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Beginners Dirt Bike Training

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I just bought my first dirt bike and I know how to ride the bike, switch gears, etc, but I could use some formal training to give me a good foundation to work from.  I'm an adult and would obviously want to take a course offered for adults.  The closest place I've found thus far is 150 miles away in Pennsylvania.  Question is, is it absolutely essential that I take some sort of training or will I be fine just learning on my own?  I have a couple friends and a relative that know quite a bit about dirt bikes so I at least have someone to ask questions (they don't live very close so riding together won't be a frequent occasion).  Should I just get out there and learn as I go?  What's the best way to hook up with other riders in my area that could act as mentors for beginners such as myself?  It's not in my nature to approach a stranger on the trail and ask to ride together, but I have no problem meeting up with people if it is prearranged. 

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Yeah definitely look in the Regional forum or try to find a club in your area, I watched alot of YouTube vids while learning to ride there are some pretty good ones out there. Good luck

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Shane Watts offers his "Dirtwise" classes all over the country, check out his website for locations. They are great classes and you will learn a ton. Be prepared for a workout!

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Thanks for that.  Shane is coming to Winchester in May to teach his two day "In Depth" course.  It's $390 though, so I'll have to think about it.

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I think you can get started on your own especially if you have some people to ride with who have some experience. Assuming you have outfitted yourself with the basics/safety gear and etc. you can poke around on the internet and find a mixed bag of instructional stuff & etc to get started. Once you have some seat time maybe then you can take the Shane Watts course.

 

As far as taking courses goes, I think it is all about how far you want to advance your skills, you can make pretty good progress on your own or with some riding buddies up to a point, then if you want to go to the next level take a course from an expert. Like you say,  a good foundation is important, I think there is enough starter information out there you just need to be careful and sift it or post questions to TT!!  :ride:

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If you don't mind going out and practicing what you see, youtube has an incredible amount of great instructional videos.

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X2 with the youtube vids. I allways rode the woods my whole life growing up and started watching riding tips on youtube just around a year ago. And my riding is night and day better just by soaking in the tips and tecniques on youtube.

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I am 30 years old, started riding 9 years ago, and I can say with confidence that focusing on the basics will not only make you a faster rider, but a much safer rider.  The technique that I resisted for years was learning to ride standing nearly all the time.  Riding standing up takes a lot of practice before you start to feel more in control than while sitting, but it eventually happens.  In order to get comfortable, you will need to consciously make a real effort to squeeze the bike with your knees, and keep your boots tight against the frame.  Gary Semics has a practice manual that list and describes all the basic techniques of riding motocross.  You can become a competent rider by just focusing on the basics.  Your going to need to slow down for a while to really focus on these techniques, and make these techniques come naturally.  Learning to ride standing takes more endurance, but it also puts a lot of your body weight on the foot pegs, very low on the motorcycles center of gravity, and this keeps the motorcycle behaving in a predictable manner.  You will also learn to ride more forward when standing, keeping your weight more centered with the bike.

 

Bike setup is important.  That doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money, but if your bikes suspension is not sprung correctly, or the valving is terrible, then having that taken care of by a suspension tuner can be a blessing.  A balanced suspension setup makes for a predictable rider, and often a more comfortable ride.  Its hard to feel confident if your suspension is causing the front end to dive hard when you touch the brakes, or a rear end that swaps when you get on the gas.  Its hard enough learning to ride well on a balanced bike, and bike that is all jacked up makes it even tougher, and potentially unsafe.           

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Iam 32 and got my first dirt bike late 2011. 3 month after I got it I stood on the startline ready to race...

Holy shit I was slow, but it was a day I'll never forget I had so much fun!!

Well find a place to ride, the same loop will help you a lot for a start. Do some runs and get some time on the bike, not taking minutes here, more like a week maybe. When you get to a point where you actually have your breath under control and can drive the loop without stopping, then start building balance and think a bit about how the good lines could be in the corners.

A good way to gain balance is to stand up on the bike and going slow, it's harder then you think, stand around the corners too ;)

It sounds boring maybe but it will help you especially if you are totally green. Get some time on the bike, and later you will find out what you need to learn, but you need a base first.

Good luck

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The one I'm taking is at Silbaughs motosports in York, PA. There are a few other locations in the PA area offering classes as well. Google MSF dirt bike school and you'll see the site. You can search by zip code and it will give you a list of available locations offering the training. The course at Silbaughs is only $140 and sounds like it covers a lot of ground (syllabus is available on the MSF website).

Edited by mossman77
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There might be a meet up group you can join near you. It's ordinary people getting together to do the things they enjoy. Check it out!

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I'd post in your regional forum that you are looking to go riding with someone who would be willing to give you some tips on setting your bike up and riding.  There are people who want to promote the sport and would be glad to spend a few hours or a day with someone who wants to listen and get some pointers.  That's probably the easiest and cheapest way to start.  At the end of the day buy them a meal or a drink.  The bonus is you may make some new riding buddy's.  I'm also confused if you want to ride trails, motocross, or if you want to race.

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Sounds like a good idea.

Ride trails. Potentially hare scramble as I get better.

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I learned a lot from trials riders. I started riding about 5 years ago, and found that riding with really skilled riders that push you hard really help make you a better rider. Read up, and watch some instructional videos too

 

http://vimeo.com/6063165

Edited by n16ht5

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