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Found 49 results

  1. Being as efficient as possible with your energy usage is an integral part of any rider’s skill set. By being really good at this it allows us to roost those more difficult and challenging trails for a longer period of time, whether you’re racing or just trail riding. So far all of the riding tips that we have presented in the Thumpertalk newsletter have involved a component on techniques to save you energy. Essentially the more skilled you are with your riding technique the more energy you are able to conserve. One of my previous Dirt Wise Riding school students is a special forces combat operative, who has a high level of physical training and competes in his regional Hare Scramble race series. He was all bent out of shape that towards the end of the race, when totally sapped of energy, he’d continually get passed by a very “large” guy who was railing the course. His competitor used his better understanding and execution of the fundamental skills that we have outlined in the past to conserve his energy and have much better endurance at the end of those races. As we say at my Dirt Wise schools, we all start off riding motorcycles in the seated position but it is imperative to then learn how to master riding your bike while in the standing position. Once this is attained it helps you come full circle and allows you to use the higher skill level learnt in the standing position and apply it to your seated position. Doing this maximizes your efficiency in conserving energy. You maintain and regain your balance effortlessly, you make full use of the benefits in correctly adjusting your body positioning to control the bike, and you are able to achieve much more precise wheel placement. This allows you to find and ride the smooth line on the trail, generally on the edges, instead of having to continually pound through the nasty trail hack. You also get to use that standing position skill to make it easier to conquer those more difficult trail situations that you’ll face. Don’t forget while standing to keep those legs pretty much straight, lightly squeeze the bike with your knees, relax your hand grip, and most importantly lean forward when accelerating for the great benefits associated with these actions. So after reviewing our earlier articles, or our instructional DVDs, get out there on your bike and keep on practicing; doing 5 minutes of training each week with each skill will have a huge impact on improving your ability and physical endurance for that next race or trail ride..…. plus, personally I think it’s much more fun than going to the gym! About Shane: http://www.shanewatts.com/bio Additional Riding Tips & Resources: /related/2000247-miscellaneous-off-road-riding-technique/
  2. Hello, Here are 5 free riding tips that will make you ride both faster and with more control. Please read twice through. Read the first time to familiarize yourself with everything and a second time to understand and apply. There is a lot of information here. To be sure to get the most benefit and increase your speed and control, while reading your second time through take your time and apply each technique one at a time. I really enjoy helping people to enjoy riding their motorcycle. I am confident that these tips will help you increase your speed and control, as I have helped numerous people in the past nine years of schools. Please feel free to contact me through my website email if you need any further assistance. I am here to serve you in conquering your riding/racing goals. Enjoy, Rich Lafferty http://www.rlafferty.com/ About Rich 1. Look Ahead- Most riders, especially beginners do not look far enough ahead. They are focused on the ground in front of the front wheel, when they should be focused further down the trail or the track. Exiting a turn you should be looking straight down the trail/track in front of you to the next turn. If there is an obstacle in that straight away, such as a log, divert your attention back to the log and deal with it as needed. Be sure not to fix your eyes on the obstacle because it can throw off your timing. By looking further ahead you can carry more speed and momentum and you’ll be ready for obstacles the trails or tracks throw at you. In practice get in the habit of coming out of a turn and looking down the straight away to the next turn. In a little bit of time you will carry more speed. 2. Quality Practice- So many of us enjoy just trail riding or pounding laps with their buddies, after all this is the reason we ride our dirt bikes, because its just fun to ride. While doing this you will improve, but at a slower rate compared to quality practice of working on fundamentals. First off, be sure you are using proper form by taking part in a riding school. Then set up some practice drills such as figure eights or an oval to focus on all the variables that come into play for doing a turn properly. Since no turn is alike set up different ones where you can lean the bike over and other ones where you can’t. A good way to set up a tight turn is to use a cone or piece of pcv pipe on the inside of a turn. Maybe logs or jumps are a weakness spend time working on that so that it becomes easy to you. You may find that by working on fundamentals like this that your speed and bike control will increase at a more rapid pace. Think of it like football and baseball practice, do they just get together and play the game? NO! They work on fundamentals of the game. I would also recommend working in some sprints lasting from 2-3 minutes on a mx track or woods track to bring some cardio conditioning into your riding. Also, remember when working on fundamentals, try to do everything both sitting and standing. This will help you better understand how the bike reacts in different situations when you are sitting or standing. You should also work on fundamental drills at 50-75% of your actual pace. It is extremely hard to learn or perfect something at your speed. You are training your brain how to react physically over and over so that you don’t even think about it. It needs to come natural to you. The quality of your practice is important. Slow down work on your form and proper use of all the controls both sitting and standing and the speed will come a lot easier. 