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21 Dirt Bike Riding Tips [#7 Is Awesome]

Right so you’ve got a dirt bike to go riding with and you’re new! We’re going to guess that you’re super motivated to really improve your skills.

These 21 dirt bike riding tips will help you simply get better behind the bars and essentially become a better rider on 2-wheels.

This applies whether you’re just into recreation or racing MX or enduros. Given the evolution of models now available in the dirt bike world, the sport is now accessible to riders of all backgrounds.

Best Dirt Bike Riding Tips

There are many things to learn and we will cover plenty of them here. Through learning to ride your dirt or trail bike properly, your skills in throttle control, selecting the right gear, clutch control and situational awareness on the trails will improve massively.

From this you can expect to power more confidently through turns and handle varying terrains at any speeds. Essentially – you’ll be safer and faster.

This all begins with practice and lots of it. You can’t expect to become Travis Pastrana or Ricky Brabec overnight.

For total beginners, here’s our 21 dirt bike riding tips that will massively improve your skills:

1. Learn To Use The Brakes Properly

It’s much easier and often safer to use the front brakes, but using the rear brakes softly is also recommended. At times if you apply too much rear brake then you’ll feel it locking up and while this feels unsafe, it can also lead to faster track times.

Dirt Bike Riding Tips brake control
Braking at the right time with solid control is key

Excessive use of the front brake and catching it too quick could send you over the handlebars. At the same time, slowing down too gradually is also counter-productive for fast flowing enduro tracks and competitive racing.

The trick is to find where you can stop as quickly as possible while also maintaining control. Practice stopping hard in a straight line in an open and flat area multiple times and you’ll get a good sense of feeling and control.

2. Grip With Your Dirt Bike With Your Knees

Often we see new dirt bike riders using their hands in a death-grip position. Wrong move! This will fatigue you very quickly and you’ll be out of the game in under an hour.

This rider is gripping with his knees while his wrists and arms are quite loose

Riding a dirt bike is very different than riding a mountain bike. You’ve got a large area at the front for the fuel tank on a dirt bike and we always recommend beginners to grip with their knees. Modern day dirt bike trousers actually have grips sewn in for this very purpose.

Use those knees for grip so your arms can now be free to actually handle the bike properly. Your arms should actually be quite loose and you should build enjoy confidence to actually ride one-handed if needed.

3. Use Your Body Weight

As Bruce Lee said “Be Like Water, My Friend”. Use your body weight to help you with cornering as well as keeping the front tyre down when going full throttle.

Dirt Bike Riding Tips - Body Weight Control
Use your body weight to get around corners easier.

When you’re descending, it’s also good to keep your weight all the way back with weight on the rear wheel. If your front tyre locks then you’ve still got a second or two up your sleeve with your body weight at the rear of your dirt bike.

If you watch MX racing videos you’ll see riders turning with their leads pointing in the direction of travel. This heaps them get around those corners quickly.

4. Master Your Dirt Bike Throttle Control

Learning to throttle out properly ensures you can actually accelerate properly and are maximizing the entire rev range for your motorcycle.

Throttle control is important existing corners and ascending hills

You’ll want to switch gears at the right time for the current conditions and the upcoming ascent, descent or corner and you’ll want to do this as smoothly as possible.

Not only can good throttle control help you improve your speed, but also help you slow down your dirt bike too through gear compression. Ensure you’re properly ‘revving out’ without reaching the red line if you’re optimizing for speed.

5. Know Your Gear Ratios

Knowing how fast you travel in each gear and how aggressive you get up to speed is very helpful for simply becoming a better rider. With most dirt bikes, the lower gears are where you’ll get the most aggressive acceleration and need to change up quickly.

Know your gear ratios
Master those gear ratios with practice and adjustments where needed

If your terrain is open country side and you’re a speed demon as opposed to the tight forest rider, then you may wish to upgrade your rear sprocket which will give you a bit ‘extra’ on the throttle with wider ratios.

Knowing your gears is also best done through listening to your motor, as opposed to listening to the rev range. To practice, we recommend finding a wide open area with no other dirt bikes around so you can hear when you’re revving out and ready for the next gear.

6. Follow Existing Riding Lines

If you’re racing or simply partaking in an organized dirt bike ride, then it’s always best to follow existing riding lines with fresh ruts and lines. Other riders have already figured out where to take their front tyres and experienced riders are always up in front.

Follow existing riding lines
Follow where riders have been before instead of forging a new track to look cool

Also observe how they rode up those hills. Did they simply keep the power on or did they back off in certain sections? Did they stand in the attack position or simply sit and ride it all the way through?

These existing riding lines are also those which have compacted soil. There’s nothing worse than having your dirt bike bogged or simply slipping over in a muddy section when everyone else chose the existing line. Success leaves clues out there.

