Minimum gear to try moto riding


I don’t know if this is the appropriate venue for this question, but here goes. What are the minimum requirements to start riding motos? I have MTB DH stuff but I feel like that won’t cut it, safety-wise. I have access to a bike, but no gear. What should I get/borrow?


Brian Glass

Hey Brian,

To start: If you already have DH armor, gloves, goggles and pants/shorts (and a moto), all you need is a moto helmet and moto boots. You can rock used boots, and you can get a basic DOT helmet for less than a decent MTB full face.

If you get into moto, look into moto-specific armor and knee braces.

Motos are a one-way ticket. Very few MTB riders can rip on a moto then walk away from that feeling. In the words of Sammy Hagar:

It’s your one-way ticket to midnight
Call it Heavy Metal
Higher than high – feeling just right
Call it Heavy Metal
Desperation on a red line
Call it Heavy Metal noise


— Lee

6 replies
  1. Glen says:

    Very true about the one-way ticket. I just sold my enduro SL, Chase 1 and everything else I could to get a new CRF250R. I used to race Motocross a long time ago and my friend offered to let me ride his moto and I was hooked again.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Yup. Don’t try a moto unless you’re willing and able to buy one.

    Or, in my case, two:

    – CRF450X

    – CRF250R

  3. Wayne says:

    My son added a moto a few years ago, but he doesn’t race it, yet. He still races mountain bikes, Downieville this last weekend. So, it ain’t necessarily a one way ticket.

    I barely ride a mountain bike. I have no gear for it. However, having raised a son that has raced DH, DS, 4X, I understand the value of good body armor, and I have the hospital bills to prove it.

    I bought a Yamaha WR250R a few months ago. I have not ridden a motorcycle since I crashed my friends Honda 350 Scrambler in 1969. I can tell you that a MX shirt is not enough. In my first crash, in the dirt, though I did not tear the jersey, I had a scab 6 inches long and was unable to ride again for 5 weeks, but I may be a tad older that the OP. X-rays showed no sign of a fracture.

    In the dirt I wear:

    full face helmet
    moto jacket with plastic in appropriate places
    mx pants
    foot tall Tech ? boots
    mx gloves

    On the street I replace the mx pants with jeans

    Many years ago a friend of mine lost his spleen due to an accident in a parking lot at 15 mph. There is no such thing as too much body armor, unless it is just too heavy.

    Recently I saw an ad I had not seen in 40 years: “If you have a 10 dollar head wear a 10 dollar helmet, otherwise wear a …”

    If the OP chooses not to wear enough body armor, at least it will not be from ignorance. He asked the right question.

  4. Chris says:

    I ain’t no expert, but some MTB body armour has only thin padding on the chest. You may need proper roost protection and that means hard plastic to protect from the clods and rocks sent your way from the moto in front. If you are riding by yourself then don’t worry about it.

  5. jason says:

    Bare minimum to me would still be eye protection,helmet,moto boots and long pants. This would be for casual riding only. Now racing motos has a whole other level of gear.Knee braces like Lee mentioned I use a good pair of cti2’s,elbow pads,gloves with knuckle protection,high end boots offer way better protection than a lower end model. Good pants and under wear from sixsixone withe hip pads. Lastly top end helmet and I actually retire them after hard crashes.

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