Jump to content
gavinmgrant

My battle and victory against arm pump

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, 

So I have been riding dirt bikes for about 9 years (started at 12 and Im 21 now.) Though throughout my riding time I was not always serious about racing. My first races took place about 5 years ago on a 2008 crf250r which I no longer have. During those races I found I could keep a great pace for about two laps, then my hands would cramp so bad I couldn't hold onto the bars anymore. At that point I pretty much said "forget racing, Id rather just go trail ride if it's that hard for me." But I kept trying to improve my speed and work on my technique, but would still run into arm pump every time I tried to go fast. Arm pump is a huge problem for a lot of riders and it can be very discouraging also. Now that I have a bike i truly love (2012 kx250f) that has suspension valved for me, bars that fit me perfectly, good grips, good gloves, etc. I thought my arm pump issues would be over now that I have a perfectly set up bike. Nope. Arm pump was still an issue. So i took it upon myself to get my arm pump fixed by a professional rider just LAST WEEKEND after all these years. I'll share with you my victory against arm pump below:

 

A local track owner in my area has been racing for 43 years and is very fast and has perfect technique. He also offers training courses on his track seven days a week, so i expressed to him my issues. 

1. He watched me ride a few laps on his track and he instantly noticed I was using to much of my arms to steer and maneuver the bike. To fix this, he had me stand on my bike with the bike shut off and him holding me up. He had me loosen my grip and had me watch the bike fall with a loose grip. Then he said " stand on the balls of your feet and squeeze the bike your legs as hard as you can" and instantly the bike straightened up. I was in more control of the bike instantly. Work on the attack position when you ride, head evenly over the bars, elbows up, one finger on the brake, one finger on the clutch. 

2. Cornering and turning technique: He then had me do figure 8's (all while standing on the bike) in a open field practicing shifting my weight and weighting the outside foot peg. He said "i want the foot pegs scraping the ground while you're standing on the bike and turning." Your knees should never lift out of the squeezed and tight position while you're turning (standing or sitting.) The center of gravity on your bike is at the foot pegs. Use the pegs to steer the bike. They are there for a reason. Also another key body movement that gets overlooked: Look where you want to go, point your chin where you want to go. Your body will follow your eyes and your chin. 

3. Throttle and clutch control: "once your transmission and engine start braking for you, you've lost all momentum" He had me practice my figure 8's while keeping the throttle in a fixed position, never letting off the throttle (keep in mind i was in first gear so you dont have to be going that fast, just smooth.) Smoother throttle control = smoother riding. When it came to shifting, I practiced no clutch shifting (up or down.) If you're going to stall in a corner, give the bike a little clutch and accelerate out of the corner but don't lose your momentum.

4. Braking: Charge hard, squeeze the bike as hard as you can with your legs. Let your legs act as extra shock absorbers. Use the front brake and the rear brake at the same time but avoid locking up the front or the rear wheel while you break. Downshift when you brake to be ready to transition from braking to accelerating as soon as you hit the rut or the berm. 

These 4 key areas of riding the bike helped me tremendously. You can watch hundreds of videos saying "use your legs more on the bike" but that doesnt mean anything until you evaluate and practice the proper techniques. While doing simple figure 8's, I could feel myself becoming one with the machine and hand loosened up on the bike. I was just flowing with the bike, letting it work under my legs, the way it should be. 

In conclusion, if you suffer from arm pump, take a buddy with you and just have he or she watch you ride. Practice the basics and change your riding style if need be. Make sure your bars are in a good position, your clutch is adjusted properly, your brake levers are at the right height, and you're steering with your legs. Don't try to fight the bike, let it do the work for you always stand up more on the bike. Be more efficient on the bike; smooth is fast. Try to remember to breathe, don't get worked up. Don't death grip the bars. 

For the rest of the day and since that day I have not suffered from arm pump once. For those suffering from arm pump as bad as I was, there is still hope. Ride on. 

Edited by gavinmgrant
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's cool man, glad you resolved it the right way instead of buying one of those overpriced gimmicks! The advice you gave is spot on and what I've also been told by pro riders. I do end up slacking off and need to constantly try to remind myself to loosen up with my hands & arms and squeeze with my legs. It's not easy and takes time to perfect.

What state is this guy located, sounds like a good deal

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The chin/eyes thing is very important.  And for me, smaller diameter grips helped eliminate arm pump. I honestly don't remember the last time I had it, many years. :thumbsup:

Edited by Piney Woods
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

The chin/eyes thing is very important.  And for me, smaller diameter grips helped eliminate arm pump. I honestly don't remember the last time I had it, many years. :thumbsup:

Smaller diameter grips and thin gloves for ultimate feel in my opinion!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, DirtBikeHead said:

That's cool man, glad you resolved it the right way instead of buying one of those overpriced gimmicks! The advice you gave is spot on and what I've also been told by pro riders. I do end up slacking off and need to constantly try to remind myself to loosen up with my hands & arms and squeeze with my legs. It's not easy and takes time to perfect.

What state is this guy located, sounds like a good deal

North Carolina, Wide Open MX Park. And I agree!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never really seen smaller diameter grips advertised. I usually use the Pro Taper pillow top. I've tried thin gloves, like the Leatt's which I didn't like. They were so thin that if your hands got wet they'd give crazy blister.




North Carolina, Wide Open MX Park. And I agree!
I've been there once, cool spot plus we were the only ones there.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have used several sets of Pro Grip Gels  and currently am out of them. Hard to find. I have a basic set of Pro Taper Half Waffles on now. I really don't like the pillow types, it seems I am constantly tightening my grip to hold on. Only used one pair and tossed them after a short ride.

Edited by Piney Woods
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

I have used several sets of Pro Grip Gels  and currently am out of them. Hard to find. I have a basic set of Pro Taper Half Waffles on now. I really don't like the pillow types, it seems I am constantly tightening my grip to hold on. Only used one pair and tossed them after a short ride.

I don't like the pillow tops either. Renthal half waffle fits me well. Also the scott dual compound grips are nice too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, DirtBikeHead said:

I've never really seen smaller diameter grips advertised. I usually use the Pro Taper pillow top. I've tried thin gloves, like the Leatt's which I didn't like. They were so thin that if your hands got wet they'd give crazy blister.

I've been there once, cool spot plus we were the only ones there.

Sometimes with a bulky glove, like the fox dirt paw, my palm will get stuck to the grip and I don't like that. I ended up with some thin 100% gloves. Theyre comfy but not very durable.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never really seen smaller diameter grips advertised. I usually use the Pro Taper pillow top. I've tried thin gloves, like the Leatt's which I didn't like. They were so thin that if your hands got wet they'd give crazy blister.
I've been there once, cool spot plus we were the only ones there.

The original Pro Taper pillow top is one of the thicker grips on the market. If you like the feel of the pillow top I know that Pro Taper makes a thinner version of them. I’ve been using Pro Taper 1/3 waffle grips and they feel pretty good to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting read I'll try some figure 8s too. I just got a new bike its a lot bigger than my old rm80 and i'm experiencing arm pump for the first time lol I need to adjust my riding technique.. unfortunatly my new ts200r is not as light and nimble as my old rm80. Need to adjust myself to it

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:


×