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First off-road bike tour - training first?

Discussion in 'Adventure/Enduro' started by zeddicus, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. A friend and I have booked a three day off-road 'Escape Tour' for June. We've both been riding on the road for a few years but neither of us has any dirt experience at all.

    We're considering doing one of Stay Upright's 'Dirt Days' in May. Apparently this course is 'the basic off-road skills course'.

    Has anyone done this course and if so, did you find it beneficial? What sort of things does it cover?

    And last but not least, for those of you who are already off-road maniacs, could we get away with 'learning on the job' so to speak and skipping the training day?
  2. That looks awesome !

    I would ask the tour operator, they would give you the best answers as they'd know how difficult the tracks are.

    If you've been on road bikes all your life you'll find that dirt bikes take a bit of getting used to. The handling is totally different.

    I reckon it would not hurt to do the course anyways, and try to get away for a few weekends before you go.

    That said, these guided tours are the safest way to get the experience. Your very well looked after on them.
  3. Jay and I have both learnt by doing it. No courses for us, but bikes and tyres appropriate to the task. We didn't have a mentor until just recently, which has seen a massive increase in our capabilities and the challenges we put ourselves (and our bikes!) through.

    We live in a great area to be able to go out for a couple of hours and just have a go. I've had a phone call from Jay asking for assistance after a steep, rutted hill saw him in a difficult situation. By the time I arrived, he had it all sorted.

    I'm sure a course would be very helpful with learning about dealing with off-road situations but not absolutely essential.
  4. Congrats on the booking! Roy and his crew run a fantastic operation. I've only heard good things about their trips.

    One thing about learning to ride off road is that you WILL fall off. It is different and you will find in challenging (but in a good way). Learning that it's OK for things to slide a little and that your weight allocation on the bike is important are the hardest things for a road rider to grapple with.

    If you have the opportunity to do some riding before you go on the big trip you can save yourself a lot of angst. I don't know about any of the training courses, but I agree that talking to the operators would be a good start.
  5. try a one day skills day with Bruce at Watagan Trail Bike Tours
    you'll learn more about off roading in one day with Bruce than in 10 by yourselves.
    just tell him what you and your mate are doing and he'll help you out.
  6. Buy yourself a really cheap unregistered trail bike and a box trailer. Tow it up the hills and ride and ride.
  7. Not good advice.
  8. I think riding around on an old trail bike in a paddock will do fine, its not like its the cannington stock route or the Gunbarell where you need alot of experience. Looks like a good trip and the bikes they have will make it alot easier, considering you dont have offroad experience DRZ is a good choice because you can pick it up with no fuss, jump start it and they arn't overly powerful.
  9. You can just rock up and spend most of the trip falling over.
    Or get at least a couple of days experience first.

    Road and off road are two very different disciplines. Just ask Ewan Macgregor, even after numerous BMW off road course and riding across Europe and down Africa, he still can't ride for shit.
  10. Thanks for the replies guys. I think we'll give Watagans a ring and see what they can do for us.

  11. Do the training

    These trips are expensive, so why waste the first few day learning to ride a dirt bike. Do the course and enjoy the trip from the first moment you ease out the clutch.

    Dirt biking is massivly diffrent from road riding (IMO much more fun)unless the trip is just a cruise around a few paddocks and unsealed roads.

    From a road a dirt biker of 30+yrs.

  12. Learning on the bike is one thing, do you actually have a bike to go try it on yet ?

    I learned on the bike after getting the wife a KLR.
    Had such a Ball i got rid of the R6 and bought another KLR.
    Best fun ever.
    Took Bamm-bamm out on the dirt last week, he had a ball and didnt seem to take long to get into the swing of it.
    Its not about powerslides and digging holes.
    Use your common sense till you understand what the bikes going to do. No shrp braking and no sudden changes of direction till you get to grips with the bike and the surface.....

    Going up and down steep hills is a matter of confidence and experience.
    The wife (lil) and i have had the best fun ever on the dirt tracks, you get to see so much more of the country, no police, traffic lights, police or cages.