For all experienced and professional riders

Hello from the land of ignorance and bliss (almost)!

I have been reading a lot from all of ya’ll and see that there are some very knowledgeable minds contributing to this forum. I also have see discussions of races and competitions so I can tell that there are also some very experienced riders as well (they may be the same as the knowledgeable ones)! I have expressed in what I believe was my first post, "I'm new, Whats the meaning of it all?", how my riding was and conditions of terrain so I’ll just summarize this time.

I have been riding since I was just able to upright a YZ50 which was our families guide to tell if we were big enough to ride. I mainly ride woods trails and have grown up ridding with my brothers and other friends that have grown up on them with us! We were all taught by our fathers who just bought bikes and started riding or were started by their friends but none of us rode professionally or with anyone professional so we just learned on our own! Being and avid wakeboarder I have learned that there is a limit to how much you can learn on your own without direction. Little seminars or instruction from someone that knows more helps so much. You can watch videos of professionals to learn too.

As for riding my XR650R, I’d like to learn to ride to the best of my ability and I feel I have hit a brick wall in my abilities! Does anyone have any tips that an intermediate rider may not know? Any professionals out there that can expand and help my inquizating mind?

I don’t plan on competing (except friendly healthy competition b/w friends) but being the best rider I can makes it more fun! Can anyone help?

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from all of you!


For the most part I would say saddle time is the best. The more you ride the bike the more comfortable you will feel. You need to be one with the bike and that takes time. I have two bikes myself and I switch back and forth. It takes me time to remember how the bikes ride so for the first 1/2 hour or so I have to ride slow until it comes back to me.

One thing you can try is standing up all the time. Makeing turns standing up helps you fine the neutral balance of the bike. It will also help later when you start riding faster. There are many things you can do but in my opion the more you ride the better you'll get. So Just ride the thing. :)

JT, I gave it some more thought. I remember when I got back into riding I went right to an XR600, a big heavy 4 stroke. I found I wasn't strong enough to handle that bike so I had to lift weights to build up my upper body. I couldn't control the bike and dropped it all the time. I also kept loosing the front end in turns and getting all crossed up on hill climbs. If it wasn't for my need for speed I would have given up a long time ago.

I found that with good tires I was able to ride forward on the bike and depend on the front wheel not to let loose. Buy doing this I was able to learn to slide the rear wheel and turn the bike better. Also wider bars helped me control the front end and was able to pull out of bad situations. Riding well is all about control and knowing how the bike will react when different things happen. This way you know how to correct the problem before it puts you on the ground.

Maybe we can help you better if you tell us where your problems are.

1. always ride with your elbows up. don't get rigid like a mummy, stay loose, but keep them up.

2. on the 650r stay as far forward on the bike as you can get. your crotch should be in the seat ramp. when standing going over whoops stay forward, don't let your arse drop back over the rear fender.

3. work on a technique called "slow riding." in your driveway or staging area riding around standing up and trying to go as slow as you can. give it just enough throttle to get the bike moving and then practice feathering the clutch and taping the front break to control speed. you should remain standing and the goal is to come to a complete stand still and see how long you can hold it until you rid out. slow riding is the best technique to build balance, throttle control, clutch control, and break control.

4. make riding your lifestyle. i hear this all the time. "how do you get to ride so much?" well, i don't watch TV, i don't hang out in bars, i don't go to sports events and i make time to ride. i wake up in the morning and ride before work. i ride at night. i ride on the weekend and am out of the desert and back mowing the lawn and doing honeydos while most people are just waking up to go riding.

5. pick entire sections of trail and say "for this section i'm gonna stay off the clutch." or "for this section i'm only using the back break." if you want to be fast in the single track learn to stay off your clutch and engine break through corners.

6. keep your head up and looking down the trail at least 30 feet. turn your head and lead with your head through turns.

