How to Climb a Hill on a Dirt Bike. 7 Tips for Success!

how to climb a hill on a dirt bike


#1 Check the hill first to find the best path. Blindly charging at a difficult hill reduces the odds of success.

#2 Be wary of ruts. They van be used as a path but some ruts can get too deep for the bike.

#3 Keep the momentum going! Gravity is working against you so momentum is very important.

#4 Sit down on the bike and keep your weight on the wheels to drive the tires in the ground for maximum traction.

#5 Keep the engine running, even if you stall. It is hard to kick start an engine on the side of a hill.

#6 This isn’t a fashion contest. Do whatever you have to do to keep going.

#7 When riding down a hill, shift your weight to the back and keep it in the right gear so you don’t gain too much momentum.

Really tough hills are usually a meeting point with dirt bike riders.

Why? because there’s always plenty of riders to watch trying to get to the top, Its always entertaining! lol

Courtesy of @trailkabutsalju 😀


Contrary to what people think, there’s no magic solution to getting up these hills.

You just have to do the very best you can to get to the top.

There are some underlying principles though that you must use if you want to taste success.

In this article I’m going to show you how to climb a hill on a dirt bike using some tips that have really helped me out over the years.

#1 Inspect the Hill and Find a Good Path.

If the hill is really ugly, jump off the bike and go for a walk up the hill.

A good path will be made up of ruts, no ruts and detours.

If there are any tree branches, dirt mounds  or logs in your way, move them before riding. Hitting a log will stop your bike midway and you don’t want that.

#2 Watch those Ruts.

If the hill is made up of dirt, you can bet that there will be some gnarly ruts which are formed by the rain water flooding down the hill when it rains.

Although it is tempting to take a rut all the way to the top, beware of this strategy! Some ruts are deeper than the foot pegs of your bike.

This means that your pegs will get wedged into the dirt and you will lose all momentum.

#3 Get Speed up to the Hill and Don’t Stop!

Don’t forget that your bike weighs about 200 pounds and you will weigh at least another 150 pounds (average).

This means that if you stop halfway, there is no way of dragging you or the bike up the hill by yourself.

You need momentum! To get momentum, get a good run up to the base of the hill at speed and try to be revving hard in at least 3rd gear all the way to the top.

Video courtesy of Adrian Guggemos


If you slow down, you will have a couple of gears that you can gear down to make it up the final way.

#4 Sit Down and Keep the Wheels on the Ground.

Sitting down will keep the weight on both tires, maximizing traction.

As soon as those wheels have left the ground you will lose all momentum and hit a dead stop.

#5 Keep the Engine Alive.

As soon as that engine dies, it’s really hard to start up again when you are trying to keep the bike balanced on your toes on the side of a steep hill.

Do what you have to do to keep the engine revving. Fan the clutch and ride sideways to the hill if you have to but just keep it running.

#6 Do Whatever you Can!

Do what you have to do to keep going and get to the top.

Fan the clutch, paddle your feet on the ground and run next to the bike while you are holding onto the handlebars if you have to.

If you come off, don’t despair. Just try to re position your bike so it is pointing back down the hill.

Then jump aboard and roll back down the hill in a lower gear that will keep the bike from speeding up too much.


This leads me to my next tip…

#7 Riding Down Steep Hills.

As opposed to riding up a hill, riding down a hill means that gravity is on your side.

But too much gravity can force your bike to move too quickly down the hill and will force you to crash.


a. Come at the hill at the appropriate speed and gear. You don’t want to have so much speed that you can’t slow down when gravity takes over.

b. Choose the Right Gear. To low of a gear and your bike will slow down too much, too high gear and your bike won’t slow down at all.

c. Brake evenly. You will want a mix of front and rear braking at all times that you will need to juggle as you are heading down the hill.

Stay really light on that front brake as you don’t want to wash your front wheel out.

d. Keep your weight to the back of your bike. Sliding your body weight to the rear of the bike will help to keep the back wheel dug into the dirt.

e. Don’t let the front wheel wash out. The key here is traction to the front wheel so be really light on that front brake. The back wheel can slide around all it wants under braking but the front wheel cannot slide at all.

f. Stand or sit. Some riders stand and others sit depending on the hill, whatever position gives you the most confidence, do it. You will find that you will be doing a lot of both. Whichever position you take though, just keep your weight to the back of the bike.



What was the  most difficult hill you’ve ever climbed? Let me know in the below comments!


Happy riding!

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