Riding a bicycle for off road motorcycle fitness and skills

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mikem9, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. ggoytia

    ggoytia Mobile Fatso

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    My needs are not what they use to just took up bike riding again to get the gut down. Feel like a kid hope the bike holds up. But to go back to the original question helps a little but not really. Got the kid out me once again going over curbs. Hahahahahah poor bike
    #21
  2. irishal

    irishal Adventurer

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    Great thread. I race a lot of MTB XC and Endurance races and the fitness helps on the ADV side a lot, but so does the skills. My coach (yes I have a cycling coach) has me practice drills on the MTB once a week.....things like high and low speed cornering, switchbacks, off-cambers, track stands, finding the best line on a trail and riding obstacles. This past weekend my MTB skills bailed me out in a very sandy section of "road", where i otherwise would have went down on the v-strom.
    I've heard this same thing from top motocross and dakar guys.....they ride/race MTB and it makes a huge difference.
    #22
  3. olegbabich

    olegbabich Been here awhile

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    When I'm not riding my Motorcycle, I'm on my Mountain Bike and when I'm not on a Mountain Bike I'm on my Motor Bike.

    The skills easily cary over from one to another.

    Have fun.:clap:clap:clap
    #23
  4. IrishCatholic

    IrishCatholic Adventurer

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    I'm a better motorcycle rider (especially off the pavement) because of 20 years riding and racing mountain bikes before I ever owned a motorcycle.
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  5. Homey

    Homey Been here awhile

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    Maybe that is because you learned on the bicycle long before you got on a motorcycle. I've been doing both since before mountain bikes existed. Yeah, I was riding an old Schwinn paper bike in the desert in the 60's. For me, the speed differential is way too great for there to be a big overlap in skill sets. I choose way different lines switching between them. There is basic stuff that is the same as they are both two wheeled vehicles and thus behave similarly but that is about it.
    #25
  6. 14fg

    14fg Been here awhile

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    out of curiosity, have you tried downhill riding? I feel I go faster on my Norco, than if I was on my husky on the same trail, I think your right in that the bicycle is more dependent on momentum, but if you can transfer that over to the dirt bike, yee haw!!
    #26
  7. firstlog

    firstlog Adventurer

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    Mountain biking is what lead me to getting a dirtbike. My knees don't like pedaling though so I've had to really cut back and the dirtibke is a natural substitute and a little more fun.

    There is no doubt that riding a bicycle regularly can get you into great shape, but so can a lot of other things that are often cheaper and more convenient. Cycling has also caused me some moderate long term knee pain after several years of intense riding.

    Skill wise it depends a lot on how you mountain bike. I think the biggest benefit is not particular skills (ie crossing logs) but the idea that you can shift your weight to control the machine, that you can huck a 3 foot drop on the trail, or that you can unweight the bike and float over some obstacles. Riding aggressive AM/DH/FR changes your idea of what is possible on a bike and I think that carries over really well to a dirtbike even though a lot of the skills and movements and possibilities are different.

    I remember hucking a moderate drop for the first time on my two stroke. I weighted the front as I approached the edge and then leaned back as the front tire left the ground just like on the mountain bike. With a little twist of the throttle the bike launched me forward like a rocket. I added a whole new dimension. Can't do that on a peddle bike. :D
    #27
  8. gearheadE30

    gearheadE30 Long timer

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    Right there with you. I raced XC for a bit and still love to ride any kind of technical or fast MTB trails, and I completely credit my mountain biking experience with being able to jump on a dirt bike and actually ride somewhat decently. True, the skills are different, but some of them are actually really useful. Things like conserving your momentum, picking the best line rather than just hammering the suspension, transferring weight, using your entire body to control the bike, finding the rhythm of the trail...that's all stuff that is way more critical on a mountain bike, but has made me a much better rider off road as well.

    That said, the effect is more that it gives you a big jump on the early learning curve, rather than making you suddenly a master. I got to the level of 'decent trail rider' pretty quick because of mountain biking, but I don't think there is nearly as much crossover when it comes to 'fast trail rider' or riding really technical stuff where wheelies, clutch/throttle finesse, and really steep ascents/decents, and almost trials-like skills come into play. That will still take just as long to learn as for most other people :freaky
    #28
  9. Homey

    Homey Been here awhile

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    Not proper downhill on the bicycle. I go pretty stinking fast (if I don't say so myself :wink:) downhill on my Husky. I learned all about momentum on the racetrack. I used to race small or underpowered bikes and momentum is the only way to go fast. I actually think I got faster on my bicycle because of my motorcycling not the other way around.

