December 21, 2021 10 min read
Dirt biking may seem like an extreme form of riding a motorcycle. But, while the tracks, dirt, mounds, and trails seem like too much of a challenge, dirt bike riding can be easier than you think.
To ride a dirt bike with ease, you need to secure the right equipment, gear, and basic knowledge. You can start by learning more about the nature of dirt biking, the skills required to do it along with the specifications of the dirt bike, and the gear needed for it.
If you’re curious about how to make your first dirt biking experience easy and fun, read on and find the answer to some of the most frequently asked questions from beginners.
Yes, dirt bike riding is a fun outdoor activity that even kids can hop on. Riding a dirt bike stimulates the reward chemical in your brain, which triggers waves of pleasure. Furthermore, it also releases adrenaline which produces a rush of thrill in your body.
But what makes dirt bike riding fun is that you can do it with your friends and family. You can explore trails or practice on designated tracks together.
No, dirt bike riding is different from riding a regular motorcycle. The main difference is that dirt bikes are intended to be driven on off-road terrains where the tires contact the roots, soils, and rocks.
Because of the number of obstacles found off-roading, much of your time on a dirt bike will be spent standing up to help absorb and counter oncoming terrain. On a street bike or motorcycle, almost 100% of your time is spent sitting down enjoying the smooth ride.
Motorcycles are generally driven on the streets and cannot withstand the harshness of a rough surface. Due to this critical difference, some maneuvers can only be performed through a dirt bike.
Additionally, dirt bike riding will require some other skills to sustain balance and endurance on challenging trails.
So, if you’ve been riding a street motorcycle for a long time, it doesn’t guarantee that you can ride a dirt bike as smoothly on rough surfaces. But it will definitely help you to have already learned the balance aspect of riding a two-wheeled vehicle.
Dirt biking is not impossibly hard to do. You’d be surprised that kids aged ten and below can ride a dirt bike without any substantial struggle.
However, dirt biking only seems complicated since you will have to acquire fundamental riding skills. But once you master these skills, dirt bike riding can become second nature to you.
Yes, dirt bike riding can be expensive only if you don’t know which bike, gear, and equipment to buy.
One common mistake among beginners is buying a dirt bike based on what’s on top of the market. The problem with this choice is that despite the quality of the dirt bike, it may not be suitable for your level of expertise.
Brand new dirt bikes are priced between $6000 to $12,000. Used ones go cheaper but require more assessment to ensure that all parts are still intact and functioning well.
With this price, you mustn’t make the mistake of buying the wrong dirt bike. Instead, as a beginner, lean on beginner-friendly bikes and those recommended for your age and height.
Before spending tons of money on a dirt bike, you have to make sure you understand specific standards to avoid any purchasing mistakes.
For starters, you have to decide what type of dirt biking you intend to do most of your riding time. Trail riding is a common activity to do with your dirt bike.
However, you may head towards dirt bike riding competitions such as motocross, freestyle, supercross, etc. With these competitions, dirt bike specifications may vary. Hence, you will have to check the guidelines if that’s the purpose of your dirt bike purchase.
Second, find out which beginner-friendly dirt bikes are suitable for your age and height. This pretty much determines the level of comfort you get with riding your dirt bike, along with the amount of power.
Third, learn the basics of dirt bike riding. Then, depending on your experience, you can watch online videos or read blogs and other references to better understand how dirt bike riding is performed safely.
Like any other fun thing to do, riding a dirt bike can be easy or tricky, depending on many factors.
For example, if you don’t have the proper dirt bike that matches your height and level of expertise, it could be a very challenging experience for you.
But if you have the right equipment and a list of steps you can follow, the learning process can be smooth.
So, here is the essential step-by-step procedure you can follow when riding a dirt bike.
When riding a dirt bike, you have to ensure that your body is above the bike’s pivot point (directly above the motor).
Next, your arms should be bent and pointing up in an outward position.
Your chin goes just above the handlebars while your knees and legs are pressing on the sides of the bike.
Once you master the proper body position, you can start practicing other stances like standing in an attack position.
Starting the bike is simple, but it depends on the kind of dirt bike you’re using. Nonetheless, the principle it follows is pretty much the same. First, you turn the gas on, to give fuel to the engine (if your bike has a petcock)
Another important principle in starting the dirt bike is assessing whether or not you need to use the choke. The choke valve limits airflow and is used to warm up the dirt bike. Before the engine can function properly, it needs to reach an optimum temperature.
If the weather is a bit cold or chilly during your scheduled ride, you may have to use the choke. On the other hand, if it’s the opposite or you have been riding the dirt bike all day, there’s no need for the choke.
The next thing you need to do is pull the clutch and move to the first gear. If it’s a kid’s dirt bike, put it to neutral.
Once everything is in place, it’s time to start the engine. Some off-road motorcycles still rely on kick-starters. You will have to flip it out manually. With some newer dirt bikes, the engine can be started by pushing a button for an electric start.
Changing gears in a dirt bike is similar to other types of motorcycles. Just step down or up on the shifter, which is located on the left side of the bike just in front of your left footpeg. In an adult dirt bike, there are five-six gears plus the neutral usually found in a one down and four-five up scenario.
Moving to the first gear will require you to press the bottom of your foot above the shifter. Afterward, press it down with one click. To shift from first gear to second gear, place the upper part of your foot under the shifter and click it up.
To shift down, simply press the top of the shifter with the front part of your foot and push it down until you feel a click.
Dirt bikes typically come with two brakes: the hand brake and the foot brake. If you’re a beginner, the best thing for you to master using both brakes evenly.