3. Braking Point- Another way to increase your speed is to change your braking point entering a turn. This is done easiest on a small track where you can have a buddy observe you. Let your buddy mark your current braking point with a large orange cone. Have your buddy place the cone where you actuate the brake pedal. Then get a lap time to start with. Next have your buddy move the cones closer to the turn forcing you to brake later for the turn. After spending some time working on this after moving the cones closer to the apex(middle) of the turn and finding your limit. You will know you have found your limit, when you begin to overshoot the turn. Now take another lap time. I guarantee that your lap time will have dropped. Spend at least once a week working on this along with fundamentals. 4. Proper Braking- It has been said that it is not the fastest guy, but the guy that slows down, the least. Proper brake control is crucial to riding fast. I believe that a lot of riders over brake. It is important to understand that the front brake is 65-75% of your braking power. It varies because of soil conditions if its muddy or soft you might want to use less front brake than in perfect conditions. Most beginners have issues with the front brake because they are not confident in using it. It is important to remember that most of all your braking is done entering the turn. So use of the front brake should be done when the bike is upright. You should not be using the front brake when the bike is laid over or you are in the apex of a turn. The front brake should be controlled with one to tow fingers (either your middle or pointer or both). Front brake is a slight squeeze. You want to find where the lever gets hard and do not try to squeeze passed that. Your trying to slow the motorcycle down but not lock up the front wheel. Drills for proper use of the front brake will take some time. Set up a small turn track in an open area and do laps allowing only use of the front brake. After some time you will have mastered proper use of the front brake. Now onto rear braking. It is important to have proper brake pedal adjustment. You want the pedal height to be ¼ to 3/8 of an inch above the foot peg. Use of a straight edge can help with this adjustment. Once you have the height adjusted now you want to adjust the free play. You want the pedal to get hard as it gets level with the foot peg. Now that you have the brake pedal adjusted properly, you need to understand something else that is essential to brake control. Alot of riders have a bad habit of pulling in the clutch then mashing on the rear brake. They have to pull the clutch in because they push on the brake pedal so hard that the bike will stall if they don’t. This is a mistake because you lose all forward momentum and have less control over the motorcycle and the rear wheel is sliding. You do not want to lock up the rear wheel. You want to slow it down, but not lock it up because once you lock it up you lose all the momentum you gained in the straight away. The next step is to learn to actuate the brake pedal. This is done by holding your knee, inner calf and inside of our foot tight to the bike over top the brake pedal then find the brake pedal and apply pressure to it. This is one of the most important variables in proper brake control. If you have your leg away from the bike and apply pressure to the brake, you are more prone to make the mistake of locking up the rear wheel. So keep your leg tight to the bike when actuating the brake pedal. You should only pull the clutch in when you are in tight technical situations. Learn to slow the motorcycle down using the front brake and rear brake without pulling the clutch in. When you pull the clutch in the bike is now free wheeling, which means coasting faster. This now means you have to brake harder. With the clutch out you now also have engine braking so you don’t have to brake as hard and you can still keep a positive sense of momentum by keeping the wheels turning but still slowing the bike down. Be patient this takes practice but you will be faster 5. Bike Set up- First off I would like to start with things I see on most students bikes at schools that limit their ability and control. Most people have their bars adjusted too far back. When adjusting your bars you should put your bike on a stand and sit on your bike and stand and find a happy medium between both. Most people make the mistake of adjusting their bars from a seated position. So then when they go to stand it’s not comfortable. The proper riding position whether you are sitting or standing is your head forward over the handlebars with your elbows up. This puts weight on the front wheel, which makes it easier to control. A lot of riders use bar risers for all types of reasons; the most common is tall guys. The high bar raisers creates an issue because it forces the rider back off the front end and makes it harder to keep your elbows up where they should be. I have found this especially common when conducting schools. For instance, a tall guy will come to me with high bar raisers saying he has issue with the front end riding over a berm a lot of the time. Where the rider sits further back on the bike, this unloads the front end and squats the rear pushing the front end out and over a berm. Once we eliminate bar riser the rider now can get up over the front end easier and has less of an issue riding up over the berm. If this sounds like something you might have an issue with then give it a try. Also, to take it another step further, I would recommend a straighter lower handlebar. This will also help you be able to get over the front end more and be more comfortable sitting and standing compared to a set of sweep back and high bars. I often loan out straight low bars (Pro- taper Suzuki low) to a lot of students to try before they purchase. All students have returned them and purchased them after trying them. Another thing that is often overlooked is static sag in the rear shock. If the static sag in the rear shock is incorrect it can also affect the balance and turning of your motorcycle. If you have too much static sag in the rear shock it could cause the bike to push in turns if the static sag is too little it could cause the rear to sit high and because of this the front end may knife and