newb rider lookin for some basic tips....

So i just bought my first bike 2-2.5 months ago, ive been out on it 5 or so times at a local trail, its been about a month, month and a half since my first decent crash.

I have next to no experience riding, maybe 6-7 times years ago before i bought my new (to me) pride and joy, 03 yz250 smoker. love the bike, im learning, slowly albeit but just being real careful on the throttle but trying to be ballsy enough to not just putt around... im around 6'5ish 230-250 and i was riding with a shaved seat before, legs were sore and i was just puttin top of 2nd gear around a corner sitting down, hit a small rock and washed out, flew off the bike bounced my head a few times and did a number on my elbow....

Well the few rides before that i was being pretty tight holding my legs tight to the tank went crash free for prob 20 hrs doing such, minus a wheely gone bad, though my legs were weak as sin and i could barely even get myself to a standing position the day i wrecked.

so after that minor novel my question is, whats the best technique for rolling fast through rough rocky trails with small whoop sections? i try to stay loose on the bars and grip the bike with my legs, but some of my friends say thats why i wrecked cuz i wasnt death gripping the bars, but i think it might be because i was barely gripping the bike with my legs?

any advice or general tips for a newb are really appreciated, lookin forward to testing out my tall seat, it and the bike have been eyeballin me for a month now... :smirk:



The death grip never helps anything. For rocky trails with whoops, you really need to be standing, head/chest forward a bit, and squeeze with your legs a bit. Since you're taller, you'll have a hard time gripping the tank with your knees, so focus on squeezing with your ankles instead. Once you get the tall seat on the bike, you'll find the transition from sitting to standing and back to be a lot easier.

In the thread below: "Balance, bar position and whiskey throttle" we have discussed in detail some of the key basics. Keep in mind that we were NOT discussing Racing techniques but instead, some of the key basics for trail riding speeds mostly below 20 MPH. Over 20 MPH, the tires become gyroscopic and other tips come to play.

About your fall.... Any loose object like a small rock, stick, mud or slick root can cause the same fall you had. The bike must lean into the turn to turn correctly. BUT, if YOU lean with it, then you have a side load on your tires that depends upon ground traction. If the tires come into contact with anything that is not firmly attached to the ground, it AND your tire will slip to the outside of the turn. And if YOU are leaning into the turn, well, that leaves YOU hanging out there in space with your bike slipping outside of your body's current track.... BOOM.

However, you can lean the bike into a turn WITHOUT leaning in with it. Read the other thread. If you are over the bike in the correct position, any outside slip of the bike will be TOWARD your current body position and not AWAY from you so a simple lift of the bike with the bars and outside foot pressure, before it gets away from you, will stop the slide. Similar to the way you correct for a slide in a car except that simple steering input on a bike is primarily done with bike lean and the front wheel adjusts per the designed steering geometry..... NOT like steering a Quad or other non two-wheel vehicle.

If you are clamped to the bike with your hands and/or legs, either the bars or the frame, any adjustment will be slower since you now have to change the leaning angle of your bike INCLUDING your body mass too.

Edited by 2PLY

In addition to what the other guys said, have you adjusted the suspension to account for your weight? They are set up for 180 pound riders from the factory. Using the stock springs, the bike will probably be out of balance front to back. Your weight will be on the back wheel, with not enough on the front. The front will wash out really easily. I had the same issue until I got the right shock spring.

Don't death grip the bars ever, keep a loose grip like you do and just make sure that you're arms are tense enough to keep the bars going straight. Gripping with your knees is correct, they will be sore and hurt at the end of the day but it keeps the bike in a straight line and helps tremendously. Read the "High-Speed Desert" thread and you can get some tips there. From your description you sounds like you have whoops down, do whatever you did when you weren't crashing. Remember to stay relaxed as much as you can, it'll make it so you don't get tired as quick and you'll also be able to keep everything on the bike working as it should. Your only job is to keep the bike going where you want it, the suspension should do all the work of taking whoops. Hope this helps, its always worked for me, when i death grip i mess up and from talking with other experienced riders they have had the same experience.

The best of the best tips are on Shane Watts video's great basic to advanced riding stuff.

Learn the basics, and the basics of bike setup, a controlled sprung for your weight suspension will also help.

Thanks alot for the advice guys.

The previous owner had suspension work done to the bike but he was a kid i prob got 50-60 lbs on him. Bike doesnt seem to be a low rider with me on it somehow, but i know that doesnt mean an awful lot handling wise. So i guess a stiffer rear spring would be a wise investment for me? Front shocks seem to work great just float right across big potholes and bumps.

Thanks again!


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