James Nelson "J. N." Roberts is an American former professional off road and enduro motorcycle racer from Southern California. In the 1960s and 1970s he was a top desert racer on two wheels in the United States.
Roberts won the Barstow to Vegas race four times in a row. He also won the Mint 400 three times and the Baja 500 and the Baja 1000 twice each. He teamed with Malcolm Smith to win the motorcycle division in the 1967 Mexican 1000, later to be known as the Baja 1000. Roberts also represented the United States at the 1971 and 1972 International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycle Olympics. After his racing career, he became a stuntman in the American Film industry. Roberts appeared in the 1971 film On Any Sunday in the 2005 film Dust to Glory, and in the 2008 film, Full Circle, The Legend Lives On, playing himself.
Roberts also pioneered a number of safety innovations in the field of off road racing. He did this by incorporating protective gear from other sports with his own: bolting a football helmet face guard to his motorcycle helmet, wearing football shoulder pads, as well as a baseball catcher's shin guards). These changes were considered to be the first steps in the evolution of modern safety equipment.
He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2009, Roberts was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame.