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39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms You’ll Hear Everywhere

Dirt bike riders tend to speak their own unique language and, unless you grew up in the sport, you’ll want to know some terminology.

Some of their sayings and terms are clear, while others aren’t so obvious. Instead of you scratching your head the next time you meet up with a bunch of riders, we’ll give you some of the basics.

1. Brrraaap

This refers to the sound of a 2-stroke, or less commonly, the sound of a 4-stroke. You’ll often hear it within conversations or to help relate a situation, or simply for comedy. It’s most commonly used as a catchphrase by those aged 15 to 30 when talking about dirt bike riding at full speed.

2. DNF (Did Not Finish)

During races, riders who simply didn’t finish the race earn the ‘title’ of DNF, or Did Not Finish. This could either because they broke down, crashed and injured themselves, or in the case of some genuinely tough races such as the Dakar, simply gave up due to exhaustion.

3. Pinned

This means the rider has their throttle all the wide open and no chance of them holding back, with pinned sometimes also called ‘wide open’. They’re literally giving it everything they’ve got for a corner or straight-line speed. The slight variation is ‘5th gear pinned’ which refers to absolutely maximizing their top-end speed which is much more common in open country races as opposed to closed-circuit MX events.

4. Rutted

When you’re coming across a track that has many deeply in-grained lines from previous motorcycles or 4×4’s, it means the track is rutted. Too many people have used the track in the past and it’s certainly in need of some TLC.

5. Scrub

Have you ever seen riders lean heaviliy to one side when jumping? They are doing this to stay low on the track and to land as quickly as possible. As they do this, they’re able to regain momentum on the gas while their competition is still airborne.

6. Whiskey Throttle

This is a common mistake done by a newer rider who hasn’t mastered the art of throttle control. It’s here where a rider will apply too much throttle, start losing control, but their hand is still twisting on the throttle. They aren’t able to twist forward with their body leaning too far back and eventually they crash.

7. Corrogations

Popular in country areas especially in Australia are corrogated roads. As heavy trucks use these roads, they cause them to be bumpy for 4wd and dirt bike enthusiasts. These corrogations can only be eliminated by a grader, and in the interim, it’s best to ‘glide’ over the top at high speeds.

8. Whoop Section

Have you seen those areas of the MX track that have many micro-bumps and dirt bikes keep jumping? That’s a whoop section and best conquered with a good strategy and NOT with simply jumping over them. Most riders keep their speed low and continue pushing down on their front tyre in order to maintain momentum.

9. Back Slapper

This is when you’re riding with your backside too low to the seat and your seat eventually knocks. Most commonly this happens when you’re in a whoop section. Crouching is important, but you don’t want to crouch too low otherwise you’ll certainly know about it.

10. Lapper

Most common on longer races are those who are overtaken at least once, especially the person in first position overtakes the individual in last position. Being lapped reminds us of how much work needs to be done in order to become more competent riders.

11. Hoon Rider

Typical of those dirt bike riders who cruise unlicenced and unregistered along residential streets. These hoon riders (also called hooligans) cause a bad name for the more law-abiding citizens who are in the dirt biking world for the love of the sport, not merely to claim some attention on YouTube.

12. Clapped Out

Have you seen vehicles which have seen better days? Something that’s still running when it should’ve been scrapped long ago? That thing is clapped out, man!

13. Roosted

Copping a face full of another dirt bike rider’s mud seriously hurts and blinds the goggles. Getting roosted either kills our confidence or motivates us to overtake the person in front.

14. Sand Pit

A Sand Pit refers to sections of enduro race areas which are full of sand. Riders will have a hard time maintaining full control of their dirt bike unless they’re fully pinned and leaning back to keep the front wheel light.

15. Power Band

A Power Band isn’t a physical thing, but a characteristic of each gear where the power is the most aggressive. Most riders in racing circuits optimize their gears to always stay within the power band. For instance, they won’t be revving too high or too low in each gear, so as to get the most out of each revolution of the engine.

