Are you wondering whether riding a dirt bike is hard? There are several accidents reported each year of dirt biking. So, we attempt to understand if dirt biking is hard, and if so, what are the factors, mistakes, and ways a new rider should note and ride it safely. Is riding a dirt bike hard?
Dirt Biking is not very hard, but indeed harder than street biking. It is mainly due to the special features of dirt bikes and the off-road tracks on which it is driven. You need to practice to enhance the specific skillsets to ride dirt bikes safely on unpaved roads.
Dirt biking over the years has been an adventurous off-road activity. Millions of people are now going for dirt biking because of its relative cheapness compared to other off-road vehicles.
Comparison between Street Bike and Dirt Bike:
In this section, we will compare two of the most prominent bikes of both categories, i.e. street and dirt bikes. The specification of both these categories will be detailed in separate sections.
How much difference is there between a normal street bike and a dirt bike in terms of safety, engine, weight, torque and other major components?
KTM 200 Duke
Bore and Stroke
79mm x 50.9mm
72mm x 49mm
Dirt Biking is Different from Normal Biking:
So, for readers, the first thing they need to understand about dirt biking is how it differs from normal biking. Dirt biking is not so usual. The bike is different in regard as it produces more torque, has more shocks absorber, and has more ground clearance. This ultimately brings a certain uniqueness and separation from normal biking.
Plus, the factor that exacerbates this is that dirt biking is all about going off-road. The terrain you will be trekking or travelling on will not be a casual road. It will most likely be filled with dirt and gravel, making it slippery and dangerous for the drivers. Therefore, it is better to understand what is required for dirt biking and how it differs from street biking – which is quite obvious from the makeup of the bikes.
After mentioning that dirt biking is different, the next natural question will be how does one start practising the dirt bike or how can they make up to standards of dirt biking. So, the next section will cover this aspect.
How to Ride a Dirt Bike with Clutch and Gears for Beginners:
For beginners, dirt biking can be hectic and difficult to master. It involves a manual clutch and pedal shifting gears which is quite a task for beginners.
Along with it comes the tremendous torque that can render the bike uncontrollable and dangerous for them. So, for beginners to come into riding, we have written some steps that they should practice daily to get control over dirt bikes and ride them safely.
STEP 1: Initiating the Bike:
So, the first step after getting over the bike is to start it. However, before starting the bike, the driver has to bring the gears to be neutral for dirt bikes. For this, the driver has to hold the clutch, and stepping on the gear shifter makes it neutral.
After the gears have been neutral, the driver shall release the clutch and kick start the bike. Then, the bike will initiate safely.
STEP 2: Getting It Started:
After the bike has been started, the next step is to make it into gear and saddle its movement. In this case, the driver has to release the race bar and again hold the clutch tightly. After holding the clutch, the driver has to manually shift the bike to first gear. Now the vehicle is ready to move.
The driver can slowly release the clutch while giving some race from the bar. The bike will start moving. This is quite a technical and hard part of initiating a dirt bike.
For beginners, it can only be mastered by having enough practice. Later on, the driver can shift to numbers 2,3 and 4 gears following the same process and by the speed requirement.
STEP 3: Slowing Down the Vehicle:
As we have listed the way to start the dirt bike. The next way is how to stop it. For stopping the bike, the process is quite similar to getting it started but in reverse. The driver has to hold the clutch again and makes the race bar on zero.
After this, it has to apply brakes to make the bike slow. And following the same process, the driver has to shift the gears as well.
Common Mistakes Committed by Dirt Bikers:
Several mistakes are very common among dirt bikers, and specifically, those who are new to off-roading are prone to these. So we are going to list the major ones below. This is because the new drivers are prone to them, which can instantly injure them.
Right Body Posture:
The number one mistake that the drivers are prone to commit is the not so right body posture. They take a casual posture while sitting on the bike and tend to slide back without realising the power of dirt bikes.
So what happens when the driver gives a little bit of throttle is they slide back even more and usually, the front wheel of the bike gets in the air. As the tire is in the air, the next thing that happens is an increase in throttle due to the driver's slide. This makes the situation even worse. And consequently, the driver is on the ground, making himself injured.
