A Beginners Guide to Dirt Bikes and Off road motorcycle

Believe it or not but dirt bike riding is one of Joburg’s most popular sports. We’ve all seen those trailers stacked with muddy motorcycles on a Sunday afternoon. And you must admit, it looks like a lot of fun. To get you started we’ve put together a beginners guide to get you riding dirt bike without your training wheels on…




The first step would be to get an off road motorcycle. If you’ve never rode a motorcycle before then it’d be best to go for a lower cc bike – cc being the size of the engine, of course. Have a look at 150cc bikes that fit your price range – these machines become fairly expensive very quickly. Use the Honda CRF150RB as a comparative machine in your search as it’s the Ferrari of starting cycles. As you become more comfortable with riding you’ll want to kick the engine size up a notch. Besides, there are tonnes of parts and modifications available to improve the performance of current machines.
When it comes to bike shopping look for something that has a name attached to it and steer clear of unknown brands. This because these tend to break under pressure – you don’t want to slam face first into a rocky embankment because your front tire fell off. With that said, try and purchase a Japanese manufactured motorcycle. It’s been proven time and time again that the Japanese have mastered the combustion engine.

Before we get to the theory and practice of how to actually make it to second gear, let’s suit up first. Because this is a dangerous sport there’s a lot of tools to keep your bones intact.  Standard gear consists of a helmet, motorcycle boots, goggles, gloves, body armour, jersey and pants. Pretty much all of these are essential – especially the boots, goggles and helmet. Another helpful piece of protection – which is covered by certain medical aids – is an EVS knee brace. Click here to read more about the knee brace. Also, if you’re going to be riding for more than two hours at a time be sure to wear a kidney belt which keeps your vital organs from jumping around too much.

But where are the best places to go ride around town? There are quite a few, actually. Joburg started out as a mining town so a lot of off road guys hit the old mine dumps in Maraisburg. There are dedicated tracks such as Dirt Bronco in Krugersdorp and Daytona Adventure Park in Diepsloot, to name a few. Just be careful when trying to ride in public parks – suburban folk aren’t fans of these popcorn makers.

So now it’s time to hop on to that MX bike of yours and brappp all the way up the mountain. Slow your roll, tiger. We’re almost ready to fire her up. Balance is key. If you can ride a bicycle half the battle is pretty much in the bag already. Because of the rules of physics, motorcycles can’t fall over if they keep moving, and the faster you go, the harder it’d be to fall over… well, unless you crash, of course. Pop the bike into first gear, which is one step down on the gear lever, and get a feel for the clutch and throttle. Don’t become despondent if you keep stalling – you’ll get there soon enough. The second weapon in your arsenal in keeping your arse off the ground would be stance. The key to riding motocross is to maintain a dynamic stance – flexibility in the knees and strong grip with the thighs. Flexed knees allow the body to absorb the lumps and bumps on the track and cushion landings from jumps.

Beyond that we can’t tell you much more and you’d need to figure out the rest for yourself. Besides, practice makes perfect.


By Shawn Greyling

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