feel unstable. I prefer anywhere from 32-38 mm of static sag. Let’s discuss now how to set your static sag. First put your bike on a stand and measure from the axle to a fixed point on your rear fender. Then take your bike off the stand and push p and down on the rear shock then let the shock rest with the rear wheel still on the ground measure again from the rear axle to the same fixed point. As mentioned your should have a difference of 32-28 mm between the two measurements. If your measurement does not fall in between 32-28 mm you will need to adjust the preload on the shock by turning the huge spanner nut on top of the spring. If you have too much static sag, you will need to tighten the spanner nut down on the spring. If you have too much static sag, you will need to loosen up on the spanner nut. Be sure to mark the spanner nut with a magic marker so you can easily keep track of the number of turns you put on the spring. Usually one complete turn on the spanner nut it equivalent to 2 mm of difference. If even after all of this we are still having either a front wheel push issue or a knifing (tucking). Then we may need to move the forks up or down in the fork tube. For instance if the front end keeps riding up high in the berm and pushing over it then you need to push the forks up in the tubes. Moving it up 1/8 of an inch at a time makes a huge difference. If the front end keeps knifing under you then you need to push the fork tubes down in the triple clamps. Be sure to not move further then level with the fork cap. Another thing I noticed that limits a rider’s control over the motorcycle was that their levers are unevenly positioned on the handlebars. For instance the clutch lever may be super low and the front brake lever may be high. You should be sure that levers are positioned the same. They should be angled so that when you reach for them you can keep your elbows up and not have any uncomfortable kink in your wrist. Also some issues with levers arise when riders cut their bars too short and the levers end up being positioned on the bend of the handlebar. When cutting your handlebars be sure that you have all the proper room for your levers. You can do this by simply sliding the levers as far over as you can without them being on a bend. I do not prefer cutting this much off. I only cut a ½ inch off of each side. Then after putting hand guards back on I am back to the original length. I have no problems getting through tight trees and still have plenty of leverage. Too short of handlebars also limits control over the motorcycle because it compromises your body position. Riders with too short handle bars have issues with keeping their elbows up where they should be. I have given a lot of useful information here. As mentioned earlier, I suggest that you read through this a few times to be sure you have a grasp on the material and get the full benefit of it. I may have discussed something you do not have an issue with, but I believe that I have made you understand it better. When I started doing riding schools over nine years ago, it made me a better rider. In order to teach you, I had to think about what I did and put it into words. It also made me reevaluate some things I do that needed to be changed so I could increase my speed and control. That was like I said over nine years ago and in that time I have conducted a lot of private and group classes. Just about two years ago I wanted to reach more people so rather than putting out another long video that loses your interest and isn’t explicit enough, I decided to have an online school where you can learn body position, riding techniques and how to practice from your PC no matter where you live. I have over 46 instructional 2-4 minute video clips that are accessible to you at anytime. You can watch over and over until you fully understand and then go out and practice it on your bike. This definitely gives you tools for better quality of practice, which all my online students have told me. Discuss these tips
  3. In all conditions, it is important to be able to maximize your acceleration and this is even more critical in mud and sand conditions. Like with all of our offroad skills we need a good execution of the 4 fundamentals to achieve this. In mud and sandy conditions your motorcycle will move around a lot more while under acceleration therefore you need to be much more attentive to maneuvering your upper body weight side to side to help maintain balance. This allows you to keep the throttle on instead of hesitating with it off while trying to regain your lost balance. Selecting a higher gear usually helps with putting the power to the ground when riding in mud. Generally speaking the faster you are going the more balance you will have due to the gyroscopic effect of the motion in both wheels. Plus there will not be as much mud in the knobbies due to it being flicked off. In slippery or loose conditions it is very important to move further to the rear of your bike so as to increase the effect your body weight has on gaining more traction at the rear tire. If the rear tire hooks up and you start wheelieing too high just basically leave the throttle at the same position, but pull the clutch in the necessary amount to decrease the drive to the rear tire. On up hills or when stuck on trail obstacles it’s important to be real effective at putting the power to the ground with great throttle and clutch control and coordination. Generally, it’s better to use the lower portion of the powerband and "grunt" the motor so as that the rear tire has more chance of hooking up. From being stopped you may need to give a quick burst of power and exaggerate your body movement to gain some initial forward motion before backing it off and hooking up. You don’t want to keep that rear tire spinning wildly as you won’t get much traction and it will be very easy to slide out and lose balance. You need to find the best balance between wheel spin and hooking up to achieve the maximum acceleration. For more info about the DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding schools and Instructional DVDs please visit www.shanewatts.com About Shane Discuss this tip
  4. so there is a tabletop on my local track with a medium run-up and i was wondering how do i shift and still keep it in high rpms.
