Dirt motorcycles are enjoyable whether you’re on a track or in the woods. Dirt riding is one of the most popular adventure sports, and it’s a beautiful way to spend time with friends while exploring the outdoors and getting a little dirty in the best way imaginable.
Like other hobbies, dirt bikes require some skill development to have fun and stay safe. The learning curve may appear steep at first, but the fundamentals are simple enough to understand, and once you’ve mastered them, you’ll be in for a thrilling journey.
Learning to ride a dirt bike is best accomplished with an expert buddy or instructor who can teach you how to control the bike but reading up on dirt bike fundamentals can give you a decent sense of the essentials. So, we’ll show you how to get started riding a dirt bike in this guide.
Google bike riding trails near me and find out the best trails to practice.
Why Is Dirt Bike Riding Beneficial to Street Bikers?
Almost everyone thinks that many of the abilities learned on a dirt bike can be applied to riding a street bike. It is claimed that street bike riders with significant dirt bike riding experience have far more significant bike handling ability, knowledge, and safety. However, it is not the case. Here are the top advantages of dirt bike riding to street bikers.
A Better Job Tool
Dirt bikes are more confident-inspiring since they are smaller, lighter, and easier to operate. If you want to improve your riding skills, you should train on a bike that you can control easily and has no physical constraints. At low speeds, street bikes are hefty and challenging to manage. Dirt bikes provide instant feedback enabling you to learn more rapidly than street bikes.
Therefore, riding dirt bikes will help you learn more quickly. You’ll learn more in a few months of dirt riding than street riding. Also, it is more complicated and demanding than street bike riding; hence you can ride a street bike if you can ride a dirt bike competently, but not the other way around. In an ideal world, everyone would begin their journey on a dirt bike as they are a more effective instrument for the job at hand.
Ideal For Learning Braking and Turning Techniques
Braking and turning are the most crucial abilities to have when riding a motorbike. To master severe braking, you must train frequently and safely overtake the limits to develop a feel for producing precisely the limit when braking is most efficient.
Dirt is the perfect place to test such limits for obvious reasons. When you practice good leaning techniques in the dirt, you will be more relaxed when the tires slide on the sidewalk, and you’ll be less likely to panic and overreact.
A Superior Surface for Acclimating To Speed
Dirt bikes are quick, but they pale compared to a street bike’s acceleration and sheer speed. Few people are prepared or qualified for the rate at which street bikes may travel. The truth is that, regardless of engine size, most individuals will only drive as fast as they are comfortable with. Before you run, why not learn to walk? First and foremost, focus on control of the mud, where speeds are slow. Improving your management will boost your confidence, and you will be able to travel faster on both the street and the dirt in no time.
Dirt Bikes Are Built to Crash
If you are afraid of smashing and injuring yourself or your bike, you will never wish to attempt challenging tactics or push your limits. Dirt bikes are small and light, and they’re designed to withstand a lot of accidents. To ride a bike accurately, one should not be scared to crash to understand its capabilities. This experience will assist you on the roads.
Improves Your Vision
One of the most crucial elements of dirt bike riding is terrain reading. The terrain’s numerous surface and angle changes encourage you to give significant consideration to everything ahead. If you wish to ride any motorbike, you must read the terrain correctly and watch for potential hazards.
For example, sand, rocks, mud, ruts, drop-offs, and other risks may exist in the soil, whereas water, sand, potholes, spilled oil, railroad tracks, construction, cars, people, cats, dogs, and other hazards may exist on the roadway. Therefore, it’s preferable to practice in the dirt before dealing with more significant issues.
Sharpen Your Riding Skills in The Dirt
Riding a bike demands sound judgment, good timing, and the sense to react appropriately. It is preferable to learn sound judgment at slower speeds in an accepting environment like the dirt rather than on the street, where making a mistake might have profound implications.
When it comes to good judgment, it knows when to proceed or halt, which path to take, and whether or not to follow your friend. Of course, we can’t teach someone to ride with excellent judgment, but it may be acquired and developed safely by initially riding on the mud.
Bike Movement Is Learned Better
In the dirt, you learn how to lean, rearward, move forward on the seat, stand up, and move your body side-to-side. However, on the street bikes, you cannot do that. There’s no such thing as moving too much in the dirt, and you promptly learn how your body position can help (or hurt) your bike’s handling.
