First you need to figure out how much you're going to spend on gear. I would recommend at least starting with a budget of $500 if you are going to buy new gear at retail prices. You'll mainly be looking for gear that's on sale. You want to get the most protection you can for your money. Why do I recommend $500? Because this amount will allow you to get all the necessary, bare minimum equipment to protect you. You may need to shop around a bit, but most likely you can get what you need for $500 or less. Generally, when it comes to gear, the more expensive the gear, the better the protection.
If you are going to try to buy second hand gear, that's perfectly fine, and you can most likely buy some pretty decent stuff for cheap. Just look on Craigslist or the facebook marketplace. DO NOT buy a used helmet! Unless you know the person and you actually trust them with your life. Otherwise, don't even try to skimp on a helmet.
THE MINIMUM LIST
Picking a helmet is not as easy as just going with what looks cool. This is one of those items that you are going to want to try on and make sure it fits well. I personally run a FOX V2 Helmet. For me, this is a great fitting helmet that works well with my Atlas Technologies Neck Brace. People may recommend certain brands because they work for them, but in this area, you've got to find something that works for you. I recommend going and trying on helmets at a place like Cycle Gear or your local motorcycle dealership. They usually have a good selection of helmets and will most likely have some good deals too. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with the helmet before you buy it! Again, this is not an item you want to skimp on as far as price goes. Get the best one you can, for what you can afford. I would much rather have a cheaper jersey and pants, than a cheap helmet. Also, stick with a well known brand. Don't trust the safety of your dome piece to some cheap China made knockoff.
This is really up to you. Goggles can range from $15 to over $200. This is an area where you can save some cash in the beginning in order to stay within your budget, but most likely you will end up upgrading sometime down the line.
OK, this one is HUGE. I am a big advocate for neck braces. I've had two good crashes where this little piece of equipment saved my neck. There are several reputable companies that make neck braces. Do your homework on these and pick the one that is right for you, but DO PICK ONE! I highly recommend and proudly use Atlas Brace Technologies neck braces. Their brace coupled with their chest protector is an AWESOME combo! But again, choose the one that is right for you!
You are going to find people different opinions of neck braces. In short, the function of a neck brace is to take pressure off the neck and distribute it to other parts of the body (i.e. chest, back, shoulders) in the event of a crash. There are some that are hesitant to recommend them and say the neck brace will break your collarbone in the event of a significant crash. I have not personally seen this happen, nor have I experienced it. That is not to say that it can't, I have just yet to see it. Either way, I'll take a broken collar bone over a broken neck any day of the week!
Get yourself a good chest protector. Whether its an under the jersey or over the jersey style, get yourself something that protects your chest and your back. You'll get roost flung at you while on the track and you'll be amazed at how much those little baby dirt clods will hurt coming off the back tire of a 450F.
Your back needs protection too. Remember your spine? Oh yeah, that thing! Going to want to protect it as best you can. There are some full on armor jackets out there that make you look like an armadillo, but if that works for you, that's perfectly fine..... Seriously, it's fine.
JERSEYS, PANTS & GLOVES
This again is one of those areas where you can probably save a little cash. While I would always recommend getting good gear, starting on the lower end of this spectrum is really not going to hurt. I'd rather you spent more on your actual protective equipment than getting flashy clothing and skimping on the stuff that's actually going to save your tail if you go down.
You can find some good deals on Jerseys, pants and glove combos. Sometimes it's last years' inventory, but who cares?! It's still new stuff, so grab it!
Ah yes....BOOTS. So, this is another item you are probably going to want to try on before you buy. Boots can range from around $80 on up to over $600. The more you spend, the better the boot in most cases. However, I would recommend you do some research, narrow it down and then go try some on. Similar to helmets, get the best pair you can while staying within your budget. Foot, lower leg, and ankle protection is very important and a good boot will make a huge difference!
If you can't get the top shelf boot, don't worry about it. You can always upgrade later. Once you get a good pair of boots, it's likely they'll last you a little while before you have to drop more cash on a new pair.
Well, that's it fellas. Those are the items I would not, and do not ride without. You may wonder why I didn't mention, knee or elbow protection. I personally wear knee protection, but not elbow protection. I recommend these items, but it's not an absolute necessity. The other items on this list are things that I won't ride without.
Ultimately, whatever your budget is, do what you can to get yourself the best protective gear you can for your money. IT'S WORTH IT!
If you have any questions, please contact us or leave a comment below.
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