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Learn how to ride a dirt bike or pit bike

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1. Put on a helmet. Other safety gear may be considered optional, such as boots, gloves, and various pads, but especially for inexperienced riders, a helmet should be worn at all times.

2. Make sure you have proper positioning. You can check this by sitting on the bike. If you’ve chosen the right size bike, your feet should just be able to touch the ground. Now, look at where you are on the seat. If you are like most beginners, you will be way too far back. You need to keep repeating this mantra while riding… “move forward, move forward, move forward”.

  • A dirt bike seat has a natural indentation where the seat meets the gas tank. That is where you want your butt… don’t worry, you can’t go too far forward because of the gas tank. It is very important that you resist the tendency to sit on the bike as you would a chair or a “cruiser” type motorcycle.
  • Put both feet on the footpegs and try to stand up without pulling on the handlebars. If you are sitting over your feet like you should be, then this will be easy. If you are too far behind your feet, you will need to slide forward and pull on the handlebars.

3. Get acquainted with the "feel" of the ride. Now that you are seated properly, start riding around. The goal of this first ride is to get acquainted with the feel of a dirt bike as it goes over the dirt. If you are used to a street bike, riding a dirt bike will be a bit disconcerting at first because the ground is irregular and the bike will “wiggle” a bit underneath you. That is normal. As a beginner rider, you will most likely be “wiggling” around even more because you will be going so slow. As you progress to higher speeds, you will see that your front wheel will “float” a little more, rather than following each little turn in the dirt. Whether you are on a trail or in a field, just go back and forth for about 20 minutes. Each time, try to go a little bit faster until you feel the bike start to not feel so “wiggly”.

4. As you are riding, without moving your head or eyes, determine if you can see your front fender using your peripheral vision. If you can, you are probably looking too close to the front of the bike.

5. Master acceleration. When you accelerate, the natural forces will try to push you backward. Most beginners are sitting too far back on the seat and counter this force by pulling on the handlebars, which is exactly what you don't want to do. If you are seated properly, your hips should be over the foot pegs (or in front of them) and your upper body should have a forward lean to it. In this position, you can counter the rearward forces by pressing down and back on the footpegs, as well as leaning further forward. If you are doing it properly, you should be able to remove your left hand from the handlebar while accelerating and the bike should continue to track straight.

6.Make smooth and quick shifts. Even though there are 3 items involved (throttle, clutch, and shifter), they are not 3 independent motions. Ultimately, it will become all one motion, meaning you will simultaneously shut the throttle, pull in the clutch and pick up on the shifter. Likewise, after the new gear is selected, you simultaneously let the clutch out as you open the throttle. Work on this until you can smoothly and quickly go through at least 3 gears.

7.Brake properly. The same way that accelerating forces push you backward, braking forces will push you forward. Once again, the trick is to not transmit these forces to the handlebars. If you do, you not only make it more difficult to use the handlebar controls, but you have a tendency to stiffen up your arms, which in turn makes it harder to absorb bumps. If you are seated properly when braking, the gas tank should be between your thighs. As you begin braking, squeeze the gas tank with your legs. This will keep your body in the right position.

8. At first, simply accelerate to 3rd or 4th gear and then brake to a stop.Remember, as you are braking you should be downshifting so that when you stop, you will be able to immediately take off again.

9.Try to “feel” when a tire is about to lock up. If you do, don’t increase brake pressure any more. Ideally, you want to be right at that point, where maximum pressure is applied but the tire is not skidding.

10. Remember how the condition of the trail affects accelerating and braking.For instance, if it is real bumpy, you cannot brake as hard before you start to skid. You have a choice to hold the clutch when you stop. You do not have to.

Extra Riding Tips

  • Keep you knees tight to the bike
  • Use both brakes simultaneously.
  • Try using only 2 or 3 fingers on the clutch
  • As you improve and as various conditions warrant, you will find certain exemptions to these tips. However, for the first few days you should follow them.
  • If you come out of a turn and the bike sounds very low or boggy release the accelerator and gear down and listen to the noise it makes now,if it make the same noise gear down again. When exiting a turn don't open the throttle fully or the front of the bike will start to lift up, keep practicing to find out how much throttle to give coming out of the turn
  • By spending time accelerating and braking, you will gain confidence in your riding ability. It is important to keep pushing yourself while doing these exercises. Each time, try to accelerate harder and brake harder. It is important to get used to the feel of the bike. Most likely, the back tire will “burn out”, meaning it will spin faster than you are going. This is normal and you can control it with the throttle and body movements.
  • Seating position will affect all aspects of your riding, especially turns. If you sit too far back, the shock compresses more than the forks, resulting in a “chopper” type angle. This will cause the front of the bike to feel very vague in turns, causing the front wheel to run a very wide arc and not have good traction.
  • Use 1 or 2 fingers only on the front brake.
  • Do not try to use the back brake by rotating your ankle. Physically pick up your foot off the foot peg and press down on the brake pedal.

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