I have a been a dirt bike rider for the last 7 years, I can attest to the thrill and excitement that comes with hitting the trails on two wheels. However, to be a dirt bike rider one has to start somewhere.
Being a dirt bike rider isn’t just about the adrenaline rush. It requires skill, technique, and most importantly, a focus on safety.
If you’re considering getting into dirt bike riding, it’s important to understand the benefits and the importance of proper training and safety measures. Dirt bike riding offers a unique way to connect with nature and experience the great outdoors in a thrilling and exhilarating way.
Whether you’re riding through scenic trails or challenging yourself on a motocross track, the feeling of being in control of a powerful machine is truly unbeatable.
But with that power comes responsibility. Dirt bike riding can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not taken seriously. It’s crucial to invest in the right safety gear, including a helmet, gloves, boots, and protective clothing.
And, of course, proper training is essential. Even if you have experience riding other types of bikes, dirt bikes require different techniques and skills.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing my tips and insights on how to become a successful dirt bike rider. From selecting the right bike to learning proper techniques and maintaining your machine, I’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
So if you’re ready to embrace the thrill of dirt bike riding, let’s get started!
Selecting the Right Dirt Bike
Before you can hit the trails and start experiencing the thrill of dirt bike riding, you need to select the right dirt bike for you.
With so many different types and models available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. As an experienced dirt bike rider, I can share some tips on how to select the right dirt bike for your needs.
The first thing to consider is the type of riding you plan to do. Are you looking to explore scenic trails or tackle a challenging motocross track?
There are different types of dirt bikes designed for different types of riding, and selecting the right one for your needs is essential.
If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to start with a bike that’s easy to handle and forgiving of mistakes. A four-stroke engine is generally more manageable for beginners than a two-stroke, which can be more challenging to control.
A bike with a lower seat height and a lighter weight can also be helpful for new riders.
It’s also important to consider your size and weight when selecting a dirt bike. A bike that’s too small or too large for you can be difficult to control and may lead to accidents. Make sure you choose a bike that’s the right size for your height and weight.
Another factor to consider is your budget. Dirt bikes can be expensive, especially if you’re buying a new one. However, there are also plenty of high-quality used bikes available that can save you money.
When buying a used bike, make sure you inspect it carefully and check for any signs of wear or damage.
When selecting a dirt bike, it’s important to test ride different models to see which one feels the most comfortable and manageable for you. Make sure you take the bike for a spin on different types of terrain to get a feel for how it handles.
Safety Gear for Dirt Biking
As a seasoned dirt bike rider, I understand the importance of proper safety gear when hitting the trails. Dirt bike riding can be dangerous, and accidents can happen even to the most skilled riders.
That’s why it’s crucial to invest in high-quality safety gear that will protect you in the event of a fall or crash.
The most important piece of safety gear for dirt bike riding is a helmet. A good helmet should fit snugly and have a chin strap that secures it in place.
Look for a helmet that meets safety standards set by organizations such as the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
In addition to a helmet, you should also wear gloves, boots, and protective clothing. Gloves will help protect your hands in the event of a fall, while boots will protect your feet and ankles.
When it comes to clothing, it’s important to wear durable, protective gear that covers your arms and legs. Look for gear made from materials like Kevlar or Cordura, which can provide added protection.
When selecting safety gear, it’s important to choose gear that fits properly. Ill-fitting gear can be uncomfortable and may not provide adequate protection.
Make sure you try on gear before purchasing it, and if you’re buying online, check the sizing charts carefully.
Properly maintaining your safety gear is also important. Helmets should be replaced every five years or after a significant impact, even if there are no visible signs of damage.
Gloves, boots, and clothing should be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage, and should be replaced as needed.
In addition to investing in high-quality safety gear, it’s also important to ride responsibly and follow all safety guidelines. This includes staying within your skill level, riding at a safe speed, and following trail and track rules.
