Here are some of the off-road motorbike riding tips I have found to be most beneficial to improving my skill on the track and trial. They are not listed in any particular order but practicing these skills will allow them to become habit. It is not easy to get these mastered, none are instantly learnt, especially if like me you have ridden incorrectly for many years and have mastered the incorrect way to ride! I ended up expelling energy going madly fast but not getting any faster. With poor technique ingrained to perfection you can only achieve so much, you can only go so fast, often dangerously so. I will expand on each skill listed below in future blogs, but here is the gist.
- Look ahead. This cannot be stressed enough this has to be the single most important habit to learn. Try taping over your goggles to create a small letterbox slot to look through. Only do this in a familiar safe environment. i.e. not a new gnarly trail!
- Stand up as much as possible. Sat on the bike you react with it and become part of the suspension and handling instead of controlling these elements.
- This one goes hand in hand with the above tip and must be part of “Standing Up” – Grip the bike with your lower legs. Practice riding up over some gentle stutters without placing weight on your arms, let the bike pivot. I found I could confidently increase speed doing this.
- Set up your suspension, this will help with your confidence on rough terrain. Suspension is a topic all of it’s own and there are many good Video’s on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmSsU0jVj34&feature=related. Start with the basics. I find video recording the bike over such obstacles as braking bumps and acceleration bumps then playing it back frame by frame to watch how your bike is reacting is a great aid in understanding suspension dynamics.
- Elbows up, I used to ride with them down. Learning the correct stance on the bike must be consciously practiced until it is habit- closely watch any A grade rider at the track.
- Leg forward, not out. I only recently found the benefit of correct Leg position, especially when negotiating rutted turns. I only used to get it right and rail out of the rut once in a dozen attempts. Now by consciously lifting my leg up and forward by ensuring I feel it against the radiator cowl (Pluck up the courage to keep it nailed there), not wavering about to the side, I can rail a rutted turn pretty much every time. This revelation brought on the biggest smile; the balance and confidence to lay the bike over and use the throttle for balance through the rut is the best fun ever.
I like writing about these things as it serves to refresh me. I am still practicing at making these techniques a habit every time I get on the bike. I will continue with some more tips in the next Posting Night Night for Now.