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Tips for off road motorcycle riding

Motorcycles

Off road motorbike riding is an all year round activity, usually. But, we know that this year has put a real spanner in the works and now we’ve never been more keen to feel that throttle underhand, and fill in the calendar with a stack of off-road bike riding trips. It has been a beat though, so we thought we’d dust off our gear and our bikes with a quick rehash reminder of what to remember when you’re on an off road dirt bike trail, and the tips that make sure you have the time of your life, every time.

Be prepared

Prep work can sometimes be framed as the boring part, but we’re calling it as part of the fun! Getting ready is full of anticipation, and that’s more excitement than we’ve had for months. At the risk of sounding like your parents… Pack the snacks! When you head out, you’re going to be enjoying hours of riding to make it all worth the while. Don’t cut it short because your stomach is screaming. Protein bars and fruit are great for easy packing and eating, and make sure you’ve got plenty of water (especially as the weather heats up). Take a few layer iterations of gear, too, so you don’t burn up. 

Also, tell people where you’re going and what you’re doing. Sometimes these off road areas are without phone signal, so you want to make sure that someone is aware you’re out there and can head over if you’re unusually late coming back and need some help. Check the predicted weather, too, so you can avoid getting caught in an afternoon deluge. 

Recon the area

This goes for new off-roaders, or if the off road riding area itself is new to you. Do some research on the area, talk to people who have gone out before, and understand the terrain as much as possible before experiencing it for yourself. It’ll just give you a good heads up of what to look out for, typical to the area, and any tips you can get for riding on that terrain, specifically. 

Adjust your riding style with these motorcycle riding tips

If you’re typically a road rider, this is for you. Riding on the road is a whole different game, and it’s worth it for your safety and overall experience to take stock of your habits and intuitions when riding on rougher terrain compared to the road. The most common adjustments are:

  • When turning, push the bike down to the side, and keep your body as upright as possible, with your weight forward over the tank. This is to take full advantage of the tyre tread and the terrain working together for ultimate traction. You’ll have a whole lot more control the more these two things are working together. 

  • Pick up speed on slippery or tricky areas like slit and sand. Unlike road riding, where you would be doing the opposite (slowing down on oil spills, for example), you want to instead pick up speed to get through these areas as safely as possible. This will avoid being stuck in dense sand, or swerving. The tyre traction and the terrain work differently to neatly laid asphalt, and so will do the opposite if you try to slow down. 

  • Look where you’re going, not what you want to avoid – EYES UP! Although this is true of road riding, your obstacles are less obvious and predictable. You have to be even more eagle-eye for where you want to go, because sometimes that will be around a tree… 

  • Lean forward as much as possible travelling up hillclimbs, and bring your weight back as far as possible on steep descents. This will help with controlling the bike and, again, keeping the tyres to the terrain for greater control. Remember keeping your feet on the pegs is key! 

Know your bike

If you’re heading out on a new bike, try and go for easier terrain (so a few fun rocky areas, but maybe less dense of trees and large boulders) or off-road tracks. All bikes have slightly different functions and capabilities, and it's in the best interest of your safety and the bike’s health to not put it or you under conditions you aren’t prepared for. To help you along, take a look at our breakdown of the differences between KTM and the GasGas.   


Looking for an off-road dirt bike? Talk to our Sutto’s team today! 

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