Woohoo!

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#1
Just had to brag a bit, I landed my first no footer and nac nac today! I think I'm doing quite well for only a month on a dirtbike in my life. =]


What should I try next that is somewhere near my level (kind of beginner)
 
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#4
No, as in "whipped" cream like you put on cheese cake or other crap associated with "cheese".... :p
 

IndyMX

Crash Test Dummy
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#5
MeanorMX said:
As in a "whip" like you see on TV quite a bit?
I think Chili meant, learn the basics first, worry about tricks once you have some trophy's in your case.
 

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Tony 'da Rat
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#6
MeanorMX said:
What should I try next that is somewhere near my level (kind of beginner)
Do you know the 3 different ways to make your bike turn? Do you use your front brake to it's full potential? Can you use your rear brake when making a right turn?
 
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#7
I don't know all the different techniques, I know how to turn my bike, didn't know there was more to it than that. I know how to use my front brake very well. I don't know what you mean when you said "Can you use your rear brake when making a right turn".
 

Chili

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#8
MeanorMX said:
I don't know all the different techniques, I know how to turn my bike, didn't know there was more to it than that. I know how to use my front brake very well. I don't know what you mean when you said "Can you use your rear brake when making a right turn".
Which is exactly my point. Nothing gets racers laughing faster than a guy trying to do tricks over a jump on the track but he can't get through the next turn faster than a beginner on a 50.
 

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Tony 'da Rat
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#10
MeanorMX said:
I don't know all the different techniques, I know how to turn my bike, didn't know there was more to it than that. I know how to use my front brake very well. I don't know what you mean when you said "Can you use your rear brake when making a right turn".
You can steer your bike by turning the bars, leaning and using your rear brake.

Most new riders are not comfortable having thier foot on the brake pedal when making a right turn with any amount of speed. This is because they have a tendicy (sp) to hold their foot out in case the fall to catch themselves.
 

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Tony 'da Rat
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#11
When you first get your bike, you should concentrate on proper body position, accelerating, and braking. Don’t worry about turns yet - just do the best you can when you have to turn around or something.

The first thing you should do is sit on the bike. If you’ve chosen the right size bike, your feet should just be able to touch the ground. Now, look at where you are on the sit. If you are like most beginners, you will be way too far back. You need to keep repeating this mantra while riding… “move forward, move forward, move forward”.

A dirt bike seat has a natural indentation where the seat meets the gas tank. That is where you want your butt… don’t worry, you can’t go too far forward because of the gas tank. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you resist the tendency to sit on the bike as you would a chair or a “cruiser” type motorcycle.

As you are riding slowly, a test to use to see if you are far enough forward is to put both feet on the footpegs and try to stand up WITHOUT pulling on the handlebars. If you are sitting over your feet like you should be, then this will be easy. If you are too far behind your feet, you will need to slide forward and pull on the handlebars.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the proper seated position. It will affect all aspects of your riding, especially turns. If you sit too far back, the shock compresses more than the forks, resulting in a “chopper” type angle. This will cause the front of the bike to feel very vague in turns, causing the front wheel to run a very wide arc and not have good traction.

OK, I will stop talking about the seating position if you promise to CONSTANTLY remind yourself to move forward. Deal?

Now that you are seated properly, start riding around. The goal of this first ride is to get acquainted with the feel of a dirt bike as it goes over the dirt. If you are used to a street bike, riding a dirt bike will be a bit disconcerting at first because the ground is irregular and the bike will “wiggle” a bit underneath you. That is normal.

As a beginner rider, you will most likely be “wiggling” around even more because you will be going so slow. As you progress to higher speeds, you will see that your front wheel will “float” a little more, rather than following each little turn in the dirt.

Whether you are on a trail or in a field, just go back and forth for about 20 minutes. Each time, try to go a little bit faster until you feel the bike start to not feel so “wiggly”. During this time, I only want you to concentrate on two things… seating position and looking forward.

As for seating position - MOVE FORWARD!

