Too late for off-road?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by stellars, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. stellars

    stellars greenhorn

    Nov 12, 2009
    Hi there

    I am riding motorcycles for more then 6 years now and started riding offroad once i got my Ktm adv - which is about 1 year now. I do trails, nasty uphills, gravel and all. I even do sand (we do have a sort of small desert in Poland). I try to ride as much as i can, but need to limit it to weekends only - for obvious reasons.

    I ride with a couple of good guys on, respectively, lc4 and xr650. I do stay behind a lot. I do lose control on sand (although i try not to as much as i can), i still have problems with deep ruts and sharp turns on the trail (especially if on the hill - mainly uphill).

    Im in my 30s and i keep hearing that maybe i am too old for offroad, that i will never learn how to do it properly.. Especially from those guys - who ride 20y+

    Is that true? Will my skills stop improving and should i give up and stick to pavement? I love offroad, i really do, but such comments from experienced riders kind of blast my enthusiasm away...
  2. falcn

    falcn Squidless Soul

    Oct 29, 2006
    Union City, CA
    You only stop learning when you are dead.

    Take some classes, watch some instructional videos, practice practice! You are never too old to learn.
  3. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast

    There's your problem right there. Get a smaller bike for off-road, get a 250 and embarrass your friends instead of the other way around.

    Yes, you can ride a 990 fast off road, but it's going to be a hard learning curve starting out that way.

  4. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

    Jan 26, 2011
    Richmond, Ohio
    My dad started in his early 40's when he got me my first dirt bike, he did alright considering that. Gave it up a few years ago, now he's 59 and just rides my bike through the fields every now and then. He can still kickstart my XR650R and is only 5'4" and 140lbs. He says it's just like starting his old sportster, only taller. :huh
  5. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    Never too old if you are healthy. I downsized from my KTM twin and discovered a whole new world of sand washes and rock gardens. I'm 63.
  6. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

    Jul 9, 2008
    Campbell River, BC. Fantasy Island
    Find new people to ride with, you're no where near too old.
  7. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

    Sep 14, 2009
    All over, usually Wales or England
    No, you're not too old.

    I had very little experience in the dirt until my late 20s. Although I was an experienced (and at the risk of sounding cocky, a competent and qualified) road rider for my age, I found it hard starting out. My slow control on the flat was pretty good and I was happy on the slab on the way to the trails, but that was essentially it so far as transferable skills went.

    Physical fitness is a bigger factor in being good offroad than road riding and (minor) injuries per mile travelled are noticeably higher. I think of it as something like playing rugby; you can expect to come back with a few bruises and cuts as a matter of course. Younger folk have the advantage of healing quicker and not getting so worn out. Young people, however, do have a habit of going a bit too hard at the beginning of long rides and wearing themselves out. The older riders tend to take it easier, but keep a higher average speed as they can sustain this for longer. This is born out in other endurance sports; in more extreme endurance events, guys seem to peak 40-45, rather than the 30-35 bracket for sprints and similar.

    You'll likely never be as good as the guy who grew up on a farm riding trials bikes non-stop from the age he was 6. Those guys are a rarity though and unless you're really wanting to be a world class extreme enduro champ, don't let it bother you. If being competitive does matter to you, you still have the potential to be far, far more competent than your 'average' dirt rider of your age, if you spend enough time and effort on it over the next 5 years.

    In my local dirt club, one of our better riders has only been on bikes 4 years and only trail riding for 2. He's a big guy and not in great shape, but aside from the racers amongst the group, he gives most of us a run for his money. He must be in his late 40s!
  8. stellars

    stellars greenhorn

    Nov 12, 2009
    Wow. This really sounds very encouraging :-) I will stick to the pack for a while, and if their attitude persists, I guess I need to find some other group to stick to. There are more and more new riders joining local community - same rookies as myself. I tend to think they will hit the attitude-of-experienced-guys wall sooner then later yet.

    Going to ride skinny LC4 soon (smallest reliable long-distance dual-sport I can find) and see how it goes. LC8 a bit too bulky to learn how to ride trails properly.

    btw. participated BMW enduro school in Germany in the spring - they teach basics well. I guess this sort of training course is an absolute must for rookies of my sort. Gives the basics to build the skills upon.

