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Riding tips that have helped you.

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Yes, slow down some and take time often to go back to the basics as if you were teaching a beginner and work on them until you can demonstrate them to a REAL beginner flawlessly.

 

I have found that the people that win the most or have the least problems in tough trails are NOT wizards. They quite often don't ride with a lot of Flash and Style. They focus on the fundamentals until they are perfect and then they cruise through relaxed while others are clamped to the bike looking for trick drinks or chemical remedies to help stop "Arm Pump" or cramps or whatnot..

 

If you can ride focusing on perfect execution of JUST the fundamentals, you've got more than 95% of what it takes to win or to have the time of your life. There are only a few people that can out-ride a person that has that 95% down.

 

And to become even better, once you can demonstrate the basics at will, take time to teach another.  It almost ALWAYS makes you even better.

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The top things that have made me a faster and smoother rider right away....

-Ride with better riders!

-Don't ever focus on one thing, look far ahead and take the whole sight image as one picture, while picking you're line well ahead of riding it.

-Set your bike up.

-Ride with better riders!

-work with the bike, not against it.

-don't always take the most used line.

-check your ego and be able to adapt.

-ride with better riders!

Riding with faster riders helped me immensely in just one summer. Crazy how much faster you get.

Learning to look ahead is probably second in my opinion

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Bike set up

Stay neutral

Squeeze the bike

Look ahead

Smooth (w/ controls & riding)

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BE IN SHAPE.

Stand up.

Elbows up and out.

Line up wide, always try for inside lines if available unless there's a great berm on the outside.

Pressure down with the outside foot/knee, ass on the outside, inside foot by the front axle and toe pointed UP.  This one is awkward at first but pulls the bike through like crazy.

Get used to sliding.  Front only, rear only, both at once.

Know your braking distances.  Front only, rear only, combined, bumpy terrain, smooth terrain, loose terrain, hard terrain, flat, downhill, etc.  You can only go as fast as your brakes will allow you to stop.

When it's not rough, relax your grip.  When sitting, RELAX YOUR grip.  Let the bars float in your hand unless absolutely necessary.

Feet on the pegs.  When it gets snotty and steep, keep at least one foot on the pegs.

Balance on the balls of your feet.  Your calves/ankles need to work with the rear suspension and with your mass pushing from behind the pegs, it helps push the bike over rough stuff and keep you from pitching forwards.

Set up the bike to fit you ergonomically.  Don't be surprised if you end up with a stretched out/tall setup if you are taller than about 5'10".

Momentum + a higher gear is always faster and easier.

 

 

Hold it wide, let it slide...

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Try going faster in the easier sections until you get more confidence for the technical sections. Then just connect the dots.

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Riding with other people that are better than you is very helpful.  However and this is a big one...  It's difficult when you're starting out to be sure the people you are riding with REALLY do know what they are doing or talking about..  Quite often, I find that many beginners are riding with others that are just better at the same bad habits that YOU are learning.

 

If you have any chance of getting some training and sound fundamentals from professional instructors, schools or seminars that focus on the BASICS and NOT on racing you will be MUCH Better off and can avoid learning bad habits that will have to be broken much later.  Put  your first MOD dollars into YOU and not the bike.

 

Riders that are truly "Better" than you will probably take the time to give you some some good tips instead of just letting you chase them around at high speed.

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Tips that immediately improved my riding experience (in no particular order):

- Stand up. It was awkward for the first few rides. But the more I did it, I started to see the benefits. I love standing up now

- Adjust your clutch and brake levers so that your wrists are are straight when standing and sitting (this also helps to force you to keep your elbows up)

- Keep your elbows up

- Adjust the angle of your handlebars to be straight with the forks, not too far back, not too far forward

- Look ahead, pick your line, and practise precise front wheel placement

- Keep your arms fluid, don't hang on to the handlebars, definitely do on put your weight on them

- Momentum is your friend on gnarly bits

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Don't squeeze the bike !!!  Hover over it and let it dance around while you stay over your intended line. Your ankles and knees need to be free and active so that you don't have to hang on to the bars to keep yourself attached.  Your waist and crotch should be active and moving forward and rearward as the bike climbs and drops or brakes and accelerates.

 

Survival instinct tells you to hang on tight and clamp yourself to the bike..   Instinct is not your friend in this case..   LOL   :thumbsup:  

Edited by 2PLY
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I'm with 2ply... keep the bike loose, the only time I squeeze the bike is on the freeways WFO... guess I need a gripper seat cover. Keep a cool clear head. Sounds kinda odd but I find talking or singing to myself helps.