The foot brake puts a stop on the back tire, giving you a smooth stop. It is located on the right side of the bike, just in front of your right footpeg.
On the other hand, the hand brake is found mounted on the right side of the handlebars. It’s similar to a bicycle hand brake.
The hand brake halts the front tire. As a result, you can be at risk of being thrown off over the front of the motorcycle if your body position is incorrect.
Balancing on a dirt bike is one of the foundations of a successful ride. If you’ve been riding bicycles almost your entire life, then balancing on a dirt bike won’t be a major problem. But on the off chance that you’re not, you have to prioritize balancing.
Start with a dirt bike that has low-pressure tires to help you control the bike more at a slower pace. Ride the dirt bike in a straight line while keeping your arms bent outward. Press your legs on the sides of the bike to help you balance.
Before you take your dirt bike for a spin, you have to make sure you have the right gear. In the same way, get the best equipment when maintaining the quality and long-term function of your dirt bike.
So, just like going to a battle, you need to come prepared. For starters, you need to know what every dirt rider must have on them to ensure a fun yet safe dirt bike riding experience.
Wondering what gear and equipment we’re talking about? Here’s a checklist of what you need to purchase and prepare, along with your dirt bike.
A full-face helmet is non-negotiable when it comes to dirt bike riding or riding any motorcycle, for that matter.
It protects the most critical organ in your body, the brain, which can be at risk when accidents happen. That is why wearing a helmet pretty much draws the line between life and death during motorcycle crashes.
Nevertheless, a dirt bike helmet is designed differently than a regular motorcycle helmet. However, it does contain the basic features of a helmet, such as the high-quality shell, comfort padding, impact-absorbing liners, and straps.
However, the design of a dirt bike helmet is distinctive since it has a peak or visor that protrudes on the upper part and also features chin protection.
The purpose of a dirt bike helmet visor is to protect you from the glare of the sun and shield your face better in cases of accidents on the off-road terrain. In addition, the structure keeps you away from going face-to-face with dirt or mud.
Likewise, quality defines the strength and effectiveness of a helmet, so make sure that you choose the one with strong materials.
Riding a dirt bike is done during the day. In fact, it is widely discouraged to do this at night since navigating the terrain can be even more dangerous during this time.
While it is ideal to go dirt biking with your friends in broad daylight, it still has its challenges. One example is you will be facing the harsh heat and glare of the sun. Aside from wearing the proper outfit, having your goggles on can be the solution to this problem.
Dirt bike goggles are designed to fit with the helmet. It protects you from strong sunlight, which can obscure your vision, and from dirt, lots and lots of dirt.
If you are on a motocross track, you will be faced with tons of dirt with every movement you make on the track. So, wearing goggles is not just an option. It’s absolutely a necessity.
Riding your dirt bike on treacherous trails/tracks or taking part in competitive events will require extra protection for your body.
While appropriate jerseys and pants ensure that you’re not torched under the heat of the sun, when dirt biking involves dangerous obstacles, you should wear a chest protector or body armor.
Body armors are made of durable but lightweight materials. When you wear body armor, your arms and upper torso are covered. This includes your ribs, collar bones, shoulders, and vital organs.
No other gear or outfit is more suitable for dirt biking than a matching MX jersey and a pair of MX pants.
When choosing a jersey, make sure it has long sleeves. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting cuts, scrapes, or burns down your arms.
Moreover, jerseys and pants designed for motocross use strong but breathable materials. They are also flexible and comfortable.
Take the VENTilate Jersey and Pants, for example. This dirt biking gear combo has all the qualities of superb motocross and dirt biking apparel. On top of that, it has a temperature control that elevates your comfort during the ride.
A firm yet flexible grip is everything when it comes to dirt biking. Your hands play a vital role in your controls. That’s why you can’t risk injuring or wounding your hands.
Constant dirt bike riding can leave your palms bruised, blistered, or callused, especially on long distances. Fortunately, you can avoid all of these altogether. So what’s the simple solution? Wear proper gloves and palm protector inserts.
Dirt biking boots are designed to protect your feet, ankles, and calves.
When riding a dirt bike, your entire legs are at risk for injuries. Whether it’s a sprain or twisted muscle, it will take you a long time to fully go back on the trail.
Furthermore, in cases of crashes or accidents, you will most likely avoid substantial damages to your legs if you have proper boots.
On the other hand, knee braces provide another layer of protection on your joints. According to several medical reports, wearing knee braces lessen the impact of injuries related to motocross or dirt biking.
Riding a dirt bike can be all fun until you experience a fall or crash. And in some instances, you land with your elbows or arms pressing on the ground.
By wearing elbow guards, you add extra protection to your arms and joints. As a result, the damage is minimized, and you can avoid fractures. Moreover, with elbow guards, you are also kept safe from sprains and scratches.
Dirt bike riding is easy, not just with the right equipment but most importantly with sufficient determination and a positive attitude. Most dirt bike enthusiasts will tell you how dirt biking is like a tame but equally thrilling version of conquering a mountain.
Simply put, it’s one outdoor activity that you need to try if you are looking for a weekend of pure excitement.
Nonetheless, as fun as dirt bike riding can be, there is still a substantial amount of danger involved. So make sure that you are equipped with safety gear throughout your practice or ride.
As a beginner, it is essential to remember that it’s pretty normal to find some parts of the dirt bike riding experience difficult. But as you continue to practice and progress, you’ll be surprised how easy you can do certain moves and tricks.
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