Help dealing with ruts?

Hey guys, I have a 2012 wr250r dual sport, but I have it set up to be very off road oriented.

 

I have pirelli mt21 on the front and kenda trakmaster on the rear.

 

Where I live all the trails are VERY soft... if there isn't huge muddy ruts they are big dried up ruts. I am having a big problem dealing with ruts that run with the trails, I find as soon as I get near them my front slides in the rut and I have a very hard time not getting bucked off my bike... I hit one once doing about 40km/h and I got tossed really good. I just don't understand how to deal with these as it's very frustrating... I find ATV/jeep ruts to be even worse.

 

People tell me you just have to "go with the rut" but I'm a new rider and have a hard time staying in the groove and not getting tossed, any tips would be great.

Get rid of the Trackmaster. Worst Tire Ever. If you air them up, they feel tippy in the turns because of their square profile. If you lower the pressure to get some traction it feels like the tire is flat. Horrible tire, deadly handling.

 

I installed a set of Geomax MX51 tires on my DRZ400 (and my Husaberg) and they made a noticeable different in the ruts. They track straight and don't want to run out of the rut.

 

Dunlop says:

 

"Recessed biting edges in shoulder tread blocks yield enhanced traction for greater grip in corners and ruts throughout a wide range of terrain conditions"

 

And its true! Go figure, truth in advertising.

Get rid of the Trackmaster. Worst Tire Ever. If you air them up, they feel tippy in the turns because of their square profile. If you lower the pressure to get some traction it feels like the tire is flat. Horrible tire, deadly handling.

 

I installed a set of Geomax MX51 tires on my DRZ400 (and my Husaberg) and they made a noticeable different in the ruts. They track straight and don't want to run out of the rut.

 

Dunlop says:

 

"Recessed biting edges in shoulder tread blocks yield enhanced traction for greater grip in corners and ruts throughout a wide range of terrain conditions"

 

And its true! Go figure, truth in advertising.

 

 

So you say I should get a rounder tire and just follow the ruts?

So you say I should get a rounder tire and just follow the ruts?

 

That is Step 1.

 

Step 2 is to learn to love the rut. There are basically two type of ruts. Straight and in turns. For the ruts in turns you need to practice riding in figure 8's. This will teach you to "Love the rut" as it allows you to rail the turns at amazing speeds. Its great fun when you get good at it, but is actually harder than it looks. The other thing for ruts in turns is grinding. Shane Watts has a video about it, look it up. Grinding works great on corners with deep ruts. Grinding is actually easier than it looks.

 

Step 3 is to learn to ride the straight ruts. If you have a heavy bike (like a KLR) it will always tend to go into the bottom of the rut no matter what you do, so you might as well just point the bike there. Your WR is lighter and more nimble, so you should be able to pick your line and hold it without sliding in. Good tires help, but the main thing is precise wheel placement. You only need a few inches to ride on, you need to practice precision riding. Shane also talks abut this. You also need to practice crossing the ruts, which can be tricky, but should be manageable on your bike.

 

Once you get all these skills down, ruts can actually be fun. Nobody said it would be easy.

Good tips. But most importent. DO NOT LOOK INTO THE RUTS, and stand up in attack position with your head over the headlight. For me it helps to spread my legs a bit, like an inch from the bike, and move the bike fast from side to side, also something like an inch maybe just a half inch. And when it starts too fell like its about to go wrong roll on the throttle a bit..

Ruts are a problem for anyone who hasn't learned to deal with them.  I used to hate them, and like you, felt like I would get sucked into them.  Actually the technique that works for dealing with them works in all areas of riding.  What you need to do, is learn to look farther ahead.  If you look at the rut just in front of you, you will most likely find yourself hitting the side of the rut with your tires and get out of control.  Look ahead, look ahead, look ahead!  Once you feel your tires scrubbing the side of the rut, or trying to climb up and out, you're probably looking too closely in front of you.  Doing so (looking right in front of yourself) doesn't leave you with enough time to react and you'll end up getting out of shape/control.  You should trust your mind to remember anything coming up that will cause you problems, and look to the next turn.  And once you begin that turn, look to the next one and so on.  Looking farther ahead is easy to do when you think about it, but it's hard to do it naturally without thinking about it.  Like anything worth learning, it takes practice, and lots of it, before it comes naturally.  Like I said earlier, I used to have lots of problems with ruts too.  But I practiced on a trail that was rutted and quite long.  I kept telling myself to look ahead every time I would get out of shape and found that the control I lost was regained.  Finally after much practice, looking ahead became automatic, and then I found myself riding that same trail a gear higher and quite a bit faster.  Learning to look ahead without having to tell yourself to do so will make you a much safer rider and you'll also be able to ride much faster without crashing.  If an old fart like me can learn to do this, so can you.  Good luck to you.  Go out and practice, and most of all have fun.

Look ahead sit down later steady throttle and weight the outside peg. Also i like to drag my front brake slightly sometimes. most improtant tho look ahead and do not sit down until your front tire is in the rut

Red dog is absolutely right.

 

I want to add a bit of info that hasn't been mentioned. Different kinds of ruts. 

 

Rain ruts, vs dirtbike created ruts.

 

Rain ruts are deep and jagged, created by rain water cutting the rut out of a dirt road after it rains. 

 

Dirt bike created ruts are obviously created by people riding their dirt bike in soft or loose dirt, typically in a turn. Think supercross on TV. 

 

BryanK kind of hit on this in his post but didn't really differentiate between the two.

 

Rain ruts = Stay out of them. You're not supposed to "rail the rut" for these things. Occasionally they can be useful if they're on a hill climb, as they may contain more traction, but the rule of thumb is stay out of them. 

 

Dirt bike ruts = Learn to love them. They help the bike slow down easier, they help the bike turn easier, they keep the rear wheel in line when you're on the gas, but they do take practice. I'd suggest going to a practice day at an MX park near you if you want to learn how to ride these. Just roll the jumps and ride the turns. I do it quite a bit and never get shit from the 14 yr olds skying out the triples. 

 

Bottom line. Stay out of the ruts. It will become easier as you get more confident on the bike and as was mentioned above you look further ahead. 

I used to be in the same boat with the ruts until it hit me that 99% of the time the rut points you to where you want to go. (bike created ruts, not the rain ruts that were mentioned). you might as well learn to use them to your advantage, so get in it and let it just take you along. I'd also suggest you scrap the mt21 for any type of serious dirt riding, it's an ok tire but it doesn't track particularly well in the heavy stuff. it's a 50/50 street tire. if you're a Pirelli fan the mt16 or scorpion pro FIM are better choices.

Keep the bike loose, let it dance underneath you. Also, a great exercise is to find a long thin tree, and ride with one wheel on one side, and the other wheel on the other side. I believe Shane Watts does this, it really helps train balance when the bike is not in line.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now