There are two types of safety gear that are absolutely necessary for dirt bike riders, and neither should ever be overlooked or
skimped on. They are head protection and footwear. Protecting your
noggin is no doubt the number one safety concern for every dirt bike
rider on the planet, whether you’re a Supercross star or a novice cutting trail in your own backfield. A proper-fitting helmet is mandatory,
and wrapping your head in a helmet made with current absorption
technology means that you have a much greater chance of walking
away from a hard crash with your mind intact. Thankfully, new liner
technology is significantly limiting head injuries, allowing athletes to
walk away from nearly catastrophic crashes.
Of course, there are a few simple rules that you must adhere to.
Old helmets make good trophies, but they are lousy head protection,
as is any helmet that has been hit with a decent amount of force. A
helmet that has taken an impact in a crash should never be reused
and should always be sent back to the manufacturer for an evaluation of the liner’s memory. Remember, the inner liner on all helmets is
designed to crush and absorb the hit. Therefore, the liner has done
its job once it accepts, deforms and deflects a focused jolt.
There has always been some disagreement about the testing standards for dirt bike helmets. Snell 2010, U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) and United Nations Economic Commission for
Europe (ECE) standards are the most common. Each body has
different criteria, but most
experts feel that all of the
standards work for the sort of
impacts dirt bikers commonly
experience. Many racing organizations require Snell or ECE approval, and some
even require quick-release ear pads or a
device to allow air to inflate a small bladder
to push the helmet off your head after a crash.
So, if you are a racer, make sure you check on your
track’s requirements before you buy. Snell-approved helmets
are generally a little heavier in order to pass required tests,
and they run toward the higher end of the price range as well.
We’re big believers in getting the best
protection for your needs and physical
requirements. Remember, don’t
cheap out on when it comes to
protecting your head. Your mind is
a wonderful thing; take care of it!