April 26, 2021 5 min read
If you are new to motocross, you will slowly find out that you need to get to grips with a handful of terms and slang so you don't look, and sound, like a complete goon at the track.
As well as ensuring that you have a fully working dirt bike and all the correct gear, knowing what all the terms will mean you have a better understanding of what to expect from each track and also how to approach the different jumps.
As well as running 'Risk Racing' (where you can find a whole host of motocross products and accessories), I am also a veteran racer, so there is no one better to guide you through the basic vocabulary of motocross racing.
These are some of the basic terms most rookies ask about when they are getting started.
A kicker is simply a part of a jump face that willkick the rear end of the bike up in the air. You will come across various kickers when you are racing, so knowing how to correct this incident is essential.
The bumps on a track are sometimes called braking or acceleration bumps, and are created by riders braking or accelerating. As the riders brake around a corner, the dirt gets impacted and creates a bump. Riders can use these to their advantage if they know how! The same thing can happen as they open up the throttle and their back tire is digging in to get traction, creating bumps leaving the corner as well.
Whoops originate from desert racing which pre-dates motocross. They are a series of small jumps or rollers that appear in quick succession on the track. Skilled riders will seem like they are gliding along the top.
'Scrubbing' refers to staying as low as possible while navigating a jump. This is where the motocross racer almost lets their back tire drift out from underneath them at the top of the jump sending them horizontal and very close to the ground.
A double is the name for two jumps in succession that are designed to be taken as one jump.
Let's go through them in more detail. I might even throw in some handy tips that will stop you from landing face-first in the dirt!
Some riders get confused about what makes a kicker different from any other kind of jump. What differentiates a kicker from other jumps is that it is a just a part of one jump that if you hit the same just 5 inches to the left or right, you can miss the kicker altogether.
It is called a 'kicker' as when your front wheel has left the jump, the bike's rear end will get kicked upward by the jump. To avoid endo-ing and looking very sketchy, you have to make sure that you are aware of where the kicker is on the jump face. Sometimes, they pop up out of nowhere on you, in which case you will need to give the bike a good panic rev, which will help bring the rear end back down and level the bike out enough to land without going over the bars.
Bumps (also referred to as braking or acceleration bumps) are created on a motocross track by the rider's braking when they approach a corner. This causes the dirt to build up and develop bumps. As the race goes on, the bumps grow and give the riders yet another difficult obstacle they have to manage as they go around the track.
On the one hand, this gives them momentum, but on the other hand, as the bumps grow, it takes more skill and control to navigate them successfully.
Bumps are unavoidable and will vary in size depending on the track conditions and whether they consist of soil or clay. Large bumps can accumulate when riders lock up their brakes on particular corners on a track.
Try not to brake too hard and try to find a flow through the braking or acceleration bumps to keep your momentum around the track.
Whoop-de-doos - to give them their official name - pre-date motocross and first appeared in desert racing. Whoops are a long series of evenly spaced, small jumps or rollers that come in quick succession on the track. To get through them quickly, you have to get up enough speed to enable you to skim along the tops.
Most riders agree that the best way to navigate the whoops during a race is to shift up a gear as you approach them. Your rear wheel should be in the air for most of the time, only touching the top of each whoop as you are skimming across.
If you do it right, you will glide along the top and make it look easy. If you don't, then…well...you know the rest. Face…dirt etc.
Scrubbing refers to staying low when you are attempting a jump. When you 'scrub a jump,' you aim to keep the bike on the ground as you set yourself up for a jump, staying low and flat. This takes off some speed, and then you can keep your momentum once you are over the jump.
The point of scrubbing is to release some of the energy that the suspension is about to release upwards, but off to the side instead. Instead of releasing the compressed suspension vertically sending you up, you release the compressed suspension out into the side. This small little 'drift' of the back tire will put you into a flat whip that can be very close to the ground.
If done correctly, you will hit the jump fast and be back on the ground quicker. From a racing point of view, minimizing your time in the air means that you are clearing the obstacle faster and getting more power to the ground quicker.
There's no doubt about it; a double can be an intimidating sight no matter how experienced a rider you are. Put simply; a double is two jumps in quick succession. The aim is to take off from the first jump, fly over the gap in-between and land on the down-side of the second. Simple, right?!
It is a good idea to size up the jump before you attempt it. You need to judge your jumping distance accurately to avoid overshooting it and landing really hard/crashing. Equally as bad would be "casing it" or coming up too short and landing engine frame first into a jump.
What are the up and down ramps like? How big is it, and what happens on the track directly after the jump? All these factors need to be taken into consideration when you are sizing up your jump.
Hopefully, this should have given you some insight into the crazy vocabulary that we use in motocross.
At Risk Racing we love all things dirt bike and motocross, and love giving advice and information to riders no matter what their skill level. We know that nothing beats the thrill of clearing a jump or mastering a new skill.
Whatever your dirt bike or racing needs, if you visit Risk Racing, you will find innovative products that will solve any of your dirt bike and motocross issues.
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