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Dirt Bike Experience Before venturing on the road???

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by N1GH7-R1D3R, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. I just wanted to get peoples opinions on this topic. Do you believe that riding a dirt bike for 1 year before getting a road bike will really give you that much more experience when it comes to road riding??? My dad is saying he would prefer i ride in the scrub for 1 year before going onto the road. Just so you know yes i have ridden a dirt bike many times as my cousins and a few mates have owned them and i've spent many many many hours with them riding...

    My gripe is that i can understand where he is coming from and means well and yes he has owned over 22 motorbikes in his day but he hasn't ridden in about 15 years so i think the idea is alittle dated.....Now i understand it would help if you accidentally slid the back wheel of your road bike as you'd be used to the sensation gained from the trailies and control it better but that's about all i can see.

    Road bikes and Dirt Bikes behave in such a different manner that i don't think it will help. I think that after spending a full year in the dirt i will have to re-learn a technique of riding as it will be much different.

    With all that Aside i don't want to wait 1 year. I have the money and i'm ready to kill someone i'm so eager to get out there (have been for the last 18 months).

    Leave your thought!!!
  2. Whether riding on the dirt or the road its good to develop good habits from the start. These days you can attend schools for dirt (eg Stephen Gall) and road.
    The positive side of the dirt and riding away from traffic is a possibly reduced likelihood of running into a cage. :)
  3. Other positives would include developing throttle, brake and clutch control, without having to worry about indicators, doing headchecks, looking out for the dangers of the street, etc.
    I guess its a stone.
    Then, you could convert the trail bike into a 'motard when making the transition from dirt to road. Now that could be fun. :D
  4. I can understand your eagerness to get out there, and no doubt you will, one way or the other. But i think the point he's trying to make is that once you have gained good control of your bike and don't have to think about what you're doing so much, it will be a whole lot easier just dealing with the traffic. Do you have your car licence?
  5. i was asked this same question the other day by a netrider member "godfather" , he knows i started riding bikes aged 10 in paddocks. He wanted to know if it makes you that little bit faster on the road if you learnt in the dirt.
    All i ever wanted to do was ride road bikes, so after getting my licence i went out and bought a road bike and have never thrown my leg over a dirt bike since.
    i consider myself quite fast on the road, but dont contribute that to learning in the dirt.
    it just made it easier to throw my leg over a bike and start riding around the streets with confidence knowing i knew how to control the bike as "G" mentioned, throttle control, clutch and brake control.
    As with anything like riding, it takes time spent learning to a point where it's just very familar to you.
    My advice would be, if you already have experience riding off-road, then you can handle a bike.
    Go buy ya bike, riding off-road wont prepare you for traffic and that's ya biggest worry.
    As for anyone wanting to learn how to ride a bike in preperation for the road, YES, go learn on a dirtbike if you have no experience and the opportunity is there to do so.

    p.s. does anyone in Netrider who learnt on dirt bikes actually feel they are better road bike riders because of skills learnt in the dirt? disreguarding skills of basic bike control.
  6. I went straight into road riding about 11 months ago now, but I don't think not having ridden at all previously has been a problem in any way. I do ride fairly quickly, and have had a few people ask me if I've ridden dirt bikes before getting my road license: there is obviously a general belief out there that riding a dirt bike makes you a better/quicker road rider.

    Whether or not this is true, I don't know - but I can't see having dirt bike experience as being detrimental at all. Unless it inspires over-confidence, which is an issue in any sport. You don't need to ride a dirt bike, but if you've got the chance, why not?
  7. i'd say it helps with the initial learning, but not much past there. it means that when you jump on the roadbike, your not thinking about basic riding and you progress a bit quicker because of that, but overall, i doubt it'll make you any faster/better a rider.

    i spose the other thing it helps with is learning to ride in low traction conditions, its all stuff i take for granted but theres ppls out there that really struggle with that :?

    Yeah it helps, but nah, not that much. if you can tear around a muddy trail all day and stay upright, i'd be guesing thats about as much as is gunna be real helpful on the road. its similar, but it is really a whole new ball game to dirt.....
  8. I ride both and would say the main benefit of riding dirt bikes before road bike is that you learn a lot about when you loose traction on rear or front wheel, you get the feel of how to take the corrective action for steering etc.

    Other than that I would not see a real need to ride a dirt bikes before a road bike unless you feel that changing gears and clutch control will take you ages to learn. My son 15 who rides dirt bikes with me picked it all up in 1 hour.
  9. I definitely agree with that one... it can happen quite often on the road if you're not careful with the throttle :?

    Personally, I reckon you'd gain more from getting a road bike and only riding around carparks for a month then riding a dirt bike around.
  10. Yes Capri i do have my car licence and my own car. Albeit it is only a 1995 Daihatsu Charade Toscana(5 Speed Manual). I do LOTS of driving and without blowing my own horn feel i'm a perfectly good and safe driver. I've had many crazy crazy nights and many fast, slideways, smoke filled nights but am over all that now. In all honestly driving certainly doesn't excite me any more. Anyone can sit in a car and move there hands and feet around alittle to smoothly guide a car on the road but it takes skill in finese to do that same thing on a bike. It induces the rider with a state of excitement and freedom (until you get used to the piddly little 2fiddy ofcourse). I want to make it a lifestyle change, i love everything about bikes and i AM going to start riding even if the Missus, her Mum and especially my Mum (Who married my dad while he owned 3 bikes and no car. until the age of 30 it was bikes=22, car=0 for him)

    If you were asking in regards to me knowing the way of the road, indicating, stopping turning, reading the traffic, doing head checks etc. Then yes i can do all that perfectly fine. Infact i head check and mirror all the time as i don't wanna take out some unsuspecting biker right before i get into the game, lol. I think Bad Karma would cause me to crash and burn my first day out there haha.
  11. Like has already been mentioned it can help with some aspects of bike control such as gears, clutch control and some confidence at staying upright. However I also believe it helps with confidence as you are less worried about coming off in the bush (circumstances vary of course) but what I am trying to say is that compared to having a new fully faired bike on bitumin, you are prepared to "try" things more. This will usually help with your skill level and push your boundaries in often (not always) a safer environment.

