7 FUNNY (AND STUPID) THINGS PEOPLE SAY ABOUT RIDING DIRT BIKES


MXEditor

In the world of off-road riding, there’s a kinship between riders, racers, and their crews…a Brotherhood of Dirt such as it is. And outsiders sometimes just don’t “get it” when they see us ride or even just heading to the track with our gear.

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about this crazy sport and the crazy life we live in pursuit of our favorite flavor of adrenaline rush. We took some time to note a few of these and while researching this feature, we found some real nuggets in our ThumperTalk Dirt Bike Forum.

 

So take a look at what we found to be 7 Funny Things People Say About Our Sport

 


Number 1: “YOU JUST SIT ON THE BIKE AND TWIST THE THROTTLE

 

 

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Photo: Goulart

 


Contrary to popular belief, motocross is among the top 10 most strenuous sports in the world and certainly in the top 5 among motor sports racing. Many other competitive sports such as football or hockey require extreme physical endurance for short periods, but motocross races can last for 20 minutes or more and this requires even more conditioning and endurance training to remain competitive.

 

Dr. Steven Augustine, DO, a Jacksonville, Florida specialist in action sports competition and injury and has conducted extensive research into this subject and said this about what he discovered:

 

“Anyone that is involved with the sport or who has ever raced knows how physically demanding it is, yet the average sports fan still believes that the motorcycle does all the work. This wide spread misconception is definitely not the case, as the results speak for themselves. This type of research validates our sport on a scientific level. It gives our sport the respect it deserves in terms of exercise intensity and the fitness demands required to compete in this sport.”


 


Number 2: “I USED TO RIDE A BIKE BACK IN THE DAY”

 

 

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Photo: Brad Love

 


Lots of people who say this have no clue what a modern motocross or off-road bike is or what it’s capable of. When they rode it was on some converted streetbike/on-off machine with bald tires and confined to the backyard or worse yet the street and they shouldn’t be allowed to demonstrate their skills on your machine.

 

Our forums are filled with stories of inexperienced individuals with cloudy memories who rode “back in the day” being put on a big old 2-stroker and left to it…which normally results in the inevitable huge wheelie, trip to the emergency room and 15 minutes of YouTube stardom.


 


Number 3: “PLAYING VIDEO GAMES HAVE IMPROVED MY RIDING"

 

 

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Photo: Sony Playstation Public

 


Although some studies have shown improved hand-eye coordination from repetitive video gaming, the fundamentals of riding a motorcycle are not addressed.

 

Let’s think about what it takes to ride a dirt bike:

 

1) Strength: Not one study has shown any correlation between sitting on the couch and building of any muscle besides some atrophy of the forearm and hand/thumb connection.

 

2) Endurance: Being able to stay on an off-road bike while in motion for any length of time requires endurance well beyond the casual button push.

 

3) Balance: A good sense of balance as well as understanding how a motorcycle responds to the rider’s input(s) takes practice and experience to master not provided by the sensory feedback provided by animated video game.

 

Riding a motorcycle off-road is a tremendously taxing and strenuous activity. Although it may seem that practicing making braaaaaap noises while pushing buttons could be beneficial to your riding, it’s actually counter-productive as you could be using that time to actually ride.


 


Number 4: “YOU THINK YOU’RE COOL BECAUSE YOU RACE DIRT BIKES”

 

 

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Photo: Sean Goulart

 


Actually this statement has a lot of truth to it. 73% of the motocross and off-road racers agreed that they were in fact “cool”. The other 27% responded with a list including “dope”, “wicked fast”, “the best, “fastest in my class” and “Do you even ride, bro?”

 

Although viewed as bragging or veiled narcissism, and not proven by scientific study, these sentiments seem to indicate that the majority of off-road riders have a heightened sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, which apparently allows them to compete at higher physical level during competition.

 

Judging by these responses and the unanimous nature therein, this statement seems to hold some basis in fact.


 


Number 5: “MY (INSERT OLD RACE BIKE HERE)” WOULD GO 100”

 

 

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Photo: Brad Love

 


This statement is commonly uttered by that “friend of a friend” who sees your bikes in the truck or garage. There is always some reference to “she was fast” or “they don’t make the old two-strokers like that anymore” and maybe a discussion about different sized powerbands…when you ask them what kind of bike it was the answer is something like “Kawazuki 350” or something like that.

 

OK, let’s fact check a bit. A stock 1986 CR250 will do about 73MPH at BEST with some wind, a downhill and a fearless rider, a bit more with the right (not Bonneville) gearing. But 100MPH is fiction and unless the “friends” name is Ricky Brabec or Destry Abbott…he’s probably lying.


 


Number 6: “RIDING A MOTORCYCLE IS SO DANGEROUS”

 

 

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Photo: Sean Goulart

 


According to the trustworthy (not) folks at the NHTSA, riding a street motorcycle does result in more injuries and fatalities than driving a car. In 2006, 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles. Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance traveled when compared with automobiles.

 

But those numbers mostly (73%) involve both interaction with other vehicles (cars, trucks) and the remaining percentage were single rider accidents (slides, overbraking) and neither of these numbers apply to riding motorcycles recreationally, especially in a race track setting.

 

We didn’t find any studies that specifically cited off-road rider injury statistics, the New York Times said “The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, estimated that nearly 51,000 children ages 5 to 14 are hurt annually riding all-terrain vehicles, mopeds and minibikes, with the number also including traffic accidents.

 

By comparison, the commission estimates that among the same age group there are nearly 81,000 soccer injuries, 130,000 baseball injuries, 172,000 football injuries, more than 193,000 basketball injuries and 340,000 injuries in bicycling.

 

So, there is evidence that shows that although it can be a risky sport, it’s not the most dangerous and accounts for fewer injuries than popular conception.


 


Number 7: “YEAH, MY BROTHER’S COUSIN WAS SPONSORED BY PRO CIRCUIT”

 

 

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Photo: Sean Goulart

 


Fallacies about what “sponsorship” really means are rampant in motocross. Many riders are casual amateur racers who claim to be “sponsored by xxxxxx” when in reality the truth is a bit different.

 

Many gear companies use different channels to sell their products. They sell wholesale to distributors (Parts Unlimited or WPS) who in turn sell to retail outlets (ThumperTalk store) and this is the most prevalent “channel” or market system in which to sell their products.

 

But other channels exist as well. Some manufacturers enter into agreements with sponsorship aggregators (HookIt, MXSponsor) to sell gear directly to riders at a determined discount. Most of these deals don’t rely on your race resume…just pay the money, get the discount on the gear and you are “sponsored”. Well not so much! You’re really just getting a discount based on your membership to the aggregator.

 

The real world of high level race sponsorship programs have nothing to do with the retail channel and are based more on the trading of sponsor product exposure for free or heavily discounted product, and in many cases it includes actual salaries and cash bonus structures for the rider and the rider’s team based on success.


 

There you have it, 7 Funny (and stupid) things people say about our sport. But, we're sure that there are some good ones out there we've missed, so please share the doozies that stick out in your mind with us!

 

If you're logged in to ThumperTalk, comment below. Or, on social media.. FacebookGoogle +

 

 

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User Feedback




Love this, I can't find one in the list i could say was not true.....

 

This was a really fun article to write - it's nice to get away from all the technical stuff for a bit and just laugh. Glad you liked it!

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Too bad that NY Times article (page 6) is 15 years old. Would be nice to have fresher comparisons of the injury rates. 

Yes, and it would also be good to see the rates of participation alongside the injury numbers. 

I'd bet that participation in riding bicycles is the highest of all those activities, so if it has the most injuries it still doesn't necessarily mean it's the riskiest activity.

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All too true. The other guys worth mentioning are those who actually go out and buy a bike. They have a newer 450F and it has the original tires! Rode it a few times or taken on the trails near their house. Identified easy in traffic because their truck has a million MX stickers on it, like No Fear LOL!

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#4 is very much true. I've ridden with a few over the years that were motocrossers. I only ride in the woods, I ride a trials bike. Many think they are so cool and talk smack before the riding begins. I'm no pro, but  am a very experienced rider of almost 40 years and have been told I'm really good, and I know I'm in excellent shape as well. I have yet to find one of them that can outrun me on any trail and I have outrun most of them. Keep in mind I'm on a 2002 model trials bike. When it comes to the hill climbing, ( the ones that talked smack about that as well as how fast they are)  total fools BTW,  well their tails go between their legs. I love it. Most never ride with me again. Too much of an ego bruising I guess. I just ride for fun not competition, but when some fool starts talking the smack, I have to admit, no matter how childish it is, I enjoy the beat-down...... a lot!  Motocross bikes aren't so fast as most people think out in the woods, where they spin, I hook up and move, not make noise and throw dirt and rocks. Big difference.

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I don't really appreciate half the stuff in this article. What's wrong with riding and liking a 2-stroke? They were fast and I know mine did 70 without gravity help. It really comes off as you trying to justify your sport and what you do, to others. Don't worry about it and do your thing and screw what any detractors say.

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I had a 1989 Honda CR500, I haven't been on an off-road bike since that was as powerful, and that includes modern 450 4t's. Geared right, I'm pretty sure it would have done a (white knuckle) 100 mph. If you haven't ridden an open class 2 stroke, you're missing out.

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While I've heard all way too often,#1 is the most irksome and totally inaccurate. "Back in the day" some sports physiologists  monitored representative athletes from a bunch of different sports, and the most demanding was world-class pro soccer with professional MX a close second. Sitting on a bike going for a ride, indeed...

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They all make me smile.

However dirt bike riding, though not as fatally dangerous as some would make out has taken myself and mates out of employment through injuries more than most sports I have heard about.

