Best practice tips?

Maybe some of you guys can help me out here. I'm 35 and just starting to ride. I'm 6'3" and 180 pounds. I have been out three times now and am having a really hard time with corners, always going wide, too slow etc... Is it just fear or lousy technique, is this bike too big and heavy for me, or do I just need more time. Mostly riding in second gear, and will open it up occassionally in second, but that seems fast enough on the MX track I've been practicing on. I can handle the whoops pretty good in second at 1/2 throttle. I think my form isn't too bad, I bought that Pro Riding Techniques book and it helps, but I'm already thinking about going down to a WR 250. I'd hate too sell and lose money, but I just feel I can't master this thing yet. I'm probably just impatient. What was it that you guys did too lose the fear and start riding these things. What are some good practice techniques too work on? Any ideas are appreciated. (besides being too old etc...)



00 WR400

00 XR 50

99 KTM 50SX Pro Senior

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

If you live in SoCal I would be happy to help you. Otherwise, I suggest taking a good moto school. It will help you with the fundamentals and prevent bad habits from forming. Or, ride with an expert level YZF rider and learn from him.

Tip #1 - Don't use the clutch in turns, unless it is super tight or you are brake sliding.

Hi Dave,the best thing for improvement is time in the saddle :D Three times riding is a good start but to get fast takes time & confidence.Dont blame the bike its 80 percent rider.P.S. we know the bike can do it :) Good luck John

GOOD instructional videos or an decent MX school.


'99 WZ with all YZ mods, FMF PowerBomb header, Stroker SX-1 silencer, SS front brake line, forked over by Pro-Action, OEM YZ tank and IMS seat.

I try to find a section on a trail of track and ride it over and over until I have it wired. The sections usually involve an obstacle or certain type of corner.

For instance I too want the bike to corner better, so I worked on a long up hill with 3 sweeping lefts and a right. I practiced coming in at speed, slight slow down, weight the front end by getting forward, turn and keep on the gas so the front end starts to catch making the back end break lose as I accelerate out. I used the tires marks to monitor when I should brake and accelerate.

The WR turns like a pig (or 3 wheeler) if you dont stay on the gas.

You can try softening up the front compression a little this will make the front end stick more in the turns. Try this until you feel a difference in the steering.

As with anything you need to practice,

Dave, I agree with John. Their is no substitute for time on the bike. You can't expect to do it all on the bike after a few rides.. I've been riding my for 25 years and im just now getting the hang of cornering. Videos and books can always give helpful hints but practice makes perfect. I also believe that the WR400 or 426 is too much bike for anyone new at the sport. I think the bike is too much for the new trail rider. If you can start these bikes with no problem then I'de say you're a shoe in for the 250, The WR250f is no play bike but I feel that its lighter weight and powerband will suit you better. In the meantime some hints: Weight your outside peg, do all of your braking before you turn , always power out of corners, sit as far forward as possible with your elbows out and remember that you don't always have to stick a leg out, I try not to do this at all. And lastly I feel that the harder I ride my bike the better it responds, don't be gentle with the thing and dont let it ride you. (if that made any sence). Welcome to the sport, I hope this helps. Dan

Hope you don't mind if I add two cents from a DRZ rider. I'm 53 and didn't start riding until I was 22. I found the kids learned much faster than I did. No fear! As has been said previously, Practice, Practice and Practice. For adults the learning curve for getting good on a motorcycle is much longer than a quad. I think that's where quad riders get in trouble. Seems so easy, so early. Next thing they know it's crashing on top of them.

Thanks very much guys for all the support and tips. When I wrote that post last night I admit I was a bit discouraged. I guess my expectations were just too high. I had lots of experience on street bikes years ago and thought the transition wouldn't be so tough. I think the tips for "not letting the bike ride me" make a lot of sense for me. I think I'm just too nervous to get on the gas but I'm gonna have to try it (without running off the track!) It just seems "odd" to my brain when feeling out of control to accelerate, thats the fear end. I've get on the gas pretty good in longer sweeping corners and the back end slides out, and I had too "catch" the bike with my inside leg. The tight ones give me the problem and I think the only way too turn that tight is too kind of "slide" the ass end around them. I guess I do have to practice lots more, you guys are right. Once again thanks, and I'll report on my next ride. If I run into a guy (no pun intended) with a 250, hopefully I'll talk him into letting me try it, just to see the difference. (I'm sure any guy would LOVE to test a WR400 eh.)

[This message has been edited by Dave B (edited 04-14-2001).]

wear any and all the protetive gear you can find then duct tape some pillows over that.then pin the throttle and keep shifting up.every turn you survive you will have improved.make sure your health insurance is paid up.if you use this technique they will probably be scraping you out from underneith bike behind berm number 2.[maybe even 1st berm].i always tell beginner riders to skip working on cornering skills and go straight to the big double [thats where all the glory is],nothing builds confidence like hitting that 80ft double[or triple] in 4th gear pinned.if you land it your fear of turning will be gone.

[This message has been edited by freestyle111 (edited 04-14-2001).]

im 31 and started riding when i was 15 my first bike was 1980 kx80 about 2 weeks after i got it throttle cable broke and i couldnt afford to buy new one,so i made throttle cable from bicycle brake worked good except it was a little too short , whenever i would take a sharp right turn it would pin throttle wide only took a couple weeks of me being launch over top of berms or into bushes on side of trail,before i got hang of thing and was looking forward to right hand turns to make my move on guys in front of me.if you were 15 i would recommend shortening throttle cable but at 35 i dont think it would be a good idea.honestly i think the best way too improved riding skills is each time you go out pick a certain thing you want to work on and just keep doing it over and over.concentrate on technique,the speed comes as your technique improves.spend a whole day practicing entering and exiting corner.then next time you go riding practice spend whole day practicing going thru section whoops.when you feel comfortable with each individual section of course then start practicing putting them all together.the first things you need to concern yourself with are good riding habits and body positioning,learning how to see and pick a good line is very important.a bike is a lot easier to control and manuever if you can get a good line and can concentrate on what out in front of you not whats underneith you.visualize[p.s. the story about short throttle cable is true,wasnt it great when you were young and felt no pain]

[This message has been edited by freestyle111 (edited 04-14-2001).]

[This message has been edited by freestyle111 (edited 04-14-2001).]

My advice is to relax. It makes arm pump less likely, gives you more control, and makes you less tired.

let the bike do the work...

keep your balance

Trust the bike, hit the gas and hold on. Its suspension will amaze you.

More about age and riding skills. As I said before, I started riding at 22. I found it took about three years to become what I consider a good rider. The year before I found a riding buddy that pushed me to be better. We did lots of trail riding and follow the leader games. When he couldn't lose me I won. Trail riding teaches lots of different skills. If your goal is to motocross I guess you'll need to work on those skills. I motocrossed for a couple of years but find aggressive trail riding more fun. You can ride all day, stop when you like and don't get center punched or taken out by some kid with big balls and no brains.

Dave B,

Here's a couple of things to keep in mind when cornering:

Elbows up

Move way forward on the seat

Weight the outside peg (if turning left push down hard with your right foot)

Try not to put your leg out, if you have to, your foot should be next to the front axle.

Do all your braking prior to the corner and acellerate through the apex

Man all that sounds so easy, why can't I do that :)

Gary Baileys tapes will provide this kind of info. The Semics tapes are good for naps(Mr monotone voice).

And as said practice, practice.



97 KDX220, 86 TTR225, 99 WR400f, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. De-octopussed. Works frame guards and Thumper Rad Guards, Scotts steering damper. Odometer and headlight removed. Moose hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank, IMS seat and number plate. Renthal Jimmy Button "highs" and Renthal Soft half waffle grips. AMA, SETRA, Happy Ramblers MXC.

PHENOMINAL instructional videos.

I cannot endorse them enough.


'99 WZ with all YZ mods, FMF PowerBomb header, Stroker SX-1 silencer, SS front brake line, forked over by Pro-Action, OEM YZ tank and IMS seat.

Thanks for all the input guys, I'm going to order those instructional videos you recommended and start booking 2-4 hours a week in my schedule to just ride. The pillow comments sure made me laugh, and I appreciate all your help. Maybe I'll eat a pound of chocolate before I go riding to get all hyped up and then let it rip. (into the creek!)

Just ride a lot, have fun and the rest will come. Find a couple of guys that are faster and better than you and ride with them.

Some good comments here.

It seems that every green rider I see who cannot turn isn’t getting their weight forward, this seems especially true with a friend of mine who has lots of road bike experience. Concentrate on scooting forward when you enter the turn, use your body’s momentum as you hit the brakes to help push you forward. Once you have scooted as far forward as you can, scoot forward some more.

Throwing your inside leg straight out and in front really helps to weight the bike properly. Be careful, but mastery of this technique will help you more than you thought possible.

And try to look where you want to go (inside), as opposed to where you don’t (outside). Where you are looking is where you will end up.

Trying to follow faster riders can be frustrating but you don’t realize how much better you are getting when you do this. As with golf (what a stupid game), sometimes it is helpful to just hit it as hard as you can and forget about your grip (or stance, swing, balance, hips, shoulders, elbow etc.).

If you get bored/tired/frustrated with the moto track you may consider finding a trail system to ride. IMO any kind of riding helps all other kinds, a long, relatively relaxing day on the trails can help you tons if you try to ride aggressively.

I should add that I can’t turn for spit either…

…but I’m a handful in a straight line. :)

I reckon its taken me a good 6 months to get a handle on my 2000 400F.. Here is a good site that I got a few good tips off that have helped me...check it out...

Curt in Oz.

Thanks Curt, I checked it out and it is pretty thorough. I picked up some good tips and practice exercises from just two of the articles. It's a good site.


Dave B


One thing I noticed on the riding tips, was to roll off the throttle to vary your jumping distance.

If you do this on a high compression 4-stroke, it'll be very ugly. The compression braking will cause you to endo/go over the bars :)

Always stay on the gas when jumping the blue beast.



97 KDX220, 86 TTR225, 99 WR400f, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. De-octopussed. Works frame guards and Thumper Rad Guards, Scotts steering damper. Odometer and headlight removed. Cycra Pro-Bend hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank, IMS seat and number plate. Renthal Jimmy Button "highs" and Renthal Soft half waffle grips. AMA, SETRA, Happy Ramblers MXC, Rausch Creek MXC, Tower City Trail Riders.

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