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colder
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   Posted 7/10/2009 7:58 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
After reading a great thread on another board, showing photos from a group that did a 1,000 mile road/trail ride in Michigan's UP, I am really interested in trying my hand at this. The photos of the places I saw, just amazing. And since I live in Minnesota, I would guess there are a million places to do it but I'm not sure where to start.

I learned on road bikes and as such have not ridden on dirt before. Obviously I'd be looking to take it easy for a while at first. But I'm not looking to buy a dirt bike really, at least not until I'm sure I want to pursue this seriously.

What I'm asking for is advice on how to 'break in' to the dirt scene. I'd like to find a place where there are trails and I could even rent a bike to try out for a day. Do such places exist? What kind of expense are we looking at?

Any general advice, riding tips, etc., would be appreciated.
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louemc
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   Posted 7/10/2009 11:59 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Andy should have the best info for this. You might find help at an up-scale Honda Dealership as well. They have programs for the dirt promotion.


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

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Smitty
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   Posted 7/11/2009 5:39 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
colder you have to put a LOT of practicing along with servicing of the bike to even get into the swing of things.  Dirt bikes take a lot of a beating & some parts give away soon, so also the personal servicing.  I put from '47 to '89 into said sport/praciting & would still be at (in a fery subduded manner for sure) it except to many injuries & if I came off some more times-------well good chance I would be a wheel chair victim from then on.
 
So basically you have to have some form of a dirt bike to practice on & learn on, to possibly upgrade yourself to a better bike, to different riding gear from top down.  You might learn on a 125cc dirt comp bike, which is better then trying to learn on a bike of around 600 to 650cc.
 
An example is a chap I knew, was a cruiser rider.  Sold the bike for a used dual purpose by Honda which was around 600cc a few yrs back.  He had heard of some of the crazy gullies I use to ride or practice in.  So took a sort of 4X4 road that changed into a logging road, till suddenly he was in trouble as the logging road had turned into a trail on sort of the side of a mtn.  Also he was about to loose the bike so tried to put his right foot down, ONLY it was like 6' under him SO down went the bike & him.  He told me it took him something like four hours to upright the bike & mimself, to turn the bike around & ride out in one piece.  That was the first stab & last by him as he was trying to pawn off the heavy bike to me.
 
His error was in the heavy bike compared to what I use to ride, to not be riding with an experienced buddy, that would have helped him out of the problem.  Now he could have done more like busted his right leg & then he would have to crawl to possibly make it to an old dirt road he had turned off.  The one good point was he stood 6'2" & was powerful---actually an ex-farmer.
 
So like a street iron, go light, go small in power, ALWAYS ride with a more experienced rider & in time this can come about.  If it is just sort of back roads of dirt then it should not be as crazy as me of where I always practiced alone.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 7/12/2009 12:44:27 AM GMT

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colder
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   Posted 7/13/2009 8:14 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks guys. My dealer is also a honda dealer so I'll check with them.

Smitty, I was thinking a 125 or 250cc at most if I got so far as to buy a bike. Certainly it would be long before I would use such larger displacement. At beginner speeds those small powerplants would probably carry me a long way for much less money
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louemc
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   Posted 7/13/2009 1:04 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
That's good , Colder. Your local Honda Dealer will know just what the riding area you have, favors, size wise.


 Focus the forces, Be The Force

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lawrence1
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   Posted 7/13/2009 4:17 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
125's can zing. Find an old RM125 or similar.


Pigs of Life MC

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Smitty
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   Posted 7/15/2009 7:17 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I did well in the bush with just a 90cc of  the wife of a friend though most of my competition in dirt was 200 to 250cc irons.  Used the above about the 600cc as an exampler of how a rider got himself into trouble in NOT having a buddy dirt rider with him all the time.

Something I rarely did, for so often I was going out NOW & not 12 hrs later or two days later.  On several occasions I had to walk my way home with some injuries, to obtain a freind, when he had the time, to help me get replacement parts to the bike, to sometimes I rode home with a damaged bike, I would work on at home, with severe concussion, to body to limb injuries not realzing it THAT MUCH at the time.

