The motocross racing sport is getting more popular by the day. Dirt bike races were not as popular a few decades ago as they are today, but now, everyone that loves adrenaline and motorcycles can do it.
In 2019, the motocross industry was worth around $1.7 billion, and with a growth of 4.5% CAGR, it is expected to reach $3.1 billion in 2027. These numbers speak for the volume of interest and participation and explain how many new riders are joining every day.
Being part of the track requires thorough preparation. You can’t just walk in it on your KTM without the best MX gear on yourself. These races are highly dangerous for those who are not adequately prepared. If you’re about to take part in one, or at least just want to have an off-road drive on your Yamaha, Honda, or whatever you love as a dirt bike brand, then you need to be fully equipped.
In this article, I am sharing the ten most valuable pieces of equipment that you must have before hopping on that bike or considering riding motocross professionally. I go deeper into research and explain why having such gear is a necessity and how you can choose the right one for you. To make this article more convenient for you, I added the best gear brands for each equipment category that I and my fellow riders think is the best.
- Body Armor
- Neck Brace
- Knee and Elbow Braces
- Dirt Bike; Motocross Pants
- Dirt Bike; Motocross Shirt
- Dirt Bike; Motocross Gloves
- Dirt Bike Goggles
Safety always comes first, and these bikes have a lot of torque that, combined with the rough terrain, can easily make you lose control. If you want to know what the best motocross gear is, check out our detailed list below:
1. Full-face Helmet
Everyone who’s about to hit the motocross track must wear a full-face helmet. Only trial rides allow an open-face helmet as these rides are performed under very low speeds and are meant for gaining experience or getting to know the track.
If you’re about to get some serious driving and competing against other dirt bike raiders, then a full-face helmet is a must.
Why is the helmet crucial?
Getting on a dirt bike and pressing that throttle handle is a fantastic experience, but with it, a lot of responsibility comes too, both for yourself and the others around you. Most beginners use 2-stroke engines, but the advanced ones love the 4-stroke engines because they have way more throttle power.
Even the most experienced motocross riders can lose control at some point. These machines are extremely powerful, and they can go from 0-60 Mph in a matter of seconds. That means just a slight loss of concentration, and you can fall off the bike.
Since dirt bikes are used for races off-road or on tracks where all kinds of obstacles can cause serious head injuries, you understand why the helmet is crucial. These helmets are not made just like any other out there. They require exceptional standards that will protect the driver from even the heaviest impacts.
How to know which helmet is perfect?
Every helmet has its features that differ them from the competition. However, you must know what the essentials are and use them as a guide when choosing the one that fits you best. Here’s a list of features that your helmet must have:
- Safety certificate (DOT, FIM, ECE, ACU, or SNELL are excellent)
- Rotational impact protection
- Emergency removal system
All of these features can differ from one helmet model to another. Depending on the brand and the model, they may have various technologies implemented to make just enough difference to form a higher or lower price. Since almost no one has an unlimited budget, these tech advancements can truly make a difference for you while choosing the best one.
It’s crucial to know that the list above is a must. Variations in technology are acceptable if you have the budget for them, but understand that it’s essential for the helmet to save your life eventually. That means, look for a certificate and safety features rather than a perfect design.
Safest Dirt Bike Helmet: 6D ATR-2 Merge Helmet
Probably the best brand when it comes to safety and helmets is 6D. These guys are entirely devoted to creating the ultimate safe dirt bike helmet. Everyone that crashed with their bikes and used these helmets claims they are the safest product out there.
The reason behind this claim is that 6D helmets are made with their patented ODS (Omni-Directional Suspension) technology. It is a unique design that manages the kinetic energy when the rider falls off the bike. It lowers the impact on the brain during the impact, avoiding fatal injuries.
Aside from the safety features, the 6D ATR-2 Merge Helmet is also highly comfortable, have a great ventilation system, excellent visor, and is very lightweight. All these features are a reason enough to get it.
Why is 6D ATR-2 Merge Helmet is the best recommendation as a motocross helmet?
- ODS technology with 27 dampers
- Emergency release cheek pads
- ATR-2 visor system
- Two different densities and types of foam inside
- PVC outer shell
- “Brow Rib” design
- Spine protection
2. Body Armor
The second most valuable safety gear for motocross is body armor. Falling off the bike and hitting your unprotected head may cause instant death, but not protecting your body and breaking a couple of ribs can also cause serious injuries.
