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acebobby

One For The Motocrossers

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OK so for the winter I decided to buy myself a motocross bike, I have been out on it once and typically me decided I wanted to fly before I could crawl so to speak, so Ihad been hitting this jump a few times and decide it was time to go for some big air and flipped the bike slamming me into the dirt, so a bit battered and bruised I decided it best to learn how to ride this thing! The main thing I learned was just how loose on the bars you have to be with these things!

Anyway what I was wondering is they say all the best racers come from a dirt riding background, But since I have taken to this sport the other way round, can I expect it to help me improve my track riding when I get back to it next spring! It seemed the ideal winter sport for me as our dirt tracks are open all year round!

Also its just so much fun!

 

Bobby

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Hi Bobby

MXers are great, it took me for ever to learn how to ride one, having only ridden on the road for many years before that. What bike did you get? 2 stroke or 4 stroke? I'm not sure it's done anything for my tarmac riding other than make me worry (a bit) less when the bike starts to move around, although this is one of those things I'm not comfortable with anyway.

 

Various schools around, my favourite is Geoff Mayes but he's in southern UK (furthest north he goes is Doncaster). Yep you don't have to muscle the bars too mcuh if you sit far enough forward and tip the bike a lot under you. As for jumps, you'll get the hang of it, bascially you can control your height for any given approach speed with your knees, the firmer you keep them up the jump, the higher you'll go. Tabletops are good to practise as the drop out of the sky isn't so far as pointy jumps, so you can hit them pretty hard before you start getting into trouble.

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Hi Johnny,

I got a 2000 yamaha YZ250, so a 2 stroker, Its a bit rough around the edges but a good fun bike for starting out! after just one day I am hooked and for the first time ever I'm not that bothered that winter has arrived (except for the dark nights)! I checked out that Geoff Mayes school you mentioned but unfortunately the northern dates are in summer so maybe next year but for now I will just self teach myself with you tube vids and just generally have fun at the track!

 

Bobby

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This is my specialty laugh.gif.

 

If you don't have a steering damper (which I doubt you do if its 2000) you do need to stay loose on the bars especially transition from accelerating to braking otherwise you might get a lot of head shake. Suspension settings can have a big effect on how stable the front end is.

 

Jumping can be tricky at times. Don't make any sudden changes in speed while going off the face of a jump. You can accelerate hard or even decelerate off a jump but if theres a sudden change in speed it will change how the suspension is loaded which then changes how the bike launches. For starting out your best way to approach it is to smoothly accelerate off the face of the jump. Just like throttle control rule #1, it keeps the bike very stable. Some jumps will make the front end drop, others will make the front end try to carry. It pretty much all has to do with how the suspension loads and unloads up the face of the jump so suspension setups can have a drastic effect. Make sure your pre-load is set correctly. Starting out just slowly increase your speed every time you hit the same jump. This will get you a better feel for how the bike is reacting to where your body position is and how the suspension is working with it. Be careful of short jumps with steep transitions. Once the front tire is off the ground the rear suspension will unload. Basically it will spring the rear tire off the ground and throw you forward (which is probably what you just did cool.gif).

 

I have so much time on motocross tracks from a very young age so I really don't think about what I'm doing on it anymore. It all just seems to happen automatically. I can tell you it made my transition to street MUCH easier. Hitting patches of sand, gravel, and pretty much any other low traction situations never concerned me at all. I instinctively put the throttle where I needed it and I've never had more than a small wiggle. I'm absolutely comfortable with the front tire locking under hard braking (which I just did today practicing my emergency stops) and I owe it to my off-road experience. I definitely think the off-road experience will make you much more comfortable getting close to the traction limits with the bike moving around while on the road course.

 

A friend of mine is learning how to ride off-road now as well. I've been trying to pay attention to the things I don't think about anymore so I might be able to help him learn. The more I pay attention to it the more it resembles the kind of things CSS teaches in the school. What they teach is made to work with how motorcycles are designed so it works on all motorcycles/terrain and not just sportbikes on a road course. I think most of it just involves getting comfortable with the terrain and low traction. Other than that for the most part it works the same way every motorcycle does. There are some added skills you'll need to learn, like riding through rock gardens and climbing over logs.

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Thanks for the pointers fajita dave,

I dont have a sreering damper, but the first time I rode across a muddy field I lost the front and fell off, this is when I discovered you need to be very loose on the bars to let the front wheel find its way. I think Keith has written something about this in one of the twist books!

 

Bobby

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Also dont try dragging kneessmile.gif

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There are times when you can't help tensing up on the handlebars just so you can hold on. So you wont avoid that completely but you can minimize it by squeezing the tank and holding yourself to the bike with your lower body. Riding in deep sand you can't avoid fighting the handlebars at times and that somewhat applies with mud too. Staying on the throttle and trying to keep the front tire light will prevent the front tire from being pushed around.

