A good kidney belt is part of a complete set of motocross gear. It offers support and protection for your lower back and kidneys.
There is sometimes confusion regarding a motorcycle kidney belt’s purpose or what it is actually supposed to do. Unlike many pieces of protective gear, kidney belts are not designed to offer much in the way of impact protection. Some kidney belts have specially designed plastic components that can offer impact protection, but this is only a secondary benefit, never the primary purpose of the belt itself. Instead, kidney belts serve more like a brace, compressing your internal organs and lower back.
Dirt bikes tend to be well adapted to rigorous riding, but that doesn’t mean that your body is. Many times, dirt bike riders talk about kidney belts in relation to their backs, not their actual kidneys. Why? The kidneys are suspended within fatty tissue in your body; they aren’t rigidly attached to anything. Jumps and bumps put a strain on your kidneys. If it’s bad enough, it can bruise them. The kidneys are situated in your back near your spinal column. So when your kidneys take a beating from too much movement, it’s your back that feels sore. The compression from the kidney belt restricts movement of your kidneys within the tissue, so wearing one will make your back feel less sore after rides.
When you’re shopping for a kidney belt, it’s essential that you get one that fits well. Would you get a motocross helmet that is so big that it moves back and forth a little bit when you’re wearing it? Would you wear motorcycle gloves that are so tight they restrict circulation to your fingers? The same principle applies to a kidney belt. If it is too small or too big, it will just feel uncomfortable – and that isn’t safe. A properly fitted kidney belt will feel a little tight (due to the compression), but it will otherwise be rather unobtrusive and shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. In fact, once you’ve worn a kidney belt for a few rides, it should start feeling uncomfortable when you don’t have it on.
A common misconception is that no one on a dirt bike wears kidney belts anymore. On the contrary, many riders use them. Today’s kidney belts are designed to be worn inside the jersey. Since they are one of the least visible pieces of gear, it’s hard to know who is wearing one and who isn’t. But if you ask around at the track or when you’re on the trail, you might be surprised.
We carry several kidney belts from popular brands such as these:
When you’re shopping for a new kidney belt, be sure to read the product descriptions along with the reviews that other riders have left. Don’t forget to check the sizing to make sure you’re getting one that fits well. Browse our selection to pick out a kidney belt today.
Michael in TX
I an used to industrial / warehouse type back braces. this is very close to that. I am 6'3 250 40 in waist and I purchased the XXL. It is a little big but works. 40 in waist to maybe 36 in may benefit from L/XL.Read All Reviews