7. Train Your Eyes To Be Like a Pack Predator

You really need to stay alert out there and avoid any accidents which could impact you or other riders. Being mindful of what’s coming up on the track and what’s happening around you is very important.

Look at those eyes! This rider knows where he’s going

In the wild of the animal world, pack predators look for their targets as well as their hazards. Often we see riders with tunnel vision who are simply focused on the next obstacle. Where they look is where their handlebars also go. Wrong move!

You need to look ahead, left and right…as well as listening for dirt bikes coming up behind you! It’s quite a lot to take in and you need to be prepared mentally as you often aren’t riding solo. Now don’t get us wrong here – you will also want to look where you want to go, but don’t ignore the hazards on the trails.

8. Become a Clutch Master

Once you’ve got the gear ratios mastered, you also want to become a master of your own clutch. You’ll want to know *exactly* where that contact point is.

Learn your clutch control is an open area without distracting noises

Avoid dumping the clutch or applying too much gas. This costs you lap times, acceleration, fuel and also creates more wear on your clutch and gearbox. Let’s not forget the embarassment of a non-intended wheelie or motor stall.

For many riders, it takes months until clutch and gear control become second nature. There is nothing that really speeds up this process other than practice and using the same dirt bike over and over again.

9. Learn The Attack Stance

To really become a performance rider, you’ll want to get away from the ‘Sunday rider’ style of sitting on your seat and cruising along with all the time in the world.

 Learn the attack stance
Notice this rider isn’t exactly sitting down. He’s crouching and has bent knees and elbos.

If you really pay attention to the top dirt bike and enduro riders in the world, they all have an attack stance. That is – knees bent, elbows bent and they look 50 to 200m ahead on the trail.

As they are riding significantly faster, they can absorb the shocks with their body after their dirt bike suspension has worn away most of it. This stance is also quite neutral and is ideal for mild hill climbs and descents.

10. Use The Two-Figure Rule

What is the two-figure rule? No – it’s NOT something done late at night in the bedroom. In the dirt biking world, the two-figure rule provides better handlebar control for the rider.

Yep – two fingers is all you need most of the time. This applies to dirt bike riding as well. 😉

We’ve mentioned prior about using your knees to grip. As you do, your hands can become more lighter and nimble. A mistake that many beginner dirt bike riders make is using their entire hands to use both the front brake and clutch.

All you really need is 2 figures as these levers don’t have that much resistance to be properly used. The two outer fingers and the thumb should remain on the grips while the index and middle fingers are used on the levers when necessary.

11. Have Your Suspension Adjusted or Upgraded

If you’re a new rider, then this is best done is a dirt bike shop. They’ll often offer to do this for you if you’re buying one from a dealership.

Have your suspension adjusted or upgraded
Consider rear and front suspension upgrades for better control and improved lap times

Essentially manufacturers always set up the suspension for average-weight riders of average height and experience. You’re probably not that person.

By having your suspension adjusted or even upgraded you can actually get better control and improve your riding skills and lap times. With suspension it’s essentially the sag with the springs. You can actually do this yourself with some YouTube tutorials.

12. Build a Better Cockpit

Most dirt bikes come stock standard. After a few months, they are anything but stock-standard because riders realize how much adjusting they need.

If you’re new to riding, you’ll soon discover that many dirt bike riders make changes to their handlebar areas. But why? Manufacturers set their cockpit areas up for average riders just as they do for suspension. You aren’t average and to find the best fit takes some experimenting.

You may find narrower bars or wider bars are better suited for you and your style of riding. There are actually many more variations in handlebars which include the rise, height, control length and amount of clamp area. We personally like anything from Renthal and Protaper.

13. Adjust The Footpegs

If you’re riding your dirt bike long distances then eventually you’ll get sick of the short footpegs commonly found on dirt bikes. Extending these out an extra inch or two can literally make all the difference between confidence and concern.

Dirt bike riding tips - Adjust the footpegs
Notice the foot peg here on this dirt bike really extends out for the rider which undoubtedly leads to more confidence when standing on the pegs.

Most riders on stock dirt bikes are riding with their instep as opposed to the ball of their feet. Given how much wider dirt and adventure bike boots are when compared to the human foot, manufacturers are simply making pegs too lean so they look flush in the dealership but don’t meet real-world requirements. An upgrade to a proper enduro or adventure-spec foot peg is one best things that a beginner can do to improve their skills.

This way your ankles can really move around properly and securely while becoming another swivel and shock absorber. Not only this, but it really helps with steering as you can now steer with your feet, not just your hands or body weight.

14. Use Bunny-Hops To Get Over Obstacles

Just like when you were a kid and did little wheelies to get over obstacles, you really need to do the same with riding your new dirt bike.

Use bunny-hops to get over obstacles to improve your dirt bike riding.
Once you learn bunny hopping, you won’t go back to casual riding. It becomes like 2nd nature.

