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  1. Riding and racing Offroad motorcycles is an awesome passion that so many of us have, and at which we all desire to become not only more skilled and safer at but also faster. One of the hardest parts of improving your skills is to get into the mentality of continually spending a small to significant amount of time each week practicing specific skills exercises so as to fast tack your learning instead of just pounding out laps or miles of trail. It is very important to spend a quick 5 minutes doing each exercise before your next race, or trail ride. This allows you to build your confidence and skill, plus also most effectively warm-up the specific muscles you're about to use. A great exercise for reinforcing the four fundamentals of riding skill (body position, throttle/clutch coordination, balance, and confidence) is the Slow Ride exercise where you ride as slowly as possible without putting your feet down. Having great balance allows you to maximize your momentum on the trail especially in more difficult conditions like mud, deep sand, hills, and rock sections. For superior flat cornering technique set up the Square exercise (10 foot wide square with 4 cones), preferably in some very slippery but consistent conditions, and ride continual laps gradually getting faster until you are able to slide/drift your bike around the Square without interruption for at least 6 laps. Use the four key points of cornering (body position, lean angle, throttle position, and counter steering) to control the slide and guide your bike where you want it to go - it's a great feeling when you get it mastered!!! This skill will be a huge benefit in the next mud race or just when you are pushing the limits and the tires are breaking traction. The best all around exercise for Offroad riders and racers to practice is the Figure 8 Corner Rut. The precise front wheel placement required, as well as the aggressive acceleration skills, correct body position, and supreme confidence needed to rail a rut also transition heaps to help conquer all other trail or track situations. A high quality Riding school or Instructional DVD will give you the breakdown of all of the many necessary skills exercises, and how to perform them at the highest level - constantly practice these exercises in the future, especially the ones that you are struggling with, and you will see immediate and huge improvements with your riding skills. Keep the rubber side down! Shane Former World and US National champion Shane Watts operates the highly acclaimed DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding school and Instructional DVDs. For more information, please visit www.shanewatts.com. >>> discuss this tip
  2. Hey ThumperTalkers. Here's a riding tip that should help you to increase your chances of successfully conquering very steep ravines. Approach the drop into the ravine very slowly using your slow ride skills to maintain balance, keep the bike straight, and to stay in the standing position with both feet on the footpegs. The slower you can ride over the lip the slower and more in control you will be at the bottom. Once you "drop in", due to the steep angle, gravity will take over and you'll speed up significantly despite using the brakes aggressively. Be sure to extend your body way over the rear of the bike to help keep it on the ground, and don't let either wheel be continually locked up. As you are getting to the bottom start increasing the revs by rolling your wrist, using the "Door knob" technique to make this easier, then accelerate aggressively through the bottom. Transition your body to the center of the bike, brace your arms and don't buckle at the knees (due to the excessive "G" forces present) otherwise you'll lose heaps of momentum and control from the bike becoming very unstable. Accelerate hard up the other side moving your body weight as far forward as possible which helps keep the front wheel down and you on the gas. Achieve this by not bending your legs and extending your upper body fully forward, aiming to have your head out towards the end of the front fender. Make sure you look to the top - where you look is where you go. Your goal is to have to apply the brakes at the top to slow down instead of being 2/3's of the way up and needing to speed up. Minimizing speed down into the ravine and maximizing acceleration through the bottom and on the initial climb out, plus using full extension of your body from the back to the front will give you the best chance of conquering such advanced trail situations. For more info about Shane Watts and the DirtWise Riding schoools and Instructional DVDs please visit www.shanewatts.com Shane
  3. In this post i'm not talking about experiece/age/bike/cc/or anything other then comparing Sitting to standing while riding. For example lets talk about GNCC style trails witch are open and have multi lines to choose from. Can someone be a great rider if they are mostly a sit down type rider? there are two types of people i see, the type who sit most of the time or stand almost all the time. I find my self to be more of a sit down rider but it's not because i don't feel good while standing it's just what I've learned to work best for me. I know the whole standing while charging and sit down in the end of the corners type deal but let's count that out. I know while standing you can use more of your body and there for turn better and flow with a better speed. But can someone who is sitting most of the time still be at a level where it is considered good/great? What are your thoughts? Mods if you think this should be in tech riding please feel free to move it out of General. Thanks guys!
  4. With really tight turns on the trail it is nearly essential to be able to perform the brake slide technique to complete these corners the quickest and most efficiently. By not performing the brake slide in these situations you risk riding off the edge of the trail because the turning circle of your bike is not great enough by just steering around the corner. As you approach the corner enter it generally as far to the outside as possible with a significant amount of speed so you can lock up the rear wheel and skid it for at least 10 feet (3 meters). While you have the rear tire locked up you need to have the bike leant over - the result of this action is that the rear of the bike will start to slide around. You want to keep the rear tire sliding out until it gets to approximately between 1/4 and 1/3 around the corner. At this point you need to release the rear brake and get on the gas so as you can then roost out of the corner, controlling the resulting power slide with the 4 key points of Drifting. You are able to achieve no transition, and thus no interruption, between the braking slide and power slide by using the Slow Ride technique to make this happen. Generally you need to support yourself and the slide by having your inside foot out touching the ground - many times you will pivot the bike around on your foot. Sliding around to the left is easier than to the right because you are able to keep your right toes on the rear brake while your left foot can be already placed on the ground for support. Going right you have to keep your inside foot (right foot) up on the brake until you have slid at least 1/4 way around the corner. In difficult situations you can use the Scandinavian Flick technique, and the resulting increase in bike lean angle and transfer of body inertia to help swing the rear of the bike around. You can also use an available tree root, dirt mound, or ledge to help facilitate this should they be angled the correct direction. For more info on the DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding schools and Instructional DVDs please visit www.shanewatts.com Shane discuss this tip...
  5. Shane Watts

