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Tip & Tricks for Teaching Kids To Ride

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I've only been riding my dirt for about a month and took it to the track this last weekend (I have a new addiction! :ride: ). My son has been with his dad through the summer so he didn't know about the bike until he came home this weekend.

My son usually gets discouraged easily if he doesn't pick up on things as well as he thinks he should. My hubby, Wade, and I just went over some very basics with him, thinking that once he dumped the bike a couple of times he'd be finished.

Didn't happen. He rode around our land (about an acre) twice before he dumped it stopping (he can barely touch on one side). He dumped it a couple of more times stopping until he figured out to slide of the seat some (my trick on my street bike--I can't touch at all). He lowsided it in the grass later. We forgot to tell him NOT to give it gas going into a turn and that's what he did.

He's been practicing everyday he's been back. Yesterday he rode for over 2 hours and didn't drop it. He even accidentally wheelied it, brought it down, and rode on. :thumbsup:

Wade and I are still learning as well. Now we are trying to teach my son. Can you guys offer some tips for teaching a child (he's 11) the basics? Even at 11, there are some things I try to explain to him I don't think he fully understands. What are some easier ways of breaking it down for him?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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I'd recommend that you get one or two of Gary Semics' riding videos. They're targeted at motocross, but the first couple really apply to all riding. Gary is a TT advertiser, and he moderates the TT MX forum. My son and I have watched most of Gary's videos many times, and I also highly recommend Gary's short book on the 47 Absolute Techniques of MX. Again, pretty much all the techniques apply to all riding (like the emphasis on balancing on the pegs through all riding transitions).

http://www.thumpertalk.com/ads/adclick.php?bannerid=12&zoneid=15&source=&dest=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gsmxs.com

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First of all, make sure he can touch the ground on his bike. You may need to shave the seat/lower the suspension, but that will boost his confidence a lot. Is the bike a manual clutch? In that case, just start with working on feathering it out, and pulling it in to stop. Just move at his pace, and don't let him get overwhelmed, or he won't want to continue.

Good luck

George

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First of all, make sure he can touch the ground on his bike. You may need to shave the seat/lower the suspension, but that will boost his confidence a lot.

That's a good point by George. I've done that with berkeboy in the past, when moving him up to the next size bike. You can drop the triple clamps up front (raise the fork tubes in the clamps), and soften the rear preload, and that can get you about an extra inch lower on most bikes. Then as he grows, gradually raise the front and back evenly. As long as you keep the front and back even, the handling and jumping characteristics don't get messed up very much at all.

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I totally agree with all of the replies. I will add something though. My son was in the same situation a couple of years ago and I have been riding and racing since I was 7. I am now 35 and still LOVE all that goes with this past time. My sons riding abilities saw a HUGE impovent when a friend of mine who I ride with alot ( he races pro class ) suggested that I put in a nice figure 8 for Ty to practice on.

Have him run the figure 8 5-10 minutes and then have him switch directions and run the same amount of time. My son and other friends of mine who have done this learns so much-- balance, throtle control, clutch control, weighting the pegs, and just overall smoothness it transferes to thier riding on the track or trail and has really helped all of us. Take care, Mark

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I had to teach my then 9 and 11 yr old daughters last year. Having both feet on the ground is super important.

Then get a small piece of 2x4 and put it in front of the front tire. Have him practice rolling slowly over it without stalling or zooming off. The idea here is to teach smooth operation of the clutch.

In the case of my 9 yr old, I actually sat on the back of the bike with her, then I helped her work the clutch and throttle by placing my hand over hers, but just enough to save her from doing the wrong thing.

After about an hour, she was rolling over the 2x4 with no help.

Then I had her move the bike forward at walking pace (with me still on the bike). We did that for another two hours. Then we got to the point where she could go faster and faster. Then I taugher her to upshift and got off of the back.

At that point, I could talk to her and let her know what to do differently. It was tough the first few lessons, but it worked.

I also had to shorten the reach on the clutch. That made all the difference in the world.

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I had to teach my then 9 and 11 yr old daughters last year. Having both feet on the ground is super important.

Then get a small piece of 2x4 and put it in front of the front tire. Have him practice rolling slowly over it without stalling or zooming off. The idea here is to teach smooth operation of the clutch.

In the case of my 9 yr old, I actually sat on the back of the bike with her, then I helped her work the clutch and throttle by placing my hand over hers, but just enough to save her from doing the wrong thing.

After about an hour, she was rolling over the 2x4 with no help.

Then I had her move the bike forward at walking pace (with me still on the bike). We did that for another two hours. Then we got to the point where she could go faster and faster. Then I taugher her to upshift and got off of the back.

At that point, I could talk to her and let her know what to do differently. It was tough the first few lessons, but it worked.

I also had to shorten the reach on the clutch. That made all the difference in the world.

I really like that 2x4 idea to get a feel for the clutch. One thing I tried to teach my daughter first was to stop quickly and in control. (more important that going fast) :thumbsup:

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Thanks for all the suggestions! The figure 8 idea and using the 2x4 I'll definitely use. I'll look into those videos as well.

