Need Turning Advice - Hard Pack and deep dust

17 replies to this topic
  • CJ_Baran

Posted July 31, 2002 - 05:28 AM


I am new to the MX scene and have an 02 426. I have the hang of jumping and the whole front wheel up and front wheel down issue in the air. But can not figure out the turns.

Colorado is in a major drought so the track I go to has not been watered for a while...and no rain. Basically the track is drier and harder than my mother's steaks she used to cook!

The only feedback I get that I am doing something wrong is that I am eating it in the turns on the hard pack. It happens to0 fast to really analyze what I am doing wrong.

Here is what I do know...I am crashing going into the turns. The front washes out. This is before I am applying throttle. I usually appply front brake and no rear.

Do you think that when I release the front brake the rebound of the fork is washing the front out?

As for the deep stuff...I go very slow and can not figure out how you whip through full throttle in this stuff. Any pointers? Once I crash on the hard pack I become an ulta wuss on the deep stuff.

Thanks in advance for you advice.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:13 AM


First thing is never use your front binder whilst in the turn, this is why you are locking up and sliding out.

Soft stuff is fun once you figure out how to work the bike. Many many factors in making the bike work in hard pack, Tires, air pressure, suspension, style and most of all experience.

First things first:

Here is what I do know...I am crashing going into the turns. The front washes out. This is before I am applying throttle. I usually apply front brake and no rear.

Again no front brake, Use back brake and compression


As for the deep stuff...I go very slow and can not figure out how you whip through full throttle in this stuff. Any pointers? Once I crash on the hard pack I become an ulta wuss on the deep stuff.

Soft Stuff + Slow = Get offs

Here is my opinion
In the soft stuff pick up the pace, the front end is easier to turn when it’s lite, remember this; weight has a tendency to go in the direction of its natural inertia. So if you in soft sandy / loam conditions if you are slow or shut off the bike dives in the direction the weight is going, reulting in the front washing or the front end wobble.
Gassing the bike through soft terrain pushes the bike through this, unloads the forks and allows the front tire to track respectively.

Power through the soft stuff and you will see how the bike is handling it.

Hard pack turns are tuff, just see me video :)

Try to stay off the front binder as you go into the turn and are committed, once the lean angle is committed your front brake should only have one finger on it. Use the power of the bike to swing the rear into the turn keeping the front lite.

Its all Practice practice and practice...

Opps Forgot, Body position is crucial in the soft stuff, stay just off center to the rear in soft stuff, keeping your but off the seat when possible. The bike willtrack if you let it, power makes all the diff in the world when traversing the soft stuff

I am runing 756's frnt / rear, Tire Pressure is 12 frnt 13 rear. If you tire preasure is to hard this will cause a major effect in handling. depending on your tire type you should be runing about 12 and 13psi

I allways say this, stand at the corners of a track, watch the fast guys and the slow guys, listen for the engine and how the come in, hit the gas and exit. Watch body position, hand movement and where there eyes are pointing. Ya the eyes, you willnotice the novices are looking at the front end or just in fron, the pros or faster guys there looking at the exit as there entering the corner.....

[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: E.G.O.**** ]

  • Hick

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:13 AM


Deep dust?

I’m no motocrosser, but it sounds to me like you need to get your weight more forward. It is hard to be TOO far up on the tank when entering a corner. Also, you may be suffering from a little target fixation; you look at the ground (hoping not to wash out) and that is where you are ending up. :)

Try to focus on looking up the track to the next obstacle, so when you are at the apex of a turn you should be looking directly up the next straight.

As for the deep dust (?) I would think much of the same applies. Try to be done with whatever slowing down you need to do BEFORE you apex the corner, then enter the corner with the gas on. In more sweeping corners you may try scooting over on the seat to keep your weight centered but help get the bike leaned over.

Hope this helps.

  • sirthumpalot

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:30 AM


I am definitely not a pro, probably not even very fast, but here's the tips that helped me with turning (I too was washing out the front wheel):
* Set your rear sag properly and slow down (turn in) your front rebound. If your rebound is too fast then it can push the front wheel out on you like you mentioned.
* It's OK to use the front brake into some turns but don't get carried away. It can take some practice. It's probably easier to be done with your braking before you start to turn.
* For hard pack get your weight forward and don't be in a hurry! Smooth throttle, no need to floor it. Smooth=fast
* For soft turns, once you're into the turn stay on the gas. Not wide open, but enough to keep some forward drive. You might even put your weight back a bit further than for hard packed turns so that you don't sink the front wheel and to help the back hook up. If you let off it's harder to keep the wheel in the berm and the front wheel can start to plow.
* for all turns, put some weight on the outside peg
* Always look where you WANT TO GO, not where your front wheel is pointed.

