For many riders who have been on or around bikes their entire lives, the chances are they first got their feet up on a dirt bike or a motocross bike. There are numerous reasons for this but the obvious one is as long as the landowner allows it, they can ride from whatever age they are capable of actually controlling the bike.
My son first rode when he was six and the skills he has picked up since will form a solid foundation for his motorcycling future.
While there is a lot to be said for turning them loose on a bike and letting them get on with it, there are also huge benefits for some basic coaching to begin with.
For example, a try-out day will see if they actually like it and let them begin in a controlled environment and not surrounded by crusty demons of dirt who are too intimidating. They can learn the basics, get their feet up and begin to build their confidence and their skills.
Related: Top kids' motorcycle gear
Of course, the danger is that they will fall in love with it and eventually, want to actually compete. In which case, things start to get more involved and more expensive. However, most of the outlay will be for gear to keep them safe in the event of an – inevitable – tumble.
Professional MX riders know they WILL fall off and take the necessary steps to protect themselves when they do – make sure you do the same for your kids.
But first things first; where do you start and what with? Here is out guide to getting them started in MX.
Wulf MX Race Suit
If your young u2019uns want to get into actual competition u2013 or just look the part at the practice track u2013 then yet another offering from Wulf will tidy them up. This jersey and trousers combination looks every part the MX racer, with a free-flowing polyester construction, a loose fit on the top and pre-shaped knees in the trousers and stretch panels for fit and comfort.
Washbrook Farm Try-out Day
Without doubt, the first thing you should do is get your kids along to a try-out day to see if they like the idea of riding off-road and if they have any aptitude for it. These two are in east Anglia but there are schools around the country.
My daughter and son both did the Washbrook Farm try-out, which starts with automatic bikes on a large oval so they can get the basics before progressing to a larger mx-style practice track. If they really take to it, then they can go up to the full-size practice track as they – and their bikes – grow. An invaluable start to the sport and riding in general.
Yamaha PW-50 Minibike
Choosing their first bike depends on their age and how they take to a try-out event. For example, for younger riders who want to build experience and confidence, something like Yamahau2019s PW-50 is ideal.
A 49cc two-stroke motor is easy-going and a fully-automatic transmission with bar-mounted brakes like a cycle makes this easy to get used to.
For larger kids from ten onwards, then something like a Honda CRF125F (£2749) is a lot more motorcycle; an electric-start four-stroke with a proper four-speed manual transmission, clutch and brakes will help them to further develop their skills, both off-road and with those necessary for as and when they decide to take to the roads as well.
Ou2019Neal Childrenu2019s 2 Villain
It should go without saying that a helmet should be top of the kit-list for any motorcyclists, let alone a youngster getting into the past-time. This one from renowned extreme sports brand Ou2019Neal is specifically designed for kids, so it uses an appropriately-sized shell with the right amount of padding, rather than an adult shell with lots of lining and padding to make it fit a smaller head.
It has a plush liner that is removeable for washing, an adjustable peak to keep some muck off the face and a double D-ring fastening to make sure it’s done up properly every time.
Any MX-style helmet will need a pair of goggles to go with it, to protect the eyes. Normally, MX helmets do not feature a visor as goggles are the preferred choice for riders, for maximum ventilation to the face and ease of use.
These from off-road brand Wulf are designed for children and come in a variety of colours to suit any mood or temperament. They have triple-layered anti-sweat foam, a strap with silicon backing to stay on the helmet and an anti-scratch and anti-fog lens.
Thor Youth Blitz Boots
The demands on boots for MX use are very different for on the road but these from Thor are perfect for kids. Not only are the great value, they are proper MX boots but in sizes to suit a range of kidsu2019 ages.
They are designed to allow riders to stand comfortably on the bike’s pegs yet control the bike properly and get the right feel while protecting the feet in case of an impact. They are formed in injection-moulded plastic and synthetic leather and feature three buckle straps for a perfect fit.
Wulfsport Stratos Gloves
Another offering from Wulf, this time gloves for children and youths. These Stratos gloves are formed with mesh panels to prevent the hands getting too hot and sweaty and have Amara panels across the palms for grip.
They also feature padding on the palms with additional silicon sections for grip, as well as on the fingers for the bike’s levers. There is padding on the thumb as well as across the back of the knuckles too.
Thor Chest/Back Protector
Protecting the chest and back is the next most important area after the head and this chest protector from Thor helps to disperse impacts as well as protect from stone or debris injuries. It features a series of moulded panels linked together to offer protection, including a Level-1 back protector.
The panels are articulated to allow for movement and this version comes with shoulder and bicep protectors with a mesh liner inside the main panels and an adjustable waist-buckle system.
Ou2019Neil PeeWee Guards (Knee)
Find the elbow version here (£16.68) Just like in adult road and off-road kit, kids need protection on their knees and elbows too, though arguably, this is less likely to cause similar injuries to those on road or on circuit, for example, where speeds are higher.
Both of these are designed to be worn under a jersey or trousers and reduce the effects of an impact should they come off.
Ou2019Neal Neck Brace
With all the bouncing around and a u2013 relatively u2013 heavy helmet on, a neck brace can help to stabilise a rideru2019s head, particularly a young one and reduce strain and over-extension of the beck.
This one from O’Neal is one size and can integrate with the company’s chest protectors if you choose one of those. My little one always wore a neck brace and it helped on rough ground enormously.