16. Steam Engine

A term recently created by electric dirt bike owners to poke fun at dirt bikers who still use the petrol equivalents. Electric dirt bikes are becoming mainstream in racing circuits and soon enough, conventional dirt bikes will be considered steam engines of yesteryear.

17. Yard Sale

Used to describe a dirt bike that is dead in the water and should be seperated for parts on Craigslist, Gumtree or eBay. Chances are that the frame has had a major breakage of the engine is simply swamped with water and with no life left.

18. Plastic Princess

Used to describe a rider or their dirt bike (likely both) that is too precious to get dirty. You’ll see them rock up with perfect plastics, shining tyre tread and all the gear…but not much of an idea. Sometimes you’ll see them finish a race while being almost spotless, while the rest of the competitors are a mess from head to toe.

19. Bark Busters

These are mainly used on trail bike and enduro riders who venture into the forests. It protects the hands from being clipped by tree branches, while also protecting the break and clutch levers from damage when crashing. They may be referred to the actual brand name, or simply as a generic term to describe hand protectors.

20. Tearoffs

These very thin plastic goggle strips are used by motocross riders to clear debris from their goggles caused by roosting. Some riders may have 10 to 15 strips layered on top of each other for each race while removing a freshly coated strip every 20 seconds or so in order to enhance visibility when competing.

21. Widow Maker

May refer to a stake in the trail that’s pointed up and could cause massive bodily harm and possible death when riding. May also be a low hanging yet thick branch or a sharp and unexpected drop off. In racing, these may be hard objects which are located very close to the track.

22. Tank Slapper

When you’re going too fast and suddenly hit a rock which unsettles the dirt bike. As the dirt bike rocks side to side, it slaps both legs hence the name ‘tank slapper’. This is more-so common in high speed racing motorcycles on closed circuit loops.

23. Sweep Rider

This is a rider whose job is to close out the rear in both group rides and enduro races. They ensure that riders are accounted for and connect with riders who have broken down or are injured. Often the Sweep Rider will be in regular contact in group rides with their polar opposite – the Lead Rider, who keeps the line moving.

24. Monkey Butt

Used to describe the state of a rider’s butt cheeks after a few hours of riding. As sweat builds up, it causes this stinging sensation which irritates the rider. Funnily enough, a company created a product of the same name to combat this very issue…and it works!

25. Ritchie Rich

Used to describe a dirt bike rider who has all the money in the world, so they’ll rock up with the best and newest gear around. It’s not uncommon to see them completely replace all their riding gear, or even their dirt bike, every few months…just because they can.

26. Lemon

A dirt bike which is utterly unreliable and continues to break down. Most commonly this happens on older dirt bikes which need a lot of upkeep. It’s at this stage that the owner will generally cut their losses and get a new one, or give up on riding altogether.

27. Tunnel Blindness

Dirt bike riders who only see in a straight line and don’t look around corners prior to entering. By looking around the corner and planning 5 seconds ahead, riders can maximize race times but also look out for hazards ahead.

28. Amateurs

Those who are new to riding or racing in a particular location. They haven’t quite got the conditions figured out yet and are likely to be passed by more experienced folk pretty easily.

29. Egged On

When someone was encouraged under peer-pressure to attempt something like wheelie despite knowing that it wasn’t a good idea. Generally speaking, those who are ‘egged on’ to do something beyond their comfort zone generally don’t fare well.

30. Cruiser

A rider who sits down on their dirt bike almost all the time, despite there being corrugated sections of track where it’s very uncomfortable to sit and casually ride. These riders are also typically newer to the sport and can be quite slow as they develop their skills.

31. Fan Boy (also called Fan Boi)

Owners who believe in only one brand of motorcycle and discount the value or advantages that another brand might provide. The biggest fan boys in the dirt bike world are those of both Honda and Yamaha who are often in a friendly debate about who has bought the better bike.

32. Rodeo

Used to describe going over large rocks at slow speed which is common in rocky outcrop areas. As the dirt bike bounces around, it’s much like riding a bull in a rodeo.

