Dirt Bike Trail Building Tips – Getting Rid of Thorns

If there’s one thing I hate the most when it comes to building dirt bike trails, it would probably thorns. Where I live, they’re everywhere, and often difficult to get rid of.

Thorns On Trail

You know what I’m talking about if you have them or have ridden through them before. It hurts, especially when he thorns are as high as your head. Getting rid of them is the worst part. It gets very annoying when you’re out in the middle of summer trying to cut thorns down when it’s blistering hot out and they just keep poking you. There are ways to make this process easier, quicker, and get around it at times.

Don’t Call Me A Wuss!

I realize that some of you may be thinking to yourself, “Why don’t you just ride over the thorns, you big baby?!” That’s fine, because if I didn’t know any better I would be thinking the same thing. But the thorns on our land aren’t one foot in height. No, they’re often four feet tall, so they get in your face, scratch up your arms and neck. So once the day is over you are more red marks than not.

I would prefer to use big and heavy artillery, such as a bobcat with brush-cutting attachments to mow thorns and weeds down, but that just isn’t probable with the current economy right now. So, instead I’ve thought of other ways to do it with cheap equipment (some of which you might already have).

Suit Up For War…

When tackling sharp and tall thorns, you don’t go out in shorts, sandals, and a beater. No, you will want to wear thick jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and work boots. I know you may say that it’s unbearable to wear that much clothing in the heat of the day, but there are ways to get around this; more on that later. Besides, it better to sweat a little than bleeding your guts out. Some work gloves will also be useful so you don’t tear up your precious hands.

What Tools?

Hedge Shear

There are many tools that you can use to cut down thorns and weeds, but I try to make it as easy as possible. So, after suiting and booting up I took our old (and I mean old) hedge shear, which are fairly heavy duty and started cutting away. I already had my trails marked (click here for previous article Making The Layout), so I just trimmed the thorns and weeds to make about a 2-3 foot wide path. I didn’t take the time to get rid of every last inch of thorn on the trail, but I did cut most of the down close to the ground. They will grow back, so after cutting a good section of trails I hop on my dirt bike and ride over them about a dozen times to rip the rest of it up.

To Make Things Easier

I love it when there is an easier way to get a job done, especially when it’s just as good or better! I figured out, not that this should be surprising, it’s A LOT easier to cut and trim thorns/weeds during the fall and spring seasons. You can do it in the winter as well, but here it’s not very probable because we get quite a bit of snow here. When everything is dead/cold it will break more easily, so cutting them will take less strength and go by much quicker. Riding over thorns when it’s cold out really speeds up the trail building process because the tire really tears them up.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or add suggestions, as I would love you hear your opinion on whether you like these articles or not!

-Tom Stark