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Beemer

Benefits of having learned to ride a dirt bike.

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Beemer

It's been mentioned over and over, "best to learn in the dirt" but instead of just saying it lets list the specific reasons why dirt bike riding can improve your skills on the road. I can imagine there are some people that are in the dark on the subject and can't imagine wtf we're talking about. they've never road a dirt bike. let alone sat on one so let's enlighten them and open some doors for them. Here are some specifics that came to mind just off the top of my head. If you have anything to add to that please feel free to do so. The bigger the list the more it may compel someone to start riding in the dirt to learn some new techniques, techniques that just may save a life and to just enjoy the hell out of dirt bikes.

 

1. I don't worry about the rear brake locking up because that's what you do very often in the dirt.

2. I don't worry about accidental wheelies on the road because of many wheelies in the dirt.

3. I don't worry about obstacles in the road that I know I can go over because of "dirt".

4. I don't worry about bumps in the road because of dirt. Bumps seem to bother a lot of people on the FZ but not me. 

5. I don't worry about jumps in the road because of dirt.

6. I don't worry about losing traction in general because of dirt.

7. I don't worry about dirt in the road because of dirt. 

 

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michigan400

Once you know basic control use and balance you don't think about it, you just do it instinctively and that lets you react much quicker. Getting the bike knocked around by uneven ground, tree roots, rocks, sliding on wet grass or loose gravel or sand all the time just makes everything a reflex. All about fine tuning your bike control skills until it's as natural as walking.

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bornagainbiker

Learning how to use your feet as outriggers in a slide--a little scarier on pavement, but it can still save your bacon in and emergency. ;)

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YZEtc

I learned to ride a motorcycle in the dirt, and I agree with the gist of what's been written above.

What I found out was that once you had learned good dirt bike skills riding off-road, controlling a bike on pavement at legal speeds was pretty easy in comparison.

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liv2ride

All good points, I will add:

 

- Riding off-road teaches you to be more comfortable with the bike moving around beneath you and over time becoming less tense, more relaxed.  

- Riding over varied terrain will also help you learn how to anticipate how the bike may respond to various conditions/obstacles.

- Helps to teach you the limits of tire traction.

- Definitely will help you become more comfortable with the idea of how more gas vs. brake can help you out of a dicey situation.

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r1limited

It goes beyond braking, turning etc, it is all about muscle memory.  Training on the dirt you are repeating over and over many many basic functions in rapid consesion.  It is about feel, about riding position in many differing terrains, balance, clutch, brake and throttle control.  It is building confidence as well as an understanding of Physics of the bike in many differing aspects.  Pretty much everything thus far that has been said is all a benefit to dirt training.  Pickign lines, understanding the apex, looking through the corner blah blah blah all comes with a very simple point "NO MATTER WHAT IT IS ABOUT SADDLE TIME"  True if you ride a street bike long enough you get to know that bike and improve skill sets, MORE TRUE you then get a dirt bike and your learnign all over again.  You insitinctilvly know whatto do if the front pushes and the back ends steps out, you insitinctly know how to apply throttle and or brake evenly to calm the chassi down if unsettled.  I have known some pretty damn fast riders on the Tracks, all they new was pavement with occaisonal dirt experiance.  When we ride in dirt together the reverse is true, they are Slugs and I am the master.. :)  I gre up sliding bikes, I ventured into Club Road Racing long after my first dirt bike.  I now do some 24 hr LeMons and Luck Dog Car raciing and to point, my times are pretty damn close to drivers that have vast more experiance I on 4 wheels, WHY? Dirt Bikes, teaches you more about picking the right line....... and it transitions over to Street bikes and Cars

 

King Kenny started the first training center, based around dirt track for road racers.  At that time Americans where begining to just do the smack down on the Euros with the conventional missionary style of racing.  Roberts comes along with a new style, new method and obliterated the compitition.  Now we see Rossi touting the dirt bike training with his own center and the spanish fly midget #95 pushing a resurgance of Dirt Track in Spain.  Back in Roberts day it was almost sacrilidge to lean off a bike and stay in the "GENTLEMENS PROPER STYLE"  Now its certain to see all backing the bikes in and using all they know from Dirt to get the quickest around a corner.

 

So yes Dirt, Train on Dirt, fall down, get up and train some more.  Down Hill Mountain Bikes are about the other best way IMO.

Edited by r1limited
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norcal616

agree with above statements... dirt biking taught me how to manipulate the bike and its controls... the 2 biggest thing I learned was to be comfortable in using the full range of each gear and falling down... 

