If you are thinking of taking up dirt bike riding and are going to be going through some muddy trails, or if you have some experience as a rider but want some tips for riding in the mud, you have come to the right place.
Here are some essential tips for riding your dirt bike in the mud. But before we get started, the biggest tip that I could give is to have a positive attitude and be confident. The worst thing you can do is hesitate halfway through a challenge or obstacle due to self-doubt.
Now, let us get into the focus of this article which is to give you essential tips on riding your dirt bike in the mud.
Tip 1: Dirt Bikes
I would like to talk about which bike you should get if you are a beginner. If you are getting your first dirt bike, it is important not to go to big. Trying to learn how to ride on anything bigger than a 250cc dirt bike could be challenging to the point where you lose interest in it. You also don’t want to get a bike that is too big for you to handle as it could be dangerous.
I also do not recommend buying something like a 125 2 stroke unless you really want to learn for the ground up, yes they are the best for beginners but you will quickly want to jump up to a 250 4 stroke.
The best bike for beginners, especially for people that have a little bit of biking or driving experience, would be a 250cc 4 stroke as this will provide you with more than enough power to take on most challenges and will give you enough future-proofing. The Yamaha WR250f is a great bike to get started on a lot of experienced riders use it.
For kids, there are some great bikes but which one to choose depends on how responsible your kid is, how old he or she is, and how much experience he or she has. Honda has some great bikes for kids like the Honda CRF50F or the Honda CRF125F, both offer great features, but with the 125 obviously allowing for more speed.
Tip 2: Body position
Make sure you are loose as the mud will present many obstacles and you must not be afraid to adjust your body position to suit an obstacle. Use your body to put weight on the rear, whenever it is possible, you should stand on the pegs. You want to give as much traction as possible to the rear tire while giving yourself more control of the front tire while it slips around in the mud.
Try to find the best and most comfortable position for your feet on the pegs. Stay crouched low to keep your center of gravity low. When going around certain corners, try to sit on the seat and use your legs, this method is best done on clay-like mud.
Tip 3: Brake evenly
Like on all motorcycles it is best to brake smoothly, using both front and rear brakes simultaneously while applying more pressure to the front brakes. Only apply more pressure to the back brakes when you want to use it to control your back tire.
Slamming on the brakes suddenly will cause the bike to lose traction and you could face one of two problems. You could lose control of your front tire where it will knife out in front of you or your back tire could “high-side” you. A high-side is caused when the rear wheel loses lateral grip then regains it violently, it is one of the scariest things that can happen, and if you are not prepared for it or do not know how to handle it, which could cause you to lose control of the bike completely.
Use your clutch. Using your clutch to control your bike can, in some scenarios like going down a hill, be safer, and more practical than using your brakes, as it also gives you more control of the bike.
Unlike a car, you don’t need to use the clutch when downshifting on a dirt bike but I recommend that you do use it, unless, you are in a race because using the clutch to downshift could mean you enter corners slower than you would if you didn’t use the clutch.
Tip 4: Momentum
Momentum is very important. Whether you are trying to go fast, trying to make it up a technical hill, or even riding down a hill, having the right amount of momentum could help you overcome the obstacle easier and in some cases, momentum is essential.
Sometimes you do not need to accelerate at all on a downhill. By using the clutch, you could let momentum get you down and even use the engine to slow you down because the steeper the hill, the easier it is for your front brake to lock the tire and throw you off the bike. Using momentum also takes some of the strain off of the engine and other components of your bike. It is like giving the bike a little break.
If you are using momentum to get down a muddy hill and the bike switches off, do not panic, just keep using momentum until reach the bottom or until you reach a relatively flat spot that allows you to restart the bike.
Remember to be extra careful with the brakes if the engine switches off while using momentum.
Tip 5: Patience
Like any sport, dirt biking, especially mudding, requires practice to get good.
Not many people can just hop on a dirt bike and immediately be an expert, it requires patience, Your skills will develop and every time you ride a trail, you will be better and will be able to take on more and more difficult challenges.
Patience is something you should practice while you are mudding and after. If you try and rush through obstacles without assessing them, you could damage your bike or even harm yourself. After your day of riding your dirt bike, don’t beat yourself up, just try again next time, and eventually, you will be able to handle all the obstacles that mudding throws at you.
