Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Road racer with first dirt bike... Advice?

Recommended Posts

Good call on a 125 as a first bike coming off the street. It's a great choice.

 

As stated above, dirt and street technique is almost completely opposite. On street, your ass moves off the bike from side to side as you hang off and pretty much maintains the same distance fore and aft.

On a dirtbike you want to put the bike down into corners and maintain a somewhat vertical and upright body position. Your ass is up forward on the seat in corners and hanging off the end sometimes for balance and tracton. You'll typically want your ass crack on the outer edge of the seat when cornering and standing the rest of the time.

 You'll see experienced riders pitching their body into a corner with the bike at higher speeds but that level of committment can cause problems unless you have the rest of your technique down.

 

Just like on the street however- head up at all times. You are looking for the line and the berm or rut. Head down is a common mistake among newbies and it screws up their body position 100% of the time.

what he said...transitioning from street to dirt my biggest habit to break was leaning with the bike in corners. second was learning not to be afraid to break the traction of the rear when braking into a corner.

Also weight the outside peg in a corner.

When standing and you need a quick direction change to avoid a rut, root or other obstacle a quick thrust on the footpeg on the side you wish the bike to go to works great.

gripping the bike or seat with your knees will relieve stress on your arms and help stability in most situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing carries over I believe other than feeling tire slip and controlling it.

Weight the OTHER peg in corners! Hard habit to break.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reviving this for any more advice on the subject. I rode dirt bikes when I was kid but that was just around the ranch. In my adult life i've become decently proficient in riding street bikes in the last seven years. Never dragged a knee at 120 like the OP says he has but I've shot sparks off my footpegs quite a few times. Anyway, got myself a clean '12 KTM 250SX and have been having a blast learning to ride it better for the short time I can ride in ND. Always up for any pointers from people more experienced than myself. I only have one person I ride with and he's not much better than me.

 

EDIT: Advice directly related to the transition. I realize that there are subforums full of threads on off road and MX techniques. Just curious if there are any habits I may have from street riding that will cause issues in the dirt.

Edited by WolfNman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Biggest problem is going to be wanting to lean with the bike. You can't do that in the dirt so breaking that habit and learning to lean the bike under you while keeping your body perpendicular to the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait until you get back on your street bike after riding a bunch of dirt, you'll be wanting to stick your foot out when cornering. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reviving this for any more advice on the subject. I rode dirt bikes when I was kid but that was just around the ranch. In my adult life i've become decently proficient in riding street bikes in the last seven years. Never dragged a knee at 120 like the OP says he has but I've shot sparks off my footpegs quite a few times. Anyway, got myself a clean '12 KTM 250SX and have been having a blast learning to ride it better for the short time I can ride in ND. Always up for any pointers from people more experienced than myself. I only have one person I ride with and he's not much better than me.

EDIT: Advice directly related to the transition. I realize that there are subforums full of threads on off road and MX techniques. Just curious if there are any habits I may have from street riding that will cause issues in the dirt.

The very best thing you can do is buy a book. LaPlante's is a great guide to everything you need to know about control and building skills. It's geared for beginning riders but has a few advanced techniques as well. If you follow the methods you'll advance quickly.

Much more efficient than just getting tips as you go along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stork1983,  The majority of tips I'm seeing here for you are Race Related.  Is that what you are interested in?  If you are riding the dirt for fun and recreation then Old Plonker had one of the best tips:  "Get Paul Clipper's The Art of Trailriding (Amazon Kindle format only)."  or some similar reading.

 

Carl Shipman wrote a couple books a long time ago that really helped me and now that I've looked through them again for fun, I found that the tips were still very accurate even for today's riding.  One of the books was "Observed Trials" and the other more universal one was "The Boonie Book".  I bought those way back in 1974 so I'm sure they are hard to find.

 

Avoid hanging your foot out in the turns. That's a technique used in Moto-Cross when they lay the bike over so far that they can't keep it on the peg and still counter-weight for a radical turn. It's also used to move weight to the front tire to help it bite for the same radical turn, but that's RACING.  they are NOT sliding it along for stability like many newbies think.  The only other Motor sport that does that other than maybe some in Road Racing is the Flat-Track racers but they have a smooth surface and a steel sole.  If you fall into this habit on the trails, you are likely to suffer some REAL injury.

 

Raise your inside foot off the peg IF you think it's likely to hit a stump, the ground or some other object or if it helps you lay the bike over for an extreme turn while you remain upright, but don't develop the habit.

 

I would suggest you ignore the "racing tips" and focus on precision and control at whatever speed you are comfortable with. After you learn to relax without a heavy grip on the bike with hands and/or legs, you can focus on "Floating" over the sweet spot on the bike and let the bike dance while your upper body remains quiet and over your intended line.  Thread the needle so to speak with your tires looking for fun lines and use the entire width of the trail to play with control. you should find that while standing, you turn the bike with your feet and let the bars go where they will.  The bike turns by tipping it over while you stay over it.  When people say stand on the outside peg in a turn, they are talking about counter weighting the bike as you lay it over.  When 40 pounds of bike is laying to the left of center, you'll want 40 pounds of outside peg pressure to balance the bike WITHOUT laying your upper body over with it..

 

Focus on acceleration and braking where there is no pressure or pulling forces in your hands as if you had no handle bars to hold. It's done by adjusting your knees and ankles so that the foot pegs are pushing your body and/or holding you back as you brake hard.  If you lock your legs to the bike to hang on, you'll sacrifice the 2 most important joints in your body's suspension.  When done correctly, there will be no tendency to wheelie on hard acceleration nor any front suspension diving upon hard braking.

 

If your intention was to learn racing in the dirt, well, these tips are still good for starters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice everyone. I got The Art of Trail Riding on Amazon. It's too cheap to not give it a read. Good stuff so far, I am at the beginning of chapter 4. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a look at these two videos,

important body positioning tips for either flat or in rutted/berm corners:

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mountain bike. I had a very similar scenario. Rode street and track for a long time. Took back to the dirt in my 40's. Had it not been for the years spent on a mountain bike trail riding and down hilling the transition would have been much tougher. I still rely on those skills and still hop on a mountain bike for both fitness and to sharpen my skills. Riding on a 2 inch tire at speed now seems more ballsy then riding my 450.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×