Finally, it’s important to remember that safety gear is not a guarantee against injury. Even with the best gear and the most careful riding, accidents can happen. That’s why it’s crucial to always prioritize safety and to be prepared for the unexpected.
Learning to Ride a Dirt Bike
The other step on the quest of how to be a dirt bike rider is learning to ride a dirt bike. This can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to start slow and build your skills gradually.
As an experienced dirt bike rider, I can offer some tips on how to learn to ride safely and confidently.
Steps on how to learn riding a dirt bike
1. Find a safe, open space to practice
The first step to learning to ride is to find a safe, open space to practice. Look for a flat, level area with minimal obstacles, such as a large field or an empty parking lot.
It’s important to avoid riding on public roads or other areas where you may encounter traffic or other hazards.
2. Familiarize yourself with the controls of the bike
Before you start riding, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the controls of the bike. Make sure you understand how to operate the throttle, clutch, brakes, and gears. Below is an image of all the major controls on a dirt bike.
Practice using these controls while the bike is stationary, so you can get a feel for how they work.
3. Learn braking
Another important skill to learn is braking. To brake, squeeze the front brake lever (using your right hand) and step down on the rear brake pedal (using right foot).
Practice using both brakes at the same time, as well as each brake individually. Make sure you practice braking while going straight, as well as while turning.
It is highly recommended to always start braking using the rear brake to prevent flipping the bike over.
4. Start moving
Once you’re comfortable with the controls, it’s time to start moving. Start by walking the bike while seated, using your feet to push it forward.
This will help you get a feel for the weight and balance of the bike.
5. Starting a dirt bike and riding
When you’re ready to start riding follow these steps to start the bike (with electric start) and start riding
- Insert the key and put in on position
- Turn on the red switch (on/off switch)
- Hold the clutch with your left hand
- Engage neutral gear
- Ignite the bike with the start switch while twisting the throttle a bit until it starts
- Put the bike in first gear and slowly release the clutch while giving it a little throttle
- The bike will start moving forward.
- Practice stopping and starting in a straight line, gradually building up your speed as you become more comfortable.
To start a bike kickstart bike, one has to time the compression stroke and push down the kickstart hard while twisting the throttle. Watch the tutorial below on how to do it correctly.
6. Start practicing turns
As you gain confidence, you can start practicing turns. To turn, lean the bike in the direction you want to go, while also turning the handlebars in that direction.
It’s important to look where you want to go, rather than looking down at the ground or the bike.
7. Navigating rough terrain
One of the most challenging aspects of dirt bike riding is navigating rough terrain. When riding on dirt, rocks, or other uneven surfaces, it’s important to stay loose and let the bike move beneath you.
Don’t grip the handlebars too tightly, as this can cause the bike to bounce or veer off course.
To navigate hills, approach them at a slow, steady speed, and keep your weight forward on the bike. As you climb the hill, shift your weight back slightly to maintain traction on the rear wheel.
When descending a hill, keep your weight forward, and use the brakes sparingly to avoid skidding or losing control.
8. Wear safety gear
As you practice riding, it’s important to always wear the appropriate safety gear, as discussed above. In addition, it’s important to stay within your skill level and avoid attempting tricks or maneuvers that you’re not comfortable with.
9. Take a riding course
In addition to practicing on your own, it can be helpful to take a riding course (in a motocross riding school) or to ride with more experienced riders.
A riding course can teach you important skills and safety techniques, while riding with more experienced riders can give you valuable feedback and guidance.
Dirt Bike Riding Tips
Finally, it’s important to remember that learning to ride a dirt bike takes time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you make mistakes or have setbacks along the way. With patience, persistence, and a focus on safety, you can become a confident and skilled dirt bike rider.
In summary,learning to ride a dirt bike takes practice, patience, and a focus on safety. Start by familiarizing yourself with the controls of the bike and practicing in a safe, open space.
Gradually build up your skills by practicing stopping and starting, turning, and navigating hills and rough terrain. Always wear the appropriate safety gear and follow trail etiquette and rules when riding on public trails or tracks.