33. Weekend Warrior

The rider who loves heading out on the weekends but is trapped at their workplace during the week. These riders are often between amatuer and professionals in their skills development, and will make the very most out of their riding areas…rain, hail or shine!

34. Lost It

Used when a rider pushed beyond their abilities in either racing or casual trail bike riding scenarios. As they crashed, they were evidently going too fast for a corner and proceeded to ‘lose it’ as they weren’t able to maintain full control.

35. Nailed It

The opposite to ‘Lost It’ is where a rider was able to accomplish an especially difficult task such as a gnarly hillcimb. They’ll generally command respect from other riders as they continued to power through and remained in complete control.

36. Soiled

A rider who is completely dirty from head to toe from riding their dirt bike. Being ‘soiled’ is a testament to how hard the rider rode and how much mud they had been through. You’ll generally find soiled riders posting their photos on social media when others would’ve stayed at home because of the rain.

37. Canned

When an event such as a race or organized group ride is cancelled, often unexpectedly. When they ‘canned it’, most riders are unsurprisingly disappointed at the outcome but understand the reasonings, such as bad weather or track access issues.

38. Meerkat

A rider who stands unusually high on their dirt bike and scans the horizon, just like a meerkat. While standing on the pegs is encouraged and at times, absolutely necessary, the attack stance is generally easier and safer than standing tall with the knees locked.

39. Wringer

When you’re testing out a dirt bike for the first time and want to do an extensive analysis or review, you’re putting a dirt bike through the ‘wringer’ to ensure it lives up to expectations. You’ll be quite tough on the dirt bike. Generally, YouTube review channels and magazines use this term to demonstrate aggressively testing dirt bikes instead of being soft and gentle.

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Motocross vs Supercross: What Is The Difference?

It looks like Motocross and Supercross are awfully similar, but they aren’t. There are clear and distinct differences:

Motocross differs from supercross in that motocross in that motocross riders ride on longer tracks and gain higher speeds, while supercross focuses around stuntwork in stadiums. A motocross track may require the rider to ride for up to 2 miles before finishing a lap, while a supercross track is much shorter between 500 and 750 yards, with many jumps and tabletops to impress the spectators.

Of the two types of dirt bike racing disciplines, motocross is much more popular. In order for riders to get involved in supercross professionally, they need to compete at a stadium while motocross simply requires a dirt track, of which there are thousands in the world.

Motocross Compared to Supercross

It’s understandable to get confused between these two types of racing classes. After all, they both use dirt bikes on well-groomed tracks with audiences watching on.

Similaries

Yes, they share many of the same elements when it comes to riding competitively.

The similarities are:

  • Professional riders. Both are done by professional racers covered by an industry body paired with many spectators. These are a seasonal series where competitors race just about every weekend for a set period of the year to accumulate points.
  • Types of dirt bikes. Both use 450cc and 250cc dirt bikes, and smaller classes are available for children and teenage riders. Common dirt bikes include those made by Yamaha, Honda, KTM, Suzuki and Husqvarna.
  • Riding style. Riders are expected to ride aggressively on the track and push through past the slow riders. You won’t see any mirrors on their dirt bikes which means there is a high risk of injury.
  • Engine type. Most commonly, competitors choose to use 2-stroke dirt bikes due to increased torque and a more aggressive powerband, though 4-strokes are becoming quite popular. They will also have a race team to help them with mechanical issues and repairs.

You’ll also find a loyal fan base between each disciplines of racing. Many famous riders actually compete in both to mix things up a little in their career.

Differences

This is probably what you’re looking for: What is the difference between the two types of racing?

