5 Reasons Why You Should Start On A Dirt Bike Before A Motorcycle

You want to ride a motorcycle, but not sure if it’s a good idea to go out and buy one without any previous riding experience.

Riding a motorcycle down the street isn’t very difficult, but learning how to maneuver around random objects on the road or keeping traction when there’s gravel in the intersection can put you on the ground quickly if you don’t know what to expect.

That’s why I want to show you 5 reasons why you should start on a dirt bike before a motorcycle (street bike).

North Shore 2014 18 5 Reasons Why You Should Start On A Dirt Bike Before A Motorcycle

Why should you even listen to me?

I’m just some random guy on the internet, so why trust what I say about starting on a dirt bike before a motorcycle?

Well, I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was 7 years old and have owned/ridden dozens of bikes over the years. I also got my motorcycle endorsement when I turned 16 and have been riding on the street as well since then. 

I started Motocross Hideout back in 2009 because I want to help riders like you learn from my mistakes and experiences so that you stay safe and keep riding. 

No license needed

The great thing about dirt bikes is that you don’t need any license or to be a certain age to ride (in most countries). That means you can start as young as you want, and there’s no exams or tests to take. 

Less intimidating

Riding on asphalt is the easy part. The hard part about riding a motorcycle on the road is dealing with:

  • Traffic
  • Bad drivers
  • Road debris
  • Animal crossing
  • Road regulations
  • High speeds on the freeway

All of these things can be very intimidating if you’re new to riding a motorcycle. 

That’s why you should start on a dirt bike first, because you don’t have to deal with any of that – or at least you shouldn’t. 

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All you need is a decent size area of dirt or grass and you can learn the basics to safely ride a dirt bike. 

Cheaper to crash

Okay, so I know you’re not planning to crash, but you’re bound to tip over sooner or later. Laying down a street bike can do hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of damage – and it’s easiest to do it when you first start.

On the other hand, a dirt bike is built a lot better for tipping over. You might scratch the plastic or tweak a handlebar. It would take a massive crash to do serious damage to a dirt bike, which isn’t as likely as a beginner because you’re not riding at a fast pace.

Poor Body Position & Technique while cornering
Here’s a perfect example of what NOT to do in a corner…

Getting used to not being in control

It happens way too often on the street. I’ve heard stories from EMT friends of mine about motorcycle riders that crash because they simply lost control on their own. 

Why is this?

Well, it’s often because of the lack of muscle-memory. When new riders get into a situation that requires them to quickly slow down, they have little to no control over the brakes.

So what do they do?

Lock up the rear (or maybe both) brakes. This results in the rear wheel sliding out from under them, and then the low-side or high-side. This could be from entering a corner too fast, or trying to slow down for a traffic jam or animal crossing.

Either way, learning to “feel” that loss of traction is much easier and safer on a dirt bike. Riding in the dirt, you basically never have 100% traction, but locking of the brake won’t cause you to go down quite as easily as on the street.

You can also practice it whenever you want with less risk.

Off-road skills translate better to on road skills

Riding a dirt bike requires some different techniques and body positioning than riding a street bike, but these techniques will better prepare you for riding a motorcycle on the road. 

Why? Because balance, finding traction, and throttle/clutch control are more critical riding in the dirt. Once you figure out how to lose and regain traction, learn proper riding technique for balancing, and master your clutch control, transitioning to the street will be a breeze. 

But, you first have to start on a solid foundation of techniques for dirt biking before you hop on and ride a motorcycle. 

Want to get started the right way? Click here for 3 off-road riding techniques that will also translate to riding on the road

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Kelley Fager

I help newer riders learn to safely ride with confidence by teaching basic techniques in a way that's easy to understand. Learn To Ride With Control Here

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