The bike he's riding is actually mine. Before I do any adjusting for his height, I want to make sure this is something he's just not playing around on and quits. He can touch with his toes on both sides if he'd stretch his legs out. I'm playing a waiting game right now. If he continues to try and learn, I'll probably just shave the seat down for him (I had to do that with my street bike) and get another bike for myself.

Maybe a 2 stroke next time. :thumbsup:

This afternoon Wade is planning to run him on through some braking exercises. I'll tell him about the 2x4.

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Thanks for all the suggestions! The figure 8 idea and using the 2x4 I'll definitely use. I'll look into those videos as well.

The bike he's riding is actually mine. Before I do any adjusting for his height, I want to make sure this is something he's just not playing around on and quits. He can touch with his toes on both sides if he'd stretch his legs out. I'm playing a waiting game right now. If he continues to try and learn, I'll probably just shave the seat down for him (I had to do that with my street bike) and get another bike for myself.

Maybe a 2 stroke next time. :thumbsup:

This afternoon Wade is planning to run him on through some braking exercises. I'll tell him about the 2x4.

On your tt125l the only difference from the regular 125 is the size of rims for taller people.

You could get the wheels for a regular 125 and it would probably be better for him. Switching out the wheels is pretty easy and you both could ride the same bike for a lot less than having 2 until you are sure he is going to stick with it...

LE 19 F 16R

E 17 F 14 R

Would lower it 2 inchs...

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Cool! Thanks! I know absolutely nothing about dirt bikes yet (that's why I'm here :ride: ). I'll look into them so we can still share the bike. . . although that ruins a good chance of me getting another bike. :thumbsup:

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Patience.

Work on the fundementals (Berkmans advise was excellent).

Patience.

Have fun.

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Cool! Thanks! I know absolutely nothing about dirt bikes yet (that's why I'm here :applause: ). I'll look into them so we can still share the bike. . . although that ruins a good chance of me getting another bike. :ride:

You are nicer than my wife is. She has a ttr125 and my oldest daughter (now 12) always wants to ride it. Although my wife lets her take it for a quick spin, she is quick to tell her to ride her own bike, especially when she drops it.

Families that ride are great :thumbsup:

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Cool! Thanks! I know absolutely nothing about dirt bikes yet (that's why I'm here :ride: ). I'll look into them so we can still share the bike. . . although that ruins a good chance of me getting another bike. :thumbsup:

It may be more money than you would want to spend on simply getting him flat footed if he can make do but is an option.

I raised my forks on my wr for better cornering not so I could get my feet down.

Messing with the rear suspension to get it lower by reducing preload to me seems it would mess up handling more than it would benefit. Setting the rear for his weight seems better not height and to be correct reduce wheel size but that's just me...

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Duct tape his hand to the throttle and watch him go! :ride:

Are you available for babysitting? :thumbsup::applause:

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You are nicer than my wife is. She has a ttr125 and my oldest daughter (now 12) always wants to ride it. Although my wife lets her take it for a quick spin, she is quick to tell her to ride her own bike, especially when she drops it.

Families that ride are great :thumbsup:

It's the only dirt bike we have right now. I'd much rather teach him on a dirt bike than waiting until he's older and trying to teach him on my street bike. :applause: That will never happen as I will grudgingly let my hubby ride it when he's done some work to it.

I'm not exactly a person that likes to share my toys either :applause: but I will with the kiddies when it gets their interests, especially in something that is outside.

I also knew when we found this bike (lucked up), my kids (ages 9, 11, & 13) would probably want to learn to ride. With three of them, I knew one would get into riding and eventually the bike will be passed down to them with me getting another one. No big deal. I dont' even mind when they dump it. This little bike seems to be very tough. :ride:

Side note: I thought my oldest, my daughter, would be riding more, but she doesn't. She dumped it twice trying to stop and gave up. :applause: I hope later she'll give it another shot. My youngest, my stepdaughter, has no desire to ride the dirty. She's perfectly content on the pocket bike.

It may be more money than you would want to spend on simply getting him flat footed if he can make do but is an option.

I raised my forks on my wr for better cornering not so I could get my feet down.

Messing with the rear suspension to get it lower by reducing preload to me seems it would mess up handling more than it would benefit. Setting the rear for his weight seems better not height and to be correct reduce wheel size but that's just me...

Thanks. I'll take that into consideration. I learned to ride a street bike that is literally too tall for me. My son touches better on the dirt than I do on my street. To be honest, I'd rather see him learn as it sits now, but I know from experience that being able to feel stable when putting your feet (or foot) down gives you more confidence than if you can't. But, it's also a challenge. If he wants to learn bad enough, he'll adapt and overcome.

Duct tape his hand to the throttle and watch him go! :applause:

LMAO!!!!!

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i started riding when i was 11 to the only thing my dad forgot to tell me was to pull in hte clutch when u use ur front brake :thumbsup:

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This might not be possible but if you can have him ride with someone within a couple years of his age that is a little bit better rider, it will him help alot. I always like riding with better riders especially when learning, it pushes you and makes you a better rider.

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Resurection for this thread! I read all the advice, and figured out a strategy for my kid. He is 6, and has been riding quads since he was 2. He expressed an interest in making the jump to 2 wheels. I put him on a ttr90e and he took to it like a bird to flight. A couple tears, some healthy fear, and by the end of the day, he rode it home through our trails. Thanks guys!

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