    That all being said the main problem that has already been mentioned is that it contributes to learning bad habits. I have trained countless people over the years. For example cornering technique and more importantly BRAKING! From my own experience dirt bike riders going onto road bikes are more confident at riding, they corner differently and have no idea as to how effective the brakes can be on a road bike.

    Bottom line is there is a deifferences in the techniques used for each style of riding and their are positives and minus's to each when the style is reversed.

  12. fully sik!! does get boring after a while doesnt it? :)

    a 250 is still more fun then most cars, especially when you're on the twisties :D
  13. My 2 cents. I started out riding dirt bikes -offroad, until I was old enough to get my license. That was only so I could ride registered trail bikes on public roads -we did a lot of riding in the forestry & they were technically classed as public roads. Never even thought about road riding. One of my cousins turned up one day with a road bike. Go for a ride he says. Nah says me. Go on says he. OK says me. Went for a blast & hated it. All I could think of was how much it would hurt if I flung it down the road. Why? Cause every time I ride a dirt bike I ride it flat stick & crash here & there. Had to change my mindset on how to ride on the road. Falling off on dirt is normal, on the road it hurts. As for bike control -in my opinion there is no better way to learn. Powersliding out of corners, braking to the absolute max, throttle control in poor traction conditions -you just can't beat dirt bikes. Teachs you to "feel" through the bars & your bum what the bike is doing. Road bikes are pretty much the same, just smoother. So what I guess I'm trying to say is learning on dirt bikes is good for physical skills but road riding requires a different mental attitude -well for me anyway.
  14. For what it's worth, the US safety report "the Hurt Report" reports that riders who had dirt bike experience prior to riding road bikes were less likely to have an accident than those who did not.

    Obviously there is a world of legislative difference but the simple fact remains

    * The first five or six months on the bike is the time you are most likely to crash
    * If you learn off road and crash off road there are fewer things to hit, lower speeds, no oncoming traffic to slide into.
    * If you learn on road and crash there are more thing to hit, higher speeds, oncoming traffic and old style gutters.

    Learning to ride on a trail bike teaches you 75% of what you need to know for road bike riding. So when you take on the road bike, you don't have anywhere near as much to learn.
  15. Just do an advanced training course and ride like there is no tomorrow....
  16. It might teach you some bad habbits, but will give you more confidence about falling off, because you do it so much on dirt bikes
  17. I started riding dirt bikes when I was 16. I had nearly 2 years of riding experience before I got my Learners. Back then, getting your learners was simply a matter of answering a 30 multi-choice test. No other assesment or rider training was involved.

    I found that learning to ride a bike off road equiped me for tackling the more dangerous on-road conditions. I attribute this to the fact that I pretty well had the bike control down pat. One of the biggest issues facing learner riders is learning how to judge road conditions and to ride accordingly. On a dirtbike, you're always on the verge of traction/grip loss, depending on how you ride. On the road, in normal dry conditions, this usually isn't a problem. Therefore, I got used to a bike that was always sliding about. On the road, it was a more managable experience.

    How many learners who've never ridden off road, and who've had little wet weather experience have lost it big time because they were unfamiliar with how the bike handles in the wet?

    Also, when you're learning to ride your bike off-road, you can concentrate on core bike riding skills. You don't have to worry about traffic negotiation or general road rules.

    Once you've built up that skills base, it's one or two less things to worry about when you do get on to the road. You can then concentrate on learning how to deal with traffic, road-side hazards and furniture and learning the road rules.

    For the chap who thinks his father's ideas are "dated", they're not. Whether you learned to ride on an old crappy DT250 trail bike, or a modern CBR250RR, the same principles still apply.

    Anyway, dirt bike riding can be a hellava lot of fun, and pose less risk. And it's requires a greater level of fitness than what many people would believe.

    Where I work, we have about 140 employees. Of them about 50 ride. Dirt/Road split is about 60/40, and surprisingly, the dirties are a lot fitter than us slugs who mainly ride roadies....

    So, don't write of dirt bikes. Consider one as a starting point, particularly if you have a car licence and have a trailer, or access to one and can easily get away for a decent bush bash.
  18. And no doubt, if he does, then there won't be.....
  19. I started riding on the dirt from the age of 3 and had no idea just how valuable it would be until I got t-boned by a car while doing 60. Knowing how to keep a bike upright when it's sliding sidways on both wheels the apply throttle to get it some traction and foward direction before bringing it to a stop is not something they teach in an L plate course. Sure the car did a lot of damage to my knee but the bike was OK and most importantly, I didn't end up under any other cars. The best things you can learn on a dirt bike don't really relate to the basic skills. Dirt bikes give you a chance to stack under controlled (sort of) conditions, thus giving an opportunity to learn some good reactions for when things go horribly wrong.
  20. I would prefer to NOT be confident about falling off, and thus less inclined to do so! :p :LOL: