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How about a "Basics of off road riding" thread?

Discussion in 'Adventure/Enduro' at netrider.net.au started by Deadsy, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. This forum has some great threads for learner riders, with a wealth of information from experienced and knowledgeable riders, however they are almost exclusively road focused.

    It would be great to get some off road riding focused equivalents of the "basic riding skills" threads, especially since we have Adventure/Enduro and Supermoto sub-forums.

    What do you guys think?
  2. I think it's an excellent idea, I'd love to get into dirt bike riding and a few more forum threads/topics would help
  3. Gone and bought yourself an adventure bike Deadsy?
    I want one of them too - gonna need a better job and a bigger garage...

    It's been a long time since I rode dirt, and I used to crash a fair bit. The skills and techniques are a bit different, but it's good to have them in your road bag too...
  4. Not an adventure bike exactly. I've had a KTM 450 with motard wheels for a while and I've finally got it registered. I'm having fun riding around on easy fire trail type dirt roads. This sort of stuff (just random ones pulled off the web):


  5. Need to find some single tracks - there's a few around Putty I think...
  6. I love riding in the dirt. My fav thing. My back cant take it. And I cant feel my feet after about ten minutes.
    But I am missing it so bad.
    So maybe just maybe if this insurance ever comes.......

    1. If your not falling off. Your not trying.
    2. Only ride as far as the petrol you have. They are a bastard to push.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Great idea for a thread...

    I have been riding off-road now for around 34 years, with a good mix of all type of riding thrown in, as I get older ( and a few injuries) I have had to modify my riding style to prolong my riding life. My mind tells me to ride fast, but in reality I no longer race and I just enjoy taking it all in (smelling the roses, so to speak)

    Last year I did an 'Off-road course' run by "Stay Upright" (NSW) which I did learn a few things and polished up some areas of my riding. For a newbie dirt rider, I'd highly recommend such a course.

    You will find forums such as this a great source of information, and video websites such as youtube, have plenty to help you out.

    Bretto: I have been using an Airhawk seat cushion on my dirt bike for the last couple of years now, and it has prolonged my off-road riding I believe, it has taken out all the vibration, and small impacts that wear you down. I still take a few big hits now and then, but I always seem ready for them. it's the little ones you don't see coming that stuff your back.
  8. Cheers Dobbo.
    2 bulging and 1 ruptured disc....Don't crash tackle BMW's..:)
    I cant feel my feet after twenty minutes on my roadies either ??? ha. Makes using the rear brake awkward.
    I'm surfing and doing mild yoga to keep my inner cores up. But I get so knackered these days....I'm 50. And yeah the posture goes and then pain for weeks.
    But all in all with enough tape, kidney belts and body armour...I think it's worth it
  9. I'd certainly find a basic set of instructions on travelling at a reasonable pace safely on gravel roads to be useful. I've done it a few times but can't shake the feeling that I'm a split second away from disaster.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. +1 for this thread. I just bought a DR650, so I am ready to tackle some dirt. Only stretch of dirt I have ever done is a couple of km's of graded unsealed road.
  11. first thing: don't get a f ucking 'adventure' 1200GS

    Off road as well as on : LIGHTER IS BETTER!!!

    you DO NOT want to be pulling 200+kgs out of a sandpit or mud bog!
    (maybe you do if you want big muscles)
    Or trying to get it up a rocky mountain on a 35 degree slope, or pick it up on said hill when it tips over, or turn it around on said hill at a dead end.

    MX bikes run around 100kg (2 stroke) or 120kg (4 stroke)
    enduro bikes about the same, maybe a touch heavier because of ADR gear.
    these are the bikes to get, one of the big 4, or KTM.

    A 650 enduro is the biggest and heaviest that you want!!!!!
    (TRA's DR650 for example)

    A KLX250 or a four stroke 250 would be a perfect beginner bike,
    about 25hp and 130kg's. Or a 125 MX bike etc.

    any heavier or more powerful bikes are for the big boys!!!!!!!!!

    One more thing, it may look easy, but riding these fast is a *****ing workout!!!!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Well it's because you are :D
    That's what makes it fun.
  13. Thanks DG.

    I'll just give some more details, and a few questions I have for me specifically. I am on a KTM 450 with motard rims. I know this is not a bike for beginners offroad, but I am mainly using it as a supermoto and not trail riding.

    I have however become interested in riding around fire trail type roads, so keeping in mind I have road tyres:

    Some tips on braking, cornering, do you stand up most of the time or just when it is bumpy etc and how to do these sort of things properly would be great.

    Basically like PatB said, I'm looking for tips for riding on gravel and dirt surfaces.
  14. I only bought the DR cause I need it to be a daily commuter as well as a fun bike. All my mates who do dirt work are on 450's or smaller. Guess I am going to learn the hard way!!! Maybe I should keep the GS500 commuter for another 6 months!!
  15. Yeah, but it feels like a disaster that I don't know how to avoid but maybe could if I did.
  16. loose on the bars loose through the arms and shoulders, knees pressing on tank and crouched on the pegs if its rough. You can sit down if its not going to bruise your posterior. More back brake, less front brake, and do everything smoothly until you get comfortable.