 

Of course there is also terrain that you pretty much can't hold onto the tank at all but its almost entirely low speed type terrain so tense arms aren't a big deal. Sometimes you need to let the bike move around under you which means you can't hold on with your legs. If your not holding on with your legs than you need to hold on with your arms.

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I've also ridden motocross for many years before heading for the tarmac. I agree with Fajita Dave (what's the story behind that name, BTW?) about dirt riding helping you learn to control the bike (or at least not freak out) as you reach the traction limits. I'll also add that the biggest problem I had at CSS was pushing the bike down. There is no doubt in my mind that this bad behavior comes from too many years in the dirt. Off road riding requires you to move around a lot on the seat whereas track riding keeps you planted in the seat (for the most part).

 

So, two different styles of riding with some common elements between. My advice is to learn the right moves for each type of riding and keep them separate in your mind. In that way, you'll be less likely to transfer any bad techniques (between the two).

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My dirt bike has been collecting dust, but gonna breat it out this winter.

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Anyone with a supermoto care to chime in?

 

A common question I've read in a popular supermoto forum is - Foot out or knee down? Which is faster?

The consensus was foot out for the slower tighter turns that are on a kart track and knee down for the faster sweepers that are on a real track.

 

I know Keith has said you could save a slide on your knee, but the "foot out" style is there for that EXACT reason - not as a lean gauge, but a "anti-sliderometer". wink.gif

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Anyone with a supermoto care to chime in?

 

A common question I've read in a popular supermoto forum is - Foot out or knee down? Which is faster?

The consensus was foot out for the slower tighter turns that are on a kart track and knee down for the faster sweepers that are on a real track.

 

I know Keith has said you could save a slide on your knee, but the "foot out" style is there for that EXACT reason - not as a lean gauge, but a "anti-sliderometer". wink.gif

 

Stuman has done both, and I think he has said the same.

 

CF

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I find soft sand a real nightmare, sit on the front and you get no drive, sit on the back and you can't steer. In general I try to point the front in the right direction and keep the drive on at the back, even if it fishtails around, the front tells the bike whre to go and the back will follow in the end! Sitting well froward helps, you can't do all this from half way back along the seat (if your nuts aren't almost on the filler cap, you're not far enough forward). As Fajita says, some jumps point you up, some down, but for all you can modify this. I find 2-strokes easier to jump, the 4-strokes often fly nose-down (I thik the negine braking cust in so quickly, I'm shutting off too early, overall first impressions are that they always go nose-down). Anyway have fun on it, for all the pointers in the world, you really just need to ride it and get the hang of flapping around and bouncing a lot.

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<br /> I find 2-strokes easier to jump, the 4-strokes often fly nose-down (I thik the negine braking cust in so quickly, I'm shutting off too early, overall first impressions are that they always go nose-down). Anyway have fun on it, for all the pointers in the world, you really just need to ride it and get the hang of flapping around and bouncing a lot.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

 

I got used to it pretty quickly when I rode a friends 4 stroke. The first was a 250cc the suspension felt great for my weight on that bike. The second was a 450cc that was way to stiff for me so it was hard to compare for jumping. The engine braking definitely made the nose drop when I let off the throttle after I went air born. I got used to it quick though and either rolled off the throttle instead of chopping it or just launched a little nose high so it leveled out when the engine braking brought the nose down. The instant torque seemed to make the bike more responsive to using the throttle in the air. If you blipped the throttle the rear tire just drops out from under you especially on the 450cc.

 

The funny thing about the stiff 450 suspension for me is that jumping was completely backwards. Normally on my bike with my fitted suspension if I lean back off the face of the jump the bike jumps nose high and vise versa if I lean forward (makes sense right?). However, on the 450 if I leaned back the nose dropped and if I leaned forward it jumped nose high! This was completely backwards to the other bikes I've ridden where the suspension was much better fitted to my weight. The only reasoning I can come up with is the suspension was so stiff it was unloading before I reached the end of the jump. So I had to preload the front suspension and use that rebound to get the bike to carry the front tire. It was very odd at first but it was fun after I got used to it.

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Great topic, and one I can totally relate to.

 

My riding wouldn't be half as good, nor my understanding of the CSS tech half as complete, if it weren't for the thousands of hours spent on a dirt bike.

 

Period.

 

Probably more key than anything, it was the dirt bike that really trained me to turn the gas on whenever things got ugly, and that has saved my bacon so many times on the track I can't even count.

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Thanks for all the feedback on this guys, really appreciated!

 

Bobby

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