How to Ride a Dirt Bike

Are you itching to hit some wicked turns, hang some huge air, glide over whoops, and gain some insane speed? Read this article and prepare to get dirty.


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    Get a dirt bike. Avoid borrowing one from a friend, because as a first-time rider you risk damaging someone else's property. A two stroke would not be great for your first bike, they are much harder to control as the power band can kick in and give too much power when you least expect it. You will fall off a 2 stroke quickly and could be deterred from learning.Fourstrokes are easy and fun to ride, and have great power. Make sure you get a bike that is the right size for you because you don't want something too big that you can't handle-your dealer or whoever you are buying from will help you with that. I would suggest a 100-250cc older,cheaper bike, its preferable to dropping an expensive brand new bike. It all depends on your height and weight.Just sit on some bikes in the store and you will feel what is most comfortable for you. Talk to your local dealer for more information but do not buy right away. Some dealers might lie or scam you for more than you're worth! Always do research first.
    • Speed: When you are riding down a nice straightaway and you feel like goosing it, try to start in a low gear. Work that gear to its full potential, and then shift up (if you have an automatic bike, don't worry about this). Once you get up to your speed, slant your back at a 45 degree angle, bend your arms at a 90 degree angle and stand up. When standing up your legs and arms act as additional suspension when going over bumps. This keeps you in better control and will conserve energy.
    • Turning: The trick to getting maximum speed and the best setup in a turn is control. When coming into a turn, pick a good line that isn't going to run you off the track. Stick with it and keep steady power. Keep your outside elbow up and your inside leg out. Have your leg sticking straight out in front of you by the fender. This will help you keep your balance, and you can dab your foot on the ground if you slide out. Once in the turn, look where you want to go. Also keep your butt on the outside of the seat and apply a little pressure to the outside foot peg, this helps put more weight on the outside of your bike, giving you more traction. Remember to finish your braking and shifting before you enter the corner so you can concentrate all of your attention on getting through it. Sometimes using the clutch while exiting a corner will give you a short burst of power.
    • Jumps: Hitting big jumps can be scary if you are not comfortable with your riding ability yet. Try little table tops at first; they are very easy and provide a steady landing almost everywhere. Lift up your handlebars and stand up a little. Once you get skilled with that, try a double. Take off the bottom of the face sitting down. By the time your front wheel is off the dirt you should be standing up. Once in the air, position yourself comfortably but sturdily for a landing. If your front end is straight up and down, don't panic! Hit the back brake and it should lower gradually. Before you hit the ground, give a little gas so your bike will flow smoothly.
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    Whoops can be tricky and require lots of practice as all other things do. There are 3 main ways of hitting them: going slow and steady, doubling or tripling them (this can be very useful in a very technical track because you can get into a new line every time), or just blazing through them (very fast and hard to master; your back wheel skims over the tip of the whoops giving you less control). Stand up over whoops and keep your weight just behind the center of balance towards the back of the bike. Practice keeping your knees and elbows bent before you go crazy on them. More than 60 percent of all crashes on a track happen on the whoops. Hold on tight and flow with them. Don't freak out and overcorrect if you get into a wobbly state. Just ride it out.


  • When jumping from dirt ramp to dirt ramp over a gap make sure to get the right speed. Going too slow, just like going too fast, might be painful.
  • When building jumps, start small and work your way up. Try the jump before adding on to it.
  • Magazines such as Motocross Action and Transworld MX give great tips on making adjustments to your bike.
  • Watch for arm-pump ( forearms/hands getting extremely tired) could be potentially dangerous!
  • Don't get cocky about what you can do on your bike. You will likely get brought back to earth pretty quickly.
  • If your a first time rider, don't push yourself too hard, learning to ride a dirt bike is like learning to ride a peddle bike.
  • Don't sit down over a double until you practice slow speed "seat bounce" jumps. There are many body adjustments other than just standing up. High speed and sitting can lead an inexperienced rider into an endo. Practice standing until you get the hang of body position, throttle, clutch, and brake control.
  • Always ride with a camelback or fender pack...keep spark plugs, tools, energy bars, water and a cellphone with you at all times. You never know when you will need it.
  • Always wear your helmet and pads.
  • Always be aware of speed limits, crossing points, and pedestrians. They have the right of way.
  • Remember, safety comes first! Please be careful.


  • Don't let your friends ride your bike. If they crash, that's just one more part you have to buy!
  • If you're going to do tricks, make sure you know what you're doing and are not going to kill yourself. Don't try to impress your friends with something you can't do because chances are you will crash and they will laugh.
  • Always wear MOTORCYCLE protective gear. A hockey helmet might save you from the puck, but not from falling from a motorcycle. Similarly, knee/elbow pads for rollerskating aren't sufficient for riding a motorcycle. If you fail to follow these directions, it may result in serious injury or DEATH.
  • Make sure that where you are riding is safe and you are allowed to be there
  • Know your limits.

Things You'll Need

  • Bike
  • Gear (Helmet, goggles, proper shirt and pants, boots, gloves, chest protector, knee and elbow pads)

Article Info

Categories: Dirt Bikes