Fancy the tracks of speed, danger, and adventure? Starting to ride your first dirt bike is an experience no one forgets, it’s written in the glory of nostalgia. But along with the excitement, many riders find that riding is not as easy as it looks on TV or by professionals, it’s a lot more challenging. Most experienced riders point to a few fundamental mistakes young riders make, mainly relating to techniques, habits, form, and execution. In the pursuit of cornering the common mistakes rut, we bring you sage motocross advice to throttle to your full potential.
#1 Mistake To Avoid: SLOPPY FORM
The biggest telling factor of a rider’s experience is their form on the bike. Having proper form is not an elusive concept, rather it is a set of best body positions angled for a prime ride. An ideal position has:
– Elbows up for purposeful handling.
– Knees hugging your gas tank for better control.
– Balls of your feet firmly on the footpegs for balance.
– Body leaned forwards for even weight distribution
– Following this simple motocross form-algorithm, you can effectively transform your form.
#2 Mistake To Avoid: IMBALANCE
Improper forms lead to imbalance, and balance is essential as a quality rider. Remember the days when you were learning to ride a bicycle? Tap into those natural calibration senses of your body to keep refinding the balance while you ride. The center of gravity in your dirt bike is going to be just below your seat, so we recommend focusing on it at slower speeds to allow you to hone your sense of balance.
#3 Mistake To Avoid: SITTING
Here’s one of the most popular ones. Although you love how the pros don’t touch their seats much, you somehow can’t seem to bid farewell to yours for long. We reckon two reasons -lack of proper technique and fear of crashing. When it comes to crash fear, there’s a famous motocross saying -there are two types of people in motocross, one who ride and crash, and the audience. Crashing is common, and you can’t avoid it, rather embrace it as the mark of a rider.
Where proper technique is in question, start with the arches of your feet with your toes pointed outward, stand for short amounts of time, and increase the time as you get comfortable. Once you get comfortable with this, practice standing using the balls of your feet for better body movement and lesser chances of conflicting with the shifter or the ground.
#4 Mistake To Avoid: NOT LOOKING AHEAD
Two words. Target Fixation. As an aspiring rider, you should be aware of it. Target Fixation basically means when you focus on an object too much, your chance of crashing into that very object shoots up. Counter-intuitive right? So don’t always target your focus on stuff like your front wheel, the immediate road ahead, or only that one incoming obstacle. As a rule, try to keep retargeting your focus on the next most important object on the course.
#5 Mistake To Avoid: INCORRECT GEAR SHIFTS
Professional riders give us supernatural lines like ‘my bike talks to me’, and to be fair, it does. Professionals develop a sense for the golden time for gear shift, almost as if they were told by their bike. While you can’t have that relationship yet, you can certainly start by paying close attention to the throttle response: is it at its limit in the current gear? Is it open to offer more power? Does the engine sound and feel unusually loud or crackling?
While you can’t be robotic in asking these questions before you decide to shift gears, keep them in mind as an indicator for something being off. A good rule of thumb says:
– Steep climbs = low gears
– Downhills = high gears
– High RPM and loud noise = gear up
– Low RPM and crackling noise = gear down.
Conclusion: Try. Learn. Repeat.
Every rider has to go through the inevitable learning curve. What separates the winners from the rest is their persistent mindset, attention to technique, commitment to proper form, and a thirst for the motocross madness. One last bonus tip for a mistake to avoid is to have the proper MX gear as it offers you riding focus, mobility, and complete protection.