tight single track

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#1
i need some tips on how to ride tight single track trails faster
does it just take practice or what? my faster buddies make it
look easy, but i just cant seem to get the hang of it.
 

MTC

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#2
My advice would be to ride over it very slowly once or twice, looking for roots, rocks, stumps, etc.. Anything that could catch your from wheel and send you over the bars. After you get a feel for the trail, ride it a little faster. The next pass, ride it even faster than the last time. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable with it, and can keep up with your buddies. One thing that really helps me out is to look ahead, and I mean far. The farther you look ahead, the more reaction time you have. Remember, The bike goes where you look.
 
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#3
Learn to memorize stuff.

If people ask about my memory, I will sometimes say to them "I have a 4 second flash memory." Then I explain to them about dirt biking and looking ahead. I look about 2-4 seconds ahead at all times and I glance 10-20 seconds ahead (if viewable) to get an idea of what is comming up. I will look ahead and scan for rocks, roots, and logs and then I pick a line. Then I am done. I ride it. 2-4 seconds after I pick where I am going, I hit that spot. But I don't think about that spot, I am already looking at something ahead.

Now sometimes there are a lot of obstacles close together. This means more thinking. I can only think so fast. This is why I slow down when the trail gets tough. I have to because I cannot look at the trail and pick a line and think of how to ride through it as fast as the bike will go.

The best thing to do is practice. I have had my trail for a year and in the last few months I have improved my skills a lot. I used to ride my KDX through the trail in first gear chugging the engine. Now I ride my CR250 through the trail in first gear at half throttle. If you have ridden both of these, you would know that first gear on a CR is equal to about second gear on a KDX. So I was really forced to learn to ride fast by riding the CR. So next time you are out there, put it a gear higher than what you ran it before. Try to ride the bike through without killing the engine. Then each time ride the same high gear faster and faster. The bike will push you faster.

Good luck
 

firecracker22

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#4
My favorite riding partner is a AA class woodsrider and all the stuff most people would think was trials bike territory, or outright impossible, he just loves. Thankfully since I cook his dinner he doesn't take me on the really punishing stuff. But I've certainly gotten better at technical trails since we met!

What has helped me the most is standing up and looking ahead.

Even in the corners, standing helps you absorb the roots/rocks/other obstacles that Nature places in your way. You will have better control. Grip with your knees, center your weight and let the bike move under you.

Looking ahead is key especially when that tight single track is also located on a sidehill, which they often are. As MTC said, the bike goes where you look, and if you look down at the drop off or over at that large tree or rock, guess where you'll end up. Look as far ahead as the trail will permit. It will also make you loosen up since you aren't staring at the nasty roots immediately beneath you and tensing up and you will flow with the bike.

Also, rather than wrestling with the bike (especially if you ride an XR600!) don't try to manhandle the bike around by the handlebars. Steer more with your feet by weighting the pegs and pressing with your knees. Get your weight farther back when going down hills or over roots/rocks--especially on a four-stroke, it's important to keep the front end light over that stuff or it will really beat you up.

Now if only I could put all this great advice to use myself! ;)
 

WoodsRider

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#5
All good advice, but let me add some more. What are your surroundings like? Small saplings easily deflect out of the way (hopefully you have solid mounted handguards). Pine and oak have about half an inch of bark that gives, birch and other hardwoods do not. Mowing down saplings and scraping bark off trees is perfectly acceptable behavior in the woods.

Is the trail littered with roots, rocks and stumps? Keep the front wheel light if it is. There will be less chance of the front deflecting off these obstacles and sending you in another direction. Pull in you clutch before chopping the throttle this eliminates the compression braking effect which weights the front end. If you sit down a lot (most XR600 riders do) you need to take on more of a Scott Summers riding style. He sits farther back on the seat and his elbows are dropped. This defies all known logic about riding dirtbikes, but it works for him as well as Curt and Shawn Wilcox.

