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Old 11-04-2012, 10:48 AM   #1
gzr OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Oddometer: 43
Question How to teach myself dirt!?

So... where to begin... I'm a HUGE n00b with dirt and I want to learn how to handle my bike on unpaved ground. Where I live we have no dirt riding schools (and since I'm on a small island traveling to go to a riding school would be ridiculously expensive). I'm willing to experiment a bit and learn alone - what kind of tips can you guys/gals give me that can help me learn and practice?

I've been riding on the street for about 9 years on a Honda Cub, a CG125 clone and a GPZ500S so I feel comfortable (but definitely NOT an expert rider) on the street. My last bike was the 125, and I've recently replaced that with a Suzuki Freewind (DR650 with shorter suspension and a fairing).

Yesterday I was the first time (yeah, first time ever) I tried going on some dirt - basically a farm road with gravel, packed dirt and loose pebbles, and I managed OK at a slow speed. The only difficulty was when the bike followed some deep ruts and didn't want to go straight, but I stayed a bit "loose", stood on the pegs and got through. What else could I do in that situation? How do you guys ride in these kinds of roads?

I also felt daring and did two laps in an MX track that somebody bulldozed in an abandoned field. However that was a fiasco.... and I learnt that my bike is NOT an MX bike and I seriously lack skills. My observations and questions are below. I was really lucky that I did not drop the bike even once, even though I cannot put both feet down flat! (I can just tiptoe both)
>The rear wheel broke traction a couple of times when I used too much throttle, and that's something I've never experienced on the street. How can I get used to it? Did you folks do exercises or something to get used to it?
>Water puddle + clay = zero traction....... I nearly got stuck in the only puddle on the track. Unless I get knobbly tyres, how the hell can I get through mud?
>I have no effing idea how to negotiate those tight corners that are banked about 45 degrees. I basically chickened out and waddled along in first, slipping the clutch and putting my foot down on the high side of the banking. Any tips on how to handle these? Are they even possible on a bike that weights two and a half times as much as me?
>Steep ramps were not so difficult as long as there was a bit of a run-up. Scared myself sh**less when I got a foot of air at the top....

I hope this was not too long winded, and I'm willing to hear how you folks handle these situations. Maybe I can practice dirt again soon! :)
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