By lifting up the handlebars and doing bunny-hops, you reduce the pressure on your front suspension while also lessening the shock on your arms and shoulders. Most importantly – you simply get over these hazards quickly and on to the next.

To go one better – add a little throttle just before the log/bump that you’re coming up to pop that front tyre slightly in the air while leaning back. The rear tyre should gracefully pounce over it.

15. Wear The Right Protective Gear

We’re not referring simply wearing protective gear. Yes – that’s important and yes, you should wear it. Instead, we’re referring to the right gear for the conditions.

If you’re wearing a winter enduro jacket on a hot day, you’ll simply fatigue so quickly that your riding skills will dimish. If you’re on a group ride, expect to resort to being the last rider before the sweep.

When going for a ride, plan to wear the right gear and always ensure you have a hydration pack, even for a cold day. You’ll be surprised by how much water you drink out there.

16. Adjust Your Dirt Bike Tyre Pressures

Tyre pressures really are based on different riding conditions and adjusting the tyre pressures really can improve your speed and reduce the ‘jumpy’ nature of your handlebars when transcending hazards.

Adjust your dirt bike tyre pressures
Dirt bike tyre pressures only need mild adjustments unlike 4×4’s.

If you’re in a rocky outcrop area then you’ll want to pump up pretty high to avoid pinch-flats. Sand riding with a dirt bike or on a muddy MX track and you’ll want to drop them a little.

A note on this though: 4×4 enthusiasts typically drop their tyre pressures very low when riding on sand or mud to have a bigger tyre footprint. On a dirt bike, you’ll only want to drop a little bit of air since your dirt bike weights much less than a car and will still ‘glide’ over the sand.

17. After a Few Months, Start Smoothing It All Out

Riding motorbikes offroad is like yoga. Yes – we’re serious about that. If you look at the best enduro and MX riders in the world, what they do is move into a flow-state with everything smooth and consistent.

Dirt bike riding tips and progression

You won’t find crazy stopping or inconsistent gear changes. Instead they simply maintain momentum and flow on the trails whether riding for recreation or racing on the competitive scene.

Smoothing it all out will stop you becoming fatigued in the first 20 minutes of a weekend ride. Sure – you might not be so fast on the trails initially but you’ll enjoy the ride and gradually improve your skills.

18. Know Your Existing Limits

Did you know other riders who are total show-offs? They aren’t the type to read dirt bike riding tips and believe they simply know it all. You’re just waiting for them to take a spill on the tracks. Yeah…don’t be that person.

Know your existing limits on a dirt bike

Most dirt bike riders are males and therefore give in to peer pressure. Avoid this bravado and need to show off. Beginners to the dirt bike riding world should focus on enjoyment as opposed to the need to prove skills and ability.

Avoid powerful big bore bikes. For total beginners, we recommend a 250 initially and a 450 after 2 to 3 years of riding, unless you are sand riding most of the time. Also – join a riding club and hang at the back of the pack and see how they ride.

Your main focus should always be on coming home with a smile on your face, not injuries and scars to prove your worth. That starts with finding an enthusiast bunch of fellow dirt bike riders who have less of an ego.

19. Buy The Right Upgrades For Your Dirt Bike

We’ve talked about the right dirt bike protection gear but many people also forget about the gear for their dirt bikes. You know – things that can improve its performance.

dirt bike riding tips and upgrades

Let’s start with the tyres. Most manufacturers use pretty average tyres and when it’s time to upgrade, we’d recommend spending the little extra for quality. Tyres can massively improve your lap times and cornering abilities, but also reduce your likelihood of a pucture.

Other upgrades include steering dampners and a quality seat. The dampner can create more of a flow and reduce the ‘stutter’ when steering through heavily rutted sections, while seats simply lead to move comfort. Some of them have extra grip so you can further use your knees.

Lastly – the grips. Most grips are pretty average even if you have a good set of dirt bike gloves on. Get yourself on to a brand-name grip that’s designed for your style of riding, whether that’s MX, weekend trails or enduro racing.

20. Your Mindset Is Key

Riding a dirt bike is like learning anything new. It’s 80% psychology and 20% practice. One of the most often missed dirt bike riding tips is based on your mindset and honestly, you and your mindset will make or break your abilities out there on the trails.

Build a strong mindset

Yeah…we get it. Thinking positive and motivational pump-ups aren’t the style of dirt bike riders globally. We’re already pretty well sorted in our lives, but trust us…this stuff works.

Keep an open mind and be prepared to learn from others who are much more experienced than you. But just remember – no matter how experienced you find other riders, they are also still learning every day, albeit with more experience under their belt.

Instead of thinking “I won’t be able to do this”, just break things down into bite-sized chunks. That way the next 200-foot hill climb starts to look easy once you plan it out and see how other riders accomplish it without breaking traction at the rear wheel.

