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Old 11-12-2012, 03:48 PM   #31
GlennR
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Start on a small used bike. You want something that is lightweight and easy to handle. Used is good because it's cheaper and already worn a bit. Crashing a new bike hurts your feelings. You want something that you won't mind scratching & denting some.

You do not want a big powerful bike to begin on. Power is not a beginner's friend. You need to learn how to turn & stop, on hills, in the mud, through rocks, over logs, around boulders & stumps. You need to learn about the things which can cause crashes, and you want to learn crashing at a slow speed. Crashing while going fast hurts more, and you can't ride when you're hurt.

After you learn to control your bike, without crashing, then it's time to go a bit faster!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:16 PM   #32
Kommando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gzr View Post
At the kids' suggestion I tried keeping my foot out in tight corners to prop the bike if it slides, and it actually worked once in keeping me from falling.
Scoot your butt way up by the tank when turning in dirt, with your inside foot way forward and your toes up. This isn't as much to catch the weight of the bike and you in a fall (you may actually want to just get/keep your leg from getting slammed under the bike), as it is to weight the front tire more than the rear. This gets the front to bite better than the rear if the bike starts to slide. An appropriate front knobby helps in this respect too.

Quote:
Then disaster struck! I parked the bike, and started chatting a bit with these kids, asking about jump technique, the market for bikes, etc... when suddenly we heard a crash and I turned round to see the bike lying in the dirt. Apparently a sand under the sidestand and gusty wind are a nasty combo. I snapped off an indicator, broke the clutch lever, scratched the paint, and some other minor stuff. Luckily I had a spare lever back home, I got somebody to get it over and I managed to ride back.

Maybe it's time to get some crash bars to protect the bodywork? Does anyone know if there were ever any crashbars made for the XF650?
You can weld a bigger foot onto the bottom of your stand. Just make sure it clears when the stand is UP too. You can also use a crushed soda can under the foot or something, in a pinch.

I think I've seen crashbars somewhere for DRs/XFs. I just have sturdy handguards, and touring pegs bolted to a wide skid with ears. My tank is also not the painted-steel stocker, but a beat-up old IMS plastic tank.

When you replace the lever, install it so it rotates on the bar if bumped hard. You may also want to drill the lever, out near the ball end, to create a pre-determined failure point. Good handguards help a lot too. I also zip-tie spare levers to my bike's frame, underneath the sideplastics, so that I always have a spare with me. You may also want to bypass your clutch and sidestand safety switches, if you're not absent-minded and/or subject to having them governmentally inspected to remain street-legal. Warp9 now offers shorty levers for the DR as well. Procycle is a vendor here in the US, and they probably ship to where you live, if you can't find a local Warp9 vendor.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:08 AM   #33
Gitana
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And depending on the terrain where you ride, sticking your foot out can result in a badly broken leg. In Colorado, where it's very rocky, I wouldn't recommend it. Just find 309's story about how he broke his leg. If you're on a motocross practice track, it's way different than being on a single track trail.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:11 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Gitana View Post
And depending on the terrain where you ride, sticking your foot out can result in a badly broken leg. In Colorado, where it's very rocky, I wouldn't recommend it. Just find 309's story about how he broke his leg. If you're on a motocross practice track, it's way different than being on a single track trail.
Obviously it's situational, but toe's UP and knee bent. That being said when it's _really_ rocky you don't really need to put your foot down anyhow because you can't lean the bike that much anyhow.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #35
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Yes, but when you're a noob, you need to be careful whom you take advice from and you may not know what situation is applicable to what riding style. I've heard some appallingly bad advice being given to noob riders, who don't know any better and then can get themselves hurt.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to go to actual classes and to get coaching from people who are very competent riders. A couple of kids on a motocross track is dubious, IMO.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:22 AM   #36
High Country Herb
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Heavy bike on dirt...check
Standing up...check
Letting the bike move around under you...check
More throttle...check
Scratches and broken levers...check

It sounds like your are progressing very well. You and your bike have been initiated, and now you can focus on the fun part!

Not everyone has the budget to go buying tires when the terrain changes (at least not me). The next time you do buy tires, you might think about getting hybrid tires such as Anakee or Pirelli Scorpion Trail. This style of tire is made primarily for pavement, but is a little tougher with deeper lugs for more off road capability. After struggling with street tires for a while, they will feel great.

Don't let the size of your bike scare you. If a 200 lb guy can take a 600 lb bike off road, you should be fine. When I first started, I had an XL185. I met up with a guy who weighed about 120 lbs riding an XL600, and he couldn't even get both toes on the ground. He took me on some trails that scared the crap out of me. He would take the lead, bouncing up 45 degree angle rocky slopes like a mountain goat. Eventually I learned to stand on the pegs and let the bike do the work, and now I have an XL600.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:42 PM   #37
Cobain
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Full throttle til you see god

Practice crashing. The more you wipe-out the better you will get at staying on 2 wheels.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:11 AM   #38
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Pick up this book and read it. Don't let the title scare ya off it covers off road technique step by step including bike and gear selection/prep.

