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Old 04-21-2015, 08:42 AM   #1
dwoodward OP
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Street vs. Dirt- how do you ride differently?

Over in Veterans Share Your Tips For Rookies PT Rider suggested a thread on differences between street and dirt riding.

As much fun as I have on trails, I'm a crash waiting to happen off-road. Too many years on the street and not enough time to go play in the dirt, so going from street to dirt I could probably use some tips.

I've been teaching in Oregon for over a decade, now teach everything from BRTs all the way up, so I see a lot of dirt riders struggling with street skills...
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:44 AM   #2
Earth Rider
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I ride a lot slower.
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:29 AM   #3
markk53
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Sounds like an essay question... I don't like essay questions... reminds me of high school...


By the way any off road rider that struggles with street skills ain't much of an off road rider. Musta been hill climbers - they only can ride in straight lines and won't touch the front brake because they'll "go right over the bars". Their hill climb mentor told them that and when in doubt "lay 'er down"...
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:38 AM   #4
OrangeYZ
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I wheelie in the dirt more.

Dirt turns: Lean the bike, not your body. This is because the tires are constantly sliding in and out of traction, and having your body in a neutral position makes it easier to react and correct.
If you ride on the street like you would on the dirt, you look kind of dorky and might not be able to go as fast.
If you ride on the dirt like you would on the street, you're probably going to be rolling around in the dirt soon.

Braking:
If you lock up the rear on the street, problem.
If you lock up the rear on the dirt, that's business as usual.
It's pretty hard to front brake hard enough on the street to cause a crash.
On the dirt, it doesn't take as much braking force to lock the front tire and have it slide out and crash you. Especially in a turn.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:22 AM   #5
ZiaThunder
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There are a number things that could cause you to crash if you try to ride one like the other.

As OrangeYZ said above.

Locking the rear on pavement can highside you super quick, or if you're trying to back it in to the corner that way it can get you a reckless driving ticket... In dirt that is another way to steer the bike.

It's harder to lock the front on the street but not impossible. In the dirt I have the front rotor singing frequently, as it's on the edge of locking or just starting to lock.

On the street if you lean the bike away from you like dirt riders do then you are running way more lean angle (increased risk) then you need to. It will cause you to run out of clearance and you aren't going to be carrying as much corner speed as you could if you move your body to the inside of the turn and left the bike more upright.

Then there is the standing up that most do while dirt riding that makes ya look pretty dumb on the street. And for what ever reason the Leos will think you're a stunter and pull you over for a performance award.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:56 AM   #6
OrangeYZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZiaThunder View Post
On the street if you lean the bike away from you like dirt riders do then you are running way more lean angle (increased risk) then you need to. It will cause you to run out of clearance and you aren't going to be carrying as much corner speed as you could if you move your body to the inside of the turn and left the bike more upright.
Not a problem at the speeds I ride on the street
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:02 AM   #7
eatpasta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
Over in Veterans Share Your Tips For Rookies PT Rider suggested a thread on differences between street and dirt riding.

As much fun as I have on trails, I'm a crash waiting to happen off-road. Too many years on the street and not enough time to go play in the dirt, so going from street to dirt I could probably use some tips.

I've been teaching in Oregon for over a decade, now teach everything from BRTs all the way up, so I see a lot of dirt riders struggling with street skills...
do a supermoto class - THAT will teach you how to do both!

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Old 04-21-2015, 01:17 PM   #8
tokyoklahoma
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Talking body position

I find that I move around A LOT more on the dirt. Sliding fore and aft to shift traction to the tire I want to stick, standing, crouching, dabbing a foot, counter-leaning.
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:33 PM   #9
wild
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after riding in dirt I have to take shower...
versus on street I may take a shower.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:38 PM   #10
Tinker1980
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I tend to fall down more in the dirt.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:40 PM   #11
farmerstu
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what orange yz says.
it sometimes takes me a bit to acclimate to dirt or gravel roads when i've spent a lot of time on pavement. pushing harder i'm more conscious of what i'm doing, but if just out for a leisure ride i can find myself on the wrong side of the bike.
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:00 PM   #12
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeYZ View Post
I wheelie in the dirt more.

Dirt turns: Lean the bike, not your body. This is because the tires are constantly sliding in and out of traction, and having your body in a neutral position makes it easier to react and correct.
If you ride on the street like you would on the dirt, you look kind of dorky and might not be able to go as fast.
If you ride on the dirt like you would on the street, you're probably going to be rolling around in the dirt soon.

Braking:
If you lock up the rear on the street, problem.
If you lock up the rear on the dirt, that's business as usual.
It's pretty hard to front brake hard enough on the street to cause a crash.
On the dirt, it doesn't take as much braking force to lock the front tire and have it slide out and crash you. Especially in a turn.

But if a rider learns to ride all the varieties of surfaces encountered off road in a performace fashion usually do well in street riding. Every person I've ridden with that came from off roading did fine. One is a bit more cautious and slow, but most of the rest were pretty sporting riders. None really had transition issues. Well, other than building awareness of their enviroment... trees don't turn left in front of you.
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Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

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Old 04-21-2015, 04:02 PM   #13
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinker1980 View Post
I tend to fall down more in the dirt.

Could be worse, it could be the opposite... and that ain't good.


Besides in off roading if you don't fall down you aren't riding.
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Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

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95 KLX650C w/Vulcan piston bigbore, Now an 09 KLX250S, selling my 90 Zephyr 550
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:09 PM   #14
Yard Sale
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On the street I ride like cagers want to kill me and cops want to beat me. In the dirt I ride like my life depends on constant wheelies.
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Old 04-21-2015, 07:31 PM   #15
Aj Mick
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A world apart.

My formative years were as a kid on dirt on a farm, then unsealed roads and byways before finally hitting paved highways.

Plenty of off road bike handling skills are beneficial on streets, but few street skills are applicable off paved roads.

On streets and highways road craft is more important than fancy riding skills. I move with the bike and ride smoothly, making sure that I am aware of others and that they are aware of me, anticipating well ahead.

Off paved roads and on dirt I hang looser, moving independently of the bike a lot more. Speeds are slower, of course, so the odd off is less traumatic, and goes with the territory. I am more aware of the terrain and there is more immediacy in my riding.
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