 

Thanks for the article. 

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I have been racing MX for the last 30 years, yet my mom still thinks that I often get cold on my MX bike. She never watches, she is afraid to, but she has some experience sitting on the rear seat of a touring bike when she was in her 20's.

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I also often get stupid questions about "how fast" I go when I race. Who knows, and who cares? I do not even have a speedometer! I go fast enough to get hurt or killed, but not fact enough to beat the pros or become a national champion.

 

FYI, the "top speed" during typical local MX races rarely exceeds 45 mph, as my GPS lap timer says.

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Good article, Sean.   I have a comment on #5, though.    

    Geared for enduro, my 1982 Husky XC250 (originally a desert race model) hit 96 mph running across that mile long hay field at the Red River Enduro in 1986.  According to Dick Burleson, the Husky race team's Baja bikes top speeds ("back in the day") were 105 mph for the 250 and 110 mph for the open class 2-strokes. They were geared for top speed, not mx.

 

The most I ever got one of my GasGas bikes was 97 mph. (registered on a calibrated ICO enduro computer.)      According to his Moose Pacemaker enduro computer, Gabriel got  his 4-speed '99 MC250 up to 93 mph. (riding across that same mile long hay field at Red River Enduro 13 years later.)  Both of these bikes were running the early model black box cdi, and the higher revving (than the FMF pipes) Messico exhaust pipes.                         Not that it makes us special, but we aren't mx'ers.

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I have 11 bikes my most lethal is a yzf450 my oldest is a mid 80s yz 80j when ever I get a goose telling me that " back in the day " or " my old two stroke " I offer them a ride on the yz 80 most of them fall off or crash I still like two strokes but the yzf 450 is brutal if you don't know what you are doing 

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Hey, don't knock riding back in the day. These are the guys that molded our sport. It was as or more physically demanding than riding modern bikes. I rode "back in the day" and can tell you it was a blast! I have several modern bikes as well as several vintage bikes. I enjoy riding and racing both. If you think you can only have fun on a modern bike, you're the one saying "funny/stupid" things.

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I locate and repair/restore vintage bikes of all kinds. One of my favorite things I have heard from more than one person when trying to sell me a pile of parts for the "fully restored price" is.

 

"I put new powerbands in it before I quit riding it", Or " It just needs new powerbands"

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Fun article. Agree on almost all of it. For #2, I don't knock those who "rode back in the day", because I am one of those, but I also know where I stand compared to the new younger riders. I never was more than a novice on an MX track though, but I had fun. Also have to dispute #5 a little. In general, I agree. Every noob thinks his bike goes somewhere between 80 and 100 mph because they put a K&N filter on it and drilled holes in the airbox lid. 99.9% of them are completely dreaming. However, there are those few select who have experienced an open class big bore 2 stroke that could lug as much gearing as you threw at them. I'm one of them, but my experience was not with a dirt bike, but an ATV, the LT500R "Quadzilla". My bone stock (down to the gearing and tires) 1988 zilla went 81 mph in 1998. An '87 model was clocked at just under 80 (79 plus change) in an old ATV magazine back in the late 80's. With stock gearing, that quad got to the RPM at the top of its powerband quick too, indicating it could pull higher gearing. More recently (6-8 years ago), a guy photo documented his attempts to reach top speed on a zilla with a stock internal engine. He had an aftermarket exhaust system (Dr Q), jetted the factory carb to match the needs of the pipe, trimmed fenders to cut down the wind drag, and added some really high gearing sprockets. Nothing more than that. No porting, no bored or stroked engine, no special piston, no aftermarket carb. Using GPS and several attempts and adjustments, he hit 103 with his stock clutch slipping a little and his engine had slightly lower than fresh compression.

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The only comment missing is:  "I had this old (insert model here) when the powerband kicked in, it was so fast.  It would beat any new bike.  

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I don't really appreciate half the stuff in this article. What's wrong with riding and liking a 2-stroke? They were fast and I know mine did 70 without gravity help. It really comes off as you trying to justify your sport and what you do, to others. Don't worry about it and do your thing and screw what any detractors say.

 

I'm the author and no one is a bigger 2-stroke fan than I am. I think you've misunderstood - take another read, thanks!

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#2 and #5 are directly related, as somebody on a peaky, ill-suspended oldie as described in #2 would certainly have a 100mph fright factor (#5) midway through fourth gear (somewhere around 45 mph.) Anyone who has ever attempted a dual-sport conversion understands how hard it is to gear and sprocket an offroad bike to handle highway speeds at a remotely comfortable rpm..   

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I had a 1989 Honda CR500, I haven't been on an off-road bike since that was as powerful, and that includes modern 450 4t's. Geared right, I'm pretty sure it would have done a (white knuckle) 100 mph. If you haven't ridden an open class 2 stroke, you're missing out.

 

We are basing the statement on a 1986 Honda CR250 (which I owned) - I think you'll find it's accurate! 

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