It’s also important to stay within your skill level and avoid attempting tricks or maneuvers that you’re not comfortable with. If you want to learn more advanced skills or techniques, consider taking a riding course or riding with more experienced riders.
One of the keys to becoming a skilled rider is to develop good habits and techniques early on. For example, it’s important to use your body position to maintain balance and control of the bike.
When riding over rough terrain or going up or down hills, keep your weight centered over the bike to maintain traction and control.
Another important habit to develop is to always be aware of your surroundings. This includes keeping an eye out for other riders, obstacles, and changes in terrain. It’s also important to anticipate hazards and adjust your speed and direction accordingly.
Learning to ride a dirt bike can be a challenging and rewarding experience. By following these tips and focusing on safety, you can build your skills and become a confident and skilled rider. So get out there, practice, and have fun!
Maintaining Your Dirt Bike
As a dirt bike rider, one of the most important aspects of owning a dirt bike is properly maintaining it. A well-maintained dirt bike will not only perform better and last longer, but it will also keep you safe while riding. Here are some tips for maintaining your dirt bike:
a. Clean Your Dirt Bike Regularly
Cleaning your dirt bike is essential for keeping it in good condition. Dirt and debris can accumulate in various parts of your bike, causing damage to the engine, suspension, and brakes.
Make sure to clean your bike thoroughly after each ride using a mild detergent and water. Avoid using high-pressure washers, as they can force water into areas where it can cause damage.
b. Check Your Oil
Checking your oil regularly is an essential part of maintaining your dirt bike. Make sure to check your oil level before each ride and top it up if necessary.
Also, make sure to change your oil and oil filter regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer.
c. Check Your Air Filter
Your air filter is an important component of your dirt bike’s engine. A dirty air filter can cause your engine to run poorly, so make sure to clean or replace your air filter regularly, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
d. Check Your Chain and Sprockets
Your chain and sprockets are important components of your dirt bike’s drivetrain.
Make sure to keep your chain properly lubricated and adjusted, and replace worn sprockets and chains as needed.
e. Check Your Tires
Your tires are the only point of contact between your dirt bike and the ground, so it’s essential to keep them in good condition. Make sure to check your tire pressure regularly and replace worn tires as needed.
By following these tips and regularly maintaining your dirt bike, you can ensure that it performs at its best and stays safe to ride.
It’s important to read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance, as well as to address any issues promptly to avoid further damage or safety risks.
As a dirt bike rider, it’s important to follow proper riding etiquette when out on the trails or track.
Following these rules not only ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, but also helps preserve the environment and maintain access to riding areas.
Here are some important tips for proper riding etiquette:
i. Stay on Designated Trails
It’s important to stay on designated trails and avoid riding in areas where it is prohibited. This helps prevent damage to the environment and preserves access to riding areas.
ii. Respect Other Riders
Respect other riders by giving them space and passing safely. Always communicate with other riders and let them know when you are passing or need to pull over.
Avoid riding too close or aggressively, as this can be dangerous and disruptive.
iii. Respect the Environment
Respect the environment by staying on designated trails, avoiding sensitive areas, and packing out your trash.
Make sure to follow all posted rules and regulations, and be mindful of the impact your riding may have on the environment.
iv. Use Proper Hand Signals
Using proper hand signals is essential for communicating with other riders and ensuring safety on the trails. Make sure to use standard hand signals for turning, stopping, and passing.
v. Be Prepared
Be prepared for your ride by bringing appropriate safety gear, tools, and supplies. Make sure to carry a first-aid kit, extra water, and any necessary tools or spare parts.
Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate hazards.
By following these rules of riding etiquette, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone on the trails or track.
It’s important to remember that proper etiquette and safety go hand in hand, and that following these guidelines not only helps prevent accidents and injuries, but also helps preserve access to riding areas for future generations.
Advanced Riding Techniques
Once you’ve mastered the basics of dirt bike riding, you may want to start exploring more advanced riding techniques to improve your skills and take your riding to the next level.
