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basic tips for beginners

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interesting input for the very beginners

and up for discussion among the rest :cry:

this list does not claim to be complete :cry:

1. DON'T FIGHT YOUR BIKE! RELAX! Let the bike do the work and go with it. As you get better you don't tire as easily because you learn not to fight and wrestle your bike.

2. Sit further up on the bike, closer to the tank.

edit: if you sit ...

3. Keep your feet on the pegs, avoid kicking your feet out to balance!

4. When going through sand, lift your butt toward the rear of the bike and gun it, the faster the better, and relax, go with the flow!

5. Of course, always stand up, especially when doing whoops.

edit: stand as much as you can, ...

6. Instead of jamming on the front brakes, downshift and let the motor slow you down instead. This prevents you from sliding out of control.

7. When you downshift, you don't need to engage the clutch. Just downshift.

8. Replace your hiking boots with motorcycle boots, jeans with motorcycle pants, shirt with motorcycle shirt, and get some off-road gloves. No, it's not overkill. They have special materials and strategically placed padding and they will last a lot longer than street clothes. The material is stronger than street clothes and can protect you if you fall on something - at speed even an innocent stick can go through your leg if it's not properly protected

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Oh gosh, now I'm sounding like a broken record here....(does anyone REMEMBER records????LOL)

CLUTCH, do NOT be afraid of using it! Feather, Rev, Feather

When I used to race 'smoke-burners' we SELDOM let loose of the gas, most everything was done with the clutch! You can't hurt 'em, and even if you DO hurt 'em, they are easy to fix!!!

Anyone else?????

Tom

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Let the front tire "float" over rocks, sand, and loose gravel. :cry:

Fan the front brake! :cry:

Use the berms in the turns. :cry:

Don't fight the rut. Stay in it and USE it! :cry:

Use your legs to force your body up on those hill climbs, don't just muscle it with your arms. :cry:

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And always LOOK in the direction you wish to travel, not at your front wheel, and not at that big rock you're trying to avoid!! :cry: :cry:

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And always LOOK in the direction you wish to travel, not at your front wheel, and not at that big rock you're trying to avoid!! :cry: :cry:

AMEN!!! That is the number one tip that took me forever to DO. I knew it in my head, but couldn't break the habit. I'm better about it now but still slide backwards when I'm really tired.

Fiep, the only one I'd argue with is #2, and only because it's kind of subjective. If you are going through roots, rocks, whoops or sand you want your weight back or bad things happen. Also, steep downhills require you to be really far back on the bike. However, in other situations--corners, uphills, etc--you DO want to sit forward on the bike.

Everything else is right on!

I'd add bike setup as a suggestion. Getting your levers and handlebars set up where YOU (not anyone else) want them is very important. I had a boyfriend for a while who kept doing me a "favor" and running my levers up high whenever he was getting our bikes ready to go . . . I HATE them up high. Everybody has their own preference; experiment to find yours, and it will make a bigger difference than you might think.

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Dont use the front brake while turning. :cry: I found that out the hard way.

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Dont use the front brake while turning. :cry: I found that out the hard way.

This front brake thing is a problem for me. I never use the back brake and I am getting lots of flack for that. I am going to get myself in big trouble if I don't change this. I have had several incidents (including today) that this front brake obsession has almost caused big trouble.

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D.G. I went as far to remove the front brake leaver from my wifes bike(now that will cause flack)She was so slow for a day or two without it but now she has great brake control

and uses them both front and rear!Maybe we should talk to ur husband. :thinking:This may be a little harsh but she learned it QUICK!

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Dont use the front brake while turning. :cry: I found that out the hard way.

This front brake thing is a problem for me. I never use the back brake and I am getting lots of flack for that. I am going to get myself in big trouble if I don't change this. I have had several incidents (including today) that this front brake obsession has almost caused big trouble.

I have the same problem. Out of habit from riding bicycles, I want to grab the front brake lever. I've almost washed out a bunch of times and I keep hearing crap for doing it too.

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Fiep, the only one I'd argue with is #2,

:cry: I edited that

for me #5 rules, I stand most of the time

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don't crest a hill with any speed without knowing what's on the other side.