21. Get Some Professional Dirt Bike Riding Lessons

Dirt bike riding lessons aren’t just reserved for those who are beefing up their MX skills or are becoming adventure motorcycling junkies. Joining a dirt bike riding school or simply getting some private lessons 1-on-1 is plenty to help you master the skills.

How do you find these? Often you won’t find trail bike riding schools out there. The best way is to join a club and find who’s running it and approach them to see if they can help you with a few hours of training and coaching.

Call up your local dealership which often can point you in the right direction. You can also jump into local dirt bike riding Facebook groups and see who’s leading the group as they’ll be open to spending a few hours with you one afternoon to help you improve your skills.

Trust us – it’s only going to cost you a few hundred dollars but creates so much confidence out there on the trails. Often these guys and girls just want to see beginners become more capable riders and don’t have the judgement that MX riders typically have.

It’s time to start

We hope these dirt bike riding tips have really opened your mind as to what’s possible. What was your favorite? You can let us know in the comments.

Just remember that riding a dirt bike offroad as a beginner isn’t hard. It just takes lots of practice and a willingness to learn.

Find a cool group of riders to hang with and follow their lines. There is a lot that beginners can learn from other riders who have been on the trails before.

Fuel up that bike and start twisting that throttle a little more.

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Dirt Bike Sand Riding: How To Stay Upright

One of the best things to do on a dirt bike is to go sand riding. It’s a lot of fun if it’s done properly.

Many riders prefer to stick to the mud or rocky trails as they think the soft stuff is too challenging. While it’s certainly twitchy, once you master it…it will open up a whole world of fun.

Dirt bike sand riding is actually easy and a lot of fun too. Whether it’s the dunes, the beach or merely sugar sand, let’s help you get started today.

Getting started with dirt bike sand riding

First up – dress the part. Even though you’re going to fall on sand and it will be soft, a dirt bike helmet just isn’t enough. Wear all your standard protection gear.

It’s also best to pick your day well. If it’s recently rained then this is a good thing as the sand is wet creating better traction and control for the rider. Some riders head to the beach where they can better hone their skills and develop their technique on their own bike.

Getting started with dirt bike sand riding

Now, before you go tearing up, you’ll want to lower your tyre pressures. Dirt bike riders often lower their tyre pressures anyway but ADV riders are apprehensive, however, you can lower a few PSI to create a wider rear-tyre footprint. This is going to reduce the risk of getting your dirt bike bogged in the sand.

The 3 basic fundamentals

There are 3 basic fundamentals to win at this game of sand riding. Once you both know these techniques and master them, then you’ll be blasting sand everywhere in no time.

The correct dirt bike sand riding position

Such techniques require lots of practise so keep at it. Essentially, it’s hard to learn from behind a screen.

The 3 fundamentals of sand riding are:

  1. Keeping powering on forever. You really need to keep that gas planted and stay high in your rev range. Go to a lower gear if you need to, but keep that power blasting through. As you keep that power on, the technique lightens the front wheel and allows the rear tyre to dig further in for traction.
  2. Let your knees grip the bike. Too many beginners make the mistake of letting their arms go into a death-grip on the handlebars. Sand is naturally twitchy and you’ll be inclined to hang on tight, but you shouldn’t. Instead, use your knees to grip the fuel tank and let those arms go relatively loose.
  3. Your body position is key. Don’t sit on your dirt bike unless you have the confidence of a Dakar Rally rider. You need to be in ‘attack mode’ with your knees and elbows bent, while also being as far back as possible. Since you have the power on hard, this will naturally be possible.

Literally – that’s it. When it comes to turning, you certainly can’t turn as you typically do on a forest track. Instead, you need to lean mildly into corners while powering on. Essentially, you need to plan your turns long before you’ve done it.

Wheelies are recommended

You might notice that a lot of dirt bike riders pop wheelies when riding on the sand. Not only is this OK, but it is recommended and often a by-product of good body positioning and throttle control.

As you do these wheelies, it stops the front tyre from charting its own course through the sand. Unfortunately given the volatile nature of dirt bike riding on sand, it’s hard to prolong these wheelies so be prepared for some instability when landing.

If you get to the point where you are regularly lifting the front tyre off the ground, then this is the ideal point. If you need to keep that front tyre down, then simply pull the clutch in slightly.

The right bike for sand riding

While those fundamentals are important, so too is your dirt bike choice. Taking a 150cc farm bike or a 1200cc BMW are both not recommended.

A 250cc dirt bike can ride on sand but only if it’s 2-stroke. 4-stroke 250’s will struggle unless the rider is very light and is well experienced on the sand.

The right dirt bike bike for sand riding

We would recommend a 450cc 4-stroke at a minimum so you can have a good technique to stay upright. This is typically what Dakar riders use during their annual rally with much success.

