If you’re a fan of tackling the road on a motorcycle and looking for an exciting challenge that includes all things dirt, then we’ve got you covered. There’s nothing wrong with switching things up from time to time, but it’s important to know how to stay safe when doing so.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind on your off-road adventure:
The correct safety gear is crucial to protect yourself from serious injuries. This means choosing the proper helmets (with a sunshade and an open area for googles – dirt roads can be pretty brutal), protective padding for your knees, chest, elbows and shoulders including boots that are longer and have more support in the shin area. Lighter gloves and pants should also be on your list.
Make sure that your body is warm and stretched out so that you can maintain the proper flow. Surfaces can be unpredictable, and being in sync with your bike is important for tackling anything that comes your way.
Even though many street riders often avoid obstacles, these bikes don’t have sufficient suspension to absorb serious shocks. Dirt bikes, however, are able to navigate through mud, and across various ripples in your path. So once you cross that obstacle you’ve been trying to avoid, you’ll feel much more confident. Remember to cross objects at a 90-degree angle so that your tyre won’t get caught.
Braking in the dirt can be challenging, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be more at ease. While braking on asphalt mostly involves the front brake, dirt is a different situation. Apply most of your effort towards the rear brake (sliding the rear), in order to reduce some speed on the off-road. Make sure to practice often to avoid panic braking.
Turning is also an aspect to pay attention to. Instead of leaning (which is the go-to for road riders), rest your weight on the outside peg and shift your body away from the inside of the turn so it puts maximum downforce on the tyres.
Prepare to endure a few bruises that won’t be as severe as falling on concrete and other hard surfaces. This is also why it’s so important to have the correct safety gear.