A dirt bike is a two-wheeled machine that is generally made to be used off-road. In fact, many dirt bikes cannot legally be used on the road, they lack lights, indicators, and even mirrors. That’s why you should verify that your bike is road legal before you hit the highway.
Of course, many manufacturers do create great dirt bikes that can also be used on the road, for example, these KTM dirt bikes are a great choice for off-road and on-road, and they can legally be used for both.
The Difference Between a Dirt Bike A Motorcycle
Even road-legal dirt bikes are not the same as normal motorcycles. Dirt bikes are much lighter, giving them a higher power to weight ratio. They do tend to have smaller engines than road bikes but, because of their lightness, they can be more responsive and much easier to handle.
Dirt bikes have high ground clearance, minimal bodywork, and strong frames because they are likely to be crashed. I general the parts can be easily removed and replaced, minimizing repair costs and time off the dirt. Surprisingly, dirt bikes are often constructed with plastic to aid lightness and repairs. Motorcycles usually have metal frames.
You should also note that the tires on a dirt bike are heavily studded, to allow for the terrain off-road. You won’t get any accessories such as GPS or stereos on a dirt bike, the least weight possible is important!
Dirt bikes won’t reach the same top speed that motorcycles will. They are responsive and have high levels of torque at low speeds, making them a lot of fun to ride.
Despite the ground clearance being higher the frame of a dirt bike is generally substantially smaller than a road bike and the seat is small, barely there.
Another major difference is the suspension. On motorcycles, it is designed to absorb bumps and potholes in the road. On a dirt bike, the suspension is much stronger as it needs to deal with a wide array of terrains. It’s more advanced o a dirt bike and yet, thanks to hydraulics, can give as smooth a ride!
Where To Ride A Dirt Bike
The clue is in the name! Yes, a dirt bike can be ridden anywhere. However, where you choose to ride will depend on your skill level.
It should be noted that dirt bikes have deep studs on their tires to help with off-road terrain. The bike can still be used on the road but the tires are likely to wear down quicker and need replacing. But, remember, if you’re riding a dirt bike on the road it must be properly registered and insured.
If you are looking to ride your dirt bike off-road then technically it is capable of riding anywhere. However, you will have to check whether you are legally allowed to ride on the terrain. In general public tracks and sports fields are out, as are many trails. It is important to check first to avoid issues.
The best place to start on your dirt bike is on the grass. This will not be too challenging but will allow you to get used to the bumps and the feeling of your bike on the slippery surface.
You can then graduate to tracks where the ground is generally bumpier and you will be riding over plenty of stones. This is a good way to build confidence and learn how your bike handles.
After this, you can move onto tracks with deeper trenches and other, more challenging options in your area. You should note, the best approach is to do what you are comfortable with. Over time you’ll get more confident and better at handling a wide variety of terrains.
Locating Riding Spots
As mentioned, it can be hard to find a good place to ride that you’re legally allowed to ride dirt bikes on. Of course, this isn’t an issue if you have access to plenty of private land. If you are struggling to know where to ride then you will find there are plenty of dirt bike clubs across the country. Joining them can help you to improve your technique, give you people to ride with, and ensure you are riding in places you are legally allowed to.
There is no point in getting in trouble with the law when you’re simply trying to improve your biking skills and have a little fun.
Dirt bike riding isn’t for everyone. However, riding one of these bikes does improve your confidence and your ability to control a bike in a variety of situations. These skills are directly transferable to any road bike and are worth having. In short, every rider should try dirt bike riding at some point, it will benefit you and you may enjoy it.