My friends over at Fox SA have always helped out whenever it comes to my motocross or adventure riding and as such, I decided to do some window shopping to help you get started on your off-road adventures with a basic riding gear setup and expected costs.
If there’s one area you do not want to skimp on, it’s protection for your melon. You can easily drop a month’s salary on the cost of a top-of-the-range carbon fibre helmet but you could do worse and spend R500 on a cheap Chinese lid that wouldn’t do better than a baseball cap. If you’re just getting started, something like Fox’s V1 range of helmets will set you back a little over R2000 and not only do they look sick but they’re ultra light, breathe easily and offer more than enough protection.
There aren’t too many items that I would say deserve as much attention as a helmet, other than a quality pair of riding boots. I’ve learnt the hard way by thinking I hit a luck when I saw a pair of boots on ‘special’ for R999. I quickly found out halfway through the first (uncomfortable) ride that not only were the boots about as waterproof as toilet paper but I’d have to throw them away thanks to shoddy stitching, and buckles that were quickly trashed. Do yourself a favour and open your wallet when it comes to boots. Fox’s Comp 5 range will cost about R3500 and do a pretty fine job of keeping water out, keeping your feet comfortable and most importantly, solid all-round protection.
Jersey & Pants
You can be a bit more subjective when it comes to your kit but as you get into your riding, you’ll appreciate gear that is lightweight, comfortable and stays cool. It’s like buying your favourite brand of jeans – typically for the fit, cut and probably because of the label, too. I like my Fox 180 kit because it’s not only affordable (R2000 for a set) but it’s pretty rugged, too. I’ve crashed, sweated, ridden through bushes and been snared in concealed fences, and my gear has survived. Don’t be a rookie and choose gear simply because the colours match your bike – choose function over fashion, please.
Much like your riding kit, goggles are a very personal choice based on fit, comfort and visibility. I’ve had Von Zipper, Oakley and Fox goggles – all were superb and each had its particular strengths. Cheaper goggles will mist up quickly and don’t allow enough air to flow through to expel heat. My current pair of goggles are these bad boys – the MX16 Main goggles. They’ll set you back about R400 and will handle all the mud, water and stones you can roost at them.
I’ve seen a lot of newbies arrive for a ride with no gloves saying that they didn’t “need” them, only to see them struggle during the ride to either pick up their bike due to hot engine parts or battle for grip when sweat and sand start to churn up their palms. You might have tough mechanic hands but any ride that is longer than half an hour will eat up unprotected hands. Grab a pair of Fox Dirtpaw gloves for R350.
There’s at least a dozen more bits and pieces to purchase when you start riding more and more. Protective gear, supportive gear, accessories and styling stuff – you will never run out of kit to buy, but as long as you focus on the necessities first, you’ll still have as much fun as everyone else.