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Dirt Bike Overview


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Buying a Dirt BikeDirt Bike CareDirt Bike Safety

dirt bikes racing Are you interested in an active recreational pursuit that you can enjoy with your family?  Explore the world of dirt biking!

What is a Dirt Bike?

Dirt bikes are off-road, lightweight motorcycles that have rugged tires and suspension.  They are built for riding cross-country and through rough terrain such as sand, dirt, mud, and rocks.  However, dirt bikes can also be ridden on the street if they have turn signals, lights, and mirrors plus a speedometer and odometer.

Choosing a Bike

A dirt bike can cost thousands of dollars, so you want to make sure you choose the right bike for you.  The type of bike you choose depends on the type of riding you want to do.  There are five types of dirt bikes:
  • Trail-riders, which are made for casual riding over rough terrain.
  • Motocross bikes, which are made for racing.
  • Dual-purpose bikes, which can be used on off-road trails and on the street.
  • Enduro bikes, which are made for races that test endurance.
  • Desert bikes, which are racing bikes used in desert races.
dirt bike riding on sand The size, age, and weight of the rider also affect what kind of bike you buy:  your feet need to touch the ground, and you need to be able to pick the bike up.  If you weigh less than 150 pounds, and are just getting started with dirt biking, consider buying a 150 cc bike.  If you are an experienced dirt bike rider or weigh closer to 200 pounds, a larger bike may work better for you.

It is best to try out some bikes before you buy, so visit a dirt bike dealer or a motorcycle shop, and sit on a variety of dirt bikes.  It's also a good idea to rent or borrow a bike before you buy one, so you can try it out fully before spending some big money.

Learning How to Ride

Once you have chosen your bike, you are ready for your first ride!  It may look intimidating, but if you can ride a bike and drive a stick-shift car, you can learn to ride a dirt bike.  Some ways to learn to ride include asking a friend to teach you, joining a riding club and riding with experienced riders, and taking a class.  To find classes in your area, check out the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Dirt Bike School.

For your first ride, you need to choose an area that is large and flat, with hard-packed dirt and nothing to run into.  Sit in the middle of the seat, on the indentation where the seat meets the gas tank, lean forward slightly, and bring your elbows up and out.  Your feet should just be able to touch the ground.

Before you start the dirt bike, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the controls, especially the throttle, brakes, clutch lever, and shift lever.  If you aren't sure where everything is, take a few moments to look through your user's manual.

Once you're ready, you can start your bike.  You may feel wobbly at first.  To improve your stability, look ahead instead of downwards, and ride a bit faster by releasing the throttle slightly.  If you run into trouble, disengage the clutch and apply the brakes.

Now that you have been introduced to dirt bikes, if you are ready to compare dirt biking products and accessories, check out Japanese dirt bike manufacturers Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki.

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