Woods trail riding technique advice


Apr 23, 2001
I"m a new rider (5 months) who wants to develop good trail riding fundamentals on my 85 XR350R before I ever think about a new bike. My question is when I ride alone what techniques should I key on? Currently I practice riding standing the entire ride with a focus on maintaining a good attack position, looking ahead, elbows up, gripping the bike with my legs, tennis grip on the grips, etc. What other core techniques should I invest my ride alone time perfecting to continue my improvement curve? If there is a live thread on this topic please just post it back and I'll dig in. Thanks in advance.


Nov 9, 2000
One of the most important tips is staying forward, especially in turns. Get as close to the tank as possible while staying on the seat and you will turn better instantly.


Aug 13, 1999
Leaning the bike in the corners too, get a feel for how far you can lean. At least it was a new revelation to me!

My 9 year old would let me start out ahead of him and see how long it took to pass me. It was usually the first corner we came to on the trail. After my boyfriend (who had made up the little game of pass mom :p) told me to lean more in the corners, I tried it (don't tell him I listened to him) and it worked miracles. Now I let my son go first & see how long it takes for me to pass HIM :p.

Now I am working on wheelies - or I guess controlled wheelies would be more accurate. :scream:

High Lord Gomer

Poked with Sticks
Sep 26, 1999
It sounds like you've been paying attention and are working on good things. Three minor suggestions:
1. Make sure all of the controls are adjusted properly so that you don't form bad habits based on improperly adjusted controls.
2. Make sure the suspension has been serviced recently so that the bike is behaving desirably and predictably.
3. Take a class or arrange instruction with a local pro. They might find things you never thought of and can better explain why the right things to do are the right things.

BBBom...there is no such thing as a wheelie on a 500, they are merely different stages of looping out. :scream:

dirt bike dave

Sponsoring Member
May 3, 2000
Concentrate on weighting the outside peg when cornering.

Practice on braking aggressively so you know just how late you can brake when pushing hard.

Most riders are slow on downhills compared to the fast guys. Practice there - envision the hill as level but realize your brakes will not work nearly as well.

Ride with guys that are faster than you and be careful when you are out there alone.


Apr 3, 2001
only thing left

Front braking, this is most important when it comes to stopping or slowing at a rapid rate.

Drill yourself by setting a braking point and accellerating as hard as you can then braking at the very last second, try this drill using only the rear then repete using only the front that way you can see how much faster the front can stop you compaired to the rear.

once you get the feel of stopping with the front you can use both.


Nov 30, 2000
I agree with dirt bike dave, it's amazing what you can learn while riding behind someone who is faster than you. You will push yourself harder too if your trying to keep up with someone. Don't ride over your head though and end up hurting yourself, yes I speak from experience. :scream: I second being very careful while riding alone, this isn't the time to be pushing yourself, this is the time to take it easy and do some exploring or something. When are we gonna ride? :confused:

Big Tuna

Nov 29, 2000
If I "have" to ride alone I make double sure to bring my cell phone with me (better safe than sorry), and besides you can order ahead on that supper you were suppose to have ready.;)
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