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Cruizin

Hell, dirt is more fun then the street. Street riding gets boring, traffic, cars, speed limits, traffic lights.

 

none of that shet off-road. Here where I live in Idaho, I can go up a trail from downtown Boise and ride all the way to Montana or Canada on forest service roads and trails. Jumping shet, wheelies for miles on end, nobody cares. Sliding rear tire around corners, hill climbs full throttle.

 

street riding is easy kids stuff.  I do like the twisties though.

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r1limited
Just now, Cruizin said:

Hell, dirt is more fun then the street. Street riding gets boring, traffic, cars, speed limits, traffic lights.

 

none of that shet off-road. Here where I live in Idaho, I can go up a trail from downtown Boise and ride all the way to Montana or Canada on forest service roads and trails. Jumping shet, wheelies for miles on end, nobody cares. Sliding rear tire around corners, hill climbs full throttle.

 

street riding is easy kids stuff.  I do like the twisties though.

You can do that on a street bike Jumpin Railroad tracks, straffing squids, wheeling out of corners, catching air off drop offs, heck even slidin All that a them OH SHET ARSE PUCKERING CLOSE YER EYES AND PIN IT moments ;)

 

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Beemer
20 hours ago, Cruizin said:

Hell, dirt is more fun then the street. Street riding gets boring, traffic, cars, speed limits, traffic lights.

 

none of that shet off-road. Here where I live in Idaho, I can go up a trail from downtown Boise and ride all the way to Montana or Canada on forest service roads and trails. Jumping shet, wheelies for miles on end, nobody cares. Sliding rear tire around corners, hill climbs full throttle.

 

street riding is easy kids stuff.  I do like the twisties though.

I envy you for being able to do that, that's awesome! People don't realize how you can totally lose yourself out in the woods on a bike and feel like nothing else matters, like that is where you belong 7 days a week and you never want to leave, doing nothing but exploring. It's about as close to feeling like how Louis and Clark did as you're going to get. 

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Beemer
23 hours ago, bornagainbiker said:

Learning how to use your feet as outriggers in a slide--a little scarier on pavement, but it can still save your bacon in and emergency. ;)

Agreed! Several times through the years a bike has started to go down for whatever reason and only because I was used to having a foot off the peg and at the ready in a lean was I able to slam my foot down and brace my leg in a bent position to hold the bike up as I feathered the throttle, cross steered in the direction I wanted to go and righted the bike. I remember once when i first got my street license I didn't have a foot at the ready in  corner and the bike went down and the tank slammed my knee pretty hard. I limped like a pregnant yak for a week! I never want to do that again!

 

Since then I've made it a practice when taking off from stops and directly into a turn to hold the foot on the side I'm leaning into off the peg and in front of it a little, ready to slam that foot down and prevent a low side. Granted, it takes some leg strength to do it but it is doable if you have the skills.

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stev74

There must be a reason why so many motogp riders practising with dirtbikes.

Some basic techniques you can learn even better with trial bikes in my opinon.

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Beemer
On 10/8/2017 at 10:07 AM, stev74 said:

There must be a reason why so many motogp riders practising with dirtbikes.

Some basic techniques you can learn even better with trial bikes in my opinon.

If for nothing else, balance is everything on a bike and what better way to improve balance than on a trials bike? For those of you that don't know trials, here ya go!

 

 

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r1limited

Pffft did that stuff on a BSA A10
Well not really

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FZ07R WaNaB

I have a quick thought on dirt bike and reflexes...

 

When I was 57, a 59 year old buddy made a comment to me about reflexes, and he was assuming that mine were noticeably starting to go as his was. I was speechless as I never felt that my reflexes in general were starting to diminish. That got me thinking, and I started to check with my older friends about their experiences.

 

My conclusion is that riding two wheels on dirt goes a LONG way in keeping your reflexes sharp. I have been riding either bicycles or motorcycles on dirt steady for over 45 years. Just shows that there are further benefits from riding dirt bikes other than helping your street bike skills.

 

BTW, my older buddy was not a two wheel rider of any sort.

Edited by FZ07R WaNaB
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r1limited

Thats why I say now at age 60 never trust a fart, reflexes :)

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blackout

I grew up on three wheelers, never had a dirt bike, wish I did.  But did have a 1985 Kawasaki Tecate 250.

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michigan400

Tecate were awesome back in the day! Wanted one real bad when I first got into off road machines. Just before 4 wheelers took over that one, the Honda atc250 and the yamaha tri-z were the hot rod racers. Good times! Real men had moustaches and raced whatever they had after downing a couple beers in the pits. Lol!

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