    Shane Watts DirtWise Riding Tip: Wheelies

    Wheelies are an essential skill that you need to perform on the trail to help conquer situations such as logs, rock ledges, creek banks, sand whoops, etc. There are four types of wheelies that you will use. The first one is from a dead stop and it is the one that allows you to learn all of the necessary wheelie skills the easiest while remaining the safest. Sit to the rear of the seat finding the best compromise between being far enough back to maximize your body weight/traction on the rear tire, but not too far back that you get into a funky body position. Use a little bit of throttle but a lot of clutch, letting it out smoothly but aggressively to help pop the front wheel up. If you are struggling to get the front wheel up either sit back further, or use a little more throttle, or pop the clutch out a little faster, or a combo of all these things. An auto clutch works pretty good doing this first type of wheelie, although you may need to load up the auto clutch by dragging the rear brake initially to help provide a little more "snap" to the power delivery. Start off getting the wheel up just a little bit off the ground and then as you build your confidence start to challenge yourself to get it higher in the air. On the trail you only need to do a wheelie as high as 3 feet, but when practicing this you need to do it up to 6 feet, straight up and down vertical. Doing it to this height gives you a bigger skill range and comfort zone while popping a wheelie, plus it really reinforces the use of the rear brake as the safety feature to stop you from looping out. When the front wheel comes up too high off the ground out of your comfort zone the natural reaction for the majority of riders is to take both feet off the footpegs and get ready to step off the back of the bike. In this situation you need to retrain your brain to the correct automatic reaction which is to keep your feet on the footpegs and apply the rear brake to bring the front wheel back down and "save it". So when practicing your wheelies you need to push yourself to the point of trying to loop yourself out, and then obviously use the rear brake so as you don't. Once you are able to confidently get the front wheel up high, and to control it at that height, you will be able to easily and safely conquer those difficult advanced trail situations, plus be able to impress the hell out your mates by pulling some pretty mad long wheelies. G'day! Shane http://www.shanewatts.com
  6. Shane Watts

    Accelerating in muddy and sandy conditions

    In muddy and sandy conditions your motorcycle will move around a lot more while under acceleration therefore you will need to be much more attentive to maneuvering your upper body weight side to side to help maintain balance and to achieve the best acceleration. 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 which will provide for better traction. 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 which will lower the front wheel back to the ground. 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 the torque of the motor so as that the rear tire has more chance of hooking up. If you are stopped you may need to give a quick burst of power and exaggerate your body movement to gain some initial forward motion before backing the throttle off to help the rear tire hook up. You don’t want to keep the 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. About Shane Dirtwise Academy of Off-Road Riding Instructional DVD's
  7. hey everyone, i am a pretty new rider, im 6'2 260lbs, i just started 3 years ago. i am 22 and i started on a 1995 xr250 and now i have a 2005 crf 450r. i wanted to see what other people thought about what bikes are better for guys my size. also what kinda parts should i get for my bike. and finally is there any special riding styles or technic i should try to focus on?
  8. shampoo