Well, the differences between supercross and motocross are quite straight forward:

  • Location variances. Supercross events are almost always held in stadiums for all-weather performances, with racing done in the evening under the bright lights. Kids love supercross because of the cool tricks that the riders do.
  • Time of Day. Motocross events can be held anytime day and night, with riders often competing in the morning or afternoon on an open motocross track.
  • Performance and Speed. The average speed of a supercross dirt bike competitor is much slower than one on an MX bike because of the track design. Long sweeping tracks compared to small man-made stadium tracks.
  • Stuntwork. Motocross tracks do have jumps but the main focus is on speed and performance as opposed to seeing motorcyclists doing stuntwork.
  • Race Length. Motocross riders do ride for a longer time period because the track is much longer. Sometimes a competitor could be out there for 2 to 3 hours (like a mini-enduro) before finishing up on a race with long sweeping corners and fast-flowing whoop sections, while a supercross rider is there for the aggressive cornering and jumps.
  • Terrain. Supercross riders enjoy flat terrain while motocross riders may, in some instances, experience some elevation changes depending on the track location.

One could say that supercross is a scaled-down version of motocross, with a greater emphasis on entertaining the crowd rather than actually winning tournaments. Now, a scaled-down version of supercross is called arena cross, and then there are trials and hard enduro which is another discipline of riding entirely.

Final Thoughts

It’s fair to say that the differences between the two aren’t that major and many families enjoy watching both types of racing. If you have children, then they’re going to enjoy the supercross events more and given they’re held in stadiums with roofs, you often won’t be rained on in the evenings.

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Motocross vs Enduro: What Is The Difference?

If you’re new to the offroad competitive racing world, some of the lingo is confusing including the difference between enduro and motocross.

While enduro and motocross motorcycles share many of the same components, they are used for different riding conditions. Motocross competitions require the competitor to race in a closed-circuit environment, and thus the gear ratios are shorter, the top speeds are lower and they have higher torque. Enduro motorcycles are used for open country racing with larger fuel capacities and wider gear ratios to reach faster speeds.

Let’s delve a little deeper on the more suttle differeences between both types of dirt bikes.

Enduro vs Motocross

It’s easy to simply dismiss both of these motorcycles as dirt bikes, but they are certainly used for different occasions. Those racing MX will have a hard time taking the same motorcycle into the Enduro area and claiming a top 10 finish, while the same is said for taking an Enduro motorcycle on a closed-circuit race track.

For casual trail bike riding, you’re much better off with an enduro motorcycle. At first the power will seem very aggressive but it’s the type of dirt bike that you can grow into overtime as opposed to getting bored in the first 2 months.

Gross Weights

One of the key differences is weight. Enduro motorcycles are designed to operate at very high speeds and deal with rough terrain including gnarly sections of rocky outcrops, water crossings and hill climbs. On the other hand, it appears MX riders have it easy with their well-groomed tracks.

Given their tracks and close proximity to fuel (the race tent), the fuel tanks are smaller on motocross motorcycles and they don’t have navigational aids such as map rolls, nor will you see them sporting an adventure fairing.

Differences in Engines

In addition to the weights, the engines can be quite different too in both type and capacity.

In years gone by, the 2-stroke (called by many as the 2 bangers) was the weapon of choice on the dirt tracks, while enduro motorcycles didn’t need so much torque and found the 4-stroke to be a better option. However, 4-stroke engine technology has really caught up in recent years and you’ll find plenty of 4-strokes keeping up with their 2-stroke counterparts.

You’ll also find a difference in the engine capacities. A motocross rider will get more than enough power to win championships with a 250cc MX bike and anything more will be quite a handful to handle on the tight motocross track. Meanwhile, an enduro motorcycle really becomes a race weapon at 300cc and above, with 450cc being typical for some of the toughest enduro races in the world, including Dakar.

Many years ago it was the 600cc and high classes that claimed wins. Technology has really improved where a 450cc is more than enough to cruise at 100+ miles per hour.

Jumping and Stuntwork

Jumping around and getting 10 feet of airtime looks great, but only one of these dirt bikes allows you to really do it safely. Motocross dirt bikes are born to jump and get significant airtime based on how light they are and the constant flying (several jump sections and tabletops on each lap) that the riders do behind the handlebars.

Most enduro dirt bikes can’t go jumping because they are just so heavy. That said – in the right hands – any of these can get some decent airtime and be used. They’re just harder to throw around on the tracks. As for wheelies, well these bikes are certainly built for it!

