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Old rider - new tricks

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At 56, I'm just getting back into riding again. In the 70's I raced in FL progressing from 80's to 125's in the expert class and won my fair share of trophies.  My grandson, son-in-law, and son all have TTR's since last Christmas and we're having a blast.  Anyway,  I've been reading these forums for a few months now and watching stuff on Youtube and notice there are a few things different from back in the day;

1) Squeezing the bike with your knees.  For whoops, I was taught to keep my toes in, knees close, and butt centered over the seat but no one ever talked about squeezing the bike with your knees.  I always just thought about using my butt, hips and legs to control the bike but had the feeling of always being lite & relaxed.  I've tried squeezing the bike with my knees and it seems to add stress and wear me out faster as well as not allow me to intuitively flex with the bike.  Am I missing something?

2)  I was just reading a post about seat bouncing and Gary Semics chimed in about "pulling up on the bars".  I respect the hell out of the guy, he's been around forever and agree with most of his stuff but that's another thing I never ever did.  I can't think of a situation in which I consciously used my arms to do anything more than use the controls.  It was all about the butt.  If I wanted to compress the rear suspension, I moved my butt down and back either sitting or standing.  Same for the front suspension.  If I wanted to weight the outside peg, I moved my butt over. If I wanted to wheelie, I moved my butt back and gassed it. Did the same thing moving the bike around in the air. It was a really simple way to learn and do.  It served me well back in the day and still seems to but maybe I missing something...?

I doubt I'll compete again and I'm just having fun with my boys but my grandson might compete so I don't wont to teach him anything that could hold him back... 

 

 

 

 

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You’re thinking too much in absolutes. It’s not that you have to do these things all times or every time.

1. I squeeze with my legs when I want to place the bike. If I’m going strait and the bike is going strait and nothing is going to make it kick, there is no reason to squeeze. If I’m jumping out of bumps into more bumps or ruts or what ever, I’m squeezing the entire time. I always wear holes where ever my knee braces hit my seat or tank.

2. You can seat bounce with out pulling on the bars. You can seat bounce further by pulling on the bars, being harder on the gas and loading up the rear spring more.

 

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Thanks for the replies Gents 😃

Locked,

Guess, I should've been more clear.  I was only referring to squeezing with the knees through a whoops section.  I never consciously gripped or squeezed with my knees for any reason especially to the point of wearing holes in my knee braces. I did back in the 70's and still do keep my legs close to the bike but I don't squeeze them.  Granted, the whoops in the 70's weren't like they are today at a supercross track but I still don't see a reason to expend the energy to squeeze your legs.  I'm sure there were times when I unconsciously squeezed with my legs trying to keep my butt centered on the seat but my focus was always on where my butt was in relationship to how I wanted to handle the bike.  It wasn't very technical at all and required almost no thought. 

We agree on seat bounce except I never ever 'pull' on the bars as that's just something else that expends energy that isn't required.  Butt back and throttle work was always enough.  Doing that, I've never had a problem getting the handlebars to come to me.  Often, I have to get my butt forward in the air to compensate for a front wheel that's too high. 

I guess what I'm saying is that what I'm reading a lot today is a bunch of technical tips that in my mind really just adds to expending unneeded energy and over thinking; weighting the outside peg through corners, pulling on the handlebars and squeezing with the knees are the 3 biggest and in my mind that can be accomplished just by focusing on where you want your butt to be.

Having said all of that, I'm open to someone convincing me I'm wrong and why.  

 

 

 

Edited by Bob N Lisa Stanley

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I have always gripped the tank with my knees (now 60 and still riding) in an effort to stay loose on the bike and keep my center of gravity low while maintaining control of the bike over using the handlebars as "grab bars"...

Seat bouncing has been around forever too, just under different names. What I still can't bring myself to do is the "scrubbing" thing, I still do the "prejump" to avoid big air but still clear the jumps. Scrubbing just seems like a lot of effort for me

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You're over thinking it.  Expressions take hold and get tossed around. I doubt guys are wasting energy 'squeezing' the bike. They are just making sure to contact the bike with the knees. And considering how competitive you were I'd bet you were weighting the outside peg and didn't realize it.

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4 hours ago, gatorfan said:

You're over thinking it.  Expressions take hold and get tossed around. I doubt guys are wasting energy 'squeezing' the bike. They are just making sure to contact the bike with the knees. And considering how competitive you were I'd bet you were weighting the outside peg and didn't realize it.

Nah, I just took too many words to describe what you just said :)  I knew I was weighting the outside peg, just a different way of thinking about it by moving my butt instead of pressing down with my boot. 

In a nut shell,  The faster you're going the further ahead you're looking, hands and feet work the controls, the arms are loose/along for the ride, head always stays pretty much over the bars, toes in helps your knees stay close & allows your butt to control the bike.  Those are the basics in my mind.  Weighting the peg, squeezing with the legs, all that stuff is over-thinking...

 

 

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How can the bike jump all over the place if you're squeezing it with your knees? Maybe that's it....but I've never done it either. Keep that for riding horses. 🐎

It's funny how things change, back in the 80's we were taught to stay forward on the bike to avoid being kicked over the bars by the seat, the first thing I noticed when I came back a couple of years ago was guys hanging right back over whoops 'n stuff.

I think the pulling on the bars thing goes along with stomping on the back brake in the air. :excuseme:

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Am I misreading something? What I read is you’re sitting most of the time even during a jump and controlling the pitch and yaw with your butt. Did I misread?

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Yes, I think you misread.  I stand quite often but even when I'm standing, I control the bike with my hips and butt. My knees are always close to the bike because I keep my toes straight or pointed in but I don't ever consciously grip the bike with my knees. I brought up too many subjects at once. Sorry....

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I’m a bit of a broken record here, but like many I returned to dirt bike riding after a long break (career, family). I purchased Gary Semic’s book on Pro Motocross Techniques, which offered a lot of advice and techniques I never would have considered. Then, I purchased his MX training videos as well as those produced by Gary Bailey, and later purchased the Shane Watts videos. I studied them and applied the practice techniques. My riding was transformed. I think getting some of these might pay off well for you. They really are pretty inexpensive and watching them can make rainy days a lot more interesting.

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It’s worth mentioning ryno’s unlocked hips technique in this thread. It’s talks about riding on the balls of your feet, squeezing tight and body position. 

Edited by temporarily_locked

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On 1/12/2019 at 8:37 PM, temporarily_locked said:

It’s worth mentioning ryno’s unlocked hips technique in this thread. It’s talks about riding on the balls of your feet, squeezing tight and body position. 

Yeah, unlocked hips are definitely worth noting.  It's interesting because my 10 year old grandson does it naturally but his 35 year old dad, my son-in-law doesn't.   Maybe riders with good position and balance can do things instinctively where others have to be taught it....  So, I still don't think teaching my grandson to think about gripping with his knees is the right thing to do or he'd over think it & do it more than he should. A while back he landed sideways off a jump that would've tossed 9 of 10 riders. He literally did a tank slapper each way but still saved it.  He seems to have great instincts so I haven't taught him much more than riding position and some general controls work. 

 

 

 

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