Dirt Bike Riding Tips
For new dirt bike riders, there are many things to be excited about learning. From perfecting cornering to nailing jumps, you might be ready to dive right in! However, you need a sound base to develop new skills like these. As with any new sport or activity, the fundamentals are imperative, as they open the doors to advanced skills like tricks and fast-paced riding. With a sport for dirt biking, the risk of injury can be high when the proper base isn't established. To be a responsible and sensible rider, here are a few tips to abide by when you're first starting out. With dedicated practice and patience, you can hone your fundamental skills quickly.
Develop the Proper Body Position
This is one that will require a great deal of practice. Everything from your head to your feet matters in terms of positioning. Standing, not sitting, is how you'll ride the majority of the time. Why? Because in this position, you will have better control over the bike, as well as better stability and a faster response time to changing conditions in the terrain. You'll find that standing tends to fatigue the legs, but they'll adapt to this position with practice. Have you ever watched Trials races? These riders compete with no seat at all! Will you ever sit? Sure, especially in tight turns, but not often.
The balls of your feet should be in the footpegs to promote control while riding and braking. Keep your knees locked onto the fuel tank, which helps with your stability while standing. Put your arms in a bent position slightly lifted away from your body. You want your weight over the front wheels, so try to keep your chin overtop the handlebars. Use these tips as queues for yourself while riding so you remain conscious of body positioning.
Understanding the Clutch and Throttle
To master riding, you'll need to develop a solid understanding of your clutch and throttle, and how they can be used to power over obstacles. As you practice casual riding, make it a habit to keep your pointer finger on your clutch at all times. By doing this, you'll be able to quickly make gear changes since your hand is already in the right placement. Should a situation occur where you need to stop immediately, pull the clutch in and it will disengage power to the rear wheel. When throttling, don't accelerate as fast as you can! This is a mistake many beginners make. Instead, keep speeds smooth and controlled while you're still learning. Smooth riding should be your mantra for the next few months.
Make Use of Your Feet
When coming around a corner, you'll have to use your foot for support for a clean exit. True enough that it can be scary for new riders but mastering this skill will win you more races. Cornering is a tough one to learn, but extremely useful when you get the hand of it. A tip professionals use is that when the leg is extended, they point their toes up keeping an eye on the track for that split second.
Braking seems pretty straightforward, but the front and rear brakes need special attention. Practice braking with each of them separately first. The front brake has more power than the rear, and that's something you'll figure out when learning each of them by themselves. Once you've gotten a feel for how to use both, then you can begin practice with them together. Remember to not squeeze them too tightly, as the front brake will lock up wheels. When corner braking, be sure to keep your head and eyes forward. As you practice, the bike will follow the direction you're looking. Make it a point to brake right before the turn, smoothly ride through, then start to accelerate as you exit the corner. Your level of control when cornering will improve over time, so patience is key here.
Another dirt bike riding tip that will help you sharpen your skillset is to be hands-on with your bike. When you've practiced for days on end, give the bike some TLC with a good hand-washing. There are many guides available on proper washing technique, re-greasing, changing air filters and oil, and other bike tasks you'll need to carry out. This will help you see the mechanisms that power your specific bike and how to take care of them. It isn't all about riding but knowing how to care for your bike too.
Enforce these tips as you get into the groove of dirt biking and, with dedication, you will become a more experienced and sensible rider. Whether you plan to simply ride trails with friends or actively compete in races, having a strong foundation will contribute to any riding goals that you have.