Like all motorsports, supermoto requires you to wear a certain type of gear before you can kick-start your bike and compete on the track. As supermoto is the combination of two of motorcycling’s most popular disciplines – motocross and road racing – gearing up for it can prove difficult.
Some riders swear by the protection of the leathers worn in road racing, others the freedom of movement you get with motocross protection. Whichever direction you choose to go in, here are the essential items you need to wear in order to tear up the supermoto track.
Motocross and road racing base layers are very different. Road racing leathers have most of the protection on the outside, so all you need on the inside is an under suit to keep cool. If you’re heading down the motocross path, the armour is already there on the inside.
With the 2017 FIM Asia Supermoto Championship taking place in Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Australia and Malaysia, you can bet our riders will need that under suit to keep cool!
The difference in outer layers is what separates supermoto riders. The style of your riding will determine which type of layer you go for – if you ride a road-racing style with getting your knee down into corners then you’ll want a leather outer layer. If you ride a more motocross style with your foot leading into corners, you’ll want the motocross outer layer.
In supermoto, we usually see a more motocross approach, and this type of outer layer will give you the freedom needed to get round those tricky tracks with ease.
Pro tip: you can always keep the bottom half of your road-racing outer layer for the knee protection and switch the top half for a motocross layer.
Never forget your helmet! The helmet should cover the whole of your head, not just the top. On the FIM Asia Supermoto Championship, all our riders where motocross helmets. The visor will keep the sun out of your eyes and some of the dirt flying in to your face.
Don’t forget to wear your goggles, they are crucial to protect your eyes from the elements, especially in those off-road sections on the course.
Like the outer layers, gloves are decided in part by making a decision between protection and freedom of movement. Road racing gloves offer maximum protection, but can be really stiff after continuously grabbing your bike levers. Motocross gloves are more textile based and have better ease of movement.
When racing, motocross gloves will be the way to go so you can feel all those levers, but gloves with abrasion-resistant palms are highly recommended.
Once you get comfortable riding supermoto, and you discover you like to drag a knee more than you put a foot out (or vice versa), one type of boot might fit your riding style better than the other.
Motocross boots are bulkier and have more reinforcement and a thicker, stiffer sole, which is better for planting a foot in the dirt or dragging a heel across asphalt in turns. Road racing boots, in contrast, are lighter and have more flex — better for planting a foot on a peg — making it easier to get over and drag a knee.
Just make sure you get proper boots that cover the ankle and are designed for riding.
Very important for those dirt sections.
When choosing your goggles, they will probably be motocross goggles. Try and find ones which are anti-fog and, if you can, ones with a light-reacting lens to help on those really sunny days.
If your spine protection isn’t already built into your outer layer, you will need a separate spine protector to ride supermoto. A hard, clamshell-style back protector is preferred, but you can also find foam back pads – make sure these are officially tested and sanctioned for your protection.
Check with your competition if they have any specific rules for gear before you ride. After you’ve ticked these items off your list, you’ll be ready to tear up the track!
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