How to Ride a Dirt Bike

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Like with any sport, you need to master the basics first. As the old saying goes, learn to walk before you run. For sports that involve heavy-duty equipment like a dirt bike needs extra mindfulness and practice.

To learn more advanced techniques, like the wheelie tricks on your dirt bike, you need to find your balance first and continue improving until basic moves such as turning and braking are like second-nature. So how does one start? With the basics first. Follow our tips to become a pro-rider in no time.

man riding a dirt bike

How to Ride a Dirt Bike

Riding Position

Bikes (including top mini dirt bikes), motorcycles, and scooters are very closely related due to the skill and technique it takes to master them.


The correct body position sounds easy enough, right? But for those who have played sports that require proper movements such as swimming and golf, it's much more difficult than it seems.


It isn't as simple as swinging your leg over the seat and staying in a seated position. Smaller micro-movements such as gripping your knees, the positioning of your feet, tensing your arms and fingers are all equally important.


You should also get used to the dirt bike you own, so if you're just starting out, look for the Best Dirt Bike for Beginners that you will be comfortable with.

So what does the correct position look like?

  • Since you spend a lot of time off your seat on a dirt bike, the optimal position should be with your head over the handlebars. Don’t be rigid and relax your back. Doing this will also prevent you from sitting too far back, resulting in an unwanted wheelie.
  • Grip the bike with your knees as you might a horse for more control (tilting your bike).
  • When you lean forward, it’s easy for some people to tuck in their arms. But the key is to keep your arms up and elbows away from your body.
  • Unlike a bike or a scooter, you shouldn't put all your weight on your buttocks. You should always give yourself a slight lift-off of the footpegs.
proper way to ride a dirt bike

Use Your Feet

Your feet are your best friends on a dirt bike. They help you maintain balance, especially when you turn a corner. If you’re not careful you could sustain injuries to your knee, but all it takes is practice to minimize the risk.


Dropping your foot is especially important when you’re rounding a corner. It distributes your weight and counters the bike’s during a turn. Make sure to keep your foot pointing straight up and your leg out clearing the ground. The worst things happen when your foot comes into contact with the dirt.

Don’t Cheap Out on Gear

What can protect you from severe bumps and scrapes is your gear. Gear includes boots, helmets, goggles, gloves, jackets, etc, with helmets and boots being the most expensive.


They are also the ones you should invest generously in, and we don’t mean $100, we mean a few hundred. Anything below 100 shouldn’t really be considered unless they are having a blowout sale. More expensive boots give you better grip and flex, therefore making it easier for you to operate the brakes and the shifter. 


Cheaper helmets have a lower price point because the quality of the materials used and the design is far from high-end. They might have the same appearance, but they lack ventilation. And of course, a dirt bike helmet is meant to protect you, and maybe even save your life. You only want the best of the best for safety gear.

How to Ride

Start practicing on a dirt road, hence the name dirt bike, because these bikes are meant to be ridden on dirt roads. Dirt roads are usually flat, and free of obstacles and sharp objects.


The first and most basic moves to master are using the clutch, turning, and braking. Going and stopping is the simplest but most essential move to master.


Start out at just a few feet, then maybe go down the block or to the end of the field. Don’t start off too fast and slowly increase your speed as you go. This is also beneficial in case you do take a spill, you won’t be seriously injured and put off dirt bikes.

man on a dirt bike

Maintenance

Riding your dirt bike is one thing, but caring for it is also important. Regular maintenance is required as with any other vehicle.

Oil Change

If you have a car you know this is necessary, but the difference in a dirt bike is they need an oil change every 8 hours of riding! You can bring it into the shop or do it yourself.

Cleaning the Air Filter

You will often need to clean out the filter and make sure it’s free form dirt and grime. See our guide here.

Tire Pressure Check

As with most vehicles, you need to have enough pressure for a smooth ride, generally less than 15 pounds of pressure.

Lubricate Your Chain

If your dirt bike chain isn’t lubricated won’t move smoothly and might be at risk of corrosion.

Practice Makes Perfect

The same is said with learning anything else, you won’t get better without practice. A good idea is to practice with the dirt bike off. You can sit on it and practice the controls, gripping the bike and the proper positioning of your body.


It’s even better to have a full-length mirror beside you so you can correct yourself. It’s very easy to fall back into old habits and revert back to a comfortable and more natural position.


Rest assured that everyone goes through this process and riding a dirt bike is a never-ending learning process.

Conclusion

Balance and body positioning should be the first things you learn. Having the right position will help you better control the bike and reduce fatigue in your muscles. 

The best things to do is to look ahead when riding a dirt bike, learning how to ebb and flow with the bumps in the road. Always remember that safety comes first and don't settle for cheaper gear. The gear is what will make the difference between a mild concussion and a severe coma.

Take care of your bike as it does you by doing regular maintenance and you should be good to go! See the steps to make your dirt bike street legal to freely use it on the road, too.

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