Motocross riding tips – we share few basic dos and don’ts of this fast evolving sport even in India.
Motocross can be extreme fun and enjoyable, but it certainly isn’t easy. At least for beginners. So, let us present some tips that will improve your technique and overall riding abilities, hopefully. Just keep reading and prepare to discover something new!
1) A Firm Front Brake
The night before any race or serious event get a zip or something similar, and tie your brake lever (front) on. When you do that, pressure from the brakes, during the night, will force any existing air out from the braking fluid.
By doing this you will get really great, firm feeling front brake. While this will help to increase your braking power, don’t rely on this trick too much, if your front brake disc is in bad overall condition.
2) Be Fast on the Straights
Usually, straights are the easiest ones, but do you really know your limits? This means you can go a bit faster than you think, without losing control. Of course this really depends on the soil conditions, and bumps on the road. However, you can crash really hard if you are not careful enough. So what you should do:
Scan the ground in front of you. You should be able to see the road right in front of the bike and far enough (to see what is coming) at the same time. Hitting something with the front wheel can easy cause the loss of control, so keep focused all the time, especially when going really fast. This requires serious concentration and a lot of practice, of course.
Stand on the pegs in central body position if the terrain is too rough or bumpy. Make sure you are going exactly where you want to (control the bike).
Always stay in the right gear (for maximum power output). Don’t over-rev or under-rev the engine, you must know and the exact correct rpm’s for changing gears on your motorcycle. Aside from brakes and throttle use your weight for controlling the bike.
When racing on sandy tracks with soft terrain, try to brake just before the corner, not in the corner area, where all riders are braking. Corner area gets really rough and bumpy and it continues to get rougher after each lap. Instead, try to accelerate in this area. By braking early on the solid terrain. you will slow down faster, and in the “messy” corner you can start to accelerate again. Doing so, your time will improve slightly with each corner, and this can give you some advantage over other riders.
4) Master Motocross Holeshot
One of the common mistakes, are over-revving of engines right after the race starts (well, and right before the start too). It may seem working for a fast start, but in reality you will be always slower than a smart rider, who knows the power range of his bike. For mastering motocross holeshot you need a lot of practice time. “Examine” your bike as much as possible, know its best rpm’s for each gear. Clutch control is one of the keys. You need to operate your clutch smoothly throughout the whole starting area, do not release it with a “jerk”.
When starting on the dirt, make sure that your bike is standing on the firmest-possible terrain. From previous starts, sand and gravel will be all over the place, and there would be a lot of bumps. Stomp the ground under your bike until it is firm and strong enough to give a good grip to tires for a quick start.
Also you can even build a little ramp at the front of the gate. This helps for a faster start, plus your wheels will not be spinning so much over the gate. Also practice your “holeshot technique” with the stopwatch (let someone come and check your timing). By performing perfect motocross holeshot you will be able to win half of the races just with that, it is really that important (of course if you will not make horrible mistakes later in the race).
5) Handle Your Forearm Pump
It’s another common problem. Riders complain, that after some serious riding they start to feel a lot of discomfort or even pain in the forearms, as well as loss of grip strength. This is quite easy to understand, motocross riding is a true workout for the complete body, especially for forearms. For example, if you try to hold heavy object with a very hard grip your forearms will start to “expand” very soon, due to increased blood flow.
After few seconds your forearms will ache a lot, and your grip will start losing strength gradually. That happens because lactic acid builds up inside your forearms, and of course your muscles get fatigued.
While you ride over bumpy roads and rough terrain, especially in corners, you will grip the handlebars really tight, to have control over your bike. Due to firm grip you will soon experience same feeling, as when you were holding heavy weights. It is very much like weight training – for the weights we use quite a heavy motorcycle and the duration of the “exercise” is pretty long. So sooner or later your forearms will give up and you will need to have rest (in other case you are much likely to crash, because you will be barely holding your motorcycle). All new riders suffer from forearm pump, and even some pros too.
What should you do, to lower your forearm pump:
First is quite obvious – train. Trained forearms will handle more intensity over a longer period, so you will be less likely to experience horrible ache in the middle of the race. You can use squeeze balls and grip trainers like IronMind grippers. Also use dumbbells/barbells for forearm curls. And of course – race often, your hands will get used.
Also you should not wear tight gloves. They could restrict blood flow, and make the situation even worse. And you need to have a proper setup on your motorcycle – when you are in attack position brake and clutch lever should be in line with your forearms. Wrong body positioning can make your ride really tiresome and unpleasant.
Don’t forget that you should stretch forearms before you ride. You can simply put your palms against the handlebars, and push firmly. You will feel how your muscles under the palm are stretching. However, don’t do any “sharp” movements, you can hurt the tendons if you push too strong and fast.
And last but definitely not the least – change your handlebars. Get something with a lower diameter. Handlebars with lower diameter are easier to hold, and you will find that your hands do not get tired within the first 10 minutes of racing. Of course, don’t choose something too thin (we’re not sure if ‘very thin’ handlebars exist), because they will make matters worse.
As you see, motocross requires really high level of fitness; it’s a damn hard sport.
Hopefully, this information covered some important areas of motocross racing. Remember, that theory is useless without a practice, so make sure you ride your bike regularly!