    Thank you all. Let's see how it goes.
  9. Ruffus

    Ruffus Dirty Old Mudder

    Jan 22, 2006
    Fort Erie,Ontario
    In your 30's? Dude, you're practically a kid :lol3

    Get a smaller bike, offroad will be more enjoyable.

    Never too old. Does sound like you need other riding buddies. Lot's of instructional videos available, look to see if any professional training courses are available for you in your area, or within driving distance.

    P.S. Make sure you have proper protective gear so when you fall, it's painless, & get right back up. All offroad riders fall.
  10. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

    Jul 11, 2008
    Looking to just start with a dirt bike after 35+ years of road riding.

    I'm 57.

    I also ride/race a mountainbike tandem.

    "Never give up. Never surrender"
  11. mrt10x

    mrt10x Dumba$s Jarhead

    Aug 27, 2008
    Woodland Park, CO
    I rode a Harley for 10 years in my 30's, swithched to a BMW GSA in my 40's, which led me riding dirt, sometimes in places I shouldnt have been riding a big bike, which introduced me to MX riders, which led to a DRZ400 and my first true "trail ride" at age 44, which led to a Husaberg, which led me to riding trails every weekend at 45 and buying a place in CO so I could ride even more..... you are definitely not too old. :clap
  12. TorontoBrit

    TorontoBrit TorontoBrit

    May 13, 2009
    Vancouver, BC
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  13. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    I sold a KTM to a 72 year old that still races in the Senior class.

    YOU are NOT EVEN half way to TOO OLD. :deal
  14. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Apr 5, 2011
    Western Sierras
    I agree with the other people here; you are no where near too old. If you are riding a KTM Adventure in sand, you are a better rider than you give yourself credit for. A smaller bike will show you that very quickly.

    From your description of your difficulties (soft ground, ruts, etc), it sounds like you may be resisting movement of the bike beneath you. Let it float a bit more, and it will just oscillate around center of gravity. I have heard that steering dampeners help too.
  15. wb57

    wb57 Long timer

    Oct 18, 2009
    Central NC
    I'm 54 and ride offroad. I don't pretend that I'm as good as I was in my teens and 20s, but ignore the crap they're feeding you. I've seen guys in their 70s that would embarrass a lot of 20 year olds.

    Go ride.
  16. kerhonky

    kerhonky Adventure Poser

    Jan 10, 2006
    Selkirk, NY
    FUCKING AWESOME! I will watch that numerous times again. Those guys are incredible role models, not just for how to ride, but how to live.
  17. Qwik

    Qwik Adrenaline Addict

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ben Lomond, Highway 9, California
    45 and love playin in the dirt.
  18. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

    Oct 29, 2009
    I am 64 and still do dirt, lot less than i used to, i also ride a 990 adv. I stay away from the tight stuff, sand especially, 990 being just too heavy, too much like hard work. It's a fun bike on fire trail's, using the throttle to steer the bike, as long as you don't over do it. If you have the euros, obvious thing to do is buying KTM 300 or the like, for a second bike. The 690 enduro r is really popular here, they're out of stock, due to demand. I never had a chance to ride it, but i rode the 690sm r , same bike with 17 wheels, what a riot of a bike! Wouldn't tour on it though. Your age matters fuck all, it's only a number. I've met people in their forties, that were going on 80's, and vice versa. There was thread in OC, about a 990 adv, as a first bike. In my opinion, if you were only to ride blacktop, it would be ok, it's an easy bike to ride, albeit high, as for dirt, i would not recomend it for a beginner, you could get into serious strife with it, a dirt bike putting out 100 neddie's, it could get tricky:huh
    Get a ride on the 690 enduro r, and tell us how you went, good luck mate!
  19. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

    Feb 14, 2007
    New Zealand
    My son is about your age.........

    I started riding off road at 50 and now (56) still ride expert trails and enduro and road race (I seem to have a firm grip on last place in my class tho). Like others have said, get into it and keep learning, everytime I get on a bike I learn or improve something, those technical challenges are what keeps me alive.
  20. Celtic Curmudgeon

    Celtic Curmudgeon Indiana Jones wanabe

    Feb 6, 2011
    Fort Liquordale FL
    :clapCan't express just how inspirational that was! That's the living definition of being "Young at Heart". I've been riding on the street since '86, and on the verge of 50 have taken interest in off-road riding. Looking for a small enduro, though, since a 500lb Caponord probably isn't the best noob dirt bike. :deal