    Riding alone

    Hello I am curious how many of you ride alone and if so do you choose easier terrain or do you take any other precautions? J
  9. Late summer/early fall is a prime time for a lot of riders to head out and hit the trails with their mates for a roost session. Personally I just got back from a week of epic high country single track in the mountains of Idaho, and it was sensational!!! During that time the result and effects of a few basic trail “rules” were clearly evident to those present. Have a designated trail boss (who actually knows where he is going!) and follow that person, or at least make ride decisions as a group and adhere to them. Do a head count of riders BEFORE you start the ride. When you get to a trail intersection the lead rider continues on while the second rider of the group waits there and directs the following riders until all riders have passed or the designated sweep rider arrives – no exceptions on that one! Always try to remain as a group (safety in numbers), but if a rider does need to call it early for whatever reason make sure they truly do know how to find their way back or are accompanied by at least one other rider. Fill your bike’s fuel tank up ALL the way to the top before the ride and at any gas stops during the ride. Remember now that the only time you can have too much fuel is when you are on fire! Packing a light Gore-Tex type rain jacket can be a savior especially in the high country where the weather can change from pleasant to extremely nasty real quick, and don’t forget to also include some poo-tickets in a zip lock bag in case nature calls – it sucks having to ride the rest of the day after sacrificing a sock for clean up!!! Take a camera/helmet-cam to take some happy snaps and document any worthwhile moments, good or bad. At some stage in the future you will be glad that you did! Carry all of the equipment and tools to perform a trail side puncture repair, or better still get your mate to carry it for you – a 21 inch tube will work much better for both wheels than an 18 inch tube. Same goes if you drown out in a river crossing. Have one of your mates wring out the airfilter for you so as they get the greasy, oily residue on their hands. If there is a large puddle or small creek crossing on the trail try and line it up so as you roost past your mate on the back wheel just before the water. The resulting splash and drenching is worth bonus points for the after-ride bullshit session!!! Email us at dirtwise@shanewatts.com by Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 with your most unique trail rule and the best one will win a free copy of the original DirtWise Instructional DVD. Keep on roosting!
  10. Shane Watts

    Grinding - Off-Road Riding Technique

    Grinding is our second Advanced fundamental skill, and just like precise wheel placement which we discussed last month, we use this skill to avoid and conquer so many nasty trail obstacles such as long, deep ruts. This skill is also a big help in us being able to maintain control and forward motion of the bike if you or the bike get off balance. It is preferable to do this skill while in the standing position for increased upper body movement to help maintain control and balance. You should also practice this skill in the seated position as there will some times on the trail that you will only be able to be in this position while grinding. Start off with trying this skill on a dirt bank/ledge or railroad ties with your front wheel up on the high side and the rear wheel sliding/grinding along the lower edge of the obstacle. Take it easy but you do need to have an adequate amount of speed to make performing this skill possible by making it a little easier for that wheel rear to actually slip along the edge. To control the bike you need to adjust not only your body position for balance but also the throttle position and steering so as to keep your bike sliding at the appropriate angle. Too much throttle and not enough counter steering will result in sliding out. Not enough throttle and too much counter steering could end up in a trip over the hangers from a highside crash. You also need to be very precise with your wheel placement to master this fundamental skill. We give instruction and show actual demonstrations of this in Volume 1 of our new series of Advanced Instructional DVDs, that is now on sale through our on-line store. You can view some examples of this skill in the promo teaser for Volume 1 at http://www.shanewatts.com Make sure you check it out! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Learn the “Why” behind the “What” in this new series of “Dirt Wise with Shane Watts” Advanced Instructional DVDs. Volume 1 covers and in depth analysis of techniques required to conquer Mud, Sand, and Rough Ground conditions you will find out on the trail. Other topics included in the DVD are segments on bike and suspension set-up, along with other essentials to prepare yourself for these nasty conditions. Available from www.shanewatts.com for $24.95. Get free shipping and a signed poster if ordered before March 15.
  11. Shane Watts

