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I cant seem to get comfortable on the bike

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Hey guys so today i took my first riding lesson, im not new to motorcycles i commute daily on a 750, so i ASSUMED i was going to rock this thing, WRONG, first thing instructor told me you're taking the turns all wrong, youre leaning to the wrong side, im trying to ride street on dirt, by the time i realized which way to lean im already in the middle of the turn....Im so frustrated, im 5'7 riding a 2002 yz250 with a pro taper Carmichael bend (came with the bike), i cant seem to get comfortable on the bike, it feels like im holding on for dear life (which i am), usually after a couple of minutes i can find my place on a streetbike, but here its like i cant get the feel for it, i dont know if its the bars or my riding stance which for the better part of the 2 hours class was main issue apparently im not leaning forward enough to the attack position, do you guys have any pointers, maybe a different bar?

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technique is critical. There are a lot of things to do wrong, and pretty specific ways to ride 'right'. The number one thing is you shouldn't be fighting the bike. Having a death grip and feeling out of control is a sign that you aren't working together with your bike correctly. From what it sounds like, a good place to start is focusing on making sure you are being pushed through the pegs rather then pulled by the bars. I don't think bars would help you at all.

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I haven't rode street bikes before I started to ride Mx, it really took quite a while to finally feel comfortable on the bike and start actually enjoying MX big time... Its just getting used to it. Make sure you know the right technique (watch some riding technique videos, attent a mx school,...), try to stay relaxed and put down the seat time... don't focus on what you're doing wrong, focus on how to do it right.

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It takes (seat) time, and lots of it. I came to dirt bikes from a lifetime on the street too, and it has been a struggle. Pretty well got it now, but had to sell my street bike and get completely away from it to start feeling at home on the dirt. So used to the spit, polish, and precision of a sport bike that the constant feeling of being for the most part, out of control and just along for the ride, took some getting used to. Keep at it and focus on nothing but basic techniques for a while, it will come to you in time.

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Thanks man, most of the guys I talked to on the track about this said they've been on a sports bike but norhing more, so I feel like they dont know what im talking about , they re too completely different animals and the only thing in common is that they are both trying to kill me....im guessing first priority is get the technic down so I stop getting pulled around , i feel like im trying to ride a bull while im cover in bubblewrap

Edited by thieaux

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Basically stock...sag is 100mm thats it... Now that you mention that I feel like the front feels harsh, I dont know how to explain the feeling its like it absorbs the bumps but I dont feel like it sinks and bytes like im not getting feedback...thats it, im not feeling what the front is doing and the back seems to compress way too much under throttle

Edited by thieaux

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BodyPos & Mvmt FRONT WP.jpg

Hey guys so today i took my first riding lesson, im not new to motorcycles i commute daily on a 750, so i ASSUMED i was going to rock this thing, WRONG, first thing instructor told me you're taking the turns all wrong, youre leaning to the wrong side, im trying to ride street on dirt, by the time i realized which way to lean im already in the middle of the turn....Im so frustrated, im 5'7 riding a 2002 yz250 with a pro taper Carmichael bend (came with the bike), i cant seem to get comfortable on the bike, it feels like im holding on for dear life (which i am), usually after a couple of minutes i can find my place on a streetbike, but here its like i cant get the feel for it, i dont know if its the bars or my riding stance which for the better part of the 2 hours class was main issue apparently im not leaning forward enough to the attack position, do you guys have any pointers, maybe a different bar?

The proper "Body Positions and Movements" are the first key techniques to master. It’s better to keep your elbows up and out away from your sides because it gives you better leverage factors over the bike.  Try this simple test to feel the difference.  Sit on your bike and hold the handlebars with a low grip and low elbows.  Then move your upper body back and forth as hard as you can, then do the same from side to side.  Now grab the handlebars with a high over grip and high elbows.  Perform the same two tests.  Which way feels like you have more leverage over the bike?  And keep in mind that factor multiplies when you standup. 

 

Another body position technique is sitting forward. The reason you want to sit forward is because you want to sit right over the pivot point of the bike, in the central location.  This way if you lean your upper body forward you are putting more weight to the front of the pivot point, if you lean your upper body back you are putting more weight behind the pivot point.  When you are sitting back too far (behind the pivot point) your weight will most likely stay behind the pivot point even when you lean forward. 

