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Power Up the Holidays With Powersports Gear and Training

Giving a gift that goes? Don’t forget the riding gear and training.

If you’re planning to gift someone who’s been extra-good with an electric bike, dirt bike or ATV, don’t forget the gift of gear and training to help them stay safe, have fun and ride his or her best. And remember: With powersports, age does matter, especially when it comes to ATVs. Check the manufacturers’ labels for age-appropriate vehicles for kids 16 and under. 

“Riding gear not only helps protect a rider — it also looks cool,” said Andria Yu, a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach and DirtBike School coach as well as an ATV Safety Institute instructor. “Especially for kids — they can feel like a superhero with their helmet and armor. And adults will appreciate today’s high-tech, fashion-forward protective wear. Plus, gear make the perfect accessory gifts, so they’re easy to add to a wish list.”

Riding gear safeguards a rider from head to toe and includes: 

  • A helmet: Look for Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets (for both street and off-road riding), which have a DOT sticker on the back. These helmets have passed an impact test, penetration test, retention strap test and peripheral vision test. Note that helmets need to be fastened securely to protect as designed.
  • Eye protection: Use proper off-road goggles or make sure your helmet has a flip-down face shield. Sunglasses and regular eyeglasses can’t protect from dirt and dust.
  • Full-fingered gloves: Keep hands protected from rocks, branches and other debris.
  • Over-the-ankle boots: Motorcycle or ATV-specific riding boots offer the best protection, but sturdy boots that have ankle protection, such as over-the-ankle hiking boots, can be used as well. 
  • Protection for the arms and body: When riding off-road, bumps and scrapes from branches, rocks and other elements can happen, so armor, such as chest protectors, back protectors, and shoulder and elbow guards, are great to have. Also, make sure to have a long-sleeve shirt, jersey or jacket to protect the skin. If riding on the street, many riding jackets come with the armor and are made of abrasion-resistant material.
  • Protection for the legs: Many off-road riders also choose hip protectors and knee/shin guards or braces. Long, sturdy riding pants are also a must. Street riding pants often include knee armor and are made of abrasion-resistant material.

There are many options for kids and adults. If you’re not sure what to get, see your local dealer for ideas and fitment information.

And while riding gear offers great protection, the best protection comes from proper training.

“If someone has little to no riding experience, a training class is the best way to start,” Yu said. “The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers DirtBike School for ages six and up, and the ATV Safety Institute offers hands-on ATV RiderCourses for kids and adults. There’s also free online ATV eCourses for everyone, and for street motorcycle riders, the MSF offers the Basic eCourse and Street Strategies eCourse for a small fee.”

Training not only helps riders learn the fundamentals of controlling their vehicles and riding in various terrains, but it also helps them understand the risks and how to reduce them. If you’re already a rider, training is a great way to refresh your skills, and you might even pick up a few tips.

“Having good judgment, learning smart riding strategies and understanding trail etiquette is the best way to ensure many years of fun,” Yu said.

If you purchased a new ATV, ask your dealer for information about a free, hands-on ATV RiderCourse for the entire family, or visit www.ATVSafety.org. “If you are giving the gift of powersports, make sure to make it a complete gift and remember the gear and training,” Yu said. “This way, it’s a gift that will keep on giving, with years and years of fun.”

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