Celtic Curmudgeon

New to dirt bikes -struggling with a couple things.

32 posts in this topic

....  I'm still clutching around in 2nd gear with little need for brakes ....

 

Not exactly sure what you mean by this? But if you are grabbing the clutch lever and coasting into corners you are doing it wrong. Throttle alone, throttle with clutch for precise power delivery, or brakes. Never just clutch.

 

I'm still a novice but this is how understand it from reading/watching experts.

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Your knees bend front and back , not sideways. Think about it.

 

I've' played Football and Rugby, they sometimes DO bend sideways!  :lol:  I was thinking a low side onto an extended knee would risk jamming it or hyperextending it, etc.  Pardon my ignorance, I'm new to all this! :ride:

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Posted (edited)

Not exactly sure what you mean by this? But if you are grabbing the clutch lever and coasting into corners you are doing it wrong. Throttle alone, throttle with clutch for precise power delivery, or brakes. Never just clutch.

 

I'm still a novice but this is how understand it from reading/watching experts.

Not coasting but slipping the clutch as I throttle out of the corner, basically using the clutch to control speed, since I'm not going that fast.

Edited by Celtic Curmudgeon

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Your knees bend front and back , not sideways. Think about it.

 being scared of hurting my knees as well

175_4_sit.jpg

knee bent, foot high

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I've recently started riding dirt after 30 years of street riding, and am struggling with a couple things. Yesterday I spent the morning on a MX track, and identified a couple of issues.

First - I dropped the bike several times in corners. I did better on rutted corners with a little berm, but wide, smooth corners, down I go. I know to get forward over the tank and turn the bar (more so than a street bike), but unless I drag my boot all the way through, the front washes out and I face plant. (This is a Florida track with loose sandy soil). The other aspects of track riding are coming along fine - I know to let the bike move around under me, no problem with mild whoops or a little bit of air on table tops, but I can't seem to get the hang of corners. I feel like an idiot.

Second - I know MX is a rigorous sport, but I'm out of breath after one lap, heart rate so high I feel nauseous. For the record, I'm very physically fit, both strength and aerobic-wise. I'm guessing, it's just stress, or I'm 'fighting' the bike?

I have no aspirations of racing, I just happen to be close to some nice MX parks, and it's a good way build skill for trail riding, but OTOH, I don't want get hurt, either.

Any tips graciously welcome.

Mark

Loosen up your grip? Did you race road courses or are you just an average flatland street rider? I made the transition no problem, turn brain off, go faster. Good luck mang, lots to learn!

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Celtic welcome to the family of dirt!

I would suggest you start by getting your bike set up for you. What I mean is take the time to position your controls so that they are easy to get to and use whether seated or standing. Set up your suspension, to your riding ability, weight and type of riding. Next practice using them seated and standing all the way around the track. Then move onto stand-sit-stand-sit. If you can find a place to have/build a turn track do it.

This is a double but get a road bicycle, if you don't have one, and ROLLERS. This looks like 3 rolling pins, 2 in back 1 up front. This is an amazing tool for training! Not only are you building cardiovascular endurance while using it. Your building riding skills that are very difficult to master. You HAVE to ride a line! You have to maintain your speed! Our brain tells us to hit the brakes when things get dicey, do that and you fall over. Go faster and all the wobbles disappear. Just like on your dirt bike! The BIG difference is that it's hard to retrain your brain when your on the track. On rollers not only are you safe in learning this but you're also training your body to respond physically to the threat of tipping over.

If you happen to ride off the rollers you just tip over.

Get knee braces

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Just to follow up, after a few more trips to the track, I started getting the hang of it! I try not to overthink it, but the most helpful tips are getting forward into the tank, and pushing down on the outside peg.  One day at the track, it was empty, so they let me use the pee wee track (pathetic, I  know) to practice corners in both directions. It was clay, so that made things easier as well. I then spent the rest of the day lapping the novice track, and feel like I understand the basics a little better. I'm still clutching around in 2nd gear with little need for brakes, but hopefully the speed will come with more practice.