    Drifting - Off-Road Rding Technique

    Drifting is our third Advanced Fundamental skill, and it is essentially the same actions and execution as we used for last month’s topic, which was Grinding. Except unlike with grinding where we are sliding the bike pretty much straight along the edge of an obstacle, with drifting we are sliding the bike around the arc of a corner situation. This drifting skill is a huge help in us being able to maintain control of the bike while maximizing your ability to roost around a corner. Make sure to practice this skill in varying conditions and situations such as loose ground, hard pack, gravel, and even pavement if possible. To be able to drift your bike well you need a good understanding and ability to adjust the three key points of cornering, which are 1. Throttle position, 2. Lean angle, and 3. your body position in relationship to the Principle of “The 90 Degrees of Traction”. We will discuss these more soon in our upcoming cornering article. Find a smooth location, preferably with consistent traction, and start doing some varying sized circles, slowly increasing your speed until the rear tire starts breaking traction. You then just go a little faster focusing on achieving a continual drift. You maintain and control the drift by adjusting the 3 key points and using counter steering. If your bike is not sliding enough you either apply one or more of the following; 1. more throttle, 2. increased bike lean angle, 3. or turn the front wheel more towards the inside of the corner you are going around. Which one to adjust is dependent upon the conditions present. We will discuss this in next month’s article. We give instruction and show actual demonstrations of this in Volume 1 of our new series of Advanced Instructional DVDs, that is now on sale through our online store. You can view some examples of this skill in the Promo teaser for Volume 1 at http://www.shanewatts.com Make sure you check it out! About me: http://www.shanewatts.com/bio
  12. Check out this quick tip on the importance of front wheel placement when railing a corner rut
  13. Hello, first time posting here. I am looking for some guidance from the more experience dirt riders about the following; I got hitched pretty hard with "enduro" after 34 years of street bike riding. I have owned suzuki's, yamaha's, bmw's and now a KTM ADV. All big bikes (1,000cc plus). Now, I went to a KTM dealer (where I bought the "street" KTM) and got a 2014 KTM 450 XC-F (it was a closed-out deal and got a nice discount). I did not think too much about the cc's because, as I told you before, I'm used to big cc's. Well, I went to my first two enduro competitions (yes, I am that entusiastic about it) and boom! first lesson: my skills as street biker ARE NOT transferable to dirt biking (that's ok, I have the motivation to learn)...second lesson: that bike I got it's simply TOO POWERFUL and it is not, to my humble and inexperience opinion, an "enduro" bike. I put everything on it to try to control such "crazy horse": flywheel weight (helped a lot), rekluse, and other aftermarket parts, but it's still is kind of too much!!! I know, it's the rider...not the bike what counts! but I am now wondering to what extent keep on riding/competing (even though I do it for pure fun...but in any case I want to be "competive") may make my learning process even more difficult. Lastly, this past week-end competition my bike start having overheating problems in the more technical/difficult trails, very common to 4-strokes. Results, in both competitions I have been DNF because I just couldn't finish...the bike demands so much from me (phisically, as it is heavy) that I was simply too tire to control it then I started falling to the ground over and over again. I am renconsidering my decision to keep riding enduro with the KTM and thinking about changing to a lighter bike (250 2 strokes perhaps?). I would be very greatful for you views/comments . Thank you!
  14. http://youtu.be/dnHroMTVoyU Line selection into a corner is very crucial in learning to carry momentum into a turn. Number one in carrying momentum is looking up and learning to read trail, to actually see an opportunity of where you can use the outside of the trail to carry that extra little bit of speed into the turn. Understand that by doing this, you also have to brake less. By using the outside of the trail on the entrance, it opens up the arc of the turn and it isn’t as tight as the existing line that everyone else uses and requires less braking. Most riders look down in front of their wheel and focus on the same line that everyone else uses. To remedy this situation in practice, get in the habit of coming out of a corner and looking up to the next turn. This does not mean that you don’t look back in front of your wheel. It’s a constant scan from your front tire and down the trail. This makes it easier to find those edges required to carry momentum into a corner, but also allows the rider to ride more defensively, ready for obstacles such as logs, ruts and other trail obstacles that can stop forward progress and momentum. Looking ahead and using the outside edge also helps to avoid those braking bumps coming into a turn. Once you find that outside line, most times, you will drop to the main line. Front wheel placement is key. On a tight turn, where there is a tree on the inside, the rider has to place the front wheel slightly high on the berm to avoid contact with the tree on the inside. But, not so high that the front wheel washes up and over the berm. The next time you are out riding, try playing around with these techniques and see how affects your corner speed, especially if you're riding a grass track and you have more room to play. For more information on Rich Lafferty Riding Schools and a 2 day school in your area, contact us through our website at www.richlaffertyracing.com Thanks, Rich Lafferty About Me