 

If you haven't been doing these and other body position techniques correctly they may not feel good to you at first but after you get used to them you’ll develop more control and therefore be able to ride better and faster.  The correct Body Positions and Movements are definitely a ground floor foundation that needs to be perfected if you want to advance. It's so important that I started my new Volume 3 Technique DVD Series with all the techniques relating to Body Positions and Movements. If you haven't already purchased this DVD you can see a free preview and order the disc or Stream online at; http://www.gsmxs.com/dvds/volume-3/dvd-1-body-positions-and-movements

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Basically stock...sag is 100mm thats it... Now that you mention that I feel like the front feels harsh, I dont know how to explain the feeling its like it absorbs the bumps but I dont feel like it sinks and bytes like im not getting feedback...thats it, im not feeling what the front is doing and the back seems to compress way too much under throttle

 

This is kinda contrary. The more the suspension is setup to dampen all those little to medium bumps the less feedback you will get. The stiffer the suspension is set up the more feedback you will experience. I rode a sand track a few months ago with a bike that belongs to a friend, setup kinda for a mx-hardpack / enduro mix.... I wasn't able to feel ANYTHING the front did... it felt like the front was floating on air. So if you want more feedback stiffen the compression, but it will become rougher to ride too, might increase armpump aswell. There is a compromise to be made, that depends on your style, likings and capabilities.

But for beginning I would say just check if sag etc is set properly, set the suspension up to what is recommended as medium by the manual and basically forget about suspension as you learn to develop basic skills. (unless you're way to heavy or light for the bikes stock setup). Messing with suspension in an early stage might cause too much distraction for learing basic skills. Don't blame the suspension (unless there's a major problem that someone educated identifies), concentrate 100% on riding technique. Worry about suspension when you have the basics dialed in.

 

Thats at least how I dealt with that issue, I started riding about 3 years ago. The only times I messed with suspension was when the forks almost bottomed out on large jumps or something thelike, then I added 1 or 2 klicks compression, but thats it...

 

Take my advice with a grain of salt, I'm not sure all pros would agree. At least for me it worked pretty well...

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Yep, once i re read it noticed it was awkward, but youre right im going to go middle of the scale and set sag accordingly, im about 170 so im guessing im in the neutral range, its hard to describe the feeling, i used to ride like 15 years ago and don't remember being that uncomfortable, i guess im getting old....i feel like im starting from scratch, i've figured out the best comparison, anyone who've ever ridden a horse would understand, when your ride a horse for the first time it feels totally out of control and you are just along for the ride, but when find the rhythm of the gallop you flow with it....thats whats missing here

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I started on street bikes, went into roadracing, then off-road and now motocross. For those who haven't done the tarmac to dirt transition, its hard for them to help because they don't understand the issues us tarmac guys have.

I remember my first few days on a dirt bike, they were... shall we say, embarrassing. I had a lot of help, many buddies who ride both street and dirt, try to help, but it just wasn't clicking. It took me many weeks of riding off-road, just riding the bike in different situations, to really figure out how to ride it so I wasn't "hanging on for dear life".

So what is the problem? As stated above, its all body positioning and learning to NOT use the ftont. In tarmac riding, the front end steers the bike, it's the most hypercritical part of the machine. Us tarmac guys expect a certain amount of feedback to come from the front and as a consequence, when its moving all over the place, we get scared shitless. This causes us to grab the bars more, to use more brake and these things unstable the front even more!

The key with dirt bikes is to learn how to ride with the rear, not the front. This means, you have to "trust" the front far more then you ever would on a street bike. Sliding the rear around is the easy part, trusting the front is the hard part. Once you understand the dynamics of body position and how they effect the chassis/balance of the machine, hopefully it will click and you will use your legs as the balancing/stability element and not your arms. Once that happens, the front will become less of an issue and you'll be able to ride dirt bikes much more comfortably.

Taking a course is the ultimate solution, just remember, body positioning is FAR more critical then it is in street bikes.