    To be perfectly honest, the real answer to the OP's question is "it depends." It depends on your background, what you started riding on and when. I don't think there is one right answer here.
    #29
  10. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    OK - here is a hypothetical question to consider. Let's say a study was done, where they took 100 mid level hare scrambles and enduro racers and split the group 50/50.

    First they let all 100 ride a race course (combined hare scrambles/enduro) and recorded their individual times on their own bikes. Then, they split the group 50/50 and tried to make the overall average time about the same in both groups.

    Then, all 100 riders took 2 months off from riding a motorcycle. During this two months, Group 1 trained on mountain bikes 3 days a week, including cross country and down hill. Group 2 did a combination of running and/or elliptical machine 3 days a week. Both groups also did equal amounts of weight training a couple of days a week.

    At the end of two months, all 100 riders once again all rode the same hare scrambles/enduro style race course all out. Then, each racers individual times were compared to their past time, and each groups (mountain biker group vs. running/eliptical group) level of change were compared to each other overall.

    Which group would have the best times after those two months off? The group that trained on mountain bikes, or the group that didn't?
    #30
  11. meatshieldchris

    meatshieldchris Long timer

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    Slow speed skills absolutely cross over. I've spent nearly a decade riding a bicycle all year round in central canada where ice and snow happens in november and stays till march. Those winter riding skills crossed over to this year's experiment riding a KLR all year. I'm totally familiar with taming lateral acceleration and what the edge of traction feels like on the icey pond because of the mountain bike. Picking a line in the dirt is a good skill that crosses over too. And committing to a maneuver. Like on a mountain bike riding fairly technical offroad stuff, if you don't fully commit to that hill climb or log crossing, you probably won't make it. Same on the motorcycle. And things like looking far ahead make you more accurate on your line. My road reading skills also seem to carry over, knowing what kind of traction I can expect out of a surface by looking at it, especially a snowy or wet one or woody or rockey or gravelly one. Eg. you don't have to slow right down to do gravel, but you might need to if you want to turn. Hard packed gravel is fine, but loose will be squirely. Ice means your front brake doesn't exist, don't even bother. That kind of thing is almost identical except with what you can do with your rear wheel especially at those "most accidents happen under 30mph" speeds.

    A bicycle is so much more agile it's super for demonstrating countersteering to the unbelievers and how countersteering initiates lean angle and turn.

    The one negative I find is when I was learning a motorcycle, I used to stick my knees out and wave them around to try to affect my CG like I can on a bicycle. 1) the knees do nothing to affect the CG on a motorcycle, there's just too much weight to fight against that way and 2) you lose all that good integration. The instructor yelled at me a lot about that.

    I would agree that it's a big jump on the learning curve but the skills diverge after that.
    #31
  12. RFVC600R

    RFVC600R SAND EATER

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    Downhill mountain biking. try it sometime :deal
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  13. chevyjlewis

    chevyjlewis Adventurer

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    most of the top of the line supercross and moto cross riders use road bikes in order to get in shape. the only way to practice grip for them is practicing on a course on thier dirtbike or by riding a mountainbike rough and hard.
    #33
  14. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    transferable skills, for sure.
    being fit doesn't hurt, either.

    :deal
    #34
  15. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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  16. TABR

    TABR Lost Again

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    After 20 years of road racing & cycle cross making the transition back to motorcycles after a 25 year absence was very easy. I'm still relearning and I don't bounce like I did when I was younger but the level of fitness you get by riding bicycles on & off-road can only help in your motorcycling adventures.
    #36
  17. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

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    I only ride park.

    Seriously though, mountain biking has taught me more about reading surfaces than anything else.

    Balance is another aspect of bicycling that transfers easily to motorcycles. Trackstanding, slow riding in tight turns, that kind of thing really pays off having the tools in the belt on the motorcycle. Often I'll have both feet on the pegs before releasing the clutch and this comes from building balance skills on the MTB.

    Riding dirt on bicycles is something I been doing since the 60's. This has been my passion throughout my life. Motorcycles, to me, are just an extension of this and my passion naturally included dirt bikes, then street bikes as a natural progression.

    Still, little gives me as much satisfaction as riding singletrack on my MTB. It is the pure essence of the feeling I've been addicted to for longer than I can remember.
    #37
  18. Gummee!

    Gummee! That's MR. Toothless

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    I can understand that completely. :nod

    M
    #38