How Do You Stop On A Dirt Bike Safely & Quickly?

Brakes are just one of the few controls that you must learn to become a skilled dirt bike rider. They are simple enough, but what makes them so important to learn?

In this article you’ll learn how to efficiently use the brakes on your dirt bike to stop faster, as well as ride safer to help prevent accidents.

Is It Hard To Ride A Dirt Bike?

A dirt bike is easy to ride if you get the proper training and technique. A dirt bike is also hard to ride fast over obstacles and technical single track trails. 

Why Are Using The Brakes So Important?

In order to go fast, you must be able to stop.

At least if you don’t want to crash. 

Braking quicker means you can brake later, which is best when you’re racing. 

However, when it comes to safety and riding, learning how to use your brakes efficiently can actually prevent some serious accidents. 

Having a quick reaction and slowing down quickly are good skills to have. You never know when an unexpected object will surprise you on the trail. 

How Do You Stop On A Dirt Bike Without Stalling?

To properly stop on a dirt bike with a clutch, you need to learn how to use the brake and clutch at the same time. 

Coming to a stop, you must pull in the clutch before the engine RPM drops too low. If you still have the bike in gear and come to a stop without pulling in (disengaging) the clutch, the engine will stall. 

Trail Riding On CRF230F 21 How Do You Stop On A Dirt Bike Safely & Quickly?
Made a mistake braking into the corner and almost lost it! (trying to show off for the camera)

Learning To Balance

Balance is key to riding a dirt bike. It’s easy to tip over at low speeds or coming to a stop if you haven’t practiced your balance. 

How to practice this:

Ride as slow as possible without putting a foot down or stalling. You can also stand on the foot pegs and balance the bike for as long as possible with the engine off.

How To Stop Faster

When you want to stop fast on your dirt bike, you need to shift your weight towards the rear. Clamping down on the brakes will compress the front suspension a lot, making the bike greatly unbalanced and not handle as well. 

Keeping your weight back will help balance out the bike. 

Trail Riding On CRF230F 14 How Do You Stop On A Dirt Bike Safely & Quickly?
You can see the forks compressed when I slammed on the brakes

This is especially important when you’re riding downhill in order to prevent an endo and going over the handlebars. 

Using Both Front & Rear

75-80% of your braking power comes from the front brake. With that said, that means there’s still 20-25% more stopping power!

To stop as fast as possible, the goal is to find the point just before your tires start locking up because you’re applying too much brake. 

Not All Dirt Is Equal

Every type of terrain is going to be different, so you must also learn to adapt. For example:

Applying the same amount of braking power, which will be easier to lock up the wheels and skid the tires? Greasy mud or tacky dirt?

The greasy mud will be much easier to lock up the tires because the tires have very little traction. This means that you can’t use the brakes as hard as you would in dirt that’s dry and tacky. 

Dirt Bike School

Want to learn more about the basic techniques of riding a dirt bike? Learn how to confidently use the clutch, throttle, brakes, and balance by taking my online course here.


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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