  15. Great video. I needed to watch it several times. I was distracted.... This gal is a great rider, cute as a button, and good at coaching. She has a ton of stuff on YouTube.
  16. er·go·nom·ics: a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely: the parts or qualities of something's design that make it easy to use (Webster). The ergonomics of any motorcycle are not fixed and many manufacturers have devised clever ways to make your bike “fit you” better… so we’re going to take a look at some of the items that you’ll want to consider when customizing a motorcycle to fit you and be as comfortable and efficient as possible. The first thing I think about when I’m testing new motorcycles is “How well does this fit me?” Because if the machine is too big/small/heavy or whatever, I don’t want to be riding it on the street, track or trail. Once I commit, I’ll take the bike out for a full day and take notes on how it “feels” during the ride. And that encompasses many factors that all add up to that magic feeling that makes the riding the best that it can be… and then I think about how to make them even better. So let’s take a look at what’s available and how to use these products for their correct application(s). HANDLEBAR RISERS Simply put, these handlebar risers can dramatically change the position of your handlebars to suit your upper body and riding style. By changing the position of your upper body and distance to the handlebars, you can achieve better control and comfort on virtually any motorcycle. Many different manufacturers make these bar risers and among them are companies like Biltwell, Rox Speed FX, SW-Motech and Heli-Bars. We contacted Mike “Otto” Deutsch from Biltwell, who offered these tips: We then spoke with Ryan Jensen from ROX Speed FX, where they have pioneered advancements in the bar riser arena for all types of powersports vehicles. TT: What are bar risers and why do you make pivoting units? RJ: Handlebar risers are just what they sounds like, parts that raise your handlebars higher than they are located from the OEM position. Rox Pivoting handlebar risers are unique because they mount just like your handlebars and allow you to pivot your bars fore and aft to get you set up right where you want to be on your bike. TT: When installing bar risers, what should we be aware of? i.e. - stock cable length limitations, handlebar choices, etc. RJ: The #1 question we get asked is: “How high can I go with the stock cables, or will my stock cables work with a riser?” I would love to say that we have unlimited access to every bike out there but we do not. The easiest way to find out how high you can go is to first, pull the bars out of the clamps, next lift them up and see how high you can go before the cables get tight. At that point figure out what cables are tight and see if you can cut any cable ties that might be holding them from gaining a bit more length. Next see if they can be rerouted if needed. A lot of times gaining a very little bit goes a long ways with risers. The next question we get asked is: “What bar diameter does my bike come with?” Again, I wish we knew what all bikes had. In the dirt bike, enduro and dual sport world there’s typically 2 sizes used; 7/8” (22mm) or 1 1/8” (28mm). Some of the newer BMW’s are coming with 1 ¼” bars too. Once that’s figured out, decide what you’d like to gain from installing a riser. Most folks want to sit upright more on dual sport bikes. Dirt bikes and enduro bikes, it’s more common to get the bars more comfortable for standing. The biggest thing is to make the bike fit you, it’s amazing how much better the bike can be and how much more fun you can have when you make the ergonomics come to you. TT: What is a 2-axis bar riser? RJ: A 2 axis or “pivoting” handlebar riser allows you to pivot the bars right where you want them on the machine all while maintaining proper handlebar alignment. They are a way for you to make the machine come to you. TT: Does installing bar risers affect any other parts of the bike's ergonomics? RJ: It can yes. Depending on the person, it can feel much different and most of the time for the better. Sometimes getting the bars more comfortable can bring out other areas that need some adjustments but rarely does it ever cause any negative issues. SEAT FOAM Altering your seat foam is the least inexpensive, easiest and simplest way to raise or lower the seat height of your motorcycle. I’ve used this technique with great success on a number of my off-road mounts. The lowering procedure has very little room for error, so if you aren’t comfortable with wielding an electric knife or installing a seat cover, it’s best left to a professional upholsterer. I’ve never seen this method used on street applications, and I would guess that is primarily due to the total re-engineering of the fitted seat cover. Altering your seat foam so it’s taller is a lot easier and is a great method for taller riders to achieve the correct positioning on top of the bike. Manufacturers such as Enduro Engineering, Factory Effex, Guts Racing and SDG offer taller foam, replacement seat covers and even pre-made complete seats with approx. 1.5” of taller seating position. For street machines, we would recommend either a custom seat as offered by our friends at Mustang Seats or take the whole thing to a car upholsterer and see what they can do for you in this regard. Café racers style bikes normally have a seat that is very thinly padded as it is so we wouldn’t recommend trying to shave any more off. FOOTPEGS , SHIFT LEVERS and BRAKE PEDALS Many options abound for both street and dirt machines when it comes to altering the position of your footpegs and associated shift lever and brake pedal. Off-road aftermarket footpegs are available from our friends at Pro Moto Billet, who make some of the best products in this segment. I’ve used their Fastway pegs, I have a set on my YZ144 and they are the bomb. Let’s look at what how they can help a rider “fit” on the bike. We spoke with Caleb Frankamp from Pro Moto Billet/Fastway about how their footpegs work and what features they offer… TT: How do adjustable footpegs help riders fit on their bikes? CF: All Fastway footpeg styles are designed to utilize three patented adjustments: Adjustable Height, Adjustable Traction, and Adjustable Camber (tilt). The Universal Collar System (UCS) allows you to mount Fastway foot pegs in either the stock or lowered positions on most bikes - simply by reversing the collar. For shorter riders, they run them in the stock position. Taller riders (and those wanting less transition from sitting to standing) love our low-boy position, which offers up to 10mm of drop. The UCS system also makes it easy for you to fully rebuild your pegs, or take them with you to your new brand or model bike by simply changing out the collars. All sets of Fastway pegs ship with 2 sets of F3 (replaceable) threaded cleats; short (10mm), and tall (12mm cleats); which allow you to customize the shape and traction level of your footbed. Set them up all tall, all short, arched center, tall outside, tapered, or get creative… We also offer F5 Serrated cleats, and the ultimate in traction– our F6 spiked cleats. F6 cleats are like being velcroed to your pegs. Fastway has a Patented Camber (tilt) System allows you to customize the up or downward angle of your pegs to match your skeletal and joint angles. If it’s important to tune your motor, your suspension, your bar height and rotation– what about tuning the most load-bearing contact you have with your bike? Yep, your footpegs! Tune them in, and gain more endurance, control, and traction. For the street side, there are also a huge range of options in aftermarket adjustable footpegs, and one cool new option for cruisers is the Kuryakyn SwingWing pegs which actually fasten in place of your stock peg and provide a secondary fold-out peg 3" forward. MFW (Germany) makes some really good options for footpegs for many sportbike/ADV and dual sport machines and it’s worth taking a closer look at their Vario System which helps you to find an ergonomic riding position with an adjustable footpeg system provides (up to) eight possible positions over a 360 degree range, and thus changes the position of the inside edge of the footpeg slightly thus by moving the foot outwards. Adjustable shift levers for off-road machines from folks like Hammerhead Designs are “adjustable upward and downward with shim placement and fore and aft with optional shift tips”. These shift tips include options for different offsets that are quoted in degrees! We’ve seen this system and it is very trick…you can actually design the shifter using a myriad of different parts for a perfect feel, no matter the size of your foot or sole design on your boot. Adjustable brake pedals for the street are fairly common with manufacturers like Cycle Pirates offering a forward-thinking adjustable unit that features three possible position combinations as well as a removable arm and folding toe tab. Hammerhead also offers some ultra-trick dirt-oriented hardware in this category and their rear brake pedal with adjustable tip is machined from 6061 billet aluminum and the rotating tip positions are adjustable to change the length shorter, longer or stock. HANDLEBARS Changing your handlebars is a simple way to change the way you fit into the cockpit of your ride. Almost all off-road handlebar manufacturers offer a variety of different sizes and shapes of handlebars. Look to Renthal and ProTaper for some a wide variety of sizes and styles. For off-road bikes, handlebars are measured with three ways: Width, Height and Sweep (aka Pullback) and it’s best to know these measurements on your current ride so you know what measurements will need to change to suit your riding style. When looking at a change in your dirt machine’s handlebars, it’s best to ascertain what you don’t like about the current ones you use. Is the bar too far away when you sand up, not allowing full body extension? You need “taller” bars. Does your upper body feel cramped and you have to stand up to get leverage? Your bars are too short. On street bikes this becomes more complicated. Because of the various mounting systems and styles of handlebars, swapping them out can make for unwanted drama and expense. But with that aside, there are too many choices to really talk about then all here, but both Biltwell and Kuryakyn offer an amazing assortment of picks for many street and cruiser models, with manufacturers like EMGO and BikeMaster offering about everything else. LOWERING LINKS AND OTHER METHODS And in our next installment (Part 2) we’ll expand this topic to include more sophisticated methods; including items like lowering links, adjustable linkage guards and more extensive suspension modifications and also delve into how these items can adversely affect handling, braking, seat height…and the remedies to such issues.
  17. Chris669

