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Old 01-26-2014, 01:17 PM   #1
mikem9 OP
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Riding a bicycle for off road motorcycle fitness and skills

I put this thread here, instead of sports, because the discussion is more about riding a bicycle for improving motorcycling.

How many of you ride a bicycle for offroad or racing fitness? Do you feel like some of the bicycle skills also translate to the motorcycle?

I trailer my offroad motorcycle to ride and probably average 1 - 5 rides a month depending on the season. It's typically an all day affair so I don't get to do it often enough.

For fitness and some fun I ride either a mountain bike or rigid frame flat bar hybrid style bike with 700cc tires. I typically ride 3 - 4 days a week right from my garage. I cut across town riding through neighborhood streets, parts of unused sidewalks to avoid busy streets, through schools, churches, backs of businesses and through bits off road or through parks. I often stand on the pedals when weaving through tight sections or dropping off curbs etc. Often while standing on the pedals I feel like I'm on my motorcycle. Sometimes when bombing through a hilly and curvy neighborhood, I envision cornering on my motorcycle. I probably have even made engine noises at times! :)

The bicycle definitely helps fitness for offroad motorcycling. I think it might also help keep the rust off some of the balance and line picking skills needed for motorcycling off road.

Thoughts?

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Old 01-26-2014, 01:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
... Do you feel like some of the bicycle skills also translate to the motorcycle?...
No, not particularly. The fitness from the bicycle is awesome and very helpful on the motorcycle. Bike handling skills while generally the same are very different switching between the bicycle and race track or the off-road motorcycle. As an example, off road I stuff the bike in the corners and power out of them. On the bicycle it's more about momentum. Kind of like the difference between roadracing a 125cc two stroke vs a superbike. I suppose if anything my motorcycle skills transfer more to the bicycle.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:10 PM   #3
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bike fitness

Absolutely use my mtb for general all round fitness. For anyone that destroyed their knees back in their teens and twenties, the bike saves my knees and gives me the cardio that I need to maintain aerobic fitness.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:59 PM   #4
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I'd have to disagree. Having road a MTB all through my teens (downhill trails and dabbled into trials riding) the skills I learn are very applicable to motorcycles. Body positioning at low speeds in tight trails help me keep the rubber side down! The sense of balance learned from riding the MTB have given me loads of confidence now that I have upgraded to two wheels and a motor. It is by no means the only way to improve riding but it is a big help IMO.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:42 PM   #5
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For fitness I'll say yes, although all of my experience is on a stationary bike. I do it for 15 - 20 min x3 a week and it has helped my endurance for being crunched up on the sportbike with my head up. Any activity that is strengthening your legs will help to some degree.

Is it a surprise that at least a couple of the MotoGP riders ride bicycles as hobbies too?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by justafurnaceman View Post
Is it a surprise that at least a couple of the MotoGP riders ride bicycles as hobbies too?
NO! Many top pro riders in roadracing, mx, and off road ride bicycles too for fitness. Some of them have become very competitive cyclists such as Spies, Bostrom, Bayliss. For me it has become a time thing. If there is a riding window of only 1-2 hours, I'd much rather spend that time on a bicycle than a moto. I've finally gotten my fitness to the point where I enjoy it all, climbing, descending, mtb or road. It's all good.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironman606 View Post
I'd have to disagree. Having road a MTB all through my teens (downhill trails and dabbled into trials riding) the skills I learn are very applicable to motorcycles. Body positioning at low speeds in tight trails help me keep the rubber side down! The sense of balance learned from riding the MTB have given me loads of confidence now that I have upgraded to two wheels and a motor. It is by no means the only way to improve riding but it is a big help IMO.
I'm in agreement. The bigger advantage for me is line of sight line selection, as opposed to the bp side of it. I consciously am looking for the most efficient line through everything.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:51 PM   #8
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I consciously am looking for the most efficient line through everything.
I do that in cars as well.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:54 PM   #9
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If you want to ride a motorcycle seriously off road, it is an excellent fitness and training tool.

Too many peole far underestimate the physical fitness needed to ride a motorcycle off road at anything other than a trail ride pace. Myself, I get tired of the people who throw money at a motorcycle thinking that alone is all they need to ride fast even though they are completely out of shape.

I grew up in a very rural area and rode a MTB everywhere until I got a dirt bike, then forgot about MTBs until my late twenties. I now enjoy riding a MTB more than ever.

I have rode MTBs with a lot of people and very few ride motorcycles off road also. The people who also ride motorcycles off road are typically better MTB riders. I know I have rode MTB's with people younger and in better shape than me, but could'nt stay up with me because I have more experience with greater speeds off road from riding a motorcycle. With MTB's there is no faking fitness or skill. The current MTB trend is full suspension, because people think it will make them faster; it doesn't. Riding a full suspension MTB where it isn't a benefit actually makes riders slower, but hey, they cost more and look cool so they must be faster, everywhere. Obviously that doesn't apply to actual racers, but there are a lot of people who like to pretend.

Riding both is a great compliment to either for enhancing your abilities. The MTB will increase your fitness level and the motorcycle will help with judging terrain at speed.

I have acess to many more single track MTB trails than motorcycle single track.

When I got back on a MTB, I started riding at a level I never considered and my technical skills have really grown. When on a motorcycle now, riding off road is much easier.

Last year I even bought a trials unicycle. I bought it mainly for fitness because they are much more physically demadning than a MTB and strengthen core muscles. I have only been riding it on pavement, but I want to work up to riding single track with it.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:42 AM   #10
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riding a mountain bike definitely helped me with the low-speed maneuvering stuff and off road.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:49 AM   #11
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I try to ride bicycles everyso often just for personal fitness. I'm not trying to cross that over into motorcycling. IMO, the worst part about bicycling is it means less time for me to ride motorcycles.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #12
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:49 PM   #13
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Absolutely riding a MTB helps with the balance and how fast do I dare try this on two wheels aspect of riding but here in the south it helps with the heat too.

Lots of people are out of shape and get dehydrated easily without realizing it. Dehydration slows your reflexes, weakens your muscles and can cause a loss of mental focus.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:16 PM   #14
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The two are similar but different. Both will build cardiovascular fitness and coasting down a fast, rocky trail is very much like riding the same trail on a dirt bike. Upper body position at speed is another way they work together. Big drops and steep downhill - check. Obstacle avoidance - check.

They are different experiences in turns because you just don't have the same horsepower on a mountain bike, weighting the front wheel is done different, and your feet are locked onto the pedals. Peddling and standing on the pegs is different for building leg strength. It's a different motion. A mountain bike doesn't work your upper body as much because a bicycle is so much lighter.

Mountain biking is a great way to mix it up with dirt biking though. You don't need a green sticker on a bicycle either.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:03 PM   #15
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As a guy that's been cycling since his teens (that's about 30 years now ) mtn biking has helped me transition to riding motorized on- and off-road bikes with the caveat that my brain is happiest at mtn biking speeds. The slower and more technical the better I like it. Faster and more WOT? Not my brain's happy spot.

Its something I need to work on.

I know I've come back from rides in the desert outside Tucson as tired (or more so!) as if I'd gone mtn biking from absorbing all the bumps with my legs.

Riding motos has made me realize that losing your front end mtn biking doesn't have to mean kissing the ground. Put some power down like you do on the moto and chances are your front wheel will grab again.

My new mtn frame will be here next week. Bought it on a whim as I was calling Ritchey to get bearings for one of my wheelsets.




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