Essential Dirt Bike Gear For Kids
As a father of a rapidly growing boy, I am well aware of the fact that clothes and shoes often don’t fit him long enough for him to actually wear them. The same applies to dirt bike gear for kids.
Sometimes the most expensive part of getting into riding dirt bikes isn’t the cost of the bike, but the cost of the associated gear. Depending on how old your child is, you can buy a small dirt bike for 300 dollars if you look (for example a used PW50).
Unless you approach buying the dirt bike gear for kids with a strategy, things can quickly get out of hands. That 300 dollar craigslist special could end up costing you well over 1000 dollars by the first time your child kicks it over.
This guide is designed to help you cut through the information and will give you a recommendation or two in every product category as well as which categories are nice to haves versus essentials. One strategy is to get the essentials first, and wait out things like jerseys until you find a good deal on them.
Dirt Bike Gear For Kids Checklist
- Chest Protector
Nice to Haves
- Knee and Elbow Pads
- Jerseys and Pants
Required Dirt Bike Gear for Kids
The single most important item for your child to have when they are riding is a dirt bike helmet. They protect your kids growing brain and prevent tramatic head injuries, which is the last thing that you want to happen when they are riding. This is not an optional item. You should expect to spend between 100 and 150 dollars for a quality helmet.
It is tempting when looking at the prices of dirt bike gear for kids to check and see if there is any used equipment available locally. With some types of protection equipment it is fine to find used options.
Helmets are NOT one of these. Helmets have a specific shelf life and should be replaced after a hard crash. Micro cracks can develop in a crash, significantly weakening the helmet going forward. So, buy new and you will know the history of the helmet.
How Much Should You Spend?
We all want the best for our kids, but that doesn’t mean they need a Leatt GPX 5.5 JR Helmet that will run you around 400 dollars. Your child will quickly outgrow any helmet you get them.
Conversely, you don’t want to buy the absolute cheapest helmet you can find online. There are plenty of 40 dollar helmets on amazon, but do you really want to risk your child’s safety with some no name knock off helmet?
Make sure its DOT Approved!
Make sure any helmet that you buy has a DOT rating. Even though your kid won’t be riding on the road, a helmet with a DOT rating means that it at least meets a minimum standard of safety.
Fox Racing is a good brand that offers affordable pricing for dirt bike gear for kids. They have some premium priced products, but for you children you are going to want to go with their normally priced items.
Most people recommend going to a dirt bike store and trying on helmets before you buy. That is not an option where I live, so I rely on size charts. Check the return policy of your seller and make sure that you can return the helmet if it does not fit well if you are buying online. Below is the size chart from Fox Racing as of 2019.
To use the chart, first take a tape measure and measure the widest circumference of your child’s head. This is generally going to be right above their eyebrows. Remember to take a few measurements and go with the largest.
If your child’s head size is between sizes, go with the larger helmet size. If the size exceeds the size chart, then you will likely need to move to the adult sizes.
I recommend the Youth V1 helmet from Fox in your kid’s favorite design.
Goggles are and essential piece of dirt bike gear for kids to keep stray dirt out of your kids eyes. These come in a variety of types but are most similar to ski goggles. They are designed to be worn over your child’s helmet.
The main thing that you are looking for is a pair of goggles that won’t fog up. Tear offs and tinted lenses are not an essential item, especially for a kid just starting out riding. You can find cheap goggles that will fog up, or spend a little bit more and get a name brand pair of goggles with a good reputation that shouldn’t fog.
100% is a brand that has a wide variety of goggles at a variety of price points. Many of the pros wear 100%, but your kids don’t need the pro level goggles. I recommend the 100% Youth Strata Goggles.
The next most important piece of dirt bike gear for kids is boots. Don’t think that you can just send them out in hiking boots and they will get away with it for very long. This goes for adults as well. A good pair of dirt bike boots is essential to making sure that you stay safe and have a good time riding.
Dirt bike boots not only protect ankles in a fall, but they protect the calves and shin areas. Even something as simple as a backfire during kick starting a bike can cause major shockwaves to go up your leg. If you have ever had this happen when starting a bike with tennis shoes, you will know exactly the type of pain I am referring to. Dirt bike boots protect against this as well.
When buying dirt bike boots, keep in mind that you likely need to buy them a little bigger than your kids tennis shoes. You should wear thicker socks when riding, and if you get the boots a little big, then they can grow into them and you can extend the useful life of the boots.
Just like helmets, boots have a wide range of pricing. Again, I am going to recommend Fox Racing here. They really do have a great line up of products for kids and they are reasonably priced.
Boots are fine to buy online, just make sure that you get them a little bigger than your child’s normal shoe size.