7. counter balance in the turns. motorcycles are rider active. look through any mx mag and check out where the pro's asses and lower bodys are on the bike when cornering. any time you are turning you should be able to get the crack of your ass lined up with the outside edge of your seat. however, like skiing you should just be doing this with your lower body. your upper body should stay stationary over the bike. if you are an off roader you should be able to clean any corner section with out putting yuor foot out for a pivot turn. you should have enough balance and traction to clean that section just by counter balancing. "drop a foot, lose a foot."

8. don't expect to get better by riding fire roads and two- track. seek out the bike beater goat trails. spend half your ride doing those kinds of trails and when you come back to the flowing single track and the two-track you will clean it like you have never cleaned it before.

9. riding your motorcycle is not a workout. repeat: it is not your workout. work out in the gym three days a week. you work out so you can ride your motorcycle better. you don't ride a motorcycle for the excercise...

10. like moredez said, ride, ride, ride. make it your lifestyle.

I prefer to warm up with 6-pac. It loosens me up real good and I don't feel the pain as much until the following day. :D

Just kidding. The BRP is not a bike to ride while under the influence, she bites and bites back hard. :D

What where you riding prior to the BRP? If you graduated from a two stoke 250, then you got a lot to learn. I remember I learn the most going from a RM125 to CR500. It was painful but I finally figured out that i needed to let the torque do the work and not to flick the throttle like a two stroke. Learn some more switching to a XR600. Big bore thumpers should be ridden like a tractor, roll on the throttle and roll off. A twitchy throttle hand will wear you out fast.

Next stop is woods riding and I'm going to let StoneWall learn me a few lessons one of these days. :)

With the 2 strokes, I could always man handle them whether on the ground or in the air as they were fairly light in weight and that snappy higher RPM power allowed a different style of riding. I used to be able to enter a berm and square off from it at a higher RPM or WOT while the rear end predictably slid around until things straightened out, but that technique doesn't usually work so well for me on the big XR like it used to with my 2 strokes. I feel like I'm more along for the ride on my XR as opposed to agressively riding the bike as I did with my 2 strokes, but keeping that frame of mind in terms of being along for the ride has helped me to loosen up and become smoother.

I really don't know how to put it into words, but staying loose and not fighting the bike so hard helped me to become smoother and not tire as easily. I also ride more at lower RPM and let the torque do the work while shifting my weight more often as opposed to tying to man handle it like I did with my 2 strokes. Stay loose, smooth & try to let the bike do the brunt of the work, which is easier said than done :)

All these guys are giving excellent advice! And don't forget to work out with weights three times a week, for about an hour per workout. The strength you gain will make a huge difference in how well you are able to handle the bike, as well as helping with balance and overall body control. Also your endurance will increase to some degree.

And like the guys keep saying, Ride Ride Ride!!! :)


Two other things that will help you go faster/safer and so have more fun/satisfaction with the sport:

1) Bike set up. Getting some of the extra stuff on your BRP can help you get a lot more out of the bike. What exactly to get depends on your riding environment, abilities, and goals. A steering dampner is really nice on the bike- correct tires, tuned suspension, fat bars, thicker footpegs, bigger tank, and of course the famous 'un corking' -- etc. The list of stuff is nearly endless, and some of it borders on over kill. But this is an area where some investment in time (understanding/researching what to buy) and money can really pay off in terms of riding enjoyment.

2) Second for me is personal physical condition. Bike riding is both a recreation and a sport. As you go faster, ya tend to lean to the sport side more and more. Being in good shape is then more and more important. My secret here is Yoga. I'm over 40 (barely!) and so its not like when i was 23. I do cardio and some weights, but 1-2 times a week i do yoga for stretching. It really helps with my riding, i can respond to things quicker, roll with the get offs, and just generally feel better after the weekend of riding. For me Yoga is about stretching, not about metaphysical stuff, just staying limber. If you try it for 2-3 months, you will totally get into it, and feel better. Plus theres always 3-4 (or more) super slim hotties bending over in front of you for an hour in the Yoga classes. :D I love to go to Yoga with a motorcycle T shirt on, maybe some grease under the fingernails. I know the chica next to me will be an annoying, dirt bike hating, femanazi, envirofreak, vegan, bisexual 24 year old with an incredible butt. Maybe she will talk to me?! :)

Excellent Excellent Excellent! :)

These are the things that I have been missing the, where position weight, what skills to perfect like ya’ll were saying “slow riding” for balance, working and controlling w/out sole use of clutch or rear brake, and exercise!