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I grew up water skiing till I was out of college.  Then went snow skiing,,,,,,,,WOW! Time in the saddle is your friend. No way to get around it. It is very important to use good technique but you may be so rigid you are not allowing yourself to "float" with the bike .  Just try to relax, develop and refine your technique as you progress. Ride-ride-ride-ride---------------------

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I started on street bikes, went into roadracing, then off-road and now motocross. For those who haven't done the tarmac to dirt transition, its hard for them to help because they don't understand the issues us tarmac guys have.

I remember my first few days on a dirt bike, they were... shall we say, embarrassing. I had a lot of help, many buddies who ride both street and dirt, try to help, but it just wasn't clicking. It took me many weeks of riding off-road, just riding the bike in different situations, to really figure out how to ride it so I wasn't "hanging on for dear life".

So what is the problem? As stated above, its all body positioning and learning to NOT use the ftont. In tarmac riding, the front end steers the bike, it's the most hypercritical part of the machine. Us tarmac guys expect a certain amount of feedback to come from the front and as a consequence, when its moving all over the place, we get scared shitless. This causes us to grab the bars more, to use more brake and these things unstable the front even more!

The key with dirt bikes is to learn how to ride with the rear, not the front. This means, you have to "trust" the front far more then you ever would on a street bike. Sliding the rear around is the easy part, trusting the front is the hard part. Once you understand the dynamics of body position and how they effect the chassis/balance of the machine, hopefully it will click and you will use your legs as the balancing/stability element and not your arms. Once that happens, the front will become less of an issue and you'll be able to ride dirt bikes much more comfortably.

Taking a course is the ultimate solution, just remember, body positioning is FAR more critical then it is in street bikes.

Wow, where were you a couple of days ago? you hit the nail in the head, i was beginning to fear i was coming on like a dumbass to all the dirt guys here, not that i dont appreciate all the suggestions but i felt they weren't getting what I was trying to say, like you said the front is my life line here, everything i do is based on what im feeling from clips, this is gonna be tough, i mean i have a cage but 99% of the time im on two wheels regardless of the weather...jejejej thats funny you mentioned your first days as embarrassing, on my first try i came in to the first corner it was left handed high berm, said no biggie, downshifted, shifted my weight and lean into it and began to pull the bike till i saw the bike going over the berm into some bushes....not my finest moment...

Really appreciate you understand what m going through, i guess its saddle time for me

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Wow, where were you a couple of days ago? you hit the nail in the head, i was beginning to fear i was coming on like a dumbass to all the dirt guys here, not that i dont appreciate all the suggestions but i felt they weren't getting what I was trying to say, like you said the front is my life line here, everything i do is based on what im feeling from clips, this is gonna be tough.

It is tough, its WAY tougher for guys who start on street bikes to go to dirt then dirt bike guys go to street. Most of the guys I know started on tarmac like I did and are now moving into dirt because of the cost element. Dirt is far cheaper and much more accessible.

On the tarmac track, when you lean the bike over, you're constantly feeling that front end. The rear is easy to control, just throttle to the edge of grip. But the front, you're actively conscious about every little bit of input you feel in the bars. You're also using your body to "hang" off the bike, which means your hands aren't straining when cornering. We put weight on the inside peg subconsciously and that helps generate substantial grip levels. Also, because we aren't death gripping the bars, we just "feel" through the corner without the rider messing up the steering of the machine. However, the key in all of this is speed. If you've got death grip and your going slow, none of this works. I know plenty of beginner street bike guys who have the same problems you have on dirt, but on the street.

i mean i have a cage but 99% of the time im on two wheels regardless of the weather...jejejej thats funny you mentioned your first days as embarrassing, on my first try i came in to the first corner it was left handed high berm, said no biggie, downshifted, shifted my weight and lean into it and began to pull the bike till i saw the bike going over the berm into some bushes....not my finest moment...

I too use to ride every day on the street, I was forced to get a cage because I work late nights and it was too dangerous to be driving home at 3am on a bike. But yea, seat time is everything and if you can work on one skill at a time, it will eventually come together. Don't get impatient, just do one thing at a time and ride, ride, ride!

