Skip to Content

Dirt Bike Training: Why Don’t Riders Get It?

Are you considering getting some dirt bike training but not sure if you need it?

Whether you’re new to dirt biking, just getting back into it, or you simply want to build your confidence, this article is for you! 

Should you get dirt bike training?

I recently surveyed hundreds of my online students and the majority of them said that they were either self-taught or taught by a friend how to ride a dirt bike.

That means that most riders never get formal dirt bike training, which was because there was no riding school near them or they didn’t no one existed for many.

It took years of dirt bike training to get enough confidence to enjoy riding in the mountains with friends
Riding out in the mountains without learning the basic techniques? You’re crazy!

The point I’m getting at, is that no one starts out knowing everything about how to properly ride a dirt bike. Maybe your buddy who taught you has been riding for years, but they might not fully understand how to communicate how to do a certain technique, let alone teach you something that forms bad habits.

And bad habits are harder to fix than training a new rider how to properly do something.

For example:

If you were taught or just naturally use all 4 fingers on the clutch or brake lever, but now you just found out that only using 1 (or 2) fingers is better and safer, it’s going to feel weird and unnatural to only use one finger. 

The lever is going to feel stiff or hard to pull in, and you’re not going to want to change your bad habit.

The same goes for sitting on the seat too much – especially if you come from a street bike background. You might even know that it’s important to stand, but it feels uncomfortable or hard for you while using the throttle, clutch, or brake.

Well, getting a good coach to train you will not only show you how to ride a dirt bike using the proper techniques, but it will be easy to understand and practice so that you can quickly break those bad habits that will cause you to ride out of control.

5 reasons to get formal dirt bike training:

  1. Ride with more control to prevent crashes that cause serious injuries
  2. Break bad habits that cause you to ride out of control
  3. Form good habits that build your confidence
  4. Increase your skill, speed, and confidence in much less time than learning on your own
  5. Verify what you’re doing well and improve where needed

How do you train for a dirt bike?

If you want to train the right way, you need to start with the basics. This means learning the fundamental techniques at “slow speeds” before you start riding faster.

This is not only safer, but it helps you feel and understand what the bike is doing under you so that you can stay balanced and in control. If you’re already out of balance and just “get over the back and gas it”, you’re just going to have that much bigger crash when you lose control.

The first steps

So, the key steps for training how to confidently ride a dirt bike start with balance and traction. You need to be able to balance on two wheels without dragging your feet, and then how to get the most traction so that your tires slide out.

Traction, or lack thereof, is the reason why dirt biking is so much harder than other motorsports – you never have 100% traction in the dirt. 

Trail Riding On CRF230F 16 Dirt Bike Training: Why Don't Riders Get It?

This means you need to learn proper clutch control and throttle control, as well as what gear to be in to ride faster, safer, and more in control.

For example:

Learning how to roll on the throttle rather than dumping the clutch and gassing it can be the difference between riding smooth and fast versus riding out of control and sounding fast…

Are dirt bikes good for beginners?

Yes, learning how to ride a dirt bike off-road is great if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle, but you must take the proper steps in order to make it as safe as possible. The first 2 steps are: starting on a dirt bike that’s good for beginners, and then learning how to safely ride it.

If you want to ride on the street, I always recommend starting on a dirt bike first because you learn all the same skills and more to properly handle a motorcycle.

Dirt bike lessons

The first lessons you should learn is how to balance and get on a dirt bike so that you don’t fall over, even if it’s a tall bike and you’re short like me. You can start by simply holding your bike upright with one hand and walking around it (360 degrees) without it falling over.

This will help you feel and understand how precise your movements need to be to make the bike stay balanced. If you truly care about your safety and properly building your confidence, then you need to start at the slowest speeds possible while learning all of the techniques.

When you understand how the bike is working and moving at low speeds, then you can understand what the bike will do when it’s moving faster.

Dirt bike training for beginners

One of the biggest struggles beginners have with riding a dirt bike is proper clutch control. Whether you’re brand new to riding any kind of motorcycle or you’re coming from a street bike, it can be difficult to use the clutch because it’s not like an “On/Off” switch – you have to precisely control it to prevent stalling and get proper traction. 

A simple drill that I show my students is to practice letting the clutch out to get moving without touching the throttle. This forces you to be very slow with letting the clutch out at the point of engagement until you’re going fast enough to put your foot on the peg. 

How to safely ride with confidence

If you found this helpful then I’d like to give you a free gift to make you a better and safer rider faster. It’s my basic technique cheat sheet that shows you the essential techniques. Click here to download it now.