This is why the pros always wear protective body armor made of durable yet comfortable materials. Its use should protect your torso, and without it, you may be in great danger while dirt bike racing.
How to know which body armor is excellent?
You’ll find tons of products on the market that their manufacturers will claim to be perfect. Not all of them are, though. Before getting anything, learn more about the essential features that every body armor must have.
First, you must choose what type fits you best. You can choose between bulky armor and a compact one. The first one is heavy, robust, and probably a little uncomfortable but will give you the ultimate protection.
The second one is minimalistic, provides easy movement and comfort but will lack some of the previous type’s safety features. It’s up to you to choose between feeling free and risky on the track or feeling a bit trapped but knowing that nothing can go wrong.
In both options, you should never ignore durability, material, and reputation. Most riders invest more in the helmet but ignore the features that come with the body armor. Understand that this item will protect your ribs and spine. Serious injury of both may leave you paralyzed. Always choose a well-known brand that has proven in the motocross field to create excellent armors.
Our Pick for Body Armor: Leatt 6.5 Body Protector
One of the greatest challenges in manufacturing motocross body armors is getting the right size for different dirt bike riders. The Leatt 6.5 is the best in this field. Everyone that used this armor claims that there’s no other armor that fits better. The 3DF AirFit ventilated soft impact foam keeps your body breathing and makes you feel as comfortable wearing it as possible.
At the same time, the CE-tested and certified product provides the ultimate protection of the torso. The back and the front of the armor are connected perfectly with straps placed inside the tabs so that the entire armor has zero unwanted movements and causing discomfort or danger during impact.
Why is Leatt 6.5 the best Body Armor?
- Total Leatt protection score of 25
- 3DF AirFit soft impact foam with ventilation
- CE tested and certified
- 3D design
- Anti-odor compression sock
- Built-in shoulder and elbow protection
- Kidney protection belt
- FIM certified
- FFM certified
- Removable front and back plate option
3. Neck Brace
The connection between your head and your torso is, of course, the neck. Another part of your body that is crucial to protect since an accident impacting both means twisting the neck. As we all know, neck injuries can be fatal.
The neck brace was not a standard part of the equipment in the past, but technology in 2021 is so advanced that today everyone should have one. With this item, your neck is always protected, no matter the type of accident.
How do neck braces work?
The neck brace is made to limit the movement of the helmet when there’s an accident. Dirt bike riders move in all possible directions when they fall off their bikes, which means the helmet and the head can go in a completely different direction from the hands, for example.
A movement like this can easily twist the neck and cause whiplash. In some cases, this might even mean death. So, to prevent a severe injury, the neck brace will hold the independent movement of the helmet, causing the entire head, neck, and body to stay connected and prevent hyperextension.
How to choose one?
Lots of motocross riders complain about the rigidness of the neck braces. They say it doesn’t allow them to move as wanted, thus causing situations where they can’t see everything clearly and prevent collisions with others.
However, the entire purpose of the neck brace is to do precisely that – cause rigidness in case of sudden head movement and prevent serious injuries.
What many drivers don’t realize is that they choose the wrong size when looking for neck braces. If the neck brace is sitting too high, it will cause discomfort. If the rider chooses the right one – they will have enough room to move their head and won’t feel disadvantaged in their driving.
One vital feature to mind, though, is weight. When you put on all the other MX gear on yourself, every ounce counts. That means choosing a durable and lightweight head brace is ideal.
Our Pick for a Neck Brace: Leatt GPX 5.5
When you’re getting a neck brace, you want it to fit with the body armor, which is why we’re choosing the Leatt GPX 5.5 neck brace. When you’re choosing your neck brace, it’s crucial to get the right size. Don’t get the same size as you did with the armor, as not everyone has the same neck, shoulders, and chest size.
However, one of the best features of the GPX 5.5 is that it probably has the best adjustability system than any other neck brace on the market.
It uses the ALPT (Alternative Load Path Technology), which helps the forces coming from a huge impact be redirected away from your neck and cause fatal injuries. The chassis is made of fiberglass-reinforced polyamide, and even though the new version 6.5 is made of carbon fiber, the older version has proven perfect.
