What is Motocross?

what is motocross

Motocross means riding a dirt bike around a closed circuit track that has  all sorts of challenging terrain on it such as jumps, raised corners (called berms), hills, slopes and bumpy sections (called whoops).

Why is it Called Motocross?

In its rawest form, motocross means riding a machine with a motor in it (moto) across land (cross).

In the last 50 years though, the word ‘motocross’ has been adopted by the sport to specifically mean riding dirt bikes around a closed loop dirt track.

Other styles of dirt bike riding that don’t involve riding around a closed loop dirt track have been given their own names (such as enduro, trials, supercross, freestyle etc).

 Learn more about the other dirt bike riding styles here.

Modern Motocross Tracks.

Motocross tracks are purpose built with a bulldozer and they are designed to be fun and challenging to motocross riders without being too annoying or too difficult to get around.

what is motocross

Motocross tracks can also be marked out of natural terrain that is made up of hills, slopes and other naturally occurring obstacles.

Naturally occurring terrain motocross tracks are typically much faster tracks as there are no artificially made obstacles to negotiate and the track flows more naturally around the hillside.

 You can ride as fast or as slow as you want to on a motocross track. If you are racing competitively though, the idea is to get around the track as fast as possible.

Motocross tracks are mainly outdoor but some facilities have indoor motocross tracks as well.

Where did Motocross Start?

Wikipedia gives a much better answer than I can but it started after the first world war when dudes got tired of riding on the road and started racing each other on dirt tracks for fun using rigid (no suspension) road motorbikes

Some of the first bikes were built by a British company called BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company) who were weapons and bike builders for the 1st and 2nd world wars.

what is motocross
Photo courtesy of Vintage MX

As the tracks evolved into more difficult, challenging terrain, the bikes were modified with suspension to handle jumps and bumpy sections and so the first motocross bikes were born!

Thee bikes were named scramblers and it didn’t take long for scrambling competitions to be formed.

These scrambling competitions were the very beginnings of modern motocross racing.

Since that time, the Japanese saw a huge market and developed them further into the screaming 125 and 250 demons made by Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki that are available today!

What is Motocross Racing?

Motocross racing is riding around motocross tracks as fast as possible to beat other riders on the track.

Motocross racing can be done for fun or as part as professional competitions.

There are motocross competitions held all over the USA and the world, starting from local, then state, then national, depending on how good a rider is.

Motocross competitions are governed by racing bodies such as the AMA Motocross Championship in the USA.

Is Motocross Hard?

Yeah, motocross riding is difficult to master and you will need to practice for a good few months to get used to this exciting sport.

Why is it hard? Well for a few reasons.

a) Riding a dirt bike is great exercise! and you will need a really good level of fitness and stamina. (which you can easily build up slowly)

A motocross bike weighs a little over 200 pounds, so when you are riding on a motocross track it feels like riding a wild bronco, which takes a lot of work and energy.

Also, motocross riding means that you need to be standing up on the riding pegs for pretty much the entire circuit so your legs and back need to be strong.

It is also a high cardio sport, so your cardio levels need to be good.

 Read my article for more detailed information about dirt bike fitness here.

b) Balance, weight and speed! Balance, weight and speed is the key when riding motocross.

The challenge is to get used to balancing the weight of yourself and the bike at the same time all why getting over challenging terrain and staying upright while moving at the right speed.

c) Expect to crash. You need to expect to fall off and sustain a few bumps and bruises while you are learning. If you ride carefully though, you can minimize injury.

 Read my article here to learn more about the dangers of dirt bikes.

What are the Benefits of Motocross.

Once you have got the basics down, motocross riding is one of the most exciting and fulfilling sports out there.

Motocross has heaps of awesome benefits!

a) Motocross will give you a constant rush of good feelings in the body and mind.

b) Motocross will give you happy memories of having fun, seeing new places and making new friends.

c) Motocross requires intense concentration and so it forces you to focus on the track ahead of you for extended periods of time and not on the bullshit that’s going on in your life right now. So its kind of like meditation really.

d) Motocross will lift your fitness levels to new peaks guaranteed! Want a tight, toned body while having fun? motocross boys and girls!

e) Motocross will lift your social status.. I’m not even joking. Motocross is a social sport and you can expect to meet positive new friends. The girls that ride in motocross are also really cool and hot 😉

There are more benefits to riding motocross but I will leave that up to you to discover for yourself.

So how do I get Started in Motocross?

You will need a dirt bike, gear and a way to transport your bike and gear to your nearest motocross track.

 You will need to transport your bike because motocross bikes are not road legal.

I’ve already written articles on the above topics so check them out below.

 Learn more about motocross bikes here.

 Learn more about the dirt bike and gear you will need for motocross including costs.

 Learn how to get started with your local motocross club.


If you have any other questions about motocross, please comment in the below box or email me and I will get back to you asap.


Happy riding!

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Thomas Jameson
Thomas Jameson
3 years ago

It’s good to know that motocross is riding a dirt bike around a closed circuit track. This seems like a sport where the type of gear you use is pretty important. I’ll be looking further into motocross and the different types of motocross gear that’s available.

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