What’s the best approach to steep turns on dirt at speed?
A lot of people feel comfortable enough to go 40/50 mph on dirt when it’s straight or when the bends are big and sweeping. At the tighter turns however, it’s easy to panic and come to a crawl every single time. How can you overcome this?
Front Brake Is Your Friend
Learn to use your front brake! Contrary to what you hear, the front brake controls 75% of the stopping power of the bike – yes, even in the dirt. The key is knowing how and when to use it effectively.
Next time you are out riding, practice stopping with only your front brake on flat surfaces. Then as you get the feel for it, increase your speed (little by little) into corners applying more front brake to slow you down faster. Big tip here: apply the brake when the tire is straight! Don’t apply the front brake while the wheel is in a turn. There is not enough contact with the surface and you can washout. After applying enough front brake to slow down in the straight, let off as you turn and halfway through throttle out, similar to pavement corners.
And remember: look where you want to go! Staring at your front tire is the worst you can do – your brain will register the corner coming fast and make you panic, whereas if you look at the furthest point of the turn, you’ll see that the speed isn’t that scary at all and breeze through it effortlessly.
Dusty Wessels co-founded West 38 Moto after logging over 200,000 miles on a wide array of big-bike Dual Sport and Adventure motorcycles over the last 10 years. West 38 Moto provides participants everything from foundational riding skills to ultra-advanced riding techniques.WEST 38 MOTO
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