Top 7 Motocross Safety Tips For Riding On The Track

Safety should be the number one priority when riding on motocross tracks these days. I don’t like having a lot of rules either, but in order to make racing and riding dirt bikes fun for everyone there has to be to some rules outlined so that we can keep accidents and injuries to a minimum. Whether you’re completely new to dirt biking, or if you’re going to the track for the first time, you need to go through these tips so you can know what to expect.

Proper Gear

Getting hurt sucks, everyone can agree with that. Although injuries are often inevitable in a highly-competitive scene of motocross, you need to wear protective gear to prevent even more injuries. If you’re going to ride a motocross bike, the very minimum you should wear is a DOT and/or Snell-approved helmet, motocross boots, long-sleeve pants and shirt (or motocross riding gear), some gloves, and goggles. These are just the minimum that you should wear. Some other safety equipment which I strongly recommend are a neck bracechest protector/body armor, and knee pads/braces.

Properly set up Bike

If your bike isn’t running right or set-up for your kind of riding, you’re going to get worn out, or it will eventually cause an accident. Getting the suspension valved for your weight is key, and will allow you to ride harder and for longer. Maintaining your dirt bike is very important, and is easy to do. Things like regularly changing the oil and filters, making sure all the nuts and bolts are properly torqued, and adjusting the chain and tire pressures can go a long way. It can be the difference between getting first in the race, or crashing halfway through the first lap. If you want more tips on prepping your motocross bike, click here.

Wearing the proper riding gear can make or break your day.
Wearing the proper riding gear can make or break your day.

Walk the Track

Walking the track before riding is easy to do, and it can give you insight on which lines to take, and which ones not to take. There could be some holes or soft spots that you don’t see while riding, so seeing them before can prevent a major crash. To be even more prepared, follow or ask to follow a faster rider that knows what to look for. There’s a lot of nice riders out there that will give you some hints on the track (or even bike set-up) if you ask them politely. Like the old saying goes, “It pays to know”. So try to make as many friends as possible at the track.

Stretch

Too many people (including myself when I’m in a hurry) make the mistake of not stretching before going out on the track. After sitting in a vehicle driving to the track, your body and muscles are going to be tight. The worst thing you can do is go out and give it 100% right away; it’s just asking for an accident to happen. Do yourself a favor and stretch for a few minutes before you go out and ride. Staying hydrated and eating healthier foods will also help your body, so start hydrating hours before the race. These simple tasks will also help with reducing arm pump.

Hold Your Line

I cannot say this enough to new dirt bike riders and racers. While the right side of the track is usually the slow lane, DO NOT move out of your lane if you are on the left side and hear another rider coming up from behind. Not only will the other rider crash by running into you if you move, but you will more than likely wipe-out and possibly get hurt as well.

Bring Someone With To The Race

It’s always a good idea to bring a friend or family member to the track with you, whether they race or not. In case you get hurt, there should be someone there that can drive you to the hospital and let your family know about what happened. While most riders are willing to help out an injured rider, I would rather rely on someone I know in the event of an emergency.

Relax

One of the most important things you can do is to stay calm and relax, both on and off the track. Motocross racing can be very strenuous, and when your body locks up, it is hard to control the bike. Staying positive and loose will help you ride better and make your day at the track much more enjoyable.

Following these simple steps will make your motocross career last a lot longer. Take the extra few minutes, do things right, and you will be out on the track instead of in a cast.

Good luck, and ride safe!

-Tom Stark

How To Build Dirt Bike Jumps

Are you sick of not being able to clear the jumps at your local tracks? Do other riders not like you because you’re always in their way? A simple way to fix this is to build your own jumps in your yard. Although building a jump might not be easy without good equipment, it will be worth it once you make a jump or two because you will learn how to clear these obstacles in no time.

Where?

The first thing you want to do is find an area where to put the jump. You probably don’t want to build it next to trees or big pits until you are more experienced. The ground does not have to be flat though. In fact, a little slant or elevation change will make it a easier to build a jump because you can dig into ground for the take-off. Once you found a good spot for your dirt bike jump you should have some other thoughts in mind, such as: what type of jump you want, how big the jump will be, and what kind of dirt you will use.

Dirt Bike Jumps

What?

If you want a motocross style jump that gives you more distance, a good estimation to go by is the 3-to-1 ratio. It basically means that if you have a jump 3 feet long then the height of the jump should be 1 foot. So if your jump is 9 feet long then a good height will be about 3 feet. So far you should have figured out where you are going to put a dirt bike jump and how big it is going to be.

On the other hand, if you want a supercross style jump it will be a little bit different. Motocross jumps are more gradual, while supercross jumps generally have a greater angle and give you more height. The main difference in building a supercross jump is that you want a steeper angle, so instead of a 3:1 ratio it might be 2 1/2: or even 2:1.

How Big?

A couple more things to think about while building the actual jumps is to make sure it’s gradual take-off and not abrupt, or else you will be getting bucked around and have a high chance of flipping the bike in the air. Also, you want to make sure the take-off/base of the jump is longer than the length of the dirt bikes wheelbase. If the take-off is not long enough then it’s not going to be a smooth jump.

Got Dirt?

Once you figure out what kind of jump you want and how big it’s going to be then you have to decide what to do about dirt. A well made jump should have a good amount of clay in it, so if you’re lucky enough to have clay or a mixture of clay for soil then use it. If you have sand but don’t want to rebuild the jump every time you use it then you can always bring in some clay. Clay itself is fairly cheap, but if you have to get it hauled in by someone else then it’s going to take a chunk out of your wallet. This is not to say that you shouldn’t make sand jumps for dirt biking, because it’s a easy and will last longer if you pack it down and water it often.