  5. I ride an xr200 1991 and got some fly boots for fairly cheap used. Shifting is hard! And unless I hold my foot out towards the side I always accident up shift. And brakes, I can't be as gentle with them. It's either no breakers or rear wheel lock up. Any help and tips would be greatly appreciated.
  6. Congratulations to Ryan Villopoto for adding a 4th straight SX Title to his multi title list. I will admit that I'm a little bias because he's one of the top riders I've coached but no one can argue that this guy has all the ingredients needed to win championships. He has the Talent, Confidence, Work Ethic, he's strong under pressure, seldom makes mistakes, he can continue the grind week after week without getting burned out and above all has the desire to win. Ryan has all the ingredients that McGrath had who, as you know by now, is the only other rider to win 4 straight SX Titles. Did I mention Jeremy is also one of the top riders I've coached. Not bad for an old dirt bike teacher, hey?
  7. If you've been riding motocross very long you understand how important good cornering skills are. But so many riders develop bad techniques which end up being bad habits. Here's some import techniques you should know and practice in order to improve your corner speed and control: 1. When on a straight approaching a corner as soon as you shut the throttle off you should be braking hard with both front and rear brakes. 2. You should continue to control both brakes or in some cases at least one until you are going to pull the trigger (get on the clutch and throttle) to exit the corner. 3. When braking your body should be a little back or at least in the middle. 4. The most critical part of the corner is the transition. This is where you go from braking to accelerating. Prefect braking control and then perfect clutch and throttle control. 5. Always focus and move your head toward where you want to go in the corner. I hope this gives you some things to try and most of all gets the results you're looking for. Let me know if you have any questions. GS
  8. Here are last 9 tips that have appeared in previous issues of the ThumperTalk Member eNewsletter. Number 10 will be listed in the January newsletter and finally posted here thereafter. 10 Absolute MX Practice Rules by Gary Semics ( http://www.gsmxs.com ) In order to improve your race results, you first must improve your practice strategies. Then practice the correct techniques until they become automatic. Absolute rule number 1 - There’s a mind to the madness. When you go out to practice have a purpose behind your practice. Don’t just race around the track, making the same mistakes over and over. Always spend some time separating and working at your weak points and techniques. Now that we’ve got that right, here’s tip number one of a ten quick tips series on how to become a better racer. #1 You need to be able to work the levers and hold onto the grips independently. The most common mistake here is to hold onto the grips with all four fingers than grab at the levers only when you really have to use them. This way is so award that the rider doesn’t use the clutch and front brake levers often enough and when they do use the levers they can't hold onto the grips well. The thing that takes time and practice to develop is the ability to hold onto the grips and work the levers accurately at the same time, many riders use two fingers on the clutch, and many use one finger. It's best to use one finger on the front brake. Get used to it and make it a habit.Give up a finger or two on the grips in order to work the levers independently from holding onto the grips. #2 When you're not using the shifter or brake the ball of your foot should be on the foot peg. A general rule to go by is that if you’re not using the shifter or brake you should be on the balls of your feet. When you need to use the shifter or brake simply move up to the arches of your feet, than when you’re not using the shifter or brake move back to the balls of your feet again. While you are riding you should be using this technique frequently changing back and forth. This is true whether sitting or standing. The benefits are: it adds another joint to your body's suspension (your ankle joint) for better movement and feel, your feet won't hit the ground in ruts and get ripped off the foot pegs, and you won't hit the shifter or brake by accident. The only exception to this technique is if you are going to land very hard (like casing a jump) then you should be on the arches of your feet so you don’t sprain or break your ankles. This is defiantly one of those techniques that you have to think about and practice separately. Keep checking the bottom of those boots. #3 Dragging the rear brake will keep the rear wheel from kicking up as much on certain bumps and obstacles. When a beginner rider gets into trouble, like having the rear wheel kick up too high, he usually just freezes and waits to see what happens. One thing you can do to avoid this kicking up affect is to drag the rear brake when you think the rear wheel is going to kick up. This helps hold the rear suspension together and greatly reduces the kick up of the rear wheel. The next time you see that you’re going to