    Tips for off road riding

    Well i went for a short trip with my new tyres which where so much better,im still lacking confidence,i hit one bit of sandy area and the bars nearly turned 90 degrees in part of it and nearly dropped me.it was half way through it,i was keeping the power on but not too fast,i just cant hit it too fast,i dont mind falling at 40kph but 60-70plus too scarey. if i fall i wreck my bike and cant afford time of work,this is my main fear but i want to drive with no worries on these surfaces. i know this is maybe what it takes?,i went through it again standing up and was much better ,i hugged the tank and tryed to relax my hands on the bars. the road there and back was dirt and gravel,see pics,it felt scarey turning on the corners and my top speed was about 80kph but mostly 50-60,what sort of speed can you be safe on theses roads?Theres a road like this to my work and the limit is 110kph,i would love to drive to work but the thought of cars behind me and cruising at 60kph is embarrassing. So my main question is what speeds and surfaces do you ride off road?what speed would you do on the pics ive shown,people say keep the power on but then you build up too much speed
  18. Shane Watts

    Pre-Jumping Logs

    About Shane See http://www.shanewatts.com for additional off-road training resources, including instructional DVD's and dates/cities for schools & camps. Discuss this tip
  19. Shane Watts

    The "Slow Ride"

    As we progress through our fundamental exercises, focusing on implementing another fundamental skill each time, it is now appropriate to move to an exercise we call the "Slow Ride". The name pretty much is self explanatory in terms of saying that the goal of the exercise is to ride from Point A to Point B as slowly as possible. If you are able to stop on the spot without moving (and not putting your foot on the ground) while doing this exercise then that means you will be able to execute it at a higher level. The "Slow Ride" now has a strong emphasis on incorporating our third fundamental skill of balance with the first two that we have been working on, that being our body position on the motorcycle and our throttle/clutch control and coordination relating to putting the power to the ground. The first key point of our "Slow Ride" exercise is make sure we look ahead. This not only helps to keep us in the prefered position of being able to better scan the trail for upcoming obstacles but also for giving us better balance. It's like thinking about a person who walks between high rise buildings on a tight rope. They don't look down at their feet as they are walking the rope, instead they look ahead towards the horizon as this gives you the ability to have better balance. The benefit of this increased balance not only works for the "Slow Ride" exercise but also for when you are fanging down the trail. Standing up also allows us to have a better range of motion in moving our body around on the motorcycle to maintain and regain our balance. By coordinating our body position, throttle/clutch action, and brakes we are with practice able to eventually come to a complete stop and then stay stationary for a period of time before finding it necessary to move forward to regain our balance instead of toppling over. Before this action is needed though we are able to maintain our balance for a longer period of time by using the technique of turning our handlebars in the direction that we are losing balance or falling over, and by moving our upper body in the other direction to counteract this loss of balance. At some stage whilst stationary this technique won't be effective enough to maintain your balance and you will end up starting to fall all the way over. The only way to regain your balance in this situation is to let the clutch out and put some motion into the wheels. This creates balance and allows you to get back in control of the motorcycle. The benefits of this exercise are noticeable in many situations out on the trail, and some of these include when riding in deep sand and mud that generally the faster we are going, and the more motion that we have in the wheels, the more we seem to be in control or at least have the sense of having greater balance. The more balance we "feel" the more in control we will be for the conditions at hand. There is a direct relationship between actions and skills used while performing the "Slow Ride" exercise and that with tackling the advanced trail situation of