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The off-roading family is extended across several categories. Despite common belief, it definitely isn’t just limited to big, bulky, monstrous 4x4 rigs, versatile UTVs designed to endure any terrain or quick and mobile ATVs used by fun-having youth from across the world.

There are also, of course, motorcycles. Although they’ve been slightly overshadowed by their more ubiquitous counterparts as of the last few years, motocross is still by far one of the most popular motorsports in the world, and it shows no plan of stopping.

You can probably already imagine it: a long, winding, muddy trail through which impressively skilled motorcycle riders weave their bike in a desperate attempt to reach the finishing line before equally hungry competitors.

If you’re interested in motocross and would like to find out more, then read on! We’ve detailed a quick explanation as to what you should expect from the hobby as well as how you can get into it.

What Is Motocross?

Motocross is essentially a racing sport where participants ride their motorcycles over harsh and occasionally elevated terrain. On average, a motocross race is roughly between one and three miles long, although they can differ depending on the nature of the event.

That’s not all, though. Besides having to contend with the mud underneath their tires, hilly terrain, and other drivers breathing down their neck, motocross riders are also expected to drive over, under, and around obstacles placed around the track.

As if everything wasn’t difficult enough already.

It can seem more than daunting to jump into the hobby, especially if you don’t have any formal knowledge of cars, mechanics, or driving in general. Although some experience with an ATV might help, racing atop a dirt bike isn’t quite the same experience.

On the other hand, motocross might seem scary, but it’s very fun. It’s quite the visceral feeling to rip through mud, splash it all over as if you’re marking your territory, and go toe-to-toe with other riders that think they can beat you.

We can’t help but get a little excited.

How Does a Motocross Race Go?

Quite as you would expect it, really. The race starts, you get to riding, and you keep a serious eye out on all obstacles. Since your average motocross race is between one to three miles, it won’t take you more than about two hours for most races.

It’s worth mentioning that these two hours can be absolutely grueling. Each motocross course is built differently, with turns, hills, cracks, and crevices. You’ll have to embody the very soul of perception and astuteness if you want to have any chance at reaching the finishing line in glorious time.

Since each motocross course has a lot of twists and turns, learning how to deal with them could be a huge challenge in itself. Not only are you expected to memorize them to the best of your ability, but you’re also expected to deal with sudden surprises or dangers that rear their head in.

Additionally, there will also be a lot of elevation. After all, hills are motocross tradition. But hills imply more than just driving over them: the momentum of the bike will make it unlikely for you to traverse safely.

Furthermore, depending on the course, your hills could be pleasantly rolling or so steep as to comfortably invite serious injuries. You might like to imagine jumping over the hills, but when they’re at close to a 90-degree angle, then you’re in serious trouble.

And more so,  jumping over requires skill and expertise, which means that you’re not going to master it until after a lot of practice. And falling is always a possibility as well.

A lot of courses also happen to have wet patches scattered throughout them, making you liable to slip and fall. That’s not all, either: motocross races are usually held regardless of whether there’s a rainstorm going on, so if you’re getting whipped by the wind and blasted by water, you’ll have a lot more to deal with.

How Do I Prepare for Motocross?

Quite obviously, you’ll first have to get a hold of a dirt bike for yourself. There are a plethora of choices on the internet and you should do your own research to find out what model suits you best. 

A solid piece of advice, however, would be to opt for a well-known brand. You also shouldn’t skimp on money if you expect any performance, as your bike might just break down when you least expect it. Invest in your ride and it’s going to pay off.

Here are some of the most popular dirt bike brands:

  • Yamaha - A titan of the vehicle manufacturing industry and a superb dirt bike designer. Many professional motocross racers swear by Yamaha.
  • Suzuki - Has been around for a very long time and has produced some models that are still making waves throughout the sport. Very solid.
  • Kawasaki - The brand has a record for winning a large number of motocross championships and is also reputed for good prices.
  • Honda - Is there anything Honda isn’t good at? Their wide variety of models is sure to get you thinking about all the possibilities. Never disappoints!

  • Once you’ve bought a dirt bike, you’re going to have to spend more than a bit of time getting acquainted with it. You’re going to get very close to it if you expect to attend a motocross race, so read up as much as you can about how it works. Devour the manual you receive and have a chat or two with your local mechanics to see what they can help you with.

    You’re also going to need safety gear. You won’t have to be worried about looking like a sucker while wearing a helmet (as if - we’re not twelve anymore) since almost every motocross helmet on the market makes you look like a speed demon from the underworld.

    Also a great look for the opposite sex. Full motocross attire is very attractive. Expect to get hit on!

    Keeping Safe While Motocrossing

    It cannot be underestimated how important your safety is for motocross. The human body, although relatively enduring and flexible, is ultimately fragile and squishy when considering what it can be subjected to during a failed motocross race.

    In case it’s not quite obvious, you can fall off your bike and take tremendous blunt trauma from falling onto the ground, stick yourself onto a sharp rock or branch, potentially lose one of your limbs (or organs), and also have to pay off the medical bill afterward.

    So, in short, never, ever attempt any serious dirt bike riding without the proper safety equipment. It doesn’t matter whether you think you will be skilled or lucky enough, as it takes a single mistake to permanently affect your life.

    Scared enough? Good. Here’s what you will need.

  • Helmet - Goes without saying. Protects the head from any damage. Important because even a small concussion can have long-lasting or even lifelong effects.
  • Goggles - You’re going to be driving around at high speeds. If any dust gets in your eyes while you’re trying to deal with an oncoming jump, then it’s game over. Your eyes have to be covered.
  • Chest Protector - Who would have thought racing needs armor? The chest protector will ensure you don’t break any of your ribs during a fall. It also helps soften any bruises received and offers complete protection against cuts, scratches, and lacerations.
  • Jersey - A high-quality cotton motocross jersey will act as your under armor. This is going to be what is going to stop your skin from getting torn to shreds in case you fall off your bike and slide across the ground.
  • Pants - You might want to ride your bike wearing briefs, but that’s not really an option. Your legs are at serious risk in case of a fall. Specialized nylon pants complete the outfit and shield them against damage. Wearing compression pants underneath is suggested.
  • Gloves - I’m sure I don’t need to point out just what can happen to your fingers without gloves. Falling aside, your hands might also chafe after a long time spent motocrossing. So buy gloves.
  • Boots - The end of the ensemble. Motocross boots are thankfully comfortable and provide a lot of protection against toe damage, so always opt for them. Depending on circumstances, you might want to wear long, thick socks underneath.

  • Your training should help make up for the rest. Do your best to learn as much as possible about riding so you lower your chances of getting hurt. More often than not, falling off your bike doesn’t mean anything more than a superficial bruise. But in case you take a nasty fall, then your protection should help keep you safe.

    Do Not Neglect Training

    It’s important to be physically fit in order to be able to meet the demands of the hobby. You’re not going to have much fun if you’re out of shape. What’s worse is that you’ll put yourself at unnecessary risk.

    As usual, exhibit a varied diet for proper nutrition and workout every once in a while to maintain your body. Motocrossing is highly exhausting and can leave you breathless and numb before the race starts proper.

    Finally, respect the hobby and your peers! We’re all a family here. An off-roading family!