If sand riding is something that you’ll expect to do regularly, then look at tyres which are sand-orientated. These have paddles as opposed to knobs.

One thing to note

Dirt bike sand riding is easy for you once you practice it, but very hard on your bike’s components. You’ll probably have to take additional fuel with you while ensuring you clean it properly after each ride. This is definitely true for riding on the beach since saltwater is terrible for dirt bikes.

Light CRC spray is great for your chain as it deflects sand from sticking to it. Also, some salt-away spray is a good idea for some components.

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Closing Your Tailgate with 2 Dirt Bikes in a Short Bed Truck

Can you have 2 dirt bikes in the tray of your truck or ute and still close the tailgate? Yes, it’s possible and we’ll show you how.

Yes, 2 bikes in 1 bed. And no, we’re not talking about long beds. For us, it’s just 6-foot beds.

Close the tailgate with single or twin dirt bikes

Curious if you can fit a dirt bike in a truck bed with your tailgate up? We know the answer:

Close the truck tailgate with single or twin dirt bikes

Yes – it’s possible to fit any most types of dirt bikes into a truck bed AND close the tailgate up. Fitment is guaranteed with 8-foot trays, however, it’s also quite possible with 6 and 5.5-foot trays, even with 2 dirt bikes.

It all comes down to both the dimensions and how you load up the bikes in the first place. If you’re shopping for the right truck or ute to haul your dirt bikes, then a measuring tape will come in handy at the dealership. Even better – bring your dirt bike with you for the most accuracy.

Dirt bike length

It’s always best that you measure your KTM, Yamaha, Honda or Suzuki.

Most 250cc to 450cc dirt bikes are 80 inches or 6.7 feet long from tyre to tyre. You can fit a single dirt bike in most 5 and a half foot truck beds by going diagonal.

Different trucks have slight variations. You may have to reduce your dirt bike tyre pressure slightly to properly close the tailgate.

Loading a truck with 2 dirt bikes on the back

The first thing you’ll want to do is put both bikes on to the tray.

Some people load one bike forwards and one bike backwards. From our experience, this adds little to no benefit. It’s simply much safer and easier to load a dirt bike going up and forwards into the tray.

This video does well to explain this concept:

So not only can you fit 2 dirt bikes into the back of a truck tray, but you can also bring your gear and loading ramp as well.

While this video doesn’t show it, we do recommend an additional tiedown strap over the rear tyres as a precaution. You may wish to pack your riding gear in the passenger seats or into a waterproof duffel bag so it doesn’t get wet while you’re going down the highway.

4 types of truck beds

There are 3 main types of truck beds. By knowing each truck bed, you’re able to properly ascertain which one can and can’t effectively get a dirt bike in the back with the tailgate up.

Compact (5 feet and less)

It’s essentially impossible to put the tailgate up with a compact truck bed. Australian utes are typical of this since they are much shorter than those in the United States.

Compact truck tray with dirt bike

Often, the beds are 4 to 5 feet long. Even if you do go diagonal, it ain’t going to fit. But remember, the tailgate on most trucks adds an additional 2-feet in most instances of usable space. Therefore you don’t really need to buy a dirt bike trailer to get your bikes around.

You can also overhang slightly as long as your rear tyre is firmly on the rear.

Of course, most kids dirt bikes will fit on any truck tray while still allowing the tailgate to go up. The exceptions are the 150cc and above bikes which require measuring first.

Short tray (5 to 6 feet)

Some adult dirt and trail bikes will fit inside a short tray with the tailgate up, but most won’t unfortunately. You really need 5.5 feet of space to have a fighting chance here.

It’s best to measure corner to corner diagonally. Remember that you’ll need to account for some additional width of your dirt bike tyre, as they won’t be able to touch the very corners. A 100mm margin (50mm for each corner) is a good idea.

Long tray bed (6 to 7 feet)

Most adult dirt bikes will be able to fit inside a long tray bed and allow the owner to raise their tail gate. In fact, you can often fit 2 dirt bikes though they will have a slight turn of the handlebars to do it properly.

In our experience, for absolute certainty, the long tray bed is the way to go. Enduro, trail and MX bikes can almost always fit inside long tray beds without needing to go diagonal. This means you can still see clearly out the rear vision mirror.

Super long tray (7 feet and above)

Now we’re on to the big raptors. These are the 7 feet and above category which guarantee that you’ll be able to bring 2 adult dirt bikes and have a closed tailgate.

Even better, you can go even further than this!

You can fit 3 dirt bikes in a truck or ute tray that is 7 feet or longer AND have room to lift up the tail gate. Often the dirt bike in the centre is put in rear-wards if it’s an adult bike, or forwards if it’s a kids MX bike.

Indeed for the serious dirt enthusiast, the best (albeit expensive) way to go is the super long trays. These are popular in the United States, Canada, Europe and occasionally you’ll find these in Australia.

