For both new and seasoned riders, choosing the right safety gear is a first step towards enjoying your ride to the fullest.
My life is motorcycling. It is both passion and profession for me. There are many aspects of what I do, but the common thread which keeps it all together is safety. Keeping myself and my Baja tour clients safe is a key part of what I do. Choosing the right gear is a first step.
I choose my personal gear based on both form and function. It is not uncommon for me to spend 8 hours in the saddle for multiple days. My gear has to be both comfortable and durable to meet the demands of Baja.
Rally racing is just one of the demands on my equipment
I regularly receive inquiries from readers and clients about what to wear. It is challenging, I never want to discourage someone from choosing a particular item to suit their needs. What I do is share my own personal gear choices to help direct them toward making informed decisions.
There are a vast range of choices and pricing for most motorcycle gear. I suggest you first consider two things.
- How much will I use this?
- How long do I expect it to last?
For my own use, safety gear is like mandatory work equipment. I use it all the time and I hope that it lasts a long while too. Admittedly, my gear is top of the line. For my heavy use, it typically pays off in longevity, not to mention safety and comfort. Should you and I meet on the trail, this is what you will typically find me wearing.
Helmet – I ride a wide array of roads, jeeps routes and trails. Few helmets are as versatile as the Arai XD4 Adventure helmet. With both a visor and face shield, it eliminates the need for goggles. It is a very comfortable helmet for my head, (not all helmets are shaped the same). The Arai is a “intermediate oval” style that fits many people well. After three full seasons of use and tens of thousands of miles, the XD4 still functions like new. This is a testament to the build quality.
Arai XD4Adventure helmet is top of the line
For racing or days at the motocross track, I typically wear my Klim F3 helmet. For really challenging conditions of mud or dust, wearing a conventional dirt bike helmet with goggles is the way to go. The Klim helmet is light and vents extremely well.
Klim F3 helmetis light and vents well
Chest protector – Chest protectors are perhaps the most generic of products that we will discuss here. I choose the Thor Sentinel GP for its slim profile. It fits well both under the jersey or over the top. What the Sentinel lacks is collar/shoulder guard, such as that offered on the similar Thor Guardian. The Guardian actually offers more overall protection and is a good option.
Thor Guardian Chest Protectoroffers full coverage
Gloves – I have a variety of gloves that I wear to match different types of riding and conditions. For most dirt riding I wear the Klim Dakar glove. This is a great all around use glove. It fits well and offers good protection. It also has enough stretch to fit slight differences in hand sizes. Sizing runs slightly small. I typically choose XL to make sure I have plenty of room.
Klim Dakar Gloveis comfortable and fits well
For street and Adventure riding I am wearing the Bike Bandit glove. This offers the more robust construction and protection of a street glove. But it gives up a little comfort and ease of movement to the lighter Klim glove. Again this runs slightly small, all gloves seem to these days.
Bike Bandit gloveis a good value option
Knee Guards – I consider knee guards to be a mandatory piece of equipment. A basic style like the Moose XCR guard offers plenty of protection and comfort. I always keep an extra pair of these around. I often lend them to clients who show up with nothing.
The Moose XCR Knee guardis very comfortable and offers good protection
As an old racer, my knees are not in the best of condition, so I give them all the help I can by wearing true knee braces. The POD K300 brace revolutionized off the shelf protection and comfort when it arrived on the scene a few years ago. I am on my second set of these and love them. Knee braces are also available custom made by prescription from a doctor. But the latest shelf models offer enough options to rival the fit of custom made. The K300 has now been superseded by the K4 model.
POD MX K4brings new level of comfort to knee braces
Boots – Nowhere does the adage of getting what you pay for apply more than to motorcycle boots. Top quality components and build equal boots that will serve well for many years. Many low priced boots seem good initially but will lose their shape in a short while. The material will crease and create a rub spot against the foot or ankle.
The Sidi Crossfire 3 suits me better than just about anything I have ever tried. They are tough as nails and yet comfortable enough to hike trails in. Again, these run at least a full size small. For my size 10 foot, I wear an 11.5 in Sidi products.
Sidi Crossfire 3 bootsflex at the ankle and require no break in period
Those are my five must haves for off-road protection while riding your motorcycle or ATV. It is not an all-inclusive list, but it represents a solid start. To my way of thinking, a successful trip starts by gearing up properly and ends with everyone coming back safe. Click Here…