hit a big bump or a whoop harder than you wanted to, touch or drag that rear brake and you'll see how much it holds the rear end down. This is another good reason you need to be able to use the rear brake from any body position on the motorcycle, because in this case, you will be standing with your weight back. #4 You do not need to use the clutch when you down shift. Some inexperienced riders use the clutch to downshift and then just hold it in while they brake the rest of the way into the corner. Using the clutch to downshift is not necessary and it brakes up the steadiness of braking with the help of the engine's backpressure. It is necessary to use the clutch when you up shift because the transmission has torque on the gears from the power of the engine. But, there is very little torque on the gears when the throttle is off and you’re slowing down. So, leave that low end lever (the clutch) out when you’re down shifting and braking for a corner. #5 Overgrip and elbow position. Keep your elbows up and out away from your sides. A rider is giving up a lot of control if he or she has a style of grabbing the grips straight on and riding with their forearms parallel to the ground. By doing this they don't have the correct leverage factors between their upper body and the motorcycle. It's also more difficult to open the throttle. High over grip and high elbows will enable the rider to have full range of the throttle through their full range of body positions on the motorcycle. This technique also gives you the correct leverage factors between your body and the motorcycle through your full range of movement. #6 Body position for accelerating and braking. Most of the time when you accelerate you keep your weight forward and when you brake you keep your weight back. When you fail to do this technique correctly you end up with your body weight in the wrong place at the wrong time. This can cause you to be out of control and be working a lot harder than you need to. Most of the time when you accelerate you need to lean forward into the force of acceleration and when you brake you need to lean back against the force of braking. This allows your body position to maintain the center of balance. The motorcycle and you become one operating unit and you can better maintain control. Don't be a statue. Get used to moving on that motorcycle. # 7 What to do with your inside foot in a corner. Put your inside foot out for the part of the turn where you’re going from braking to accelerating (exit dex) and get it back on the footpeg as soon as possible. The common mistake here is to put your foot out for the turn too early. Many riders do this to help them with balance. They are making the mistake of using their leg as a counter balance. Then after they make the corner they keep their foot off the peg too long. This allows most all of their weight to be on the seat, which makes those accelerating bumps beat their ass. The correct way is to put your foot out for the least amount of time as possible. This is in the part of the turn where you’re going from braking to accelerating. I call this the exit dex. Keep your weight low, on the footpegs, and use the controls and your upper body movements for balance and control. #8 The rowing movement. Time the rowing action of your body movement with the compression and rebound of bumps and other obstacles on the track. You need to row back as the rear wheel tries to kick up. Many riders just ride the motorcycle across rough ground or whoops and never try to time how they weight and unweight the suspension. Then the motorcycle ends up weighting and unweight their bodies with a mind of it's own. This technique requires good timing and anticipation. You have to anticipate where you’re going to weight and unweight (to help the suspension compress and rebound) the motorcycle in order to make it compress, skip, jump, fly, and land just how and where you want it to. This is not just a straight up and down movement. While you’re helping the suspension compress down and rebound up you have to move back and forth in order to keep the motorcycle somewhat level. Learn to do this right, because I guarantee you, it will feel good and you'll live longer. #9 How far to look ahead. Look far enough out ahead of you to be ready for what's coming up. If you can't see it (because of an obstacle) remember what's there. The most common mistake is to always look too close in front of you and not look ahead far and soon enough. Don't race the track by every ten feet. Race it one section at a time and blend the sections together with a purpose. When done correctly it's an art form and when you go beyond that, it's magic. Your vision should always be scanning the track in front of you, focusing on the most important things, then scanning and focusing on the next most important thing, and so on. You should ride with this main focus and your peripheral vision. Set yourself up so you’re going to be on the right line well in advance. And if you’re trying to past someone, look beyond them, not at them. You can't win races by following people. Again, the final tip of this series will appear in the January issue of the ThumperTalk Member eNewsletter. Be on the lookout for it.
