So you are looking to get started in motocross huh? Awesome move! Motocross is the best sport out there for a whole bunch of reasons!
Here are my 9 tips for getting started in motocross that I wish someone told me about 30 years ago when I first got started,
#1 Get Yourself a Motocross Bike.
This is the obvious step of course but there’s a few things you need to know about dirt bikes bikes that are essential for newbies.
a. Buy the Right Type of Dirt Bike.
In the dirt bike world you have 6 types of dirt bikes that I break down in this article.
Basically though there is motocross for the track, enduro for trails and technical riding and dual sport dirt bikes for the road and trails.
They are built for specific purposes so make sure you buy a motocross bike for track use only.
b. Buy a Well Maintained Dirt Bike or a New One if You Can Afford it.
The last thing that you want to do is start out with a shitty bike that is full of problems. That will just cause a whole bunch of unnecessary frustration and a draining noise coming out of your wallet.
Get yourself a well maintained used bike with minimal issues or ideally, get yourself a new bike if you can afford it.
A new bike will have the best resale value if you decide that motocross isn’t for you and want to sell.
To learn how to buy a used dirt bike, have a read of my following articles –
- Buying a used dirt bike? my 9 rules for getting a good deal.
- 10 Questions to ask when buying a used dirt bike so you don’t get ripped off.
- Buying a used dirt bike? my 28 points for uncovering hidden problems.
c. Buy a 4 Stroke or 2 Stroke Dirt Bike?
This debate has been raging since the beginning of time but basically I will break it down for you.
2 Stroke Pros
They are low maintenance. A 2 stroke engine requires little maintenance and as long as you use the right fuel/oil mix, they last for ages with little work.
They are lighter than 4 strokes because a 4 stroke engine is a bit larger than a 2 stroke.
2 Stroke Cons
They have a wild powerband when you rev them past a certain limit. This means that they are very peaky and can take off very quickly if you rev them hard. The powerband can get some getting used to. Definitely for the newbies with the inner dare devil. (This can be a pro or a con depending on the rider)
2 strokes require that you mix oil into your fuel. This means that every time you go out for a ride, you will need to mix the fuel with oil using a very specific ratio.
4 Stroke Pros
They have no powerband and rev evenly throughout their rev range which makes them alot more predictable.
They do not need oil mixed into the gas.
4 Stroke Cons
They have 2 extra valves in the engine which can mean abit more engine maintenance down the track.
They are a bit heavier than a 2 stroke because the engine is larger.
2 & 4 Stroke Pros
Both 2 stroke and 4 stroke perform roughly the same way and are both highly competitive bikes so you won’t be losing any performance by choosing one over another.
Personally I like both bikes and I own both for different jobs. As a newbie though I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
#2 You will Need a Way To Transport Your Motocross Bike to the Track.
Riding motocross bikes on the road is illegal and dangerous and so you will need to transport your bike to the track.
You have 3 options here –
A Utility Truck. Utilities are super popular and look really cool with a dirt bike strapped to the back of them. Because they are higher off the ground though, It can be a pain in the ass to roll the bike on and off if you don’t have anyone to help.
If you are using a utility, you will need a ramp to get the bike onto the back tray.
You will also need some ratchet straps to properly secure the bike.
A Van. The van is the pros choice because the bike fully protected from the weather and is completely safe from theft. They are also alot lower to the ground so they are much easier to roll the bike in and out of.
A Trailer. The trailer is a very popular choice if you want to use your existing sedan to get your bike to the track. Storage can be a hassle though if you don’t have much room in your yard.
#3 Buy the Right Motocross Gear.
You will need motocross protective gear if you want to start out in motocross to avoid serious injury.
I have broken down the right motocross gear you will need here but here is a quick breakdown of the essentials to get you started –
- Knee guards
- Kidney belt
There are also some other essentials you will need to get started for the track-
- Gas can
- Wrench tie downs
- Unbreakable levers
#3 Find an Easy Flat Trail to Start On.
Now that you have a bike, transport and all your gear ready to go, I recommend finding a flat track to start on without an audience.
An easy trail in a forest or even a long driveway is a great way to get started and get a feel for your bike and all the gear without any pressure.
This step will also get you used to your dirt bike and all of the controls while you are wearing dirt bike gear.
It’s going to feel very weird at first so you need to take your time with this step to get comfortable with it. After a few goes of doing this it will feel like second nature.
After you have mastered this step, you can now progress to step 4.
#4 Join Your Local Motocross Club and Get on the Track.
There are huge benefits to joining a motocross club and they are very cheap to join. There is usually only a small monthly fee and another small fee to ride on the track for the day.
A motocross track is where you will learn how to ride motocross and are built for both beginners and advanced riders to share.
A motocross track contains a whole bunch of obstacles such as jumps, corners, ruts, berms and bumps that are designed to challenge you to your limits.
When you get onto the track I recommend you riding on the track very slowly and taking your time. Once again, this is going to feel very strange at first and balancing your bikes controls over jumps and corners while riding with other riders on the track is a challenge.
Talk to the track owners and find out the quiet days. If you ride on the quiet days, there are very few riders and sometimes you will even have the track completely to yourself! which is an awesome time to learn.
#5 Get Your Fitness Level Up! You Will Need it.
Now that you have tried the local motocross track for the first time you will notice something… motocross riding is super demanding on the body!
Basically, the better your fitness is, the better rider you will become.
Your endurance needs to be high and your muscles and body need to get used to the physically demanding work of motocross riding.
A fit body will also protect you more in a crash as your body will be properly tuned to be flexible and strong to resist impact.
There are specific exercises for dirt bike riding that require lots of cardio and stretching work (but heavy weights are no good).
To learn more about motocross fitness I have written an article here that will show you how the motocross pros workout to stay in peak condition
#6 Get Some Motocross Lessons.
If you want to turbo charge your riding progress I recommend that you get some riding lessons.
The best way to get motocross lessons is to ask around at your local motocross club and there will always be a dirt bike coach available.
Coaches can hold either 1 on 1 training or you can join group lessons for your skill level.
A coach will not only get you up and riding quicker but they will also weed out your bad riding habits so you can improve faster.
The other way to find a dirt bike school is to check out my dirt bike schools page where I list dirt bike schools and coaches from all over the USA and Canada.
This list is not complete as I add to it slowly when I find new training schools.
#7 Practice, Practice, Practice
My final tip is to practice as often as you can. Motocross is just like any other skill where you need to practice to get better.
Get on that track as often as you can and also check out some motocross practice drills that coaches use to get their riders to a top riding standard.
Keep practicing consistently and after some time you will eventually be flying through the air like Ricky Carmichael with the rest of the pros!
Are you looking to get started in motocross and need help? Let me know your questions in the comments below or email me and I’ll get back to you when as soon as I can. Also, if you liked this article, please give it a share on social media.
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