Tip 6: Practice
This also ties in with patience. The old saying “practice makes perfect” couldn’t be any more true when it comes to learning how to ride a dirt bike, especially in the mud.
As time goes on and the more you ride, the more comfortable you will become when it comes to timing, body positioning, weight distribution, cornering, brake use, and so on.
You will also develop bad habits along the way. A lot of people get comfortable and prefer not to fix the bad habits that they pick up while practicing. Try to identify your bad habits and correct them, yes, this might take time and can be frustrating but the end result is very rewarding and it’ll only make you a better rider.
Tip 7: Use your throttle and the rear tire to steer
If you have any experience with any motorcycle, you would know that steering with your front wheel is dangerous and should be avoided unless you have to.
When mudding, steering with your front wheel could cause the wheel to knife and lock and you could be thrown over your handlebars. Use your throttle and rear tire to steer, it is a lot easier to recover if your back tire starts to slide out than it is to recover from your front wheel sliding out or locking up.
Steering with your rear wheel sounds a bit tricky and while it does take some practice, with patience and persistence, you will get the hang of it quickly. Steering with the rear is a combination of body positioning and the use of the rear brakes.
Tip 8: Bike setup
Now we get to the big tip and there is a lot to go through.
As a dirt bike rider, you always want to assess the conditions before you leave for the track or trail. Because we’re discussing mudding, we will look at the best dirt bike setup for people who are specifically going to be going mudding.
Choosing the right tire can make or break your day. A tire that is great for muddy conditions is the “Bridgestone motocross tire”. They are specifically built for muddy conditions and offer the right amount of traction and control to make riding in the mud a much better experience.
Understandably, riders who have little or no experience will not think about how much mud will add to the weight of a bike. To counter the anticipated extra weight, it is advised that you give your suspension just a few clicks to make it slightly stiffer. This will keep your bike from being weighed down by the extra weight of the mud.
Like we discussed with your suspension, mud does stick to things and if it gets onto your sprocket area, especially the front, it will affect your chain. What you should do is slightly loosen the chain so when mud gets into the area, this will keep the tension correct and lessen the pressure on your sprockets.
Metal brush guards
To avoid mud sticking to your gloves and levers, make sure you have a set of metal brush guards. Rather than having to navigate your levers with clumps of mud stuck to them, and having your gloves become uncomfortable, having a set of metal brush guards will just give you one less thing to worry about.
Another step that you can take to minimize the amount of mud that sticks to your bike is to use a silicone or Teflon spray on the underside of your dirt bike. Try not to get the spray on your pegs, seat, or near the handlebars as this could cause discomfort while riding. Accidently spraying the pegs could cause you to slip, so be aware of that.
Keeping your dirt bike’s air filter clean and water-free on most bikes isn’t an issue as long as your side cover is secured properly. I would still recommend adding foam inside the airbox and adding extra oil on your filter to ensure your bike doesn’t suck in any water or dirt.
Tip 9: Riding Gear
Having the right gear with you can take your riding experience to a new level. Here are a few guidelines for what gear you want to take with you.
Tear-offs are just clear plastic covers for your goggles and you can have a few layers on there, so if there is mud or dirt or whatever on them, you can quickly tear one layer off and can see clearly again.
This keeps you from using your already wet and muddy glove as a windshield wiper for your goggles. Using your muddy gloves will just smear the mud, making your goggles even harder to see out of.
Extend your helmet visor using a goggle lens and some duct tape. When you are riding through the mud, either on a track or on a trail with friends, you will constantly have mud flying at you. To avoid too much mud getting on your goggles and blocking your vision, tilting your head down and extending the visor will give you more protection.
Remember the silicone spray that we discussed earlier? always make sure you take the spray with you to the trail or track.
If you have read this, it means that you were looking for tips. I, therefore, wanted to make this list of tips so that you can walk from it having learned something, and hopefully make you more confident when tackling muddy courses and obstacles in the future.
The trick is not to get discouraged if you are struggling with muddy trails, just keep working on the tips you found in this article and you will be a mudding expert in no time.
If you have been researching whether or not you want to start dirt bike riding, just go for it. Dirt bike riding is a fun and rewarding experience. The trails are generally beautiful and the people you will meet are more often than not, great people.
You also need to ensure that you have the right equipment in your off-roading kit in case you have an issue with your dirt bike while out mudding. You can check out our recommended gear for dirt bike maintenance here to help you out of those sticky situations.