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The front brake is one of the most important and powerful controls on the bike. It is therefore subject to abuse. It is the only way to slow down quickly or control your speed on a steep downhill. (It is best used in conjunction with the rear brake.) BUT, it is really easy to use too much of a good thing. Practice modulating it, not grabbing it and locking up the front tire. However, with practice, one can lock up the front end and ride 20 or 30 feet! My son and I did this during a desert riding class. It was a "training exercise" that was an effort to ingrain where the limits are for using the front brake.

All of this said, it is probably not an exercise for beginners, never mind....

RH

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All of this said, it is probably not an exercise for beginners, never mind....

our biggest problem might be we have been beginners too long ago and do not REALLY know what it felt like

time changes all, even memories

:cry:

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How about:

Squeeze the tank with your legs?

(helps to stop you from putting your foot down so much as a beginner and, of course, is just plain good from there on)

Practice walking with your bike (turning it, backing it). Start figuring out how to use the "lay of the land" to make things easier (eg. pick a high spot to put your kickstand down and start, roll the bike up the bank abit and let it roll back to help turning in a tight spot).

Where's the "Keep your elbows up and out" stuff?

Also, I knew to stand up, but nobody ever told me to "bend at the waist"and I'm just plain duh cause I was doing real squats for awhile rather than using my hips.

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6. Instead of jamming on the front brakes, downshift and let the motor slow you down instead. This prevents you from sliding out of control.

7. When you downshift, you don't need to engage the clutch. Just downshift.

nice tips, i might argue with these two. first, i think it's better to learn to use the brakes right away, and not depend on engine braking. when you pull in the clutch and use the rear brake, you have much better control over the amount of braking you get. engine braking is fairly substantial at higher rpms, but as the bike slows you get less and less until you get to near idle and then the engine is pushing you instead of slowing you down, and if you're on the front brake, and the engine is driving the bike forward, the front wheel is likely to push and wash out. when i was learning to ride, i had lots of front wheel washouts in tight terrain due to this. i didn't really learn to use the rear brake until i got a 2-stroke, and all of the sudden i was riding much faster and in more control.

as far as not using the clutch. :cry: ? i don't know if it's bad for the transmission or not, but i don't understand how it would be helpful to not use the clutch. in general, i think clutch skill is one of the keys to fast, safe and competent riding.

i might add one more helpful hint too. grab the throttle with your hand in a normal riding position, and then twist. don't 'overgrip' so that your wrist straightens as you twist the throttle. if you hit a bump hard do anything that shifts you backwards that 'overgrip' will yank the throttle open, probably at exactly the time you wish it were closed.

-mark

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Where's the "Keep your elbows up and out" stuff?

Na- I mean, it should be on your list. Gotta keep those elbows up!

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7. When you downshift, you don't need to engage the clutch. Just downshift.

as far as not using the clutch. :cry: ? i don't know if it's bad for the transmission or not, but i don't understand how it would be helpful to not use the clutch. in general, i think clutch skill is one of the keys to fast, safe and competent riding.

I'd like to hear the logic behind this, too... I started with street bikes, which obviously REQUIRES clutching... or at least, its NEVER crossed my mind that NOT clutching when downshifting would be a good thing! And I ALWAYS clutch on the dirt bike, also... although I can see how it might be easier not to sometimes. Is this an 'ok' thing to do to the bike, the trans, and the clutch? :cry:

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7. When you downshift, you don't need to engage the clutch. Just downshift.

as far as not using the clutch. :cry: ? i don't know if it's bad for the transmission or not, but i don't understand how it would be helpful to not use the clutch. in general, i think clutch skill is one of the keys to fast, safe and competent riding.

I'd like to hear the logic behind this, too... I started with street bikes, which obviously REQUIRES clutching... or at least, its NEVER crossed my mind that NOT clutching when downshifting would be a good thing! And I ALWAYS clutch on the dirt bike, also... although I can see how it might be easier not to sometimes. Is this an 'ok' thing to do to the bike, the trans, and the clutch? :cry:

I don't know how or why it works, but I rarely use the clutch to shift--only when I am really "on it." The bike is 3 years old and on teardown, looks just fine.

Must be something related to shifting without a clutch in a car--it's possible, just not easy. Something about bikes must make it easier, or unnecessary, to match RPMs.

Is it harder to do on four-strokes? How about street bikes?

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