long, deep, straight ruts that are running down the trail. Generally when faced with this situation the inexperienced rider will not trust their balance skill and thus sit down with both feet out, having to "paddle" their way through the ruts and to maintain their balance so as not to fall over. The experienced rider will stand up on the pegs, looking towards the end of the rut for better balance, apply the throttle accordingly to increase the amount of motion (balance) in the wheels, and should they start to lose their balance while traversing the length of the rut they will lean their upper body in the opposite direction at the same time as they turn the handlebars in the direction that they are falling. Now by turning the bars while that front wheel is in the rut it is going to have a far greater effect of regaining your balance than it does on flat ground because the side knobbies will catch the edge of the rut and prop you back upright much quicker. By making use of all of the above actions, and being able to coordinate them effectively you will be able to ride through those long, deep ruts faster, safer, and with less energy usage as opposed to sitting down, second guessing yourself and hesitating, and then having to use a lot of energy to paddle your way through to the end of the rut. Be sure to check back for more ThumpeTalk exclusive off-road riding technique tips in the new year. Also, checkout my web site for additional tips and training resources. Keep the rubber side down! Shane …discuss this tip
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. The handlebars and throttle, plus the clutch, front and rear brake levers are called “the controls” for a reason – this is how you control the bike therefore it is essential that you have a finger or two at most, or right side toes over the appropriate control at all times, ready to use. I can’t stress that enough! It’s very critical that you have your controls in the preferred position, otherwise it will have a huge effect on your ability to properly control the motorcycle and to get into the correct body position. With the handlebars, looking from underneath, the handlebars need to run straight down in line with your fork tubes. You don’t want them too far forward or back as it makes it very hard to be precise with your steering. With the clutch and front brake levers, you want to have them positioned just below horizontal. If they are pointing too far to the ground, it is hard to keep your fingers out there and to use those controls in all body positions that you move to on the bike. Again, use one or two fingers, not three or four and have them out there at all times. Having four fingers on the levers makes it very easy for the bars to get ripped out of your hands and that is very dangerous. The free play for both of these levers needs to be adjusted so they are fully operational before they hit the knuckles of your fingers gripping the bars. The back side of the clutch lever needs to touch the outer portion of the grip once it is pulled in and this is achieved by having both the clutch and brake perch positioned towards the center of the bike about 2 inches or 50mm from the inside edge of the grip. The indentation on the clutch lever is designed for your first finger to go there. If those perches are positioned too far to the outside of the bike, it is impossible to have your first finger in the correct position on the lever and have the rest of your hand up against the inner edge of the grip. Some students at my DirtWise schools have it messed up so bad that they actually ride with their pinky finger over the outside of the end of their barkbusters, no joke! With the Flexx handlebars that I use, it is so much easier to attain the correct positioning as they have a much longer outer tube for control placement. The other great thing about them is that they move up and down and absorb a lot of the shock out of those beat up trails which is really good for your wrists, especially if they are like mine! The Flexx bars are a great investment and yes, you can buy them from shanewatts.com Your rear brake and shift lever need to be positioned horizontal to the foot peg for ease of use. This also allows you to have your toes over that rear brake at all times ready for instantaneous use on the trail. So, before you ride next, be sure that all your controls are properly set-up. It absolutely does make a difference in your ability to control the bike. Cheers, Shane About me >>> discuss this tip