Not all of us have the means to afford two dirt bikes so when the racing ends and trail season begins many riders turn their MX bike into an off-road machine ready to take on the ultimate obstacle course.
Trail riding consists pretty much anywhere off-road be it lonely desert trails or tree populated forests with each offering their own roller coaster ride but with similar thrills. You already have the riding gear and protection but if you don't want to risk an expensive repair job look into a bit of guarding for your dirt bike before heading out.
A Motocross bike certainly functions well on the trails and you could quite easily ride to your heart's content without making any modifications but just as you wear certain riding gear, just in case, the same rule applies to equipping your dirt bike with the necessary components to protect against unforeseen issues. So check out the following recommendations (and two requirements) to make your off-road day one to remember.
Dirt Bike Handguards
Not everyone uses handguards on the Motocross track but everyone uses them on the trails. At least they should. Forget the roost, gloves provide little barrier to whipping tree branches and if you happen to collide with a tree trunk, fallen log or any boulders littering the trail, that extra guard protection might mean the difference between continuing the ride or heading home with a wrapped hand.
Skid Plate, Pipe and Radiator Guards
The competition at the gate poses a far less problem on the trails but now you have serious rivalries with trees and large rocks. Adding guards to protect the pipe, whether 2-stroke or 4-stroke, and radiator braces add piece of mind but can help you avoid significant damage leaving you stranded compared to minor dents and scrapes that have little to no effect on performance.
A skid plate is like chest protection for a dirt bike
Most riders install a skid plate for racing but if you don't have one yet, get one of those too.
You can certainly go all-out too with extra body parts including...
...however most riders who transition from the track to the trails do so temporarily for the occasional trail ride. If off-road riding becomes a thing, we recommend buying a true trail bike or investing in the extra body parts.
If you have thought about ditching tubes for a mousse or the TUBliss system, now offers an ideal time to check out these flat free devices. Granted you have to install them which takes a bit of work but you won't ever deal with a flat tire, a much more common occurrence when riding off-road compared to the track. If you plan to stick with tubes, then use heavy duty tubes, bring a spare set and the tools for installation.
If your off-road plans include public access trails you need to install a spark arrestor. State and federal lands require these devices to cut down on noise and spark emissions which can start a fire. If you get caught riding without a spark arrestor expect to face a heavy fine.
You can add a spark arrestor end cap to a 4-stroke but if you have a 2-stroke you need to switch out your current silencer with a spark arrestor silencer.
Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Tags
When riding on public lands you also need a permit or OHV tag for your state. Cost varies by locality but like with the spark arrestor expect a heavy fine if caught without the appropriate tags.
Oregon OHV sticker
You have all the riding gear and protection - at least you should - but consider bringing a hydration pack with bladder sizes ranging from 25 ounces to three liters. Trail riding takes you far and wide to places unknown and sometimes hours from camp so you need to stay hydrated. Bulky water bottles take up too much room but a hydration pack fits like a backpack and you can sip as needed without ever getting off the bike at least until your other bladder needs draining.
Depending on the length of ride and more importantly how far you plan to venture, other considerations include a basic tool kit, hardware kit and extra fuel either via installing a larger gas tank or bringing a fuel bag.