I’m not out of shape because I’m always active but I have plenty of room to improve in the exercise department. I’m 25, yrs old, 5’11” 160lb so my rigid and poor body positioning wears me pretty good on a long day of riding.

FooBarr asked what bike I moved from before my BRP, it was an 86’ XR200 so it was a big difference.

This is all great info I’m going to copy it over to a concise list and put it in my gear bag on things to practice! Please keep it coming!

Thank you,



Lots of good advice here. Just keep riding and gain confidence in your bike. You said you don't want to compete but racing is a great way to learn new skills. I know I sure learned a lot following names like Summers,Plessinger, Smith, Hatch, Cooper, Andrews, etc. I was too slow to follow them for long but I learned something each time I was behind those guys. When I was pre riding the course for the last Blackwater 100 ('91 I think} I followed Larry Roseler and Ty Davis for a few hours. I learned more that day than I had in years. They kept stopping to talk so I could catch up. :D

If you don't feel comfortable racing just go watch. Take the camcorder and find obstacles that give you trouble. Then film the pros as they float over them like they aren't even there. :)

Probably the best advice is to just ride and have fun. When it's not fun anymore what's the point in riding? :D


I'm no pro either, I have simalar eperience to you.

I picked aup a tip a few rides ago.

I have trouble staying on skinny single track. Lowedog suggested I "weight my pegs". Now when I get in trouble on a 6" wide sidehill trail, I steer with my foot pegs first! :)

Slow riding is key, lock the bars right and then left in a figure eight, this takes minimal room and works on all aspects of balance clutch and throttle. When you first start make bigger figure eights then get them tighter until your bike is locked both ways.

Learn to stop the bike and balance for as long as possible 1 minute is a good goal to work twards, know the bike and how it reacts in every situation, After time you will be able to coast the bike backwards down hills.

Someone said saddle time this is key

Grip yor tank with your knees.

Lean forward in "attack position"

Set front braks and levers to a comfortable position when you are standing

Work on cardio and strength training

ALWAYS stand no matter what 100% of the time. Will make you better everywhere.

Wieght your outside peg when cornering this will help stick the back end to the ground,

Use natural objects for traction such as rocks, roots ect.

If there is a rut in a turn use the small bank as a berm.

Learn about dirt and how different types effect your bike.

Set your bike up for whatever you are ridding if woods on a xr650 it would help to bring the rear axle as far in as possible to decrease the wheelbase of your bike for easier control in tight sections

Try to stay on the throttle a little more and more push yourself just a bit

Head up looking far forward, to pick your line. the farther forward you look the faster you can go.

Ride with faster buddies will help.

Dont be afraid to ride your BRP on a motocross track this is good practice for turns and speed.

Just a couple of thing I thought of. Hope this helps good ridin' bud :)

Where is Thornton, Co.? I'm over in Westcliffe/Silvercliff area. Well, for the summer anyway. I've got over a hundred miles of networked trails over here. Excellent single track and fire roads with plenty of steep climbs, rocky sections, and water crossings.

Know anything about the more open desert area north of Montrose? I wonder if that is any good?


I think you are talking about the Grand Junction area, great riding very open not very tecnical but very open it hot there now no shade anywhere. Lots of big hill clims Find skinny ridge! Huge hill, Rabbit Valley is awesome on Utah border lots of sweet single track great area well marked still hot wait til Sept.

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