Safety and Motocross racing; these two things to the layman do not seem to go together. Motocross is widely known as an extreme sport built on adrenaline. With opponents riding close as each one approaches jumps and hills, it is an event made to watch on the edge of your seat. One thing that a novice watcher might not notice is the protective equipment worn by the participants. In today’s age of “safety first,” there are numerous precautions taken in racing events to make sure riders are as safe from injury as possible.
With the majority of a person’s major organs located in the chest region, it is apparent that this is a place of vital protection. What many are not aware of are the available options for protective equipment and how they are best utilized.
Do Pro Motocross Riders Wear Chest Protectors?
For the most part, many professional Motocross racers do wear chest protection. While a few racers believe that having the extra gear on will slow them down, technology has helped provide many more lightweight options that can provide safety without adding much weight. These are becoming more and more popular as many who ride know how bulky equipment can limit them. If one has raced enough to reach the professional level, it is highly likely they have wrecked at some point in their careers. It does not take too many blows to the chest and stomach region to persuade you to add protection to this area. Watching events today, it may be hard to tell if the racers are wearing anything at all. Rest assured, most of your favorite racers are protecting themselves at all costs to make sure they are able to keep competing. So while it may seem temporarily uncomfortable and some worry it covers up their new jerseys, it is much more important to protect what’s keeping them alive!
What is the Best Chest Protector for Motocross?
Wearing any protection is better than nothing, but as with anything available for purchase, there are options that are better than others. The right chest protector should be able to not limit movement too much while still providing as much protection as possible.
Fox Racing has nearly always been prevalent in the Motocross racing world, so it is no surprise that the Fox Racing R3 Chest Protector is a common piece of equipment used. It provides protection to the chest, back and upper arms from flying debris as well as a potential wreck. It does not add much weight and is snug enough to be worn under most jerseys.
Another great chest protector is the Leatt 5.5 Pro Chest Protector. They are on the higher end of protection from the company and provide good protection to both front and back. These chest protectors are able to contour to the body and can be worn under jerseys, and with 41 ventilation slots, they provide maximum cooling while riding. The Leatt 5.5 Pro Chest Protector is also made with a high-density foam inside to help protect in the instance of an impact.
Troy Lee Designs made the Shock Doctor CP5900 Chest Protector to be contoured close to the body where the rider will barely notice while wearing it. This equipment still provides ample protection to the chest, back, ribs and collarbone while keeping a lightweight form.
What is the Difference Between a Roost Deflector and a Chest Protector?
A common misconception of protective equipment is that a roost deflector and chest protector are the same. It is imperative to note this as a roost deflector will not provide the same protection and confusing this could lead to serious injury in the case of an accident. Roost is the dirt and rocks that are kicked up from a bike, typically another rider, that will hit a rider in the chest and stomach regions. Roost deflectors are used to prevent cuts and bruises to the body from this debris, along with hitting branches and trees when riding through wooded areas. They are typically made out of a lighter foam material that will not give one enough protection in the case of a serious crash. One of the biggest differences is in the way of quality certifications of the equipment. A good chest protector needs to have a CE certification for impact protection while the roost deflector does not.
Do You Wear a Chest Protector Over a Jersey?
One of the biggest complaints of early chest protectors is that they are too heavy and bulky and limit a rider’s ability to move. While protection is the main component, comfort is also very important to make sure that riders will continue to want to wear their equipment. Many manufacturers listened to these complaints and have adjusted their products accordingly. With the advancements made in impact-resistant foams and the technology of plastics, more and more chest protectors are made to feel like they are barely noticeable while riding. Nearly all chest protectors are made to be able to be worn over the jersey, but many are able to contour to the body and can be worn under the jersey. Many professional riders may prefer this as it provides them the protection they need while not covering many of the logos for the sponsor that help them.
What Knee Braces do Pro Motocross Riders Wear?
Another vital piece of protective equipment for Motocross is a knee brace. The knees are constantly put at a strain throughout the course of a race, so having that extra support will help prevent injuries both acutely and over time. While many beginners may choose to go with knee pads, they do not provide nearly as much support as a brace. Pads are helpful for falling to prevent excess injury from impact; braces are going to enhance that protection by adding support to the knee joint as well.
The Leatt 3DF Hybrid EXT is made with a high-density foam for added comfort along with the hard shell to protect the knees and shins. It is CE certified to protect against impacts and has a Moisture Control addition to keep you cool while riding.
Mobius Products X8 knee brace provides a customizable fit to keep comfort and protection at the forefront. The Mobius style may seem a little bulky, but their lightweight build and many adjustable features provide added comfort to all body types.
Another great option is the Pod Unisex-Adult K4 knee brace. These braces are known for their durability and comfort while riding. The Pod Unisex braces are made for a variety of extreme sports, so they are taking into account all forms of knee protection. They look more similar to common “athletic” knee braces in the form of adjustments and wear while still providing protection during rides. The Pod style also provides more lateral support than other motocross knee braces.
Other Protective Equipment
Advancements in technology have greatly aided in the prevention of major injuries found in present-day Motocross racing. While chest protection has been an emphasis due to the vital organs it protects, there are other areas of importance to keep in mind when shopping for equipment. Just as important to chest protection is finding a proper fitting helmet and goggles. While this may seem obvious, improper knowledge of how a helmet should fit can actually increase the risk for an injury to the head or neck. Goggles are vital to protect the eyes from roost and other environmental hazards as well. Hand and foot gear are another big part of the Motocross outfit as they are in constant use during races. Many amateur and professional racers will also opt for a neck brace for additional stability and protection in the case of an accident.
While these have just been a few points of emphasis on the subject of Motocross safety, there are a number of other options available. It is best to do research based on skill level and age or body size to find a product that fits best and falls within a desired price range. Safety and protective equipment are as important as the bike itself and making sure all the necessary precautions are taken will enhance your riding experience. Making sure you understand the pros and cons of different options and what will be best for you individually can help increase comfort as well.
As any rider will tell you, it’s not if you get hurt but when. Especially early on in your riding years you probably remember wrecking more than usual. With experience comes increased knowledge, but this can also cause carelessness. There is a reason that they call a wreck or fall an accident. It is in the best interest to take all necessary precautions for when you do get faced with a sticky situation you are putting yourself in the best position possible. Keeping yourself protected will keep you on the track.