As for your head and eyes - look where you want to be, not where you are! If you are looking a few feet in front of your tire, you will never get smooth. You need to look well down the trail. A trick I use to help me is the front fender.

As you are riding, without moving your head or eyes, determine if you can see your front fender using your peripheral vision. If you can, you are probably looking too close to the front of the bike.

After about 20 minutes or so, you should be fairly comfortable going back and forth down the trail or field. Take a break, and pull out a copy of this article. For the rest of the day you will work on Accelerating and Braking. Re-read the next two sections below and then start working on them for the rest of the day.

ACCELERATION: Remember our discussion about SEATING POSITION? Well here is the first area that it will affect. When you accelerate, the natural forces will try to push you backward. Most beginners are sitting too far back on the seat and counter this force by pulling on the handlebars, which is exactly what you DON’T want to do.

If you are seated properly, your hips should be over the foot pegs (or in front of them) and your upper body should have a forward lean to it. In this position, you can counter the rearward forces by pressing down and back on the footpegs, as well as leaning further forward. If you are doing it properly, you should be able to remove your left hand from the handlebar while accelerating and the bike should continue to track straight.

The final item with acceleration is smooth and quick shifts. Even though there are 3 items involved (throttle, clutch, and shifter), they are not 3 independent motions. Ultimately, it will become all one motion, meaning you will simultaneously shut the throttle, pull in the clutch and pick up on the shifter. Likewise, after the new gear is selected, you simultaneously let the clutch out as you open the throttle. Work on this until you can smoothly and quickly go through at least 3 gears.

BRAKING: Guess what? Your seating position affects your braking too! In the same way that accelerating forces push you backward, braking forces will push you forward. Once again, the trick is to NOT transmit these forces to the handlebars. If you do, you not only make it more difficult to use the handlebar controls, but you have a tendency to stiffen up your arms, which in turn makes it harder to absorb bumps.

If you are seated properly when braking, the gas tank should be between your thighs. As you begin braking, SQUEEZE the gas tank with your legs. This will keep your body in the right position.

At first, simply accelerate to 3rd or 4th gear and then brake to a stop. Remember, as you are braking you should be downshifting so that when you stop, you will be able to immediately take off again.

After 10 or 20 times, you will need to begin “testing” yourself. To do this, pick out 4 points. These can be rocks or sticks placed at various points in the field, or certain trees along the trail.

POINT 1: The point that you start accelerating.

POINT 2: The point you stop accelerating.

POINT 3: The point you apply the brakes.

POINT 4: The point you are stopped.

When you do this test, be sure to accelerate to approximately the same speed. You probably don’t have a speedometer, so use your gears to tell you. In other words, accelerate hard from the same spot until you shift into 3rd gear. That will give you POINT 1 and 2. Mentally mark approximately where Spots 3 and 4 are during these test runs.

As you do this more and more, POINT 3 should get closer and closer to POINT 2 and eventually they will be the same spot. Also, you should be able to continually move POINT 4 closer to you.

By spending time accelerating and braking, you will gain confidence in your riding ability. It is important to keep pushing yourself while doing these exercises. Each time, try to accelerate harder and brake harder. It is important to get used to the feel of the bike. Most likely, the back tire will “burn out”, meaning it will spin faster than you are going. This is normal and you can control it with the throttle and body movements.

When braking, you might lock up one or both tires. When practicing, try to “feel” when a tire is about to lock up. If you do, don’t increase brake pressure any more. Ideally, you want to be right at that point, where maximum pressure is applied but the tire is not skidding.

Another thing to remember is how the condition of the trail affects accelerating and braking. For instance, if it is real bumpy, you cannot brake as hard before you start to skid.

Some other tips:

1 - Do not try to use the back brake by rotating your ankle. Physically pick up your foot off the footpeg and press down on the brake pedal.

2 - Use 1 or 2 fingers only on the front brake.

3 - Use both brakes simultaneously.

As you improve and as various conditions warrant, you will find certain exemptions to these tips.