Pro tips for loading

Never loaded a dirt bike into the back of your truck before? We’ve got some tips to help you.

  1. Have someone help you. Even if it’s your partner or kids, it’s always good to have someone strong enough to just hold the dirt bikes upright while you do everything else. After some practice, you can load up dirt bikes solo.
  2. Use your engine power. Yes – you can use your dirt bike throttle and power to get up the dirt bike ramp. It’s much easier than pushing 300lbs or metal up a ramp, especially after a hard day of riding the local trails and tracks. On the way down, use your front brake.
  3. Use quality tiedown straps. We’re not looking for anything cheap here. Go for high quality because the difference between expensive and cheap is only a few dollars. Your motorbikes are worth so much more than this so use 3 to 4 straps.
  4. Don’t forget your loading ramp. Nothing is worse than getting to your destination and forgetting your loading ramp. Riding your dirt bike directly off your tray is a terrible idea.
  5. Test your work. Once you’re done with the loading and the straps are on, you should shake your dirt bike side to side. Is there excessive movement? Then you need to put on more tension. Inherently, your dirt bikes will always have some mild movement because of the forks and tyre pressure, and this is OK.
Loading dirt bikes on to a truck tray solo
Image courtesy of Dirt Bike Channel

It’s always going to take some practice to do it properly especially on your own. If there are other dirt bike or trail bike riders nearby, you can always ask for a hand.

In summary

While it’s certainly possible to get dirt bikes into a tray and have the tailgate up, having a tailgate down still works fine. In fact, this is how most people transport their dirt bikes if they opt not to buy a trailer.

One thing to note is that you’ll have to definitely strap down any luggage like loading ramps and accessories if you can’t close the tailgate because of the dirt bike length. The last thing you’ll want is these items sliding around and falling out the tray while you’re going up a hill on the highway.

As with anything – safety first and enjoy the trails!

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Dirt Bike Jumping: How to Jump like a Boss

So you’ve just bought a dirt bike and want to learn how to jump over hills, so in this guide, we’ll teach you how to do jumping safely and quickly.

In a previous guide, we taught you how to jump with a heavy adventure bike. This is a good guide if you’re an adventure rider, but what if you’ve got a much lighter dirt bike? Well – dirt bike jumping just got a whole lot more fun!

How to jump with a dirt bike

Jumping successfully with an MX dirt bike is both an art and a science requiring smooth throttle and clutch control, with taking on a central standing position for the rider.

Dirt Bike Jumping: How to Jump with a dirt bike

But let’s break this down for you into bite-sized chunks:

1. Set up your dirt bike first

Most accidents happen because riders didn’t have their dirt bike properly set up first. You need to be able to reach all your controls easily when jumping which includes the brake and clutch levers. Also – don’t forget to adjust your suspension for a more enjoyable rodeo session.

2. Scout for the right-sized jumps

There is no chance that you’ll be able to hit a Travis Pastrana jump your 1st time around. Even he started small and grew over time. What you’ll want to find are jumps that are appropriate for your size and experience level. For an adventure motorcycle, we recommended 10 inches while dirt bikes can go for 15 inch high jumps initially.

3. Ensure the path is clear

We wouldn’t recommend double-sided jumps initially. These are where there is a landing ramp after the jump. If you come up short or overshoot this, then you’re likely going to crash and could either injure yourself or damage your motorcycle. Look for a clear pathway after the jump itself.

4. Keep your dirt bike straight

A dirt bike which is jumping while cornering is likely to crash. You’ll want to ensure you hit the jump nice and straight to ensure a steady landing. If it’s a windy day then take this into account – you may have to ride slightly into the wind.

5. Crouch when jumping

Crouching is also known as the attack position, where you are more aggressive but also the ablest to respond to the terrain. This position with bent elbows and knees provides the best control while also being safe for your body parts. After a long day of jumping, you won’t feel so sore.

6. Select the right gear

You’ll want to keep the revs in the mid-range. For that reason, selecting the right gear for the jump, terrain and rider ability is very important. Often 3rd gear is ideal for total beginners, but don’t be afraid to adjust this based on your sprocket used and the gear ratios as they differ between motorcycle brands.

7. Throttle all the way

Throttle throughout the jump. There is little value in backing off and this will increase the chance of crashing if you do so. Use your clutch if you have to (to prevent stalling) but otherwise, especially for small jumps, keep that throttle right where you had it.

8. Land and ride on

Avoid the temptation to jump on the brakes immediately unless there is a hazard such as a tight corner. Instead, keep powering on after you land your dirt bike. This will help keep you upright while making you feel more confident like a boss.