Most important piece of advice. Is your suspension properly set-up? Are your springs matched to your weight? Have the fork and shock been serviced recently/regularly? Is the rear sag properly set? I've found that a properly set-up suspension is far better than excessive amounts of power in the woods. I know a very fast A rider that races several National Enduros and HS'. He weighs somewhere between 250 and 300 lbs., sits down almost all the time and is equally fast on a 125 2-stroke or a 600 4-stroke. He doesn't perform any engine modifications, just sets the suspension up for his riding style.
 

firecracker22

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#6
Originally posted by WoodsRider
Mowing down saplings and scraping bark off trees is perfectly acceptable behavior in the woods.
The greenies must hate you. :p
 
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#7
woodsrider, that sounds exactly like the riding we do in northern
michigan. lots of trees, and yes handgaurds are mandatory!
i use cycra pro-bends. i think some of my problem is my upper body strenth
isnt that great, and i get pooped out pretty easy trying to man-handle
the mighty xr. thanks guys for all of your help.:D
 

WoodsRider

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#8
Originally posted by firecracker22
The greenies must hate you. :p
FC - It's a mutual relationship! ;)

XR - Ah yes, Michigan... land of the never ending sand whoops. Got the worst case of monkey butt I ever had at the Cherry Pit Enduro outside of Traverse City last year. Four-strokes always gave me problems in the sand. I'd chop the throttle and go over the bars. That's how I learned to pull in the clutch before chopping the throttle. Michigan is also where I learned not to scrape bark off of birch trees... there isn't any. :eek:

It sounds like your trying to fight your bike too much. That's why you get tired. Try and relax your upper body. Learn to steer the bike by using the foot pegs, your knees and the rear wheel. Work with the power not against it.
 

dirt bike dave

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#9
Another tip for saving energy is train yourself not to grip the bars real tight. Very light pressure on the grips is enough and it keeps you from being tense and fighting the bike.
 
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#10
Really fast guys will weave one side of the bars through the trees first and the the otherside while keeping the front end light with throttle. Its a reall quick motion. Also cutting the bars down helps alot.
bp:think
 
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#11
Pick good lines...

Thats what I do and that cuts down on time. In the last race I did (33km or 22 miles of solid tight single track)> there was a huge mud hole or there was a really big detuor. I decided to take the mud hole, and i passed 5 guys and covered one other guy in water.As for smaller things like roots, i go around them if i can.When i go through the super tight sections i weave my bars in and out through the trees. Try to stay up too, if u go down lots you'll tire your self out.Oh ya for the starts around here i start out near the back of the pack and work my way up>it works excellent!:p :)
 
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#12
There are so many variables to this question that it's hard to answer it accurately. But here is my $ .02
I noticed alot of guy's I ride with stay full bore or in the meat of the power band to ride fast in the tight stuff. I don't ride a thumper but going thru tight sections in the meat of the power can be tricky if you deflect or bump trees and obsticals. I tend to ride in a higher gear, almost bogging thru but at the same time attaining good speed. Thus being able to concentrate on the trail and not holding on to my bike with death grip. If you need instant power wick the throttle and slip the clutch. This may be against all ethics of riding because I am not a pro, but it works great for me and better than any other technique I've tried. And I agree a solid pair of hand guards are great. My buddy hates when I pass him in the woods while plowing small saplings over.
P.S. - ever have a tree hit your front brake when you were'nt expecting it ?
 

Saratoga

#13
Lots of good advice already given. I had a friend who rode a XR 600 and couldn't keep up. He switched to a KDX 220 and now is right on my butt.
I do not know what your situation is. Food for thought.
 
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#14
Lighter bike.

Ditto what Saratoga said. I used to have an XR-400 and after 3-4 hours or riding i was physically beat.

Sell the big XR and move to a lighter mount like a KTM 250 or 300 EXC. You will be much faster and enjoy the riding alot more.
 
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#15
I was going to be the first to say "of course you are tired you are riding an xr600!" But I think I got beat. lol