  9. Just watched the 92 San Diego SX, all the guys were jumping through the whoops. When, and who started blitzing through them??? Just curious.
  10. I currently have a 250f and am thinking abou getting a 125 or 250 2 stroke. I don't have a lot of experience and I've never ridden a 2 stroke in my life. Thanks
  11. Motocross Bowl Corners are fast and fun. Here I’m coaching 3 pros (Kyle Peters, Cade Clayson and Logan Karnow) at www.clubmx-sc.com in South Carolina. I've added some tips in order to help you improve your speed and control. I hope it helps. Use this code to receive an extra 10% off already discounted Technique DVDs: xmas2013dvds Click below to watch free video for Bowl Corners http://www.gsmxs.com/free-mx-riding-tips/motocross-bowl-corners
  12. Precise wheel placement is an integral of you being an efficient, safe, and skilled rider out on the trails. This is the first of our three Advanced Fundamental skills that we need to practice and master. The ability to control the exact placement of your wheels whilst out on the trail, and to vary the placement of your tires by just an inch or two has a huge effect on your speed, safety, and energy use. By executing this well you can avoid many of the nasty ruts, roots, rocks, and bumps on the trail. Here are some exercises you can use to improve your wheel placement precision. Start off with being able to exactly follow a roost mark across the paddock. Utilizing the skills and techniques we learnt from practicing our previous general fundamental exercises (Stop & Go, and Slow Ride) we will have a good execution of maneuvering our upper body weight to maintain balance and direction of the motorcycle, plus adjusting the throttle, clutch, and handlebars to keep the bike on the exact desired piece of trail. Always remember to look ahead for increased balance. As with any skill it is best to isolate it and practice mastering it in a safe, controlled environment, progressing to a more advanced level in small increments, such as next riding along some train track wooden sleepers, and then along the top of the actual train tracks. We will show actual demonstrations of this in our new Advanced Instructional DVD that will be available for purchase in mid February. These skills will also be shown on this Advanced DVD Vol. #1 Promo teaser that you will be able to view on our new, updated website that goes live on Jan 13. Make sure you check it out! http://www.shanewatts.com/ Stay tuned for more exclusive off-road riding tips featured in the March issue of the ThumperTalk newsletter. 🙂 - Shane
  13. During these winter months there is a lot less traction when going around slick, muddy corners that have a flat surface than when in drier conditions. This means that you definitely need to get as comfortable and skilled with your bike sliding around and drifting through the corner while in both the seated and standing position. Be careful while braking on the entry to a flat corner as there will be a greater tendency for the wheels to lock up and slide out, most likely resulting in a crash. Going around a tight or more open corner, you will need to be continually adjusting the 3 key points of cornering, which are: 1. Your body position on the bike (and how it relates to the 90 degrees of traction principle). 2. The lean angle of your bike. 3. Your throttle position. While roosting around these corners, the goal is to maintain a smooth, consistent arc. You want to position your body at the very front of the seat, and “on top” of your bike when it is leant over through the corner so as you can gain extra traction by “weighting” the outside footpeg. A lot of times in these slippery conditions the bike will start sliding/drifting on you therefore it is important to help control your bike by using counter-steering of the handlebars, along with continued adjustment of the above three key points. If possible, try to find and use a banked surface to help stop your wheels from sliding out, or even utilize any clumps of mud or slop to support your wheels. To really fast track your learning with this essential skill, try to find an open space that has a smooth yet consistently slippery surface and then start riding slow circle of about 15-20 feet in diameter. As you get comfortable start going faster without making a bigger circle. Eventually the rear wheel will begin to spin and slide, especially if you give your bike a quick blip of the throttle to initiate the spinning action. You want to keep the wheel spinning somewhat and try to slide/drift continual circles without stopping, controlling the bike with our key points. When you start getting good at this skill it is so much fun to do this drifting exercise. You will love it! We will have an in depth analysis and demonstrations in our upcoming DirtWise Advanced Instructional DVD – Volume 2, which will focus on the techniques you use to master Braking, Cornering, and riding through Tight trees. Visit www.shanewatts.com for more info on this and the DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding schools. Shane Discuss this tip in the off-road techique forum