The entire design is made minimalistic. You won’t feel you’re wearing it, and it will still be beneficial in those moments of crashing. It is highly comfortable, and with the three levels of adjustability, you can say it is the perfect fit for any dirt bike rider.
Why is Leatt GPX 5.5 the best neck brace from other motocross choices?
- CE tested and certified
- Fiberglass reinforced polyamide chassis
- 3 levels of adjustability
- Additional SureFit adjusters
- 4-angle rear thoracic strut adjustments
- Alternative Load Path Technology
- Emergency release mechanism
Every beginner in dirt biking will underestimate the value of good motocross boots. The experienced ones know that this gear is as important as any other. Yeah, it’s not a life-saver as the previous items we talked about, but you still can’t go out there without boots.
Why are boots so important?
The motocross boots are the first defense line against the harsh terrain a dirt bike drives on. Especially if you ride enduro, your feet are going to face all kinds of dangers – stones, branches, mud, water, sand, dirt, and all sorts of other little things.
If you have no protection on your feet and legs, all of this will cause a lot of pain. Yes, you’ll need to wash them off the dirt afterward, but that goes for all of your equipment without saying.
Additionally, the boots are there to provide the most necessary grip between your feet and the pegs. All dirt bike races are driven in extreme conditions, which means there will be tons of mud and water causing slipping. If you have no ideal grip, you’ll not be able to control the bike.
Pros drive their bikes to the limits. They jump, turn, slide, and make unbelievable moves. None of this would be possible without the boots because these kinds of actions often cause ankle fractures. Just slightly wrong lending can twist the ankles without the proper boot protection.
How to choose the best dirt bike boots for you?
There’s a difference between enduro and motocross dirt biking. Choose the right boots depending on which one you’re about to do. As we mentioned previously, those going off-road will face tons of obstacles, which means they need more toe and ankle protection. They also need more durable boots’ materials so that stones and branches won’t break through them.
The motocross riders will face more impact on the ankles but less pressure from outside items. That means they need a high-end boot that will protect their ankle injuries.
Some of the most valuable features to look for when choosing boots are:
- Lateral ankle protection
- Full leather uppers
- TPU protection
- Ankle flexion panels
- Inside ankle padding
- Stretch gaiter
- Slim toe box
Our Pick for MX boots: Gaerne SG-12
Gaerne is an Italian brand, and the SG-12 is their top-of-the-line product for motocross boots. Italians are known for making footwear, and they are not making an exception for dirt bike boots.
These boots are probably the most durable ones on the market. At the same time, the design is made to provide exceptional comfort as well.
Everyone knows that protection is the number one mission for the MX boots, and the Dual Stage Pivot System provides precisely that. This technology offers natural legs and feet movement and provides support in moments of heavy compression when you’re performing jumps.
Why is Gaerne SG-12 the best MX boot?
- Acronos gaiter
- Shock-absorbing heel cup
- Adjustable on many levels
- DSP system
- Memory cell foam inside
- Replaceable components
- Supportive “Razorback” strut
- Heat-resistant grip guard
- Stainless toe cap
- Reinforced toe box
If you are interested about motocross boots for your girl, we identified the top 5 models for her. Go check them out.
5. Knee and elbow braces
With everything we talked about above, and the knee and elbow braces, you might feel like a warrior in the crusades, but this is the only way to be sure that injury is not going to be part of the motocross experience you’re about to have on your dirt bike.
The knees and the elbows are the parts of your body that will get most of the impact if you fall. They are incredibly fragile, which is why you want to protect them.
At the same time, the knees are receiving a lot of tension from the uneven terrain and the jumps with the bike, which is why this MX gear is so valuable. A slight miscalculation and wrong movement with your legs can cause a knee fracture.
How to choose the right knee and elbow braces?
Both are made with similar technology, with the difference that knee braces will have an additional compression force support. They both need to provide perfect agility of the joints and allow smooth hand and leg movement but must be durable enough to withhold the impact when falling.
At the same time, they must be lightweight and comfortable. Look for items that are going to fit you perfectly. Cheap materials might cause rubbing and scratches, making you focus more on the pain than the driving. Some riders use socks or sleeves to go under the braces to protect themselves from these kinds of discomforts fully.