Here are some advanced riding techniques to consider:
1. Standing While Riding
Standing while riding is an essential skill for off-road riding. It allows you to better control your dirt bike, absorb bumps and jumps, and navigate rough terrain.
To stand properly, keep your weight centered over the footpegs, with your knees bent and your elbows up. Keep your head and eyes up, looking ahead to anticipate obstacles and terrain changes.
Cornering is an essential skill for any rider, but especially for off-road riding. To corner properly, approach the turn with your weight centered over the bike and your outside foot down.
Lean the bike into the turn by shifting your weight to the inside, and keep your eyes focused on the exit of the turn. Use the throttle and brakes to control your speed and keep the bike balanced.
Braking is an essential skill for any rider, and off-road riding requires a different technique than street riding. To brake properly, use both your front and rear brakes together, with more emphasis on the rear brake to avoid skidding.
Brake early and gradually, and avoid locking up the wheels or sliding out of control.
Jumping is a fun and exhilarating aspect of off-road riding, but it can also be dangerous if not done properly. To jump safely, approach the jump with enough speed to clear it, with your weight centered over the bike and your body relaxed.
As you approach the jump, stand up and lift the front wheel slightly to preload the suspension. As you reach the top of the jump, shift your weight forward to level out the bike and land smoothly.
Wheelies are a fun and challenging riding technique, but they can also be dangerous if not done properly. To perform a wheelie safely, start by accelerating smoothly, with your weight centered over the bike.
As you reach the desired speed, pull back on the handlebars and use your body weight to lift the front wheel off the ground. Keep your eyes focused on the horizon and use the throttle to control the height and duration of the wheelie.
It’s important to remember that advanced riding techniques require practice, patience, and caution. Always start with the basics and gradually work your way up to more advanced techniques, and never attempt any maneuver beyond your skill level or comfort zone.
It’s also important to wear proper safety gear and ride in a safe and controlled environment.
Tips for practicing advanced riding dirt bike riding
In addition to the above techniques, there are a few other tips to keep in mind when practicing advanced riding:
a. Practice Makes Perfect
The key to mastering advanced riding techniques is practice. Set aside time to practice each technique in a safe and controlled environment, and gradually work your way up to more challenging terrain and obstacles.
b. Be Patient
Advanced riding techniques take time to master, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep practicing, be patient, and focus on improving your skills one step at a time.
c. Learn From Others
Watching other riders and learning from their techniques can be a great way to improve your own skills.
Attend dirt bike events or watch videos online to see how other riders approach advanced riding techniques.
d. Keep Your Bike Maintained
Maintaining your bike is essential for ensuring it performs at its best and keeping you safe while riding. Make sure to regularly check your bike’s brakes, suspension, and tires, and address any issues promptly to avoid safety risks.
By mastering these advanced riding techniques and practicing regularly, you can improve your skills and take your dirt bike riding to the next level. Remember to always ride safely, wear proper safety gear
Learning to ride a dirt bike can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to approach it with caution and respect for the equipment and the environment.
Thus, when it comes to how to be a dirt bike rider; before getting started, make sure to select the right dirt bike for your skill level and intended use, and invest in proper safety gear to protect yourself from injury.
Once you’ve got your bike and gear, start with the basics of riding, including proper body position, balance, and throttle control. As you become more comfortable with the basics, start practicing more advanced riding techniques like standing while riding, cornering, braking, jumping, and wheelies.
Remember that learning to ride a dirt bike is a gradual process that requires practice, patience, and persistence. Set aside time to practice regularly, and gradually work your way up to more challenging terrain and obstacles.
In addition to mastering riding techniques, it’s also important to maintain your bike properly to ensure it performs at its best and keeps you safe while riding. Regularly check your brakes, suspension, and tires, and address any issues promptly to avoid safety risks.
By following these steps and riding with caution and respect for the environment, you can become a skilled and responsible dirt bike rider. Enjoy the ride, and stay safe out there!