 

Also - the physical exhaustion was probably due to being a little nervous, and that's improved as well. Still tired after riding , but not hyperventilating after two laps any more.

 

One question - I know you're supposed to put the inside leg forward to weight the front, etc, but having had 2 knee surgeries, I'm a bit concerned about tearing something up if I wash out in that position -that joint just seems vulnerable doing that. Putting it out to the side flat-track style seems less injury prone. I'm I wrong on this?  Thanks again.

 

As Davi Millsaps says at 9:30 in

keep your leg up as high as you can. Putting your leg up is not to weight the front  but rather to keep the foot/leg from getting ripped off the foot peg by the ground while leaned over. Also to have it to dab in case you need it to keep you from tipping over. As suggested, if you have concerns about your knees, knee braces may be a very worth wild investment.

 

A good trick to gain speed is to set up a practice area with two cones. Just far enough apart to go WOT briefly and then to have to brake to stop for the second cone. Better yet, treat it as an oval and do the same but turning around the cones rather than just straight stopping. This gets your mind adjusted to maximum acceleration followed by just in time braking. As they say - No Coasting!

 

I'm envious of you. Sand tracks are about a two hour drive (one way) for me. I remember the time one of my local tracks put in a sand corner - my first sand experience. I went in too slow and bike just naturally slowed down as well. Then I tried steering with the handle bars (noob move) because I could not lean, which slowed down the bike even more - there I am standing still on my dirt bike in a corner feeling stupid. Then I went to a sand track (E Street) with a buddy. I knew that with sand you need to keep the speed and power up and that you don't have to brake much because sand will naturally slow you down. So I just tried to follow the others around the track and somewhat match their speed as best I could. It was on the second lap a guy went high on the berm in front of me (seeming like the most stupid line but he made it look good) and I decided "what the hell, what's the worst that can happen" and followed. The berm was this big bank of loose, deep sand but there was a definite line through it. I did what he did which was basically "when in doubt, throttle out". Much to my delight it worked. Well, that's the long and short of how I fell in love with sand tracks. Really learnt to grip the bike with the legs that day - sand gets whooped out fast. Since then I've been to the sand tracks about half a dozen times. If there was a sand track near me I would ride sand so more often. The one sand track, MMX (funny as it is right beside the other sand track) was the most fun because it has no death defying features - just some smallish doubles and small-to-medium tabletops. I felt like had some really good pace going around that track. Another good thing about sand is if you blow the rut, you pretty much just created a new one. Sand has also enable me to learn to steer more with the rear tire - so fun to slide the rear tire into the berm and throttle out. So looking forward to going back to that track as much as possible.

 

Braaaap! Braaaaap!

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I've' played Football and Rugby, they sometimes DO bend sideways! I was thinking a low side onto an extended knee would risk jamming it or hyperextending it, etc. Pardon my ignorance, I'm new to all this! :ride:

You're smart to have this concern. Never ever, extend your knee ahead of your handlebar. Go sit on your bike and lift your straight leg up to where your lower leg touches the handlebar just below your lower knee. That's absolutely the farthest you should extend your knee while cornering. My safety spot has the bar touching an inch or so lower on my legs than that.

Knee hyperextension can happen many ways during crashes. I recently crashed pretty hard and the knee brace on my non-crash side ended up cracking and creating a bruise on my upper thigh. It quite possibly prevented a hyperextension during the yard sale. I never felt a thing (on that side).

I like having knee braces. They don't take long to get used to and are far cheaper than surgery/missed work. I also like walking normally and enjoy other sports which require healthy knees. I think they're important and encourage riders to wear them.

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A good way to practice throttle steer is to find a big sand flat and just start making tight donuts in second gear, playing with body position, lean angle and throttle, then third, then fourth gear. I love doing full throttle 4th gear donuts at full lock countersteer on my yz. Then go hit those loose trails, your feel for the front end washout point and throttle steer will be much improved.

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The leg up. Way easier to weight the outside peg and stay on the corner of your seat. I still have to concentrate on this at some of the tighter places we practice moto.....or places where you are getting flung off a bump and into a corner....

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