Motocross tracks boast overflowing gates this summer. We're not talking mostly full, something we all appreciate. But classes stacked with riders.
And practice days more like a rider's reunion.
Turns out, when people pretty much get stuck at home, put off vacations and delay spending on other big ticket items, they still need something to do. Taking up a new hobby or returning to an old one seems like just what the doctor ordered to keep the coronavirus blues at bay as we see a mounting passion for the outdoors and riding dirt bikes during the pandemic.
Please don't confuse riding a dirt bike with taking up (insert any other hobby here). Inherent danger exists with riding dirt bikes and you might be giddier than a 10 year old on Christmas morning to get going, but slow your roll, sit back and stare at that thing of beauty sitting in the garage just a bit longer. We want you to stick with this investment and hobby because too often injuries or overall frustration mount quickly dampening your enthusiasm. Soon, that dirt bike you once couldn't wait to ride now collects dust until such time you post it on Craigslist.
Dirt Bike Riding Tips for Beginners
Therefore, we put together some tips for beginning riders which also work for those with past experience who have not geared up in a while. Don't let the old adage "it's like riding a bike" fool you. You might be a few steps ahead of the beginner but the difference between today's bikes and even those from just five years ago will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Before you do anything, read Do This Before Riding Your New Dirt Bike, a quick guide to some easy pre-ride checks you should do on your new dirt bike. The same applies if you bought a used one.
1. Take it Slow
Please don't grip it and rip it. Take it easy your first time out and get used to riding on two wheels with power at the slight twist of the throttle. Hitting a Motocross track on your first ride makes little sense so find an easy flowing trail system without all the jumps, curves and elevation changes present on a track that often spell quick disaster for beginner riders.
2. Take Dirt Bike Riding Lessons
One on one lessons work best and gets you up to speed faster, but at least take a dirt bike riding class so you learn basic mechanics and tips from the pros. With time, you can certainly teach yourself but expect to miss out on streamlined approaches and other simple means to riding execution that only hold you back until learned. Grip with your legs!
3. Buy the Best Riding Gear and Protection You Can Afford
Spend the most of your riding gear budget on a helmet. From there get the best riding boots and goggles you can afford. We recommend wearing typical dirt bike riding gear consisting of pants, jersey and gloves but if jeans, heavy long-sleeved shirt and some type of thin mechanics gloves allow you to ride, budget-wise, then go for it and save for the true riding gear later. A chest protector is also not a bad idea.
4. Find Riding Friends
You probably already have friends who ride dirt bikes but if not, find some. Attending a riding class opens the door pretty wide for this opportunity to find others in your experience level and your riding instructor can also help on this front. Otherwise, message boards and even showing up at a track or popular trail can get you introduced to other dirt bike enthusiasts.
5. Ask Questions
So many places exist for you to ask riding questions and get answers. Message boards, your riding instructor (see why we suggest taking a class), the MotoSport blog has tons of riding tips and all those riding friends you'll get should help. Ideally, you have an experienced riding buddy who can provide guidance and direction as well as answer any and all of your questions.
6. Learn Basic Maintenance
A dirt bike requires near constant routine maintenance. Use the owner's manual as a guide for the service intervals, then learn how to change the oil and oil filter, clean and oil the air filter, and change the coolant. This saves you time and money. Eventually, you should learn how to replace brake pads, replace the clutch and perform a top and bottom end, among other things. Riding friends help greatly in this arena.
7. Have Fun
If you have never thrown a leg over a dirt bike, that first minute you ride even when taking it slow quickly confirms why so many love and stick with this hobby and sport for life. It's fun, an adrenaline rush like no other and totally addicting.
Understand one thing: You will suck and suck for a long time. If fun only equals ripping laps around a track that first month then we have news for you. Your age will indeed determine how quickly you learn but even dialing in on basic mechanics takes quite a bit of seat time.
Enjoy the ride, figuratively and literally, as each day brings a new challenge and personal obstacles to overcome. Just remember when you fall get right back on and keep riding.