If your kid has shoe sizes between 10-13 kids, then I recommend the Fox Kids Comp 5 Boots
If their shoe size is between 1 and 8, then I recommend the Fox Youth Comp 3 Boots
The next item on the list of things that your kid will likely need is a chest protector. Chest protectors is a wide category, including protector jackets, roost deflectors, and chest protectors. Generally speaking a roost protector is going to be less expensive than a full chest protector or protector jacket which protects more torso body parts (i.e. kidneys).
Roost protectors get the name from protecting against the dirt clumps tossed up by the rider infront of you. They are good for protecting against scrapes from branches as well.
It is up to you to know the type of riding that you are planning on doing with your children. If they are riding trails, a roost protector might be better and most cost effective for you. If they have designs on racing, then you should look into a protection jacket.
I require the most protection for my kid and you probably do too. I recommend another Fox product here, but Leatt also makes a good line of chest protectors for children. Chest protectors extend further down the torso covering the kidneys and have strong protection both front and rear. They are designed to protect against crash impacts as opposed to limbs and dirt clumps.
I recommend the Fox Racing YTH Proframe LC
Next on the list of dirt bike gear for kids is gloves. These are helpful for when your child inevitably bails and tries to land hands first. Additionally, they will provide some padding to allow your kids to ride a little longer before becoming exhausted from the handle bar vibrations. These are good to have, but not nearly as essential as the boots and helmet.
I believe that dirt bike gloves are consumables when riding dirt bikes. This means that I expect to replace gloves at least once a year. Luckily, most dirt bike gloves are sensibly priced and can be bought for around 20 dollars. Since this is not an essential item, you might want to wait until your child’s birthday or a holiday.
I recommend Siebertron Youth Dirtpaw
Nice to Have Dirt Bike Gear for Kids
Knee and Elbow Pads
Children are accident prone. Knee and elbow pads like we are going to discuss here are different from knee and elbow braces. Braces protect against hyper extension of the joint, while pads provide some protection against falls. Braces are big money, and pads are relatively cheap. So, I think for a kid just starting out, pads are plenty.
Really any type of pad will work here. If you already have some pads for roller blading, then use those. If you don’t then get some roller blading pads. Amazon has a ton of options.
Dirt bike gear companies (think Fox Racing and Leatt) have options that are more specific to dirt bike riding, however they are slightly more expensive. I recommend getting a combination set of elbow and knee pads from Amazon. Many of these sets come with wrist braces as well, but I would not recommend that your kid wear those when riding. They will get in the way of them learning how to effectively control the throttle and brakes of the bike.
Here is an inexpensive set of elbow and knee pads with great reviews JBM Childs Protective Gear Set
Jerseys and Pants
Ah, Jerseys and Pants. One of the best parts about riding dirt bikes is the crazy jerseys and pants that you can wear and no one makes fun of you. These are a nice to have not a must have. But man are they cool.
When buying Jerseys and Pants your kids will thank you if you get a matching set. Make sure to buy the jersey a size or two larger than they need because this will give them a chance to grow into it. Also, it will provide room for them to wear their chest protector under the jersey if they so choose. This is a trend with some of the top riders that your children will look up to, so they likely will want to wear the chest protector under their jersey.
Jerseys are inexpensive and pants are more expensive. Different pants have different features ranging from padding around the hips and knees and leather or heat resistant material on the inside of the right leg (to prevent exhaust burns). Pants are generally made out of more substantial material and last longer.
These items are going to be completely personal preference. However, if you are at a loss, I would start by looking at your childs dirt bike color and going from there (i.e. if it is a Yamaha, start by looking at blue jersey and pant combos). Sometimes you can get a slightly better deal if you buy the jersey and pants together.
Here is a good place to start Shift Racing Youth WHIT3 Combo
A Word about Neck Protection
When you start looking at neck protection, it is up to you. I would not worry about it until your kid advances to the level where they are racing or jumping on a track. Serious neck braces are very expensive (think more than the 300 dollar craigslist special dirt bike you bought for your kid), and probably are not necessary until your child advances to a level where they are racing. Should you still feel that you want some protection against neck injuries, look at a neck collar, like the Youth EVS Sports R4 Race Collar. For more information about neck braces, see my post on Best Neck Braces for 2019.
Now that your kid has a dirt bike, it is up to you to make sure that they are safe riding it. The essentials are a helmet, boots, and chest protector. Buy the rest as you go. You want to give your kid the best shot at enjoying this lifelong passion, and the quickest way to derail that is by having them get injured when they are first starting out. Not only do you not want this to happen, it will cause your child to become scared of dirt bikes resulting in a lack of confidence going forward.
Your kid is going to fall and crash when learning to ride. That is just part of the riding process. As with most people, I remember my first crash very well. I was geared up and dumped the bike about 1 minute into the ride. I was so relieved when I got up because I had gotten that out of the way and had not been hurt. From then on I was able to focus on riding instead of a fear of falling. This same mentality should be instilled in your child when they are riding. Remember Gear Up, Ride Safe!