Therefore, while riding a street bike, you will already have an excellent awareness of weight transfer.
Dirt Bike Riding for Beginners
The best way to start is to purchase a good helmet, eye protection, and knee pads. You can get an excellent dirt bike from a local dealer, but you can get more value from a brand-name motorcycle and power sports dealer. Many off-road helmets don’t come with built-in eye protection as other helmets, so make sure to invest in a pair of riding goggles if you don’t have eye protection.
Next, take some dirt bike helmet communicators if you’re riding with a group. It’s important to talk to each other about what’s going on and unexpected things that might happen. Mesh technology communicators like the Cardo Packtalk Bold and Cardo Packtalk Slim give your group a crystal-clear signal at ranges up to a mile. A set of Bluetooth helmet speakers is a fantastic addition for immersing yourself in your favorite music while you’re out on the trail or the track.
Starting Your Dirt Bike
First, familiarize yourself with the layout of the clutch and shifters on your dirt bike. Dirt bikes made for adults have a grip on the left handlebar and a foot shifter just in front of the left footpeg. The throttle, which gives your bike gas, is on the right handle, and the kickstart is on the right side tucked next to the gas tank.
You can start most dirt bikes by following these steps:
- First, ensure your bike’s tank is complete with gas.
- Then, to allow fuel to flow, locate the small metal dial on the gas line and turn it to the on position.
- Remove the choke if necessary. On most bikes, this is a pull knob near the rider’s leg resting on the left side of the bike.
- On the right side of your bike, pull off the kickstart lever. Before stepping down on the starter with your right foot to start the engine, place your left foot on the ground and check that the piston is positioned correctly. Electric starters are available on several bikes. Press the start button if you have one of these.
- If you’re cold starting your bike, it may take a few tries to get it started. Don’t stomp too hard on the lever. After starting the motorcycle, reinstall the Kickstarter and choke.
- Pull in the clutch on your left handlebar while in neutral, then step on the foot shifter multiple times quickly to shift into first. To avoid stalling the bike, keep the clutch pulled in.
- Gradually release the clutch while giving the bike gas with the throttle to get moving.
Learning to Shift
After that, you’ll need to learn how to swap dirt bike riding gear. First, find an open area with no obstructions to practice shifting gears, as shifting gears can be difficult for beginner riders.
After that, place your foot behind the shifter and raise it half a click for neutral, then another click for second, third, fourth, and fifth gears.
In principle, shifting while driving is simple: swiftly engage the clutch, hook your foot under the shift lever and pull it up to the next gear. Let the release of the grip, and there you have it! You’ve progressed to the next level of difficulty. Shifting is difficult since it requires you to coordinate your throttle and clutch to seamlessly upshift gears while providing the bike with a bit of gas. If you give it too much, your motorcycle will flee.
The basic concepts of dirt bike riding gear shifting are the same on any other vehicle. Lower gears are better for slower speeds and climbing hills, while higher ratios are better for maintaining a constant speed. Unlike manual transmission cars, dirt bikes can do this, but it’s far better for your bike to use the clutch.
It’s worth noting that shifting into neutral, midway between first and second gear on the shifter, might be challenging for newcomers. So, it’s crucial to practice finding it on the shifter.
Techniques of Braking
You’ll also need to know how to use the brakes on your dirt bike. A front wheel brake is located on the lever in the right handlebar, while a rear-wheel brake is in the right footpeg. The front-wheel brake usually is considerably more sensitive. It can force the rider to wipe out if misapplied, whereas the rear wheel brake has less power but gives a smoother stop, making it an essential tool for efficiently managing your bike.
Remember that you’ll need to adjust your braking strategy depending on the terrain. Bumpy terrain frequently necessitates softer braking, whereas smoother ground necessitates more braking force. Note that braking in sandy or muddy conditions is more complicated. Experiment with different terrain types and pay attention to how your brakes react to each.
Your Initial Rides
When learning how to drive a dirt bike, take it slowly. You’ll gain nothing by hurrying into rides you’re not ready for, so take your time learning the fundamentals and practicing on easy terrain.