MX and birt bike jumping tutorial

While we’ve shared some good tips here, it can be hard without a visual on just how to jump a dirt bike properly. Whether you’re on a backcountry trail or MX track, you’ll find this to be super helpful:

Our friends at the MX Factory demonstrate to beginners exactly how to jump their dirt bike properly. Essentially, focus on your body position, throttle delivery and landing with the throttle on.

The same principles apply to 2-stroke and electric motorcycles, though these have greater torque that needs to be taken into account. Electric bikes such as the KTM E-Ride also have no clutch but also have no chance of stalling mid-way through your jump.

In summary

Jumping with a dirt bike is easy once you master it. Unlike a fully loaded adventure motorcycle, you can certainly throw around a dirt bike and be less fatigued at the end of the day. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s also helpful to get you over obstacles while improving your MX lap times.

At the same time, such maneuvers are dangerous. Anyone who jumps well has years of riding experience behind them making the entire art of dirt bike jumping look easy. Just remember to wear all your protective gear and find a safe and quiet spot to practice. It’s all about the practice before perfection.

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Trail Bike Riding: A Complete Guide for Beginners

This is a complete guide for trail bike riding for total beginners who want to learn more about getting off the beaten track.

Let’s jump straight on.

Getting started with trail bike riding

Many riders cruise the nice smooth bitumen for years before waking up one morning and discover this entirely different world of trail riding with dirt bikes.

After all, road bikes have become too locked with technology. From traction control to variable speed trims, brake controllers to cruise control and heated handlebars and mirrors. Essentially we’ve lost the bare-bones approach to riding on two-wheels.

Let’s not forget of course the police who simply hate seeing road bikes even creep a few miles over the speed limit. Where all that power on tap goes unused.

Getting started with trail bike riding

Welcome to the world of trail riding with dirt bikes. Where your wildest adventures can become reality once again.

That thrill you once had when you first got your licence all those years ago. You can start living those feelings again, today.

But where do you start? How do you learn about everything? Well – with our complete beginner’s guide for trail riding.

1. Downgrade your bike

While that 600cc or 1000c superbike got you up to the speed limit in under 5 seconds, you can totally forget that offroad. It’s very much unnecessary.

For most novices, they simply buy the wrong bike. That 600cc KTM on the dealership floor looks nice and pretty until you realize just how heavy it is.

Sadly, most dealerships simply recommend a trail bike which is too heavy for the rider to manage on tight single track and riding uphills and downhills.

The lighter your bike is, the better it is. From handling to control, to straight forward rider confidence – avoid the heavy enduro bikes.

Essentially, we propose that you downgrade your bike to something more manageable. Let’s look at our basic trail bike rider sizing chart:

Frontaer Beginner Trail Bike Sizing Chart

Rider WeightEngine SizeRecommended?
60kgs /132lbs250cc and belowYes – well suited
70kgs / 154lbs250cc and belowYes – well suited
80kgs / 176lbs250cc and belowYes – but will lack power
90kgs / 198lbs250cc and belowNo – limited power for rider
60kg /132lbs250cc to 450ccNo – too much power
70kgs / 154lbs250cc to 450ccDepends on fitness and experience
80kgs / 176lbs250cc to 450ccYes – well suited
90kgs / 198lbs250cc to 450ccYes – well suited
60kg /132lbs450cc to 650ccNo – too much power
70kgs / 154lbs450cc to 650ccNo – too much power
80kgs / 176lbs450cc to 650ccDepends on fitness and experience
90kgs / 198lbs450cc to 650ccDepends on fitness and experience
60kg /132lbs650cc and aboveNo – way too heavy unless adventure riding
70kgs / 154lbs650cc and aboveNo – way too heavy unless adventure riding
80kgs / 176lbs650cc and aboveNo – way too heavy unless adventure riding
90kgs / 198lbs650cc and aboveNo – way too heavy unless adventure riding

As you can see, the smaller bikes are almost always the better choice. If it doubts, you can go for a slightly bigger size than a 250cc.

The only instance where you’ll want more power is sand riding, though, for many riders, they won’t be doing too much riding in the Sahara desert.

2. Wear the right gear

Perhaps the most important thing is to actually get the right trail bike riding gear.

While we’re quick to protect the kids with riding gear, most adults try to go with the basics. That is until they crash and realize what a world of pain they are in.

There are many options out there with many brands providing excellent value. It’s often a case of getting what you pay for and you’ll find bargains on Craiglist/Gumtree often.

For the basics, we recommend:

  • A very high-quality helmet that is breathable. Go into the dealership and try a few on. Don’t buy these online as sizing is difficult.
  • Paring the helmet with the perfect set of goggles. You’ll need several different lenses: day, night and jungle riding.
  • High-quality dirt bike riding gloves. Even gloves from the adventure or MX aisles work very well and cost very little.
  • A set of either dirt bike or adventure riding boots. These are different and the type you choose depends on your style of riding.
  • The right clothing. Leave the jeans at home and invest in riding trousers and a quality jersey paired with elbow and knee pads
  • If you value your spinal health and want to reduce the risk of quadriplegia then we recommend a neck brace.