When it comes to knee compression support, looking for the correct size is essential. Also, the braces on your knees should limit the motion depending on your needs. This is done through special adjustments on the brace itself, supporting heavy impacts on the knees and protecting you.
Our Pick for Best Knee Braces: Mobius X8
The experienced team of Mobius managed to come out with what seems to be the best knee braces so far with their latest product called X8. The foundation of these braces is made of glass-reinforced nylon, which makes them so lightweight.
Their Continuous Cable Routing System (CCRS) manages to hold the braces in place, protecting your entire leg from injury. Knowing that the X8 covers everything from your ties to your shins makes you sure that nothing will go wrong in case of an accident.
Another great thing when protection is in question is the system of adjustment behind the knee that acts as an additional ligament and strengthens the joints at the same time, providing extra comfort and agility.
Why is Mobius X8 the best knee brace for motocross?
- Continuous Cable Routing System
- Glass-reinforced nylon frame
- Covers nearly your entire leg
- EVA foam and rubber internal padding
- Figure-8 adjustment pad
- Aluminum hinge plates
- Velcro straps
Our Pick for Best Elbow Guards: Leatt 3DF Hybrid
What you want out of elbow guards are comfort and protection. The Leatt 3DF offers both. With the silicone coated X-strap, you can adjust them just as you want and ensure they won’t fall off. However, make sure you get the proper size, as most users complain about larger sizes being too small for them.
When it comes to comfort, be sure that you’re making a perfect choice. They use perforated sleeves with ideal ventilation. Additionally, the 3DF impact foam provides the best comfort possible. Another amazing feature is that they are made ergonomic, so you won’t even feel they are there.
Why is Leatt 3DF the best motocross elbow guard?
- Deflecting hard shell
- 3DF soft foam
- MoistureCool wicking fabric
- Silicone coated X-strap
- CE certified
6. Motocross & Dirt Bike Pants
The boots will protect your feet and lower legs, but the debris you might encounter while driving won’t stay only a few feet above the ground. Some stones, mud, and sand will surely hit your upper body parts too, which is why you need specially designed pants.
The pants are part of the MX gear made from materials to protect your legs and provide comfort at the same time. One of the primary materials is leather, which is known as durable and comfortable. The second material is polyester – easy to maintain, highly durable, and capable of withstanding impact from hard materials.
How to choose the best dirt bike pants for motocross?
As mentioned many times previously, there’s a difference in MX gear when you’re riding motocross and enduro. If you’re competing on the track, you want your pants to be lightweight, flexible, and provide more agility. That’s because there aren’t too many obstacles on the track, and you need more flexibility than protection.
If you’re going enduro, then you’re facing all kinds of objects that will jump off as roost and eventually collide with your body. The pants for enduro riding should be made of more protective materials. Most enduro pants will have a kevlar included for the most vital parts, so make sure you get the right ones for your needs.
Our Pick for Best Dirt Bike Pants: Fox Racing Legion Pants
When you’re about to go to the trail, you want the Fox racing legion pants. These are built perfectly and are the latest from the brand. Made of polyester and full-grain cow leather on the knees, they will feel perfectly comfortable while wearing them.
Some of the features coming with them can be very helpful in some situations. For example, the extra zipper vents are easy to open or closed, depending on whether you’d like some cooling off or not. They stretch easily and provide the comfort you need.
Why are Fox Racing Legion Pants the best dirt bike pants?
- Polyester made with full-grain cow leather on the knees
- Two zipper vents
- Cordura ripstop construction
- TruMotion zonal stretch panels
- Triple-needle stitching in some areas
- Zippered pocket
7. Motocross & Dirt Bike Shirt
Similar to pants, you need a shirt to protect your torso. You might wear body armor, but this item will only cover the most vital parts that may cause serious injuries, and you need to protect the rest with the shirt.
Your stomach won’t suffer a life-threatening injury when you fall off the bike, but you should still take care of it if you’re going enduro because of the same reasons – debris shooting up from your tires and acting like shrapnel.
If you’re going to the track, you need the right motocross gear. The MX shirt is built differently than the enduro one. Look for a comfortable shirt when going MX – one that will help you perform the jumps easily, and make you comfortable while riding.
