The Gear

Wearing the proper riding gear plays a key role in keeping the fun in off-road adventure. All riding gear is designed to protect; the secret that separates good gear from great gear is comfort. Selecting gear that is sized properly and is comfortable to wear in hot, cold, dry or damp conditions ensures that it will be worn every time. For a parent, this provides great peace of mind, particularly as youngsters grow into their teen and young-adult years.

Even though it's not essential to outfit a beginning rider in the latest, most fashionable MX-style riding gear, remember that it sure is a lot of fun for youngsters to emulate their heroes. A child's desire to follow the example set by his or her Honda Racing role models can be used to an advantage, and parents should insist that their youth riders wear their full set of protective gear each time they go out for a ride.

What does this include? A motorcyclist should always wear a helmet, eye protection, gloves, long pants, a long-sleeved jersey or shirt and over-the-ankle boots. Other practical additions include a kidney belt and chest protector, plus elbow and kneepads or knee/shin guards. The helmet is a vital piece of protective gear, and is not the place to cut corners; it must fit correctly—snug but not too tight. Be sure it is DOT or Snell approved.

Finally, proper storage is essential. Riding gear may sit for several months at a time and should therefore be kept in a cool, dry area—not the utility shed out back. After each use it must be cleaned as well; failure to do these things will cause leather and cotton to mold or rot. To borrow a phrase, "take care of your gear and it will take care of you!"

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