    Don't try and get your knee down on dirt... it hurts.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. absolutely no offense about the 650, a 650 is a BIG bike offroad,
    what the Dakar guys use for sitting on 150kph in a salt pan.
    the old XR650's did 180kph straight from the box.
    They are more for wide open terrain than tight technical single track.
    Now guys use the 450's for desert rallies as an open class bike.
    (i prefer double track anyway, way faster!)

    the main bikes you want range from mx - enduro - road/trail.
    MX= obviously the lightest and most powerful, for LAUNCHING YO ASS!!!!!
    Enduro= are close behind but geared a bit higher for open terrain
    Road/trail=ADR compliant, more toned down enduro bike

    (deadsy, your bike offroad is like a litrebike onroad, TRA yours is like a hayabusa)

    ON THE ROAD: you will lean the bike a lot, and brake mostly with the front

    OFF ROAD: you will lean your body over the bike but keep the bike mostly upright, and brake mostly with the rear.

    The rear brake skid, can be used to stabilize the bike. The bike will also be more stable under acceleration or braking, rather than just rolling.

    You are basically aiming to LOSE (a little) traction, skids and powerslides etc!

    SURFACES: offroad keeping an eye on the surface is just as important as on road.
    remember offroad surfaces CHANGE as you ride over them.
    (sometimes slick is hard to spot, mud and wet grass will be slick without the right tyres)

    Tyre tread will make a big difference, although gravel is generally okay with road-ish tyres

    ie: sand riding, is like water skiing, you must get up to speed and skim across the top. As you turn in the sand, imagine how your tyre MOVES the sand.
    Sand is my fave, after you stop washing out the front you will have good feel for the front end!

    GRAVEL: gravel is easy to ride and you can cruise at 120kph if you want. Gravel is similar to tarmac EXCEPT you will have some SLIDE. (think BMX as a kid when you skid all the time)

    I gravel YOU WILL slide, but its all good. Keep an eye on off camber corners, that is what will catch you out.

    Practise your BMX style skids in gravel, feel how it stabilizes the bike and gives you control. You can add in a firm front brake, and even lock it up if you want!

    Powerslides in gravel!! fun fun fun!!, sweepers through the bush, 90kph powerslides! (and thats on a measly klx250 stock)

    (Any trail bike will do the (basically) same speed offroad as it will on!!!!)

    Just like the road its all about practise, just get out there on your trails and learn. it will take you a year or two just to get the basics down, same as the road.

    Oh yeah, HOLD ON WITH YOUR LEGS= tight!!!!!
    (hands don't help when the bike bounces you off the seat!)
    same as the road you are aiming to hold with your legs and keep you arms relaxed.

    Standing up: is the way to go if you aren't relaxing, bars should be easy to reach (high).
    arms and legs act as additional shock absorbers, so flex your knees and elbows a little!
    (and feel the burn) sitting is regarded as lazy, standing lowers the centre of gravity as pressure is on the pegs, and helps control of the bike.

    if you wanna go fast over bumps or jumps, keep it pinned!
    + if you don't already move around a lot on the bike, you will off road!
    =too far back and you get thrown off, too far forward and nose dive!!!!!

    i will leave it there for now.

    (deadsy i haven't used 17's, i recommend 18/21"s as the best for dirt. Two sets of wheels is the ideal. I am sure the 17's would be okay for most stuff though.)
    • Like Like x 1
  18. The KTM is like the MV Agusta of offroad.
    it is a dream bike, if you aren't taking it offroad,
    you aren't giving her whats she needs!

    Its like you're riding an GP bike on the MX track,
    and you haven't been on tarmac yet!
  19. will post on setting up suspension later

    + also you should be basically sitting on the tank (when you sit down)

    MX boots will make you sit in the right spot (and stop you snapping your foot off)
    i cannot recommend them enough
  20. MCN took a handful of the current 1200cc adventure-touring bikes on muddy singletrack, unsealed roads and what looks like an MX track, with hilarious results. The BMW R1200GS, Triumph Tiger Explorer, Yamaha Super Tenere and the KTM 990 Adventure.



    Things didn't turn out well. They pretty much decided that the 990 was the only one which really felt comfortable when offroad. And even then, as you say, it weighs a heck of a lot compared to an MX or Enduro. Admittedly, adventure-touring bikes exist as a means to carry a tonne of crap over long sealed and unsealed road stretches in relative comfort, vs an Enduro bike which will be great for singletrack but will empty its 11 litre tank in 150km assuming the rider's hands haven't fallen off from musculoskeletal disorders caused by extreme vibration, or the rider's butt hasn't been cleaved in two by the narrow, hard seat. ;)