Hope this helps!

  • CJ_Baran

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:35 AM


Thanks for the tips. Less front brake...less tire pressure...I am running 15 front and rear. More gas in the soft stuff. As for the eyes...I race road bicycles so I can scream through turns and know how to look at the exit of the turn. I learned this the hard way. Unfortunately MX has too many variables...throttle, front brake, rear brake, stand, sit, lean forward, lean back, soft dirt, hard dirt, mud and etc. On a road bike you just look at where you are going always in the seated position, lower your center of gravity and blast through the turns and hope there is no sand on the road.

I need more practice...much more. Stock bars and new grips are on the way once I get this figured out.


  • Kirtwell

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:58 AM


I ride hard pack everyday. Just last night I worked on cornering for hours. It's mostly practice getting it right. I was getting frustrated because one time I'd hit the corner perfect and rail out full throttle and the next time I'd hit the corner and start washing and had to slow down.
I think the 2 things that will benifit you the most is not looking down at the turn...look at the exit point and the second would be to find the point on the seat that allows your front end to stick and not have the rear spin out. It's difficult to say the least.

Your video is great....I looked at it today and my co-workers (non riders) got a good laugh. One of them said he could out corner you on a 10 speed... :)

I didn't say it bro....but I did laugh :D

  • CJ_Baran

Posted July 31, 2002 - 07:21 AM


I think I will adjust the rebound. I am not braking in the corners. I brake approaching the corner and once I start the turn I am fully committed and turning with no brakes. The few times I have crashed is just as I am starting the lean and letting off the brake. So...I think it may be the rebound and a lot of practice.

This is a really tight track so I am braking really hard approaching the turn.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted July 31, 2002 - 07:21 AM


That video gets funnier every time i see it. glad I can break up the mundain at work..........

Here is a very good cleararticle on suspension setup

Plus Secrets of braking

Plus about tires

I have also a setup that is what I started with, I will post it when I get home

[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: E.G.O.**** ]

  • Hokie

Posted July 31, 2002 - 10:31 AM


Originally posted by CJ_Baran:
....Unfortunately MX has too many variables...throttle, front brake, rear brake, stand, sit, lean forward, lean back, soft dirt, hard dirt, mud and etc. On a road bike you just look at where you are going always in the seated position, lower your center of gravity and blast through the turns and hope there is no sand on the road.



The whole looking through the turn is crucial, it is hard with all the variables but looking through the corners and trying to "feel" what the bike is doing instead of "looking" at what the bike is doing helps tons.

Also when turning on flat corners:

1. Sit up on the tank
2. Put your butt crack on the outside edge of your seat, lean the bike over and keep your outside elbow up
3. Weight the outside peg
4. Practice looking through the turns

What track do you normally ride?

[ July 31, 2002: Message edited by: Hokie ]

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  • moto_madman

Posted July 31, 2002 - 11:21 AM


to add to what hokie said if you find that the rear tire has no traction sit a little farther back to get it to hook. Be careful though because if you get too far back the front will wash.

  • Shawn_Mc

Posted July 31, 2002 - 12:08 PM


Ego you need to go back and re-read the tire secrets in the MXA. If your running 13 in the rear, the rear probably wont bite as well as it should. Ive found that I end up at 14 in the front and 17 :) in the rear in my 756's. Check your "rim clean". I bet your rolling the tire over too far. I bet you wouldnt have fallen down in that video with a little more pressure in the tire.
Granted the tracks I usually ride arent much different than the freeways I take to get to them. Concrete, with a smattering of dust, until they water, then its like riding on ice. Nothing short of studds bite ice.

Biggest help WILL be elbows up. ELBOWS UP! SCREAM IT-ELBOWS UP, ELBOWS UP, ELBOWS UP. Also, if you use your leg for a brace, you'll need a brace for your leg. Your leg out is a counter balance. It shouldnt touch the ground, and hold it out as far foward as you can. It weights the front wheel and helps it stick.

