What is the First Thing You Do When You Buy a Dirt Bike?
April 21, 20229 min read
You’ve just bought a shiny new dirt bike and the feeling is nothing less than exhilarating. Now it’s time to ride… but before you fire up your new bike, there are a few extras that you’ll need to make your riding experience that much better.
The first thing you do when you buy a dirt bike is to make a list of the extra gear you will need to safely ride the bike, such as riding gear if you haven’t already invested in some, a stand on which to rest the bike, a system for transporting the bike, and more.
Once you have the basic accessories and gear for riding your new Motocross bike, you’ll be ready to hit the dirt track. Let’s take a look at exactly what you should get to make that first ride unforgettable.
Dirt Bike Accessories That Every Owner Should Have
As with any sport, you need certain pieces of equipment and gear, some more than others. Motocross or dirt-biking isn’t only just about the bike – you need a range of additional accessories and gear to ride whether it's for leisure or competitive purposes.
The first and most important pieces of equipment are your racing gear – the apparel you wear when you ride. As the name suggests, dirt biking is done on rough, unpaved tracks that can be laid out on a course or out in the wilderness, and wearing the right clothing is essential for protection. Racing gear includes:
A full-face helmet is probably the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for dirt bike riding to protect yourself from sustaining major head injuries. A full-face helmet protects your face and head from branches, rocks, and small stones that are flung up by the wheels, as well as injuries like concussions and other head injuries resulting from a crash.
The helmets used for dirt biking are specifically designed for power sports and riding on rough, uneven terrain and can save you from sustaining serious head injuries. Always look for a U.S. DOT-approved helmet or a SNELL-approved helmet as these provide the best protection.
Eye protection is also very important when riding dirt bikes as you’ll come across plenty of sand, dust, wind, and branches when you are flying around a dirt track. Off-road helmets don’t tend to come with built-in eye protection as standard road bike helmets do, so it’s a good idea to invest in a good pair of riding goggles to protect your eyes.
The J.A.C. Goggles by Risk Racing are premium quality riding goggles that are designed to provide a protective layer between your eyes and the combat zone of rocks and rubble, while at the same time providing a massive field of view.
Your hands are one of the points of contact when riding dirt bikes and have a lot of work to do while riding from keeping you in contact with the bike to accelerating and braking. So, it goes without saying that it’s important to keep them protected.
When riding over rough and uneven terrain, the grip on the handlebars can change significantly, so it’s important to not only have a pair of gloves that will protect your hands, but ones that also able to withstand the rigors of your surroundings, as well as the weather, while still allowing for a good grip.
Jerseys and pants are other essential pieces of protective gear for dirt biking that prevent your skin from getting scratched, cut, or burned. Jerseys should be lightweight and breathable with a zippered venting system to avoid overheating, like the VENTilate range of jerseys from Risk Racing.
Dirt bike pants should be well-fitted to prevent getting snagged and made from tough, abrasion-resistant materials to prevent tearing. Most dirt bike pants have a leather coating around the knee for extra protection from the exhaust pipe and added grip. Check out the VENTilate range of dirt bike pants from Risk Racing for the best products on the market.
Dirt bike boots are as essential as helmets for protection against burns and other injuries from the impacts of crashing. Dirt bike riding boots need to fit extremely well to protect the ankles, feet, calves, and shins and must be able to maintain a good grip on the footpegs and the side of the bike.
Your legs are exposed to many dangers when dirt bike riding from being close to the exhaust on the bike to being on the frontline for getting hit by branches, stones, rocks, and other flying debris from the track.
It’s important not to skimp when buying boots – make sure you get a pair of good quality MX boots that will combine compression zones for absorbing bumps and shocks, flexibility zones for comfort and a good range of motion, and body armor for ultra-protection of the ankles, calves, and feet.
Palm protectors are another piece of apparel that dirt bikers use to protect their hands against blisters from the grips of the handlebars of the bike. Blisters can cause bikers to lose their grip on the bike and risk crashing. Palm protectors also help to reduce vibration from the bike.
Risk Racing’sPalm Protectors offer full coverage protection of the palm, as well as the saddle area between the thumb and the index that tend to blister. They are made from lightweight, breathable material that prevents friction and rubbing.
Dirt biking is tough on the knees and knee braces are vital for not only protecting your knees against flying debris but also for providing stability on the bike. Knee braces also protect the knees against hyperextension and hyperflexion, which can lead to lifelong problems.
Make sure your knee braces are well-fitted and comfortable – the best bet is to get custom-made braces that will provide the snuggest fit. If your bike socks aren’t thigh-high, use breathable knee brace sleeves to stop any rubbing that might occur from the braces and control sweating.
Other pieces of protective gear for dirt bike riders can include:
Body armor (chest protector and roost protector)
Dirt bike socks
Essential Dirt Bike Gear Items
Once you have kitted yourself out with all the necessary protective clothing for dirt bike riding, there are a few essential pieces of gear for your bike that will help you keep the machine in tip-top shape and keep you riding smoothly and safely.
Unless you are lucky enough to live on a farm or close to dirt tracks that you can ride there on your bike, you will need to transport your dirt bike to the riding destination. There are several ways to transport a dirt bike – you can put the bike on the back of a truck or a trailer with a ramp and secure it with old-school tie-downs or you can use newer technology like the “Lock-N-Load” Moto Transport System from Risk Racing.
This high-tech system holds the dirt bike securely in place in the back of a trailer or truck without the use of floor anchors, tie-straps, or wheel wedges (chocks). This system takes the pressure off of the fork seals during transit and the lack of tie straps going every which way provides extra space for other bikes and/or gear.
Another essential piece of gear for your dirt bike is a stand to store your bike or work on your bike safely. The RR-1 Ride-On Lift Stand from Risk Racing is a premium patented bike stand that allows you to simply push or ride the bike onto a lowered lift, which then rises and locks securely into place as you step down off the bike. The lightweight and stable construction are ideal for standing your dirt bike securely at home or in the pits at a race, and don’t forget your factory pit mat to keep the fluid spills in check.
The Risk Racing A.T.S. stand is another type of stand for dirt bikes on which the chassis of the bike rests with the tires in the air. The stand can be adjusted for all brands, models, and years of dirt bikes to get both wheels off the ground and has aluminum turnbuckles with locknuts that allow for the bike to be locked in place.
Fusion and Mud Grips
There is nothing more frustrating than a slippery grip while riding. Fusion grips ensure that you have a solid grip throughout your ride without the hassle of glue and wires.
Mud grips are another great piece of equipment that prevents grips from becoming slippery in muddy conditions. Risk Racing Mud Grips simply slip over the bike’s regular grips, preventing slippage and loss of control, as well as reducing the chances of arm pump from white-knuckle gripping.
Dirt biking is… well…dirty and mud is all part of the package. Removing the mud from your bike is important to keep your bike in top-tip condition, however, using your hands, sticks, or a screwdriver is not ideal and a power wash may not always be readily available.
A mud-specific tool like the Risk Racing Mud Axe is a piece of equipment that is specifically designed to remove excess mud from your bike with ease.
Other pieces of gear you can also get for your dirt bike include:
Chain maintenance kit
Filter maintenance kit
Top Tips for New Dirt Bike Riders
You’ve got the bike, the clothing, and all the extra bike gear - now it’s time to hit the track. Here are a few top tips to keep in mind if you are a new dirt bike rider.
1. It’s NOT Like Riding a Bike
Riding a dirt bike is nothing like riding a road bike or a bicycle as your seat is completely different. When you sit on a motorcycle or bicycle, you tend to sit with all your weight in the saddle with the elbows down.
On a dirt bike, you’ll need to sit slightly forward and squeeze the bike with your knees to control the bike and absorb any bumps. Your quads should be engaged and your weight on the footpegs. The knees should always be slightly bent to absorb bumps and shocks and the elbows high for better balance and power. You should squeeze the bike with your knees and use your leg power to tilt and turn the bike.
2. Practice Controls with the Dirt Bike Off
If you are new to dirt bike riding and haven’t been on a motocross bike before, it’s a good idea to get the hang of the controls while the bike is off. Learn where the brake and gear shift are, practice shifting with your foot without looking down, and practice using the clutch until you are confident that you’ll be able to do it comfortably while riding.
3. Try a Dirt Road for Your First Ride
The best place to learn dirt biking is on an old dirt road where you can use the bike and practice without any obstacles like rocks. Start on a flat road and progress to one with gentle hills and slopes. This will give you the confidence on the bike to tackle more difficult tracks and will help prevent any injuries from occurring on the first few rides.
4. Get a Hang of the Clutch – It’s Not the Same as a Car!
A dirt bike clutch isn’t like a car’s clutch – the bike clutch is multi-plated and sits in a pool of oil, so you can get away with riding the clutch slightly. Another difference is that the clutch on a dirt bike is used to gear up, but not down.
It’s a good idea to practice using the clutch while the bike is off to get the hang of it before hitting the road.
5. Learn the Basics of Maintaining Your Dirt Bike
Learning the basics of maintaining your bike and keeping it in good condition will save you a lot of time and money. You don’t have to be a full-blown mechanic to learn the basics such as changing the oil and air filters, checking tire pressure, and lubricating your chains. YouTube has many videos that will help you take care of your dirt bike.
Maintenance basics should include:
Oil Change: dirt bikes require an oil change after 2-4 hours of riding, but luckily this is a very simple thing to do. Remember to drain out all the old oil before putting new oil in.
Air Filter Change: All parts of a dirt bike will more often be caked in mud and dirt, and this includes the air filter. Remove the air filter frequently to clean it and give it a fresh coat of oil.
Check Tire Pressure: It’s essential to maintain the correct pressure in your tires to maximize the performance of the bike so it’s a good idea to get a tire pressure gauge so you can keep an eye on your tire pressure at all times. Most dirt bike tires take 15 pounds of pressure or less.
Keep the Chains Lubed: Again, the chains of a dirt bike will be caked and clogged with dirt and mud, so it’s important to keep them clean and well-oiled.
Trickle Charge the Battery: During the winter or off-season, keep the battery on a trickle charge to maintain power, otherwise, you’ll end up having to buy a new battery every year.
Dirt biking is rough, tough, dirty and nothing less than exhilarating, but it’s important to have all the right gear to make your off-road riding experience all the better. Match your beautiful new dirt bike with the same standard of accessories, apparel, and gear so that when you do ride off into the great blue yonder, you feel safe and secure.