  14. When tackling long, soft, silty berms you need to gauge the maximum force that you can place on the soft soil, that makes up that trail situation, to support the tyres adequately from blowing through the wall of the berm. If the berm has already been blown out in a certain section, you will need to turn slightly more aggressively off the banked surface earlier in the berm. Using that initial portion of the berm to pivot slightly sharper will allow you then to "reconnect" with the remaining berm for the rest of the corner. A more aggressive version of this same technique can be implemented to help you hop out of a rut that doesn’t have a desirable ending or is full of water. Using a variation of the 180 wheelie you maximize the effect by getting hard on the gas and pushing/bouncing your body down into the bike's seat, which magnifies the compression and rebound of the suspension, to achieve the necessary launch of the front wheel out of the rut at the precise moment. It is most critical to get the front wheel up and over the inside edge of the rut so as it doesn’t slide out. Hopefully the rear tyre will also have enough rebound effect to hop over that edge also. If not just stay on the gas anyway and control the bike with your grinding and drifting skills. Practice makes perfect, so get out there, find a good berm and hit it over and over! 👍 Shane About Shane Additional Riding Tips & Training Resources
  15. Thanks for watching! - Shane Watts http://www.shanewatts.com/
  16. On the steeper and slipperier hills it is also more critical that you stand up so as you have the ability to get more weight over the front of the bike if you need it to limit any big wheelies, but more importantly so you can get more traction. A lot of people think that you get more traction on uphills if you sit down. Well, actually that's wrong. Not only can you gain more traction by standing but you can also manage that traction much better. We like to call this the leveraging technique. To do this the most effectively your goal is to have the front wheel just skimming across the ground or possibly pulling a very slight wheelie. In this position the total combined weight of you and your bike is being leveraged onto the rear tyre to provide maximum possible traction for the conditions present. This enables you to then use more power. You control the precise height of the front tyre by adjusting your body position - too high, move forward, too low, move back. Again, this technique allows you to apply maximum power and gain maximum traction for all conditions - the key is to be able to move your body weight to your advantage. Sitting down doesn't allow you to do that anywhere near as effectively. When there is big variations in traction over a small distance you can get a better advantage in gaining traction by coordinating more aggressive pulling on the bars and the bouncing down of your body weight on the slipperier portions of trail. This leveraging technique is a little more tiring, and definitely way more forearm fatiguing but it provides you better ability to conquer the hill. If you didn't make it and get stuck on the hill because you were sitting, and thus were limited in making it over the top by the negative results associated with that seated position, well you're now going to expend a whole heap more energy trying to make it the rest of the way compared to what you would have used when standing up. You can learn more about this technique and many others in the new DirtWise Advanced Instructional DVD - Volume #4 coming out in mid October 2012. Visit www.shanewatts.com for more information! Keep on Roosting! Shane Watts discuss this tip in the Off-Road Riding Technique Forum
  17. Jumping a motocross bike is one of the most fun and exciting aspects of riding a dirt bike. At 60 years of age I've been jumping motocross bikes for a half a century and I can still remember the first time I caught air. If you're already jumping you know what I mean. If you're not you... click here to read more. Comment and post photos if you have any from the first time.
  18. This is it, tomorrow, my first time with my yz250 on a mxtrack. Any pointers in not what to do, im a road/track racer, different ball game.. I just have a bit of knowledge on how bikes work. Just wanna have a good start/footin to build from. Main aim is to go out and have fun! Get to know my bike. But advice would be very appreciated. Thanks ;-)
  19. There are some really great benefits to looking ahead as you roost down the trail. As discussed in some of these previous tips, doing this gives a better sense of balance which in turn decreases your chances of getting out of control down the trail and having to get off the gas. The golden rule we like to use is that you should be looking ahead approximately 2-3 bikes lengths per gear that you are in. Being in third with the throttle cracked open means you should be generally focusing your vision on the trail between 6-9 bike lengths ahead. This distance gives you the adequate time to process the trail information (nasty log or rocks, an alternative line, etc) and then to react and implement the appropriate actions to handle the situation. It is best not to continually focus (stare) at a specific trail object. Instead, you want to continue looking forward down the trail while using your peripheral vision to scan back every so often as you approach that obstacle. The same goes for when you are roosting around a corner. If there is a big rock, stump or tree trunk on the exit of the corner and you continually stare at it as you get on the gas then most likely you will ride right into it. Hands up who’s done that before? Yeah, me too! It’s times like these that you really need to focus on your focus (ha, ha!) and use your mental strength to continue looking and thinking down the trail. In situations like this you briefly look at the object, recognize it for what it is, and then re-focus on the part of the trail that you want to be on. Whether it’s in life’s journey or just out on the trail be sure not to focus on the bad things because where you look is where you will go. In Volume 1 of our new series of Advanced Instructional DVDs that is now on sale at our online store, we show actual demonstrations that of the above that reinforce the benefits gained. Check out the promo film for Volume 1 at www.shanewatts.com Shane About Me: http://www.shanewatts.com/bio