  • therapture

Posted July 31, 2002 - 04:35 PM


For flat turns you need to do several things:

1) weight forward, head over handlebars, you should be able to SEE your front fender if you look down

2) elbows UP

3) outside leg SQUEEZE the bike, i.e., push your knee/leg INTO the radiator shroud. If you are doing this correctly, you WILL notice some fatigue in your legs after a few laps. Hell, I actually slightly dent inwards my radiator from squeezing so hard.

4) your butt should be up on the top corner of the seat, NOT leaning at the same angle as the bike. Think of it like this, if your bike is leaned say 30 degrees, then your upper body should be almost straight up, FORCING the weight straight down and making the side knobs grip more.

5) SMOOTH throttle control, try a gear higher and ROLL the gas on, no abrupt changes in throttle position which can set the bike to either power sliding OR decompression sliding

6) LOOK FORWARD once you have picked your line

  • CJ_Baran

Posted July 31, 2002 - 06:54 PM



I ride at Watkins mostly Tuesday and Thursdays around 5pm til dark.

I understand all the tips...but the elbows. I see all the pro's with their elbows up. What does this do?

When I would race my bicycle on the road we stuck our elbows out so we would have more room in the pack of 100+ riders. But, this was a personal space thing...had nothing to do with turning.

...butt crack on the edge of the seat...I have to stop riding my road bike. It has forced too many habits that don't apply to MX.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted August 01, 2002 - 02:46 AM



No way looks real shiny at the rim edge as it should :) I know, but it works for me.

Maybe I should have rephrased that

I ran 12 and 13 last Tuesday, the day was Hot and muggy, I do adjust a pound or two up both ends when the temps are cooler, I have never ever gone lower then 12 - 13psi.

The tire preasure rises on hotter days, so a 12 or 13 psi inflated tire cold can result in a 15 - 16 psi tire hot.

Thanks for correcting me Shawn No really thanks I really mean it I do.... I am so Dang Humiliated Oh Gad I know nothing I am nothing, I hate myself IS THERE ANY JUSTIS :D

And by the way I crashed in that turn "IF YOU WATCH THE VIDEO" Becouse that kid on the xr80 pushed me out of my line and forced me high on the exit, this in turn caused me to come in low to that turn where his other lil buddie center punched me :D

[ August 01, 2002: Message edited by: E.G.O.**** ]

  • Thumpty_Dumpty

Posted August 01, 2002 - 04:08 AM



If you only apply one bit of advice from these answers, then learn the bit about 'looking through corners'.

Worrying about and watching where the front wheel is going will just put you in the dirt or through the tapes. Once you're in the corner, don't look down - look at where you wanna be next.....

  • Hokie

Posted August 01, 2002 - 05:17 AM


Originally posted by CJ_Baran:

I understand all the tips...but the elbows. I see all the pro's with their elbows up. What does this do?

It makes it easier to turn! :)

I can't explain why though.

I figured you were riding at Watkins, I haven't been there. Usually ride at Berthoud or Milliken.
Once my shoulder heals up we should burn some laps!

[ August 01, 2002: Message edited by: Hokie ]

  • mx_racer_473

Posted August 02, 2002 - 01:20 AM


Alright, i couldn't be bothered reading everyones replys, so id just put my two C worth in.

I've had the privilage of riding australia's most worked yzf450...and wow, but thats errelivent. those things are hard to handle on hard pack surfaces because of their brut force.

HARD PACK: it is important to weight the outside footpeg so that the weight stops the bike from sliding out. The weight helps with traction. Smooth throttle control is a must because those things will leap from under you if you're not smooth. Always sit as far forward on the motorcycle as poosible( without inbedding the cap into your groin :) ). It is important to keep your outside elbow pointed up at a 90degree angle to horizontal on the bars. this give control over the whole bike. turn the throttle on as though you are opening a door (using mainly your thumb and pointer finger to twist the gas on, hard to understand when reading this i know) and definatly don't use the front brake in the turn, only on the entry to the turn.

SOFT STUFF: You once again need to lean forward for control, but also lean back to stop the front end digging into the soil. with soft turns you need to be carrying alot of momentum into the turn so that it doesnt dive as you hit the berm. And don't be real choppy on the throttle, always keep it smooth. like the old saying goes, "Fast isn't fast, smooth is fast."

Hope that helps. If you're ever in aus come to the riding clinics i work at :D hehe

  • guidster

Posted August 06, 2002 - 05:54 AM


Get a video camera. You would be surprised just how much it helps to watch yourself on camera and compare it with those that are really hauling butt!

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