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For WFO on the Freeways, maybe Velcro Pants would be helpful.  ;)

 

Granted, there are brief times where a little squeeze can help and I hear it quite often from the guys that are into Moto-Cross and some other forms of racing, but this is the Off-Road "RIDING" Techniques forum..  most of the people I meet on the trails are more interested in cruising effortlessly on single track trails for the pleasure of it.  But I also run into guys that ride the same trails as if they are in a National Championship Race and risk injury to themselves and others for no reason..   There are Enduro and other events that use secured trails with no public traffic on them for people that want to test their skills at speed and of course, closed tracks used ONLY for racing.

 

I have a Honda S2000 Roadster that I use for daily driving and it's fun to zip around but when I want to use it's full power and speed, I take it to a sanctioned Track Event where I can get my speed fix at 140 MPH Plus along with some good instruction. :thumbsup:

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On nasty, slow hillclimbs, avoid "paddling" with feet as much as possible. Sounds simpler than it is, but it will really help you maintain control of the bike. If I have to, I'll hold by left foot out for balance, as I like to have my right foot ready to cover the brake.

Edited by Sierra_rider

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#1 tip that helped me and i think about it during every enduro when I start to get sloppy:  when exiting corners, choose the point at which you begin to apply throttle (should be as you are releasing brakes) and roll it on, no matter what. Before I became aware of this I did what I see many other riders doing; blipping the throttle multiple times on corner exit. When you are on/off the throttle in a corner the bike gets upset and doesn't hold the line nearly as well. Try this, I bet many of you aren't committed to rolling on throttle smoothly on exit and don't realize it.

 

And don't coast-I always have to be aware of this on long enduros as well when I am alone in the woods with no one in front or behind to pace with. (Ex: long straightaway with entrance back into woods at end of straight.  If I don't think about staying on the gas until the last possible second, I will coast into the braking zone) You should be on the gas, on the brakes, or somewhere in between.

 

Both of these tips are way easier said than done 60 miles into a rainy enduro!

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 I will coast into the braking zone) You should be on the gas, on the brakes, or somewhere in between.

 

Just to nitpick but, somewhere in between would be coasting.

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I will coast into the braking zone) You should be on the gas, on the brakes, or somewhere in between.

Just to nitpick but, somewhere in between would be coasting.

Not true. And it's something that coaches on the top MX teams use telemetry to help correct during test and train sessions.

They rig up the bike with a variety of sensors for practice sessions that track brake pressures, throttle openings, g-force, engine rpm and temp among other things. The g-force sensors tell them if the rider is coasting at any point.

The rider either needs to be hard on the throttle or hard on the brake unless in midair. Never coasting. Ok maybe coasting for a millisecond between the two...

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 I will coast into the braking zone) You should be on the gas, on the brakes, or somewhere in between.

 

Just to nitpick but, somewhere in between would be coasting.

 

Negative ghost rider. Any B rider or above will be on the brakes and the gas at the same time in many situations, a good example for me is when I come into whoops hot and start swapping- I stay on the gas and drag the back brake to straighten out. Thus- "somewhere in between gas and brakes"

I also wasn't advocating coasting in my original post, I meant that if I don't stay mindful of it, I can catch myself coasting a bit during a race.

Edited by Bark3rd

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Have fun riding,even practicing,because improving your skill is great,but if you don't enjoy it why bother. Happy riders are better riders.Of course the first place guy usually has that death stare at the finish.That's a race thing though they have that face on at the start too.

 

lots of good tips here.

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Negative ghost rider. Any B rider or above will be on the brakes and the gas at the same time in many situations, a good example for me is when I come into whoops hot and start swapping- I stay on the gas and drag the back brake to straighten out. Thus- "somewhere in between gas and brakes"

I also wasn't advocating coasting in my original post, I meant that if I don't stay mindful of it, I can catch myself coasting a bit during a race.

True, I just didn't consider being on the brakes and gas at the same time as somewhere inbetween

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Learn to use/slip the clutch.   It's your friend.  Learn to get over small obstacles like rocks and logs by bouncing the front forks down and blipping the throttle ever so gently when the forks rebound.

I didn't learn to use the clutch until 38 years into my riding experience. 

 

Oh, and learn to use the clutch.

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