  20. With all acceleration bump situations, the key point is that it is much more preferable to be in that standing position than sitting down. You need to grip that motorcycle with your knees to make it more stable, and less chance of deflection. Lean back as you exit the corner and give it the gas so as the front tire become “light” and skims across the top of those bumps. If possible try and go around those bumps if it’s a little bit smoother. On the exit of heaps of corners there are usually some very aggressive acceleration bumps. What we want to do as we come around the corner is be generally in the seated position to maximize our speed as the resulting increased acceleration out of the corner is going to work great for getting smoothly over those bumps. You need to be able to get that front wheel up to easily skim those bumps. We want to utilize the first bump to help kick us up into the standing position, even if it’s just a squat, because in that standing position we can absorb those bumps a lot better, and we don’t get a pounding up the butt which can make your back very sore! You want to be very precise with your front wheel placement (as talked about in a previous article) when tackling bumps, because just moving it a couple of inches to the side on the trail can make a huge difference in the size of the bumps you have to ride over. That why it is very important to practice your Advanced Fundamental skills exercises, and also to look ahead while roosting down the trail so as you can have the most time to make the best line selection. If you are unable to get into the standing position in these bumpy situations, then you use all of the same techniques above (lean back, squeeze the bike, get on the gas) but you will find it better to also aggressively contract your core muscles to somewhat eliminate the rough ride that you are about to experience. Another thing that has recently helped me tremendously in conquering rough trail situations is to have the guys at Stillwell Performance tune my suspension. This investment is well worth it in terms of helping you enjoy those nasty acceleration bumps and trail junk! About me: http://www.shanewatts.com/bio Dirtwise Academy of Off-Road Riding http://www.shanewatts.com/schools Other riding tips from Shane: http://www.thumperta...earchid=9730619
  21. The rule of the track here is to leave the clutch out while braking so the engine helps slow you down and helps control the braking process. It’s kind of like anti lock brakes. The best stopping power is just before the rear wheel locks up and that’s just what leaving the clutch out will help you with. We’ll get to the front brake later. This is done when you’re still carrying some speed into the corner. If it’s a tight corner where you’re going to be slowing down to a slow speed in the middle of the corner and/or if you’re going to do a brake slide, then you have to pull the clutch in so you don’t kill the engine, but before that leave the clutch out! I’ve seen this technique of leaving the clutch out while braking misused and abused by a lot of beginner riders. Every time they apply the back brake they put the clutch in. They do this because they don’t have good braking control and by stabbing the rear brake on they would stall the engine. Sometimes making it stall even easier by being in too high of a gear. It’s really the same technique for 2 strokes and 4 strokes. There is a similar technique regarding the clutch when exiting a corner with 2 or 4 strokes. The 2 stroke does depend on the clutch more than the 4 stroke but if you’re pulling a high gear out of the corner even the torquey 4 strokes can use a little help from the clutch. A good rider can make his bike drift slide into a corner, real pretty like, lol, by leaving that low end lever out (the clutch). When a rider pulls the clutch in while braking at speed he’s taking a chance of sliding out too much, then his automatic reaction is to let up on the rear brake too much. This causes the bike to straiten up and then he hits the rear brake again and so on. This is especially the case on a high speed slippery approach to a corner. Learn to feather those controls or lock them up and every thing between. It takes a fine feel to go fast. Of course the front brake has the most stopping power but in most cases you can’t use the front brake effectively unless you’re using the rear brake properly. Get all the details from my “Motocross Braking Techniques DVD/Stream”. See a free preview and order online. TT members get an additional 10% off with the following code before checkout; TTGSMXS58
  22. Figure 8 drills are an excellent way to practice corners. Here are some tips for improving your corner speed and control! <iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/a2mBif0d8BM"frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> https://youtu.be/a2mBif0d8BM Don't know why the video play screen it's showing up???
  23. I am trying to practice riding standing up more. Do you guys have any tips to make riding while standing almost all the time a habit.
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