boots should have ankle and toe protection accompanied by a steel shank and shifter pad.
● Ventilation and Water Resistance
We have already mentioned how important it is to adjust riding gear to the weather conditions you will ride in. Heated gear is best for riders in cold weather. Ventilation is crucial for riders on hot days, and it is ideal to wear waterproof pants and rain jackets on rainy days or wet, muddy terrain.
Therefore, you should look for motorcycle jackets with zippered openings on the chest and the back that will provide continuous airflow on a hot day. On the other hand, when you want to protect yourself from rain, you should focus on waterproof pieces of gear, like rain pants or rain suits. This protective gear will cost more, but the investment will pay off in the long run because this gear will keep you dry and comfortable during the downpours.
● Safety Ratings
You have already noticed that the whole story of high-class motorcycle riding gear revolves around safety and protection. DOT and Snell are two US organizations in charge of setting safety standards and rating motorcycle gear, particularly helmets. ECE provides the same services in the European riding gear market. Therefore, you should do a little research and find certified and best-rated pieces of gear that you can buy.
Essential Pieces of Protective Powersports Gear
Bearing in mind the crucial features you need to look for when buying off-road motorcycle gear, we have got you covered. Let’s list the essential items of riding gear you need to have for your Powersports adventure.
We will start with the most crucial piece of moto equipment that keeps you safe and sound on your rides. Statistics show that the head suffers more than 45% of injuries in a motorcycle accident. This data should convince you that investing money in a high-quality bike helmet may be a life-saving decision. Top-quality motorcycle helmets are lighter than others, have better aerodynamics, and they last longer.
You can find three basic kinds of motorcycle helmets on the market, and these are:
- Full Face Helmets – These helmets cover your head and face completely, providing you with the highest level of safety while riding. Powersports bike helmets have larger peak visors than street helmets. They also have enhanced ventilation and extra room left for goggles.
- ¾ Helmets – These will cover most of your head, leaving your face and chin unprotected. They usually come with a visor you can flip down, but ventilation and hearing should be comparable to those in full-face helmets.
- Half Helmets – These are the least favorite helmets on the riding gear market because they provide minimum coverage and protection. These will cover only the top and the sides of your head, leaving the back of your head and your face completely uncovered.
If you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, you can spend some money on various helmet accessories like extra light kits or Bluetooth communication.
Reliable and durable riding boots are an almost equally essential part of Powersports riding equipment as a high-quality helmet. When searching for a perfect pair of riding boots, make sure that they have sturdy ankle support and protection for the inner leg, shin, and toe. Motorcycle boots should also be comfortable and keep your feet dry.
Ankle support is essential in cases of injuries where your leg gets trapped under the bike, and the entire weight of the machine falls on your ankle. Strong ankle support in boots will prevent severe injuries in these adverse situations; the same goes for shin and toe protection.
Riding boots are usually made of leather that offers increased abrasion protection and keeps your feet dry on a rainy day. It is also essential to choose boots with oil-resistant soles to prevent you from slipping.
When choosing a perfect jacket for your next ride, bear in mind the “fit, functionality, fashion” rule from the beginning of our guide. Quality motorcycle jackets should be comfortable and well-adjusted to weather conditions while expressing your personal style.
Leather jackets have been bikers’ signature look for years. A leather jacket is unmatched in protection and durability. However, it is not entirely waterproof, and it does not “breathe” well. Therefore, if you want a riding jacket that keeps you dry and provides excellent airflow, you should turn to synthetic materials.
As we stated in the beginning, many people stick to riding in their jeans, overlooking numerous advantages of riding pants. First, they provide much-needed ventilation and protection from environmental conditions. Secondly, first-class riding pants offer abrasive resistance and additional enforcements to parts of the leg that touch the ground during a fall.
Visibility on the road is one of the crucial factors that riders need to pay attention to when choosing appropriate motorcycle pants. So, whether you opt for denim riding pants or textile pants, make sure they are bright-colored or have some retro-reflective parts.
These pants are the outer layer of the riding gear, meaning you can wear your regular clothes underneath them. You can also add a lining for riding in the cold and remove this layer when the weather gets warmer.
We had already said when we talked about riding jackets that every material has its advantages and drawbacks. Leather pants will offer you superb protection, but they are not the best choice for long routes because you will start sweating quickly. On the other hand, textile pants are highly absorbent and provide excellent ventilation, but they won’t protect you from cold. You should always choose riding pants that suit your riding style, weather conditions, and the terrain you plan to ride on.
Instead of buying riding jackets or pants separately, you can opt for a race suit. These suits come as a one-piece or two-piece riding gear item, and they offer the same level of protection, ventilation, and visibility as regular jackets and pants. However, they may be the best option for keeping you dry because of the higher level of waterproofing provided.
Many riders underestimate the significance of a reliable pair of gloves when buying Powersports riding equipment. However, you should reserve a part of your budget for riding gloves because they offer protection and enhanced functionality.
In case of an accident, riders instinctively put their hands forward in an attempt to break the fall, exposing them to serious injuries. As with jackets and pants, the choice of material for the gloves will depend on your needs and preferences.
For many riders, leather is always the go-to, and it is an excellent choice. Leather gloves often have additional protection on the knuckles, wrists, palms, and back of the hand. There are also well-blended combinations of leather and textile that offer higher abrasive resistance and water protection.
You can choose from several types of gloves, depending on your needs and budget. For example, a full race glove is light, and it offers high-level knuckle and wrist protection accompanied by excellent ventilation. If this design exceeds your budget, a touring glove may be the right choice for you; it also offers ventilation and warming, meaning that it can adjust to various weather conditions. You should keep trying out different models of gloves until you find one that fits your hand perfectly because this will improve your performance.
6. Body Armor
This part of Powersports riding gear turns riders into “Robocops” while ensuring that they stay unharmed in case of a motorcycle accident. Body armor consists of several different protective items that you attach to your jacket or pants for increased protection.
Body armor pieces are the armored vest and the back protector that now come with integrated airbags. You need to pay close attention to the fit here because the body armor you put over your jacket needs to fit snugly without limiting your movements. These armors may also come as one-piece shirts. Other pieces of protective riding gear include smaller items that safeguard specific parts of your body. These are knee braces, elbow pads, and shin guards. All these are adjustable to provide full protection without limiting movements.
7. Eye protection
If you don’t want a full-face helmet with a large visor, you should consider other protective gear options for your eyes. There are numerous eyewear options on the market specially designed to protect your eyes during a ride. They are tight-fitting, preventing dust and other debris from getting in your eyes while protecting you from impact at the same time.
For those who are into retro vibes, goggles may be a perfect choice. You can find colorfully-designed goggles to make a fun addition to your motorcycle jacket.
Whatever piece of eye protection you may choose will be more useful than standard sunglasses. So don’t use sunglasses to protect your eyes while riding; you may look sharp wearing them, but you won’t be protected.
8. Ear Protection
Everyone who has experienced a dirt bike ride knows how much the ears suffer. Many riders neglect ear protection, but we think it is essential. Earplugs are all you need to provide your ears with sufficient protection, and you can find a pack of those in any hardware store. They will eliminate so-called “white noise” from the wind blowing over your head. They will also tone down traffic noises, but only to a certain level so that you will still be able to hear what is going on around you and act accordingly.
While there’s no denying that quality riding gear makes you look cooler, it’s important to recognize how wearing the right gear also helps ensure you are protected from the elements and that you “ride safe so you can ride again.”