Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle Gear

Dirt Donk

Personal Best - Marty Estes

Personal Best - Marty Estes

Personal Best - Marty EstesJoe Neric

Taking part in an equal mix of motocross and off-road riding, I need gear that serves both purposes and performs acceptably from around 50 degrees to over 100.

Fifteen years ago, when the freestyle motocross movement began, the world saw "baggy" pants for the first time. Now off-roaders have adopted this style of over-the-boot pants, particularly on the West Coast where there is less brush to catch them on. The benefits are comfort, versatility, water-resistance and that feature you never knew you needed until you had it: pockets! I've been wearing Shift's Squadron pants ($149.95; www.shiftracing.com) for the past six months and have come to appreciate their six (count 'em) pockets. Fit is loose and comfortable, there's an internal leg gaitor that keeps out dirt and water, and you can zip off the lower legs to transform them into long-length shorts. The Squadron jersey ($39.95) and Recon gloves ($29.95) both have the same comfortable, relaxed fit as the pants and perform well, but are suited more for warmer temperatures.

When riding in colder conditions, there are two more Shift products in my gearbag: the XC jacket ($139.95) and the Chill gloves ($36.95). The jacket features shoulder and elbow pads, zippered vents and, like the pants, large front cargo pockets. The feature I like most is the zip-off sleeves, which can be removed and stowed in the rear cargo pocket. The Chill gloves do a nice job of keeping my hands warm on cold days, but I'll ride with the Recons until I can't stand it anymore. I've found that multiple-layer gloves tend to reduce feel and force me to grip tighter, which contributes to arm-pump.

Under my pants I've been wearing Troy Lee's Padded Impact Shorts ($55; www.troyleedesigns.com), which are basically a pair of lycra cycling shorts with a traditional chamois pad in the crotch plus padding over the hips, thighs and tailbone. Below those go a pair of thigh-high Shift Knee Brace Socks ($26.95), on top of which I don a pair of EVS Vision Knee Braces ($275 per pair; www.evs-sports.com). These off-the-shelf braces are not only simpler and more comfortable than custom ones, they cost less than half as much.

Alpinestars Tech 10 boots ($579.95; www.alpinestars.com) are expensive, but worth it. Having internal booties makes them a little heavier than one-piece boots, but you don't really feel the weight while riding and the added protection is nice to have when you kick a rock, root, your bike's back wheel or a fellow competitor. Just don't put the booties on before you try to put on the boots (because you'll never get them on!), and dab some LocTite on the screws securing the booties' double-hinged braces (or they'll fall out).

Last but not least, I've been wearing the Shark SXR helmet ($399.95-$449.95; www.shark-helmets.com) for the past year and have come to appreciate its unique design, comfort and high level of protection. The engineering and thinking behind the French-made lid makes me feel safe in the event of a big crash. Pro Grip has been my goggle of choice for many years and the LS3450 Stealth ($66.99; www.progrip.com) is the best yet. I love their quality strap and foam, as well as that great light-sensitive lens that adjusts to conditions.

Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle Gear
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle GearJoe Neric
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle Gear
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle GearJoe Neric
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle Gear
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle GearJoe Neric
Personal Best Marty Estes' Motorcycle Gear
Personal Best - Marty Estes' Motorcycle GearJoe Neric