You might also want to pack a quality backpack with a hydration bladder where you can also fit a puncture repair kit and some healthy snacks. Also, don’t forget the first-aid kit as you’re likely to crash and still injure yourself, despite your best intentions.

3. Join group trail bike rides

There is no reason for you to go on this new journey alone. There are many trial bike riding clubs where you can join an organized ride with experienced folk.

Many of them have what we call ‘sweep riders’ – essentially riders who stay at the back of the pack and ensure the slower riders aren’t left behind.

Not only will you make new friends, but you’ll also discover new riding spots and feel more confident knowing that there is the backup right then and there.

Our recommendation is that you choose the back of the pack. Let the group leader know that you’re new to offroad riding and you need to build confidence.

Everyone has been a beginner at some stage in their journey. They will respect your honesty and let other riders know to keep an eye out for you.

4. Own the apprentice title

Let’s face it – you’re going to crash. And you’re going to crash more than once too. You’re an apprentice and you’re learning to ride offroad which is different.

Instead of being frustrated, choose to own the title. From this place, you’re able to open your mind to the potential of getting better as a rider.

The best way to learn how to be a better rider experiences on the trails. The 2nd best way is YouTube and the many videos dedicated to skills development.

You could easily spend hours watching all the content here. But don’t get too far stuck down this rabbit hole as you also need to get on the bike and start practising.

5. Remember where you’re riding

Riding on the road is simple. You follow the signs and the road markings. As long as you stay within the speed limit then you won’t get into much trouble at all.

However, trail bike riding is different. You’re now offroad and sometimes on other people’s land. Look out for signs and leave livestock gates exactly as you found them.

Keep in mind that dirt bikes are loud and often cause track damage. Do your best to reduce this and slow down when passing houses and other offroad vehicles.

Every month key riding places are being shut down. This is unfortunate but it does happen, often due to irresponsible dirt bike rider behaviour. Respect these areas.

6. Get used to the sore body

When riding on the road, you almost go into a meditative state on long sections of the highway. This won’t happen on the dirt due to the rough road conditions.

Your body is going to get sore, so get used to it. Pack some muscle relief cream in your backpack if you’re doing a multi-day trail ride so you can get some relief.

A great recommendation is to stretch before and after each ride. Yes – you will look quite silly, but it saves your body from a world of pain and soreness.

7. Hydration is key

One of the key reasons that your body gets sore is a lack of hydration. It’s very popular for dirt bike and enduro riders to pack hydration tablets and CamelBaks.

You’ll want to focus on staying hydrated. While you will need to go to the toilet more often (typically behind the closest tree, even for women), you need to stay hydrated.

A lack of hydration leads to mental fogginess which impairs your riding ability. That same hydration can lead to sore bones and sickness after your ride.

Many trail riders like to have a beer or two after a hard day of riding. If you’re doing a multi-day ride, then keep this in mind and drink more water accordingly.

8. Pay for some lessons

While you do have your motorcycle licence, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to ride properly offroad on fire trails and dirt bike tracks.

Trail bike riding lessons

Our advice: Seek out motorbike schools that offer extra dirt bike skill development lessons. There are dozens out there that help you refine skills on the trail.

A 2-day course is likely going to cost $500 but will save you from damage to your new trail bike. Plus it will make you a better rider within organized group rides.

9. This ain’t MX so don’t start racing

Many newcomers make the mistake that motocross = trail riding. They are very different types of riding. Let’s explain…

MX (Dirt Bike) RidingTrail Bike Riding
Is done on a set circuit
Focuses on lap times
Riders are very competitive
Dirt bikes are often 2-stroke
Jumps and wheelies are common
Bikes are almost always unregistered
The focus is on winning
Can be done anywhere where it’s legally permitted (forest tracks etc)
Focuses on having fun with a group of like-minded friends
Riders focus on skill development and simply finishing
Trail bikes are almost always quieter 4-stroke nowadays
Jumps and wheelies are only done by the most experienced riders
Most commonly they are registered for road use with mirrors and number plates
The focus is on getting home uninjured with no damage to the trail bike

For that reason, don’t go ballistic on a group ride to show off your skills. No one will really respect it and you may not be welcome back next time.

Instead, just focus on having fun and staying with the riding ability of the group. You can leave the racer-boy tactics at home for another time.

Starting today with trail bike riding

It’s pretty simple – get a small dirt bike to learn trail bike riding on initially. For many people, a 250cc 4-stroke road-registered trail bike is enough. Our recommendations are the Yamaha WR250R, Honda CRF250L and the KTM 250EXC.

From there, find some easy trails. Learn the basics then join a club for some group rides.

Most importantly – never stop learning and exploring the backcountry and many great trails!

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