Everyday Liveability

You may want to use your dirt bike for more than just racing. Thus, can you use a motocross or enduro motorcycle for weekend trail rides? Well, yes you can!

Of the two types of dirt bikes, an enduro is better for casual trail riding. They’re much easier to get registered and more comfortable to ride over longer distances.

A motocross bike has a more aggressive throttle and a smaller fuel tank, paired with being louder, given that riders still choose the 2-stroke options in the market. They are perfect for throwing around in tight forest tracks yet keeping up with the pack in the wide-open trails and flat terrain will be more challenging as the gear ratios and powerband just doesn’t allow for high-speed pursuits.

Reliability and Life Cycle

You don’t want to buy a dirt bike and then realize how expensive they can be to maintain. If you’re racing competitively, then you’re going to be spending quite a bit on maintenance.

Generally speaking, enduro motorcycles have a longer lifespan and it’s not uncommon to see a Dakar motorcycle coming back for its 2nd or 3rd event year after year. Meanwhile, a motocross bike will need a top end rebuild pretty soon and if it’s racing in the AMA National Series, will be retired within 1 to 2 seasons.

In Summary

Both forms of competitive dirt bike racing are seriously fun to watch and tough to compete in. We’re talking fast speeds and seriously high risks, and just finishing is often something to commend.

Either way, you’ll have plenty of fun on both types of dirt bikes. You may wish to consider a more conservative trail bike if you’re just getting started and build up your experience over time.

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What Are Really High Miles On A Motorcycle?

You’re probably searching for your first motorcycle and in the second-hand classifieds, you’re wondering what high miles are.

There is no perfect indicator of high motorcycle milage, but generally speaking, 20,000 miles and higher is considered to be excessive. 10,000 to 20,000 is considered to be reasonable, though checking the service history and a full mechanical inspection is recommended. Any motorcycle with less than 10,000 miles is considered to be low and safe.

When we say there isn’t a perfect indicator, it’s because there are more things at play. Read on as we share more about our thought processes.

Motorcycle Milage at a Glance

The miles on a motorcycle do differ between the styles. A 250cc dirt bike, for instance, might be clapped out at 4,000 miles if it’s used every single weekend for competitive racing. Yet, big-bore 4-stroke that’s also used on the dirt might happily reach 25,000 miles. Take for example the KTM 690R which has a reputation for reliability.

A lot comes down to the rider and their style. If they’re new to riding and they’re young, then you’ll find most riders do twist that throttle a little hard. The more they move towards the redline,t he more likely they are at prematurely ending the life of that engine between their legs.

What type of rider owned the motorcycle? This plays a solid part in whether you shoudl buy it or pass on the offer.

Add in the fact that these riders generally aren’t the most financially stable, and you’ll see their workshop records aren’t quite pristine. To say it another way – the owners may skip necessary servicing and be causing damage to the engine and other components without realizing due to a lack of maintenance. Argh!

It’s More Than The Miles

When you’re inspecting a used motorcycle, it’s certainly more than what the odometer says. After all, there is some people do who illegally wind back motorcycle speedometers. Fortunately, it’s not that common practice in the industry and there are tracking methods today to find such criminals.

Beyond the miles, you need to look at:

  1. The brand you’re buying. Have they got a good reputation? Brands like Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, Indian, Harley-Davidson and Zero have all built themselves up.
  2. Who serviced the motorcycle. Was it the dude down the street or a licenced dealership? The later is considered to be 300% more trustworthy and you’ll know the owner did look after the motorcycle well.
  3. Why they’re selling. Everyone has a reason to sell their motorcycle. Ask them what it is. Often they’re just upgrading to a bigger machine, but it’s good to know their reasons.
  4. Signs of wear and tear. You need to be on the lookout for underbody scrapes and wear along the pegs as well as scratches and leaks. What does the motorcycle sound like when idling and at speed? Look at a YouTube video before you go for an inspection and listen to the sound of that particular motorcycle idling so you’ll have an idea towards what you should be hearing.
  5. Where the motorcycle was ridden. There is a big difference between a motorcycle who cruised the highways racking up many miles, and the one that was used as a daily commuter in city traffic. One was constantly stopping and starting and the other had a relatively easy life. This is why we’re not afraid of high KM motorcycles.