Taking a lesson from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a terrific way to make your first few rides better and safer (MSF). The MSF is a non-profit organization that provides the gold standard in power sports safety training, and its one-day MSF Dirt Bike School events are a fun way to learn the basics from a professional instructor. The kids riding bikes lesson is designed for children as young as six, making it simple to learn excellent skills and protection.
Dirt Bike Riding Tips
- Wear a DOT-approved helmet, goggles, long-sleeved shirts, long leggings, over-the-ankle boots (also called dirt bike riding boots), and gloves.
- Unless you’re riding a dual-purpose vehicle, never ride on paved areas unless you’re crossing safely and legally Because another car could hit you. Dirt motorcycles are made to be used off the beaten path.
- Never ride when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Dirt motorcycles are not toys; thus, riders under 16 should be supervised.
- Allowing children to ride dirt motorcycles that are too tall or strong for their ability is never a good idea.
- On remote trails, don’t bike alone. Instead, make use of buddy systems.
- Only ride on authorized paths at a reasonable speed.
- Take a hands-on horseback riding class.
Mistakes to Avoid
Riding a dirt bike is more complicated since it is faster, heavier, and more sophisticated. However, if any of your family members assisted you with your first bike ride, they most likely provided you with some advice and instruction based on their own experiences. Similarly, we’ve identified five common mistakes made by dirt bike newbies and how to avoid them.
Clutch and Throttle Control
It’s essential to figure out the throttle and clutch together. Using both together is like learning to balance while traveling a motorcycle. You have to practice, practice, and more before you get it right.
The most common mistake made by novice motorcycle riders is to open the throttle the first time on the bike, which can lead to many undesirable crashes and, for some, time off the bike. When learning to drive, don’t just blow up your engine on the first run. Instead, go over your technique repeatedly, at varying speeds, increasing your comfort level.
Do laps at different rates and try practicing your clutch-throttle technique. The more you practice, the better your control will become.
You’re already ahead of the game if you have already learned to ride a bicycle. You have probably listened to the phrase “it’s like riding a bicycle” when referring to anything that takes a long time to acquire but, once mastered, never fails to return no matter how much time passes.
Learning to ride a dirt bike differs from riding a motorcycle because of the tremendous weight and speed. Expect to be uncomfortable for a while. Beginners prefer to sit than stand as it is easier, but standing is the best way to master the balancing act for many people. It would help if you relinquished control to the dirt bike in many ways, which you cannot do when sitting.
While balance is essential, knowing body positioning when jumping, cornering, and hitting is critical for maintaining control and reducing fatigue. Wrong bike positioning is a surefire way to end yourself in the dirt. If you watch Motocross for a season, you’ll notice that the rider and bike are virtually parallel to the ground with no tilting on fast turns. That takes a lot of practice. Take it slow at first until you develop a feel for the bike and the optimal body position for overcoming the different challenges that a Motocross race can throw at you.
It’s natural to see down in front while riding a dirt bike. But you need to look in front of you all the time to know what’s coming. Looking down when riding a dirt bike causes you not to adjust the brake and throttle controls, positioning, and balance correctly. None of it matters if you fail to know what’s ahead when you do this. It is obvious to fall into looking down, particularly after a long dirt bike ride. Envisioning what’s coming is half the battle, leading right into the next tip.
Dirt bike riding is not only about strength but involves a mental game. It enables you to become a quick thinker while dealing with unknown obstacles and remember the layout of a dirt track better than the competition. Lazy riders are prompt to make mistakes.
Riding a 250-pound motorcycle is the thrill of many, but the fear of crashing and suffering severe injury takes away the fun for some. However, learning from the expert’s mistakes that have been there and done can shorten the learning curve and reduce the chance of a severe crash.
Of course, without getting on a dirt bike yourself, you can only learn so much. So, google dirt bike riding near me and find out the best location to practice. Once you’ve mastered the dirt bike fundamentals, get out there and enjoy yourself! You’ll most likely take it up faster than you think, and you’ll discover a fun and exciting Powersports passion in the process.
At the starting gate, there’s one more piece of advice. All of the aforementioned come to roost if you assess your competitors and mentally withdraw from the race before the gates open. Believe that no one is better than you. Other riders may have a new bike with dazzling graphics, but it does not have advantage. When combined with technique practice, mental coaching on the track takes you further forward.