Build It!

Now to the actual building of the dirt bike jump… If you have heavy duty equipment, such as a skid-loader, then great! But for those that are using a tractor, four-wheeler with attachments, or even just shovels, don’t lose your confidence. It’s still possible to make a good jump, it will just take more effort. Plus, you will build some muscle if you do the work yourself! To cut the building time down to almost half, at the start you can put logs, bricks, or any objects to make the base, then just pile dirt on top. If you’re making a jump on a hill or if the ground is slanted (having the jump go uphill is easiest) simply dig dirt out below the jump and pile it up on the base of the jump. Remember to keep it smooth and fill in any holes or drops, even if they are small. The wider the jump is the better, especially when it’s packed down. For one, it’s wider so you can have more than one line, and it will last longer. If you’re bringing in enough dirt then there’s no need to dig prior to the jump, unless you want more air.

Haul your Dirt Bike on a Motorcycle Carrier to your friends house if that’s where the jumps are.

Remember…

Just keep putting more and more dirt on the jump until you think there’s plenty, then add a little more. It may seem like a lot, but it’s better than fixing it or repeatedly adding more dirt. As soon as you’re done building the jump you scan it over a couple more times and get rid of any bumps or divots that might affect riding. Another key to having a good jump is making a good lip. The lip of the jump is the edge where the bike takes off. If this is not made right then you will not stay as stable in the air. To make a good lip just smooth of the top and make sure it flows with the rest of the jump. You can look at from the side to see if the angle is gradual or not.

Get footage of riding on your jumps with an HD Helmet Cam!

I’m not done!

To put the finishing touches you should water the jump and let it sit for a day or two so it hardens…. I think that pretty much covers the basics of how to make dirt bike jumps. Just be sure to build the jumps safe, and that you are making them on your own property. Good luck, and have fun!

-Tom Stark

5 Easy Ways To Get Rid of Arm-Pump In Motocross

Arm-pump is a pain in the butt. Well, actually the arms…. Anyway, arm-pump is one of the leading causes of dirt bike crashes. Riders get tired and weak, and when the strain is too much, they can’t control their bike, so the bike ends up controlling them.

I personally know what it’s like to race, or just ride in general, with and without arm-pump. Without any doubt, it is SO much easier to ride without your fore-arms burning up. Now I’m not here to tell you that there’s a fix-it-all solution where you take a drink of something and it and the soreness disappears! No, arm-pump won’t go away overnight, or at all in some cases, but…. I will show you a few simple ways to greatly reduce the inflammation that can start working today.

1. Dehydration Is Your Enemy

Dehydration Blows...

I know it’s common sense to keep drinking fluids when riding, but I see too many riders not drinking nearly enough liquids, and then they ask why it’s so difficult to continue riding… First of all, energy drinks are NOT for hydrating. Whatever you do, do not drink energy drinks on race-day; it will only make things worse. Water and gatorade (or similar) are your friend, and you should be drinking them by the bottles, ESPECIALLY on scorching hot race-days. Also, it takes about 20 minutes to hydrate your body, so begin drinking well before you start riding. Keeping hydrated will give you more energy and keep the blood flowing, reducing your arm-pump. If you have a long race, or just want to drink while you’re riding, a Camelbak Hydration Pack is a perfect solution.

2. Stretch

You’re basically asking for an accident if you don’t stretch before riding. Racing on a tight and un-stretched body is one of the worst things you can do, and it greatly improves the chance of crashing your dirt bike. Doing simple stretches before riding or racing will greatly reduce stress, allowing you to stay loose and ride harder for longer. I like to stretch out my arms, hands and shoulders, and it doesn’t take much time. Just think, a couple extra minutes of stretching can reduce arm-pump, and possibly prevent an accident/injury.

3. Relax

My biggest problem with arm-pump was from not being able to relax. I was trying and holding on too hard with my hands, causing my arms to “pump-up” and eventually lock up. The instant I started to relax and not “death grip” the bars while racing, I could feel that arm-pump wasn’t as big of an issue as it used to be. Just by releasing my grip on the handlebars a little, breathing slower but more, and staying calm allowed me to ride 2-3 times longer than before at a fast pace. I was literally shocked at how big of a difference it made, and will continue to do this for as long as I ride.

4. Grip With Your Knees 

Gripping With Knees

This is in addition to relaxing your hands and arms. By gripping the bike with your knees and legs (especially through whoop and rough sections), you are taking much strain off your upper body, giving them a much needed rest. Gripping your dirt bike with your knees also keeps the bike riding straighter when riding over rough sections that can cause your bike to get sideways.

5. Fore-Arm Exercises

All of the tips above to reduce arm-pump can be done immediately and at the track. But for those that want to go a step further without spending much time or money, there are simple exercises that you can do to strengthen your arms. Some exercises that you can do a couple times a day are: pull-ups, push-ups, dumbbell lifting, and many more that will help strengthen your arms. One that will really works if you keep at it, is taking a rod about one to two feet in length and tying a string to it with a weight on the end. Hold onto the rod on both ends and spin it to wrap the string around it, pulling the weight up. Once you pull the weight to the rod, rotate the rod to lower the weight, then repeat. Caution: Do not do work-outs or exercises before you ride, or you will be sore and more worn out. Just do the stretches prior to riding. Injuries can and will happen. So if you crash often, it’s smart to Get Motocross Insurance.

If you really want to go far with your riding and training, check out the GetFitRideFast Training Program. It’s all on your computer, and will get you what you want if you stick with it. I can guarantee that you will notice a difference by doing some or all of these tips if you aren’t already. You will soon be flying by your friends when they are worn out after a few laps… Good luck, and ride safe!

-Tom Stark