Ohh and if you haven't figured it out by now, dirt bike riding starts with a lot of crashing. So its imperative to have health insurance, good gear and someone who can take you to the hospital after you get injured. When I was first starting out, there was hardly a day where I wasn't bleeding through my jersey. Blood soaked jerseys and lots of sleepless nights, ahhh the life of a motocross rider!

I think all beginners have a love-hate relationship with the sport. Its so much fun, but man does it bite ya. I guess it just encourages you to get through the beginner phase quicker, but don't be caught in that trap. If you take your time and do it methodically, you will be a better rider in the long run.

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I have learned a ton and improved greatly from riding with older, more experienced riders. Being able to watch and mimic them along with their helpful advice has been huge.

I started out pretty clueless and holding on for dear life, arm pump so bad couldn't hold a bottle of water. Correct spring rates with sag set, seat time, and alot of helpful advice has made riding much more enjoyable.

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Basically stock...sag is 100mm thats it... Now that you mention that I feel like the front feels harsh, I dont know how to explain the feeling its like it absorbs the bumps but I dont feel like it sinks and bytes like im not getting feedback...thats it, im not feeling what the front is doing and the back seems to compress way too much under throttle

 

 

do you know the fork alignment procedure?

http://suspensiontuninghelp.moonfruit.com/#/hardpack-moto/4511681582

also heres a setup guide.

 

if its not mechanical, which i cant tell not seeing you ride, and not riding your bike.

it may just be a body posistion thing.

or you man not agree with your front tire.

something like a pirelli feels a lot better than a cheng shin

 

maybe its your street braking technique?

maybe its just seat time.

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Hey guys so today i took my first riding lesson, im not new to motorcycles i commute daily on a 750, so i ASSUMED i was going to rock this thing, WRONG, first thing instructor told me you're taking the turns all wrong, youre leaning to the wrong side, im trying to ride street on dirt, by the time i realized which way to lean im already in the middle of the turn....Im so frustrated, im 5'7 riding a 2002 yz250 with a pro taper Carmichael bend (came with the bike), i cant seem to get comfortable on the bike, it feels like im holding on for dear life (which i am), usually after a couple of minutes i can find my place on a streetbike, but here its like i cant get the feel for it, i dont know if its the bars or my riding stance which for the better part of the 2 hours class was main issue apparently im not leaning forward enough to the attack position, do you guys have any pointers, maybe a different bar?

 

A lot of good advice has been given already but I will try to give you my input.  I started on dirt very young and have spent my fair share of time on the street with a variety of machines. 

 

If you want your street experience to transfer over to dirt you need to think about it like this in the beginning...  what would your body position be like on the street if you are entering a turn that is not smooth or had debris on it?  You wouldn't be hanging off the inside of the bike and using a majority of front brake would you?  I could deff. go off on a bunch of analogies but my biggest suggestion for you is this... start slow.  Ask lots of questions, like you have never ridden a motorcycle before.  The more seat time you get the more comfortable you will become along with the more fun you will have.

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technique is critical. There are a lot of things to do wrong, and pretty specific ways to ride 'right'. The number one thing is you shouldn't be fighting the bike. Having a death grip and feeling out of control is a sign that you aren't working together with your bike correctly. From what it sounds like, a good place to start is focusing on making sure you are being pushed through the pegs rather then pulled by the bars. I don't think bars would help you at all.

You have no idea how helpful this was......my so called instructor was "you have to move your but cheek to the opposite side of the corner blah blah blah, I couldn't get the position right, I was struggling, so I got a cr high bar and raise the forks 5mm , went to the track and immediately the bike felt better, but the biggest improvement was the feeling of being pushed by the pegs and as soon as the first corner came my body automatically moved to the outside and that's when in understood what the so called instructor was talking about...thank you thank you thank you

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Fellow former road racer checking in. I landed myself in the hospital around my 6th day out (I can't remember.....in fact I don't remember a lot about that day or the crash at all). The switch over to dirt has been a tough one and like Tye said, filled with lots of crashes. I crash a LOT. Had to take the whole year off last year because of my shoulder. Had it repaired and recovered so I'm ready to get back at it. Hopefully time off of all bikes will give me a fresh start.

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