After reading a couple times pick a technique and go practice it. The skills will become second nature. After you get some feeling of confidence ride with guys that are faster than you are. Don't try to keep up if ya can't but watch and learn. Many fast guys will help you out if asked. Some even do it for free.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:30 AM   #39
Seth650
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobnoxious67 View Post
Some things I've noted over the last 5.5 years of learning to ride in the dirt:

-the weight needs to be on the side of the direction you want to go...want to go right, then make sure you are weighting the right peg. I have noted so many crashes (myself and others) that are due to lack of commitment to this...trail goes right, but you climb up to the left and out of the trail because you weight the high side peg rather than the low side.
This is opposite of what I've read about street bikes going into turns on asphalt; that weight gets shiftted to the peg away from the bike lean. e.g. shift weight to left peg while bike is leaning right and turning right - would this cause a wash-out on dirt?
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:17 AM   #40
Seth650
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Practice crashing. The more you wipe-out the better you will get at staying on 2 wheels.
Also practice not crashing. The more you stay on 2 wheels the less you wipe out.
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:55 PM   #41
bobnoxious67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth650 View Post
This is opposite of what I've read about street bikes going into turns on asphalt; that weight gets shiftted to the peg away from the bike lean. e.g. shift weight to left peg while bike is leaning right and turning right - would this cause a wash-out on dirt?
It's not that straight forward in the dirt, but my basic advice was towards a noob learning how to make a bike move in the direction you want it to...in the dirt...weaving side to side in a debris strewn/multiple obstacles/multiple line dirt trail...standing up...in like 2nd or 3rd gear at best.

Weight on the outside peg (or lack of commitment to weight the inside peg...which seems more correct to me) usually results in Climbing out of the "trail" and going wide or "crashing"

This is a completely different set of human inputs used to sit/stick a leg out/apply weight to rear tire/railing a nice berm dirt corner...and especially different from being on a bike while railing around paved corners and hanging off the inside
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:35 AM   #42
anotherguy
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Try weighting the inside while doing this. I know it's RC but I cannot take pictures of me while riding.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:15 AM   #43
Barry
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Originally Posted by anotherguy View Post
try weighting the inside while doing this. i know it's rc but i cannot take pictures of me while riding.

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:42 PM   #44
Vankaye
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a smaller more nimble bike would be the best thing to learn all facets of off-road. Not that one CAN'T learn it on a big honkin 650... but damn that's a lot of bike to have landing on you. One thing about beginning off-road riding is THAT YOU WILL have get-offs on a regular basis. As you push yourself harder and harder, it's only natural that we learn from our mistakes...

As you try more and more challenging terrain you will fall off more!!

I ride a lot of sand and woods on my 2-stroke RM250. I cannot imagine getting tangled up with such a big bike.

My advice is, if you really want to learn, get yourself a little 125(2t) or a 250(4t) and ride your ass off. Then take your big 650 off road with confidence.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #45
Idle
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It's tough to go faster when you're still learning. Really though, what happens when going slow say, around 10-15 mph is your front tire can/will slip and you crash. There isn't enough speed and momentum for your front tire to find some grip again at those slow speeds in that fraction of a second.

As your speed increases, so does the stability. Part due to gyroscopic forces of the wheel, but mostly because at 20-30 mph when your front slips, it finds traction much quicker due to the greater distance traveled in that same split second.

Touch wood, I only crash when I go slow.

As far as standing up is concerned, another benefit is to catch your balance by doing a judo-kick out to the side. It works great in the right situation. It's much better than stopping and or putting a foot down.

It's the precious momentum that you get to keep if you can keep your balance on slow going stuff. Standing on the pegs allows it.

I ride my supermoto on well, anything and everything.

I have to watch my line, and use the methods debated above to keep my rims round. It seems there was some confusion about weighting pegs.

On two track, or singletrack trails I dart back and forth all over the place to avoid the square rocks. It's very effective to weight the inside peg to get around said rocks. It let's me stand upright, and putting all my weight on the left peg steers the bike to the left as well as tilting the bike to the left.

That's just one technique that works for me and others in that situation. When seated, and making a turn under throttle I certainly weight the outside peg and my other foot is always out at the front axle to put weight on the front tire.

The front tire needs that extra weight because... It's getting lighter as you accelerate through and out of a corner.



More time is all you need. And maybe a lighter bike? After about 50 hours of dirt work, it will start coming together for you.

Try airing down your tires a little also. Make consecutive runs in the same area letting 2-3 psi out each time untill it feels better. 12-16 psi will be better for most anything, exept for fast on pavement. Carry a pump to air back up to street pressures.

Some training would be nice too, If you can arrange it.
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