Also no one knew where I would go other then someplace up in the hills of home to the west, but could be north or south if I did not turn up by daylight or night.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 11/29/2010 7:23:29 PM GMT

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sockjohn
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   Posted 7/23/2009 5:04 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
FWIW, their is an off road specific MSF course.

It's not offered in all areas, but well worth taking if there is one near you. Even if you are a skilled rider, I think you would learn enough useful things out of it to be worth the time and money.

Don't skimp on gear for off road. Inexpensive gear can be just as good and safe, but choose carefully as comfort and ventilation are often compromised just like on road gear often is.

I second or third the choice of a 125 two stroke. You should be able to pick up a good used one pretty cheap on craigslist.
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Smitty
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   Posted 7/28/2009 11:43 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yes if you go down to 125 or 250cc then you are in the correct class IF you have some fellow riders that like to ride around the same & with you.  Forget all the leather crap for the pavement is no longer there so breathable fabric is the answer.  While good boots are sensible along with dirt-bike riders gloves & forget the ff helmet for an MX helmet that gives good coverage, breathable, on with good goggles, & the bar out front will save your race it you land on your kisser first in an prang.
 
While my first TRUE comp irons were 350cc AJS Trials along with a 500cc Matchless I got in mind that a 200cc powered bike would be the ease in handeling & though lack of power I should do good.  Now back in the late 50s there was NO 250cc so it was 200cc as mentioned.  I did well, but did not obtain more then 4th place or a bit lower.  The shift to a DOT had me up to 4th quite often & when I went to Greeves, all with the same power plant only some mods by Greeves I started to gain third to first.  When Greeves went to 250cc then it was for sure only some of the Jpn bikes were improving BUT did better on the Bultaco, Montesa or Ossa bikes.  So really 250cc can be a maze of power & easy of handeling over the old days thinking of 500cc or larger.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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X2MAN
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   Posted 8/29/2009 8:51 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I would stick with a 4 stroke (250-). The 125 2 strokes, though very lightweight,may be a little more challenging for a first timer to the dirt due to their narrow powerband. The 4 strokers are just easier to chug along with and the new 250's are still pretty lightweight.



A normal riding day for me!

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Smitty
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   Posted 8/29/2009 12:32 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

True the modern dirt 250cc bike is quite good ESPECIALLY if someone is more at home with four strokes rather then a peaky two-stroke that comes on pipe at strange times.  The old days of anything rideable for dirt in four strokes was a guttles piece of crap, but these days it is a ball to ride & besides there is the next step-up to 250cc four strokes.  Hell my ASJ 350 single OHV Trials bike to the 500cc single OHV Matchless Scrambler would be guttless wonders these days.

The real people to ask is those that are riding TODAY & not in the past like myself.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 8/29/2009 7:35:56 PM GMT

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X2MAN
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   Posted 9/8/2009 9:32 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Smitty said...
Hell my ASJ 350 single OHV Trials bike to the 500cc single OHV Matchless Scrambler would be guttless wonders these days.

And I would still love to ride them!

Smitty said...
The real people to ask is those that are riding TODAY & not in the past like myself.

I you forget the past, the future will repeat the same mistakes the old farts grinded through.
Hell my 87 year old dad still surprises me with some trick mechanical knowledge followed by how he used to do that on the B17's!



A normal riding day for me!

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Urk50
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   Posted 11/30/2010 10:22 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Have you got a bike as yet?
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sikander
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   Posted 3/29/2011 10:13 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
my bike dont have kick start but only through button , are there any chances that it might dont start if it gets dirty at some time ?
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Smitty
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   Posted 4/25/2011 12:59 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Electric starting is another world to me in my days of dirt comp or even street irons.  We lived by prodding a bike into starting with a left or right leg kick starter AND if it was cold or start of the season then I was never surprised to be putting 20+ prods into the bike.

NOW if you have an electric starting bike when cleaning it YOU MUST KEEP THE WATER OFF THE ELECTRICS or that could be the reason the bike will fail.

Yes a bike for dirt riding can become a filty mess so darn often, so you have to wash & clean the bike with CARE.



Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

Post Edited (Smitty) : 4/25/2011 8:02:01 PM GMT

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andrewmac1
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   Posted 6/21/2011 11:50 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks an informative subject. Thanks for sharing it.
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