So, to prevent this, the right posture is to sit in the middle of the seat and keep in mind the bike’s power.
The next major mistake that the drivers commit is when they are climbing uphill. During the climb, it is advised that the driver should be able to stand instead of sit. It is because while standing, it is easy to balance the weight and to counterbalance the weight as well if the bike tilts.
But the drivers prefer to sit idle and take a casual approach towards climbing. So, what happens as a result is, when they attempt to climb, the bike either is lifted from the front or gets imbalanced due to the bump causing the driver to fall. The driver is usually injured in these types of scenarios. For this reason, the drivers are asked to stand as it will help them balance or rebalance while facing such situations.
On the contrary, if the driver finds it easy to sit or they cannot stand while climbing. So, the approach is to sit as close as possible to the handlebar. And to have a firm grip over the throttle and the mental preparedness to shift the weight as the situation requires.
Similar to climbing uphill, riding downward can also be tricky. In this case, the driver is asked to shift their body to the back of the bike as far as possible. This is because when coming downwards, it is quite possible that the driver can not react to what the situation comes to.
Other than this, the bike can tilt to have a roll forward while coming down if the driver has its weight in front. The bike will surely fall and injure the driver. That can only be taken care of if the driver shifts its weight to the back.
The next major problem among drivers is when they attempt to turn the bike on corners. The technique is to grip the throttle firmly and shift the weight as close to the handle as possible. It is due to the reason that his body weight will help to quench the forks and make the turn easier.
In addition, when the driver shifts its weight forward, the whole geometry of the bike changes. That new shape with the biker being close to handling helps the bike move easily while turning. So that helps a lot for the driver.
The last major mistake that the driver commits while riding a dirt bike is poor clutch control. Clutch is the most important part of a dirt bike as it determines your speed and your stoppage. So controlling the clutch is very much important to dirt bike riders.
Saying this, clutch control is important, but most drivers lack these skills. The moment they require fastening the clutch, they lose grip making the acceleration more than required. Plus, if they hold the clutch more tightly than required, it will cause two major implications:
- First, it will lower the bike’s speed than what is required in the situation.
- The other is it will cause the engine of the bike to heat up, which is not beneficial for the bike in the long run.
Recommendations to Make Dirt Biking Safe:
After that, we have mentioned some mistakes that drivers make. Our next attempt is to offer some good advice for new drivers to ride safer and better.
- The first piece of advice is to learn the driving technique. No matter how much safety equipment you wear, riding technique is the first and foremost priority that every driver should put their hands on.
- The goal is to learn everything that can prevent you from crashing. That includes to have effective control over clutch brakes and throttle. Plus, the way to position your weight over the body and handle the bike- all goes into developing the proper technique of riding the dirt bike.
Keep in mind that the goal is to always prevent the bike from crashing. Our priority is whatever goes into stopping the bike from crashing or getting in an accident.
- Having said this, the next recommendation is to wear the required kit before driving. The kit includes wearing a helmet, a sturdy goggle, gloves, a leather suit to protect from bruises, and dirt biking boots. All these equipment have their respective importance, and they become critical in times of crisis – in our case, a possible crash.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is a dirt bike easier to ride?
Riding a dirt bike is not easier as compared to riding a street bike. This is due to the reason that dirt bikes have more torque and higher ground clearance than normal street bikes.
Are dirt bikes hard?
Yes, dirt bikes are rigid and very sturdy. Their design is made up of composite material that gives them extra strength and durability while trekking over obstacles.
How do you get good at riding a dirt bike?
In order to get good at riding, the only way is through practice. You need to spend hours in practice, and for that, you can hire a tutor as well.
This is Surya. I am an experienced off-roader. I have been off-roading for many years across several terrains. I am passionate about 4×4 driving and want to share my knowledge and experience with others.
My goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and unbiased information about off-roading.
I curated this article through my personal experience and expertise, and I hope it helps you with what you are looking for.