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dirt bike novice #5229295 10/03/19 11:23 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,161
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zrxkawboy Offline OP
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I’m 44 and have been riding since I got my permit at age 14, so I’m not new to motorcycles. However, I have little experience on dirt bikes...most of it was when I was a kid. My 9 yo son now has a dirt bike and is loving it, so I picked up a TT-R230 so we could ride together. What’s your best piece of advice for an experienced street rider looking to get into trail riding?


"Think of all the Ford owners who will someday want an automobile." John Dodge

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5229329 10/03/19 12:05 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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Going from dirt to street is easy. Going from street to dirt is much harder. You are not used to the front end washing out or the rear being squirrely.


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Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5229357 10/03/19 12:42 PM
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lancerplayer Offline
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You picked a good bike to learn on. They are forgiving and easy to ride/maintain.

Few things:

- Be prepared to fall/crash. It's going to happen for a number of reasons (weather conditions, variety of terrain, plain old inexperience). It happens to everyone.

- Take advantage of standing. If you see rough terrain coming up, stand. If you see a drop in elevation, stand.

- Ride with more experienced riders if you can. My cousin and I grew up on dirt bikes in the woods and the biggest thing that helped us get better was riding with better riders. Watch the way they tackle certain terrain situations and copy them.

- Watch YouTube videos of GNCC races and other off road events. Take note of how those riders ride. When they accelerate, brake, sit, stand, etc. It will help you.



Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5229372 10/03/19 01:00 PM
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ad244 Offline
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Wear Gear! - Helmet, Gloves, Boots, Knee Guards and reinforced pants (Not jeans) would be my minimum. Its not a chance of if... its a chance of when.

Set up ergonomics - Set the suspension sag set, angle the handlebars forward, levers down.

Practice balance - Standing on the pegs. Dont forget there is Side to Side balance & there is forward and backward balance. Your body weight may be more than the bike weighs and plays a significant factor in how the bike responds on the trails.

Those 230's are great bikes! - I started riding at 8 years old with my old man on his RT-180. These were some of the best days of my childhood.

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5229544 10/03/19 04:10 PM
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krismoriah72 Offline
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My last dirt bike was a CRF450, previous to that a KTM300 and previous to that was a CR250.

Trail riding is not sitting on your butt. It can be if you are just putting along..but standing on the pegs for balance is needed if trails get technical.

Learn the capabilities of your machine before you get confident.

Tires and tire pressure along with tire repair kits are the keys to getting home.

Oh.. and your back and legs and arms will be sore the next day if you are not used to it... you are basically a human shock absorber.

Figure a way to haul hydration as well.

I have moved onto sidebysides.. dont miss the dirt bikes one bit now that im pushing 50.

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5229678 10/03/19 07:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
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thastinger Offline
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Originally Posted by zrxkawboy
I’m 44 and have been riding since I got my permit at age 14, so I’m not new to motorcycles. However, I have little experience on dirt bikes...most of it was when I was a kid. My 9 yo son now has a dirt bike and is loving it, so I picked up a TT-R230 so we could ride together. What’s your best piece of advice for an experienced street rider looking to get into trail riding?



Keep you butt off the seat and let the bike float underneath you

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5230083 10/04/19 10:05 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
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BigMoneyGrip Offline
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Learn to use the front brake. The front will stop you, the back will help you to turn. Also, clutch application and throttle control are mega important. And as mentioned above, stand up. Your body is better suspension than what's on your bike.
Have fun!

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5230304 10/04/19 03:09 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,068
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sunruh Offline
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trees dont move
rocks are harder than bones
blood just hides whats underneeth
more fun at 15mph than you thought possible


motorcycle oil myth buster
Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5230873 10/05/19 08:12 AM
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zrxkawboy Offline OP
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Thanks, guys!


"Think of all the Ford owners who will someday want an automobile." John Dodge

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5231560 10/05/19 10:16 PM
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Cujet Offline
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Great advice above, about ergonomics. The setup for a dirt bike is probably different than what you are used to. Handlebar position must be right (comfortable) for YOU both sitting and standing. There are big differences between individual needs. I prefer the brake and clutch levers angled down. That way when standing, they are not too high to use effectively. Some riders have to lift their fingers up to get over improperly positioned levers when standing. That's not smart.

Same goes for shifter position and brake pedal position. Make sure you can use them while standing, with your normal riding boots. Don't set up the bike for sneakers.... like my friend did.

Tire pressure is important too. I tend to like lower pressures than my peers. Better ride, and more compliant over the small stuff which leads to better grip. I have never run more than 14psi, 12 is generally good, 10 can be good for sand. Even 1/2 psi change is a lot. I've seen some riders use a skittery 20psi because that's what the manual called for. Don't do that.

It's really good to be quiet. People tend to hate dirt bikes. Especially if they are loud. I put quiet mufflers on all my dirt bikes. I even made an awesome quiet silencer for a CR500!

A pic of my old KTM on the day I purchased it. Has good looks, but falls short on real world capability.