Adventure Motorcycles and High Miles

Frontaer is a motorcycle brand geared towards the dirt bike and adventure riding crowd. Needless to say….we know a thing or two about riding.

We typically come across ADV motorcycles from BMW, Indian and KTM online which have high miles and some of these are beyond 30,000. Does this mean that you shouldn’t buy it? Not necessarily. One of the best advantages is that you know the bike was not just enjoyed but well maintained and had a good life. You’re simply letting it continue the journey.

Adventure motorcycles, whether they’re used on the road or on the gravel roads, are predominantly cruising along at a set speed. They’re also ridden by riders who are 45 to 65 without the testorone of younger riders. Think smooth throttle and acceleration without the need to show off. This is the type of motorcycle you’ll want to buy.

The best part is that much of the competition will be scared. They’ll be told by the dealerships that they should only buy new motorcycles. After all, it’s profit for the dealer. So you’ll be able to get a discounted price on an adventure motorcycle with high miles and snap it up before anyone else does. Most importantly – get out there riding without the high upfront expense!

As always – if you’re spending more than $10,000 then you’ll want to pay the $200 for a qualified mechanic to do an inspection. They can prepare a fully detailed report which will give peace of mind as to whether this is a machine worth buying.

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Do Dirt Bikes Have Keys for the Ignition?

Of course, many of us dirt bike riders know the answer to this question as it’s immediately obvious to us. Then again, not everyone has been on a dirt bike:

Most dirt bikes today have a modern ignition system with keys which prevents the motorcycle from being stolen or causing a flat battery for the rider. However, the dirt bike doesn’t start with the key like a normal car. Instead, the key is used to engage the battery and then the rider either presses an electric start button or uses the kick start to get the engine running.

A few of the older MX style machines don’t have keys but most today simply do. Otherwise, it’s quite a risk as your bike might get stolen. It’s also a good way to turn off your engine when you come crashing down on the side of the track, though most bikes have a kill button too.

Dirt Bikes and Keys

Most dirt bikes have keys and certainly, all dual-sport and adventure motorcycles have these too. If the motorcycle is ridden on the road, then it certainly would have a key.

Some bikes which remain exclusively on the dirt may not have a key as they are used in trials or supercross events. It’s here where the risk of being stolen isn’t high given the security you’ll find at motocross stadiums and the like.

For the recreational rider like us, we really want to sleep better at nighttime. In years gone by, manufacturers were bringing dirt bikes to the market that didn’t have keys. We demanded these and they eventually followed suit. Today, having a key with your dirt bike is as common as wearing a helmet when riding around.

Installing an Ignition

Let’s say you’re riding one of those dirt bikes that don’t have ignitions but you want to install one. The fortunate news is that you’re able to install your own ignition system.

Both Yamaha and Honda make these and you can find the kits online. You’ll need some tools to get the job done properly and some experienced with electricial wiring.

But then we question whether you really need to do this? A solid chain and lock should be enough to keep everyone out. Well, the honest people that is. We know that just about every padlock can be picked nowadays.

Keeping a Dirt Bike Secure

While most dirt bikes sold from the major dealerships such as Yamaha, KTM, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki have ignition systems, it doesn’t really stop someone from stealing a dirt bike. After all, changing the ignition system is pretty damn easy with the right tools.

Thus, you’re going to want some decent security and more than just a chain and lock.

We can recommend:

  • Parking your dirt bike in the garage with your car boxing it in. A real physical deterant.
  • Not advertising your love for dirt bikes with branding stickers all over your car.
  • Using a tracking device which is cleverly hidden away and with a long life battery.
  • Being mindful when you’re parked up at the gas station. This is where you’ll let your guard down.

Of course, you’ll also want to keep those keys in a safe spot. Most dirt bikes come with two keys so keep the spare in a safe spot somewhere and ideally not in the trailer.

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