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Old 04-17-2013, 09:58 AM   #917
Desert Tortoise
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Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Mesa, by Usery
Oddometer: 815
Originally Posted by bent forks View Post
Here is something for new dirt riders that I got from a friend that is helping a dirt newbe

1. In order to go fast, you must first learn to go slow.

Go into a paved parking lot. Do slow (1'st gear) figure 8's. (big turn 8's) Do it sitting down. Comfortable?...well good. That's the last time you sit down for the rest of this exercise.

Now do it standing up (all the way through the figure 8)
Try it with your knees gripping the tank and moving the bike through the turn using only "body English" and transfer of weight. Don't steer the bike through the turn, MAKE it turn with weight transfer.
Be "loose" on the bike...You should have a snug-to-firm grip on the handgrips, with your elbows and shoulders loose.

Now do it WITHOUT your knees gripping the tank and just transferring your weight through the footpegs.

You will notice that the throttle becomes your friend. As the bike wants to fall to the inside of the turn, a little more throttle will save you and stand the bike up automatically. Notice this. Feel it. The throttle is your friend.

Take notice of how the bike reacts between all of the above.. sitting down...steering through the turn...standing up..."guiding" the bike with weight transfer ... standing up-gripping the bike with your knees.. Standing and not gripping- "guiding" through weight transfer on the pegs.

Do a hundred reps of the above exercise.
When you get comfortable with it....tighten up the turns.
Still comfortable?...put some chalk marks on the pavement on the exit of the turn and pass your front wheel over the chalk mark EVERY time.
Do a hundred of these (many).

Every time you go for a ride find an empty parking lot and practice this.

Now move the whole exercise to dirt.
Find a field and repeat. Use a couple of twigs to simulate chalk marks.
Do a hundred reps.

Move the whole exercise to looser dirt (less traction)

Things to learn...
Notice how weight transfer affects the bike differently depending on whether its being fed into the bike through the handlebars vs the tank (knee grip on the tank) vs the footpegs.
Learn that the throttle is your friend...a quick burst of power can bail your ass out of trouble (on dirt...most of the time.)

Don't be afraid of the front brake. Learn it. The front brake, for beginners on the dirt is like having a pet Bengal tiger. It can bite you, maul you, and hurt you real bad....but if you treat it correctly, and learn its habits it can save your butt.

You must learn to feather the front brake.
Do this exercise sitting down at first...its easier...and slide your weight forward on the seat to set up for the turn.

At your practice field (dirt) get going in a straight line, get the bike up into 2nd or 3rd gear (a comfortable speed), start slowing down to make a turn (use the brakes) feather the front brake...pull gently in on it...easy. NEVER lock it up.

Imagine there is an egg between your fingers and the brake must squeeze as hard as you dare with out breaking it..

As you progressively lean into the turn you should progressively let off on the brake.
NEVER pull the brake on hard while leaned will bite you.
Learn to be gentle on the lever (at first) even if you are only putting the brake on 1%.

Practice right and left turns while doing this. Do more on the side you are least right and left become second nature.

When you are comfortable with that...increase your speed where you will require more braking to set up for the turn.

Now use more brakes. Always both brakes.
Use the front 2% then 5%....then 20% etc.
Learn to vary the proportion of front brake vs back brake.

Do most of your braking while the bike is vertical.. progressively letting off the brakes in proportion to the lean angle of the bike as you enter the turn.(You can...and should...practice this on normal road curves).

Do a hundred reps.
Now practice it standing up ...and only upon turn entry should you plonk onto the seat, move your weight forward, lean the bike over while progressively letting off the brakes. This is all done in an eyeblink.

...and then practice some more.
Any empty parking lot is an opportunity to practice.
Feel the bike. Think and feel what the bike is doing as you shift your weight from one footpeg to another.
Think and feel what happens to the bike as you progressively squeeze the front brake harder. Try this on pavement. Try it standing up in your empty parking lot/practice pad.

...and so on....

an add on would be to practise some figure 8 using the clutch and throttle to control your speed as
slipping the clutch is needed to climb over rocks, trees and stuff

Thanks for that. I have been doing a lot of the parking lot games at my son's elementary school. Figure 8's between the light poles. I am glad that my downhill mountain bike has hydrolic breaks. It is really easy to lock up the front disc on a 25lb bike, so I have learned respect early.

Thanks for all of the advice.

Looks like I won'y be able to make the 7 Springs to Bloody Basin ride. I think it is too much mileage for my skill level. I will try to catch the next one when I am a little more comfortable on the bike.

Thanks Bill for the invite.

fanatic291 screwed with this post 04-18-2013 at 01:08 PM
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