[Linked Image from cujet.com]

Last edited by Cujet; 10/05/19 10:21 PM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: dirt bike novice [Re: Cujet] #5232960 10/07/19 01:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
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sunruh Offline
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Originally Posted by Cujet

Tire pressure is important too. I tend to like lower pressures than my peers. Better ride, and more compliant over the small stuff which leads to better grip. I have never run more than 14psi, 12 is generally good, 10 can be good for sand. Even 1/2 psi change is a lot. I've seen some riders use a skittery 20psi because that's what the manual called for. Don't do that.


too much of a blanket statement that doesnt work.

at the enduro 2 weeks ago i pinch flatted the rear with 13psi in it.
and i was leading the class by 46secs....instead i got a DNF

Last edited by sunruh; 10/07/19 01:19 PM.

motorcycle oil myth buster
Re: dirt bike novice [Re: sunruh] #5233833 10/08/19 11:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
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Cujet Offline
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Originally Posted by sunruh
Originally Posted by Cujet

Tire pressure is important too. I tend to like lower pressures than my peers. Better ride, and more compliant over the small stuff which leads to better grip. I have never run more than 14psi, 12 is generally good, 10 can be good for sand. Even 1/2 psi change is a lot. I've seen some riders use a skittery 20psi because that's what the manual called for. Don't do that.


too much of a blanket statement that doesnt work.

at the enduro 2 weeks ago i pinch flatted the rear with 13psi in it.
and i was leading the class by 46secs....instead i got a DNF


Oh, that sucks. I'm sorry!!!

Yes, but the guy is a novice on a modest bike. It's very unlikely he will need to carry extra pressure for protection from insane, high impact hits. My statement was meant for him.




[Linked Image from blondiesphotography.files.wordpress.com]


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: dirt bike novice [Re: Cujet] #5244849 10/20/19 11:01 AM
Joined: Oct 2006
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irv Offline
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Great advice above, about ergonomics. The setup for a dirt bike is probably different than what you are used to. Handlebar position must be right (comfortable) for YOU both sitting and standing. There are big differences between individual needs. I prefer the brake and clutch levers angled down. That way when standing, they are not too high to use effectively. Some riders have to lift their fingers up to get over improperly positioned levers when standing. That's not smart.

Same goes for shifter position and brake pedal position. Make sure you can use them while standing, with your normal riding boots. Don't set up the bike for sneakers.... like my friend did.

Tire pressure is important too. I tend to like lower pressures than my peers. Better ride, and more compliant over the small stuff which leads to better grip. I have never run more than 14psi, 12 is generally good, 10 can be good for sand. Even 1/2 psi change is a lot. I've seen some riders use a skittery 20psi because that's what the manual called for. Don't do that.

It's really good to be quiet. People tend to hate dirt bikes. Especially if they are loud. I put quiet mufflers on all my dirt bikes. I even made an awesome quiet silencer for a CR500!

A pic of my old KTM on the day I purchased it. Has good looks, but falls short on real world capability.

[Linked Image from cujet.com]



A pic of mine on the day I purchased it,,,,,,,,,,,,back in 1985. cheers

KTM.jpgPicture 010 (Large).jpgPicture 007 (Large).jpg

2017 Chevy Impala 3.6 L.
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Re: dirt bike novice [Re: ad244] #5244918 10/20/19 12:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,420
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totegoat Offline
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Originally Posted by ad244
Wear Gear! - Helmet, Gloves, Boots, Knee Guards and reinforced pants (Not jeans) would be my minimum. Its not a chance of if... its a chance of when.

Set up ergonomics - Set the suspension sag set, angle the handlebars forward, levers down.

Practice balance - Standing on the pegs. Dont forget there is Side to Side balance & there is forward and backward balance. Your body weight may be more than the bike weighs and plays a significant factor in how the bike responds on the trails.

Those 230's are great bikes! - I started riding at 8 years old with my old man on his RT-180. These were some of the best days of my childhood.


Good advice! I was about the OP's age last time I broke my tib/fib hill climbing. Stayed of bikes for many years afterward, but now back in the wind thumbsup

Re: dirt bike novice [Re: zrxkawboy] #5245958 10/21/19 12:59 PM
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DGXR Offline
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I agree with the protective gear. I have been riding off-road for 20+ years and had only minor injuries (sprains, scrapes, bruises). This is 100% due to the protective gear that I always wear off-road.
To answer your question, just remember that you never have 100% traction on the dirt. Even when you're going straight, the dirt or gravel will give slightly under the weight of the bike/tire. When you are in a turn, think of it as each tire is drifting slightly. This means: be ready to react (counter-steer or other) if the front or rear tire suddenly gains or loses traction. You will learn which conditions allow you to take turns faster, such as positive banking and soil condition (moisture/tack). As with street bikes, seat time will make you more comfortable with the dynamics of off-road riding. And learning the way your specific bike behaves will be a huge benefit: power delivery/gearing, steering response, suspension settings, effect of new or worn tires, etc.
Enjoy your new hobby with your son. This may be the most fun workout you've ever had -- it sure is for me! Challenging single track can take a lot of strength but it can also take you to some beautiful areas with gorgeous views. Quality time for sure! Enjoy laugh


1995 Corvette coupe LT1 6-speed
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1999 Yamaha YZ400FL
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