When you’re going enduro, you need one that will ideally be made of polyester and leather as these are the best materials. If you wear elbow braces, you’ll have the elbows protected, and there’s no need for kevlar parts like we use for the pants.
Whether you’re into motocross or enduro, it’s still worth getting a matching shirt with your pants. The design might not be essential when safety is in question, but if you want the ultimate experience, you want a shirt that will fit your style and match the pants.
A crucial issue to mind when choosing the shirt is the size. Many riders will choose a small size because they think that fits them better, but it’s worth knowing that improper sizing can cause issues with the ventilation and make you uncomfortable and sweaty. Choose the right size rather than trying to look like a model.
Our Pick for Best Dirt Bike Shirt: Fox Racing Flexair
As we mentioned, it’s great from a design perspective to have matching pants and shirts, and that’s just one of the reasons why we chose the Fox Racing Flexair jersey.
This shirt is made of 96% polyester and 4% elastane, which means it is highly flexible and will take everything you throw at it. Because of the material, it is extremely lightweight but still highly durable.
The main fabric is called TruDri that will move the sweat away and keep your body dry while driving. It also features active-fit sleeves for maximum breathability and airflow.
Why is Fox Racing Flexair the best dirt bike shirt?
- Made of 96% polyester
- TruDri technology
- Active-fit sleeves
- Heat transfer technology
8. Motocross & Dirt Bike Gloves
In motocross riding, almost all the action comes from your hands. The clutch, throttle, and brakes are all controlled with your hands and obviously steering too. That means you need to have control over these things at all times if you want to be both safe and keep on driving.
Your gloves will give you the perfect grip, which is crucial for riding perfectly. At the same time, your hands are protected from the eventual cold and dirt impact.
What is the main purpose of the gloves?
The main reason why you need gloves is to achieve perfect grip with the equipment we mentioned. Riding barehanded will make you slip the handles and lose all control. The gloves won’t allow this to happen. They are made to keep you on the bike.
Aside from the grip, the gloves should make you feel comfortable wearing them and provide maximum ability to work just as you would if you didn’t wear anything. That means they must be both protective and flexible.
How to choose the right MX gloves?
Since the gloves need to provide perfect grip, protection, flexibility, airflow, comfort, and softness, the manufacturers need to implement various materials inside. Although enduro gloves are a bit more rigid than motocross ones, they are pretty much the same.
Most brands use a broad mix of materials in which leather and synthetics are a must. Inside the gloves, there will be padding just enough to provide comfort but provide the grip and the feeling that you’re in control.
The outside of the gloves is the most important. Various materials ranging from rubber to plastic will cover the palm and the lever fingers that are crucial in providing the perfect grip. One final issue to mind is the size. Make sure the gloves fit you perfectly. Don’t get those that will feel loose when you wear them. These are too big for you – look for a smaller size.
Our Pick for Best Gloves: Fox Racing Airline Gloves
You can tell that we love this brand, but they really do make some amazing stuff. When it comes to gloves, the Airline from Fox Racing is what we prefer. Made of a combination of materials, they provide everything you need. They have 63% polyamide-nylon, 15% neoprene, 12% polyurethane, 6% elastane, 4% silicone.
If you know a little chemistry, you can tell which one of them goes to what parts of the gloves to provide maximum security and comfort. They feature a minimalistic design to provide excellent comfort and are also extra lightweight because of it.
They use the Clarino technology to provide the perfect grip TruFeel silicone for the fingertips allowing true sensation like you wear nothing. When ordering, make sure you follow the size chart, so you have the right fit.
Why are Fox Racing Airline the best dirt bike gloves?
- A mix of materials used
- Minimalistic design
- 4-way stretch nylon
- Clarino technology
- TruFeel technology
- Compression-molded cuff
- Silicone fingerprint
9. Motocross Handguards
The handguards are rarely used on the track or when you’re going motocross racing as there’s no need for them. However, going enduro, nature adventures, or doing extreme MX, means you’re going to need them.
They are made of metal and durable plastic that will protect your hands from objects potentially hurting you. The biggest danger for your hands are branches from surrounding trees that might give you too much pain as you pass through them and make you let go of the handle.
What do you need to know about handguards?
The handguards are mounted on the bike itself. Made of highly durable materials like metal, they’ll withhold any impact coming their way, protecting your hands. When choosing handguards as part of the best MX gear, make sure they provide the bike’s aerodynamics as you don’t want them acting like sails and putting you off balance.
Another crucial thing about them is that you must choose the adequate ones for the type of adventure you’re about to do. If you’re going off-road, make sure you’re not getting motocross handguards, as these will protect against the roost of your tires but won’t withstand heavy impact.
Our Pick for Best Enduro Handguards: Cycra Ultra Probend HMC
Hitting the motocross trail means you need the full wrap-styled Cycra Ultra Probend HMC handguards. They provide all the security and durability that you’re looking for. They are made from aluminum and are extremely easy to mount, giving you enough room and movement of your hands.
Why are Cycra Ultra Probend HMX the best full wrap MX handguards?
- Aluminum made
- Highly durable
- Easy to mount
- Provide extra room for hand movement
- Position customization
- Ergonomic design
Our Pick for Best Racing Handguards: Cycra Rebound Race Pack
When it comes to flag style, you’ll want the Cycra Rebound Race Pack. The package comes with three different parts – shields, mounts, and hardware. They are also made of aluminum that can withhold even a strong impact. It is easily mounted with three simple steps and provides maximum adjustability.
Why are Cycra Rebound Race Pack the best flag-style handguards?
- Aluminum made
- Easy to mount
- Patented folding shield
- In-molded rubber edges
10. Motocross & Dirt Bike Goggles
The last item on our list, but definitely far from the least, is the goggles. You can’t get out there and have a serious motocross ride without the goggles in your eyes. Some manufacturers offer full-face helmets with visors, but most riders use their favorite goggles because they provide more options.
Why are the goggles necessary?
When you’re riding a dirt bike, be sure that a ton of dirt will be all over your body with your eyes included. Unless you protect them, you won’t be able to see anything. Not being able to see means only one thing – ending your ride.
The goggles will also provide the perfect drive by taking care of the UV rays and the fog you create from sweating. Modern goggles will take care of all issues you might have during the ride.
What to mind when choosing goggles?
Perfectly seeing the surroundings, the opponents, and the obstacles coming your way is essential in all types of dirt biking. That means you need goggles that will be big enough to cover your face and provide perfect vision.
Constant head movement means that they need to be perfectly adjustable for any face, but at the same time, they must be durable enough to hold the impact of the roost, dirt, branches, and anything else coming their way.
Look for goggles that are made durable. The best material for them is polyurethane, with lens to help you battle the fog and the UV rays. Depending on the weather conditions, you’ll need lens with different tint colors to reject the negative impact of the outside light.
Most goggle lens have green, black, or grey tint as these colors are perfect for low light conditions but also for sunny, cloudy, or foggy days. The only weather condition for which you’ll need a different tint is snow. In this case, you’ll want a blue, purple, pink, or red tint.
Our Pick for best Dirt Bike Goggles: 100% Armega Goggles
Three things are essential for the dirt bike goggles as part of the best MX gear: have flawless adjustment, perfect vision, and be comfortable. The Armega 100% goggles have all three. The strap going behind your head is made entirely from silicone, and the front has triple-layer face foam with perforation holes providing outstanding ventilation and comfort.
The lens is somewhat revolutionary as the system they use manages to end the distortion of objects you see when you first put on the goggles. They also feature a quick-release system in case you’re in danger, and the overall design is made to be as durable as possible and able to take every hit from the surroundings.
Why are 100% Armega the best dirt bike Goggles?
- Ultra HD lens
- 6-point locking tabs
- Strong and durable frame
- Highly durable 2-mm lens
- Silicone straps
- Quick-release system
- Perfect ventilation
- Triple-layer face foam
- Removable nose guard
The sport of dirt biking is exciting, which is why people of all ages love it. Even kids at the age of just three start practicing it and enjoy it while riding their small electric bikes. However, safety for them is of utmost importance. Making sure they are fully protected is imperative for everyone. Click here to read more on dirt bike gear for adults.
Adults too must pay attention to the best motocross gear as their eventual injury is much harder to heal. Some injuries may leave them out of the tracks forever. Click here for statistics on dirt bike injuries.
The items we talked about above are crucial for everyone that loves this sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or professional; getting on the bike and going on the track means you must be fully protected.