How To Ride Dirt Bike? A Comprehensive Guide

Riding a dirt bike can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to learn the proper techniques and safety precautions before hitting the trails. In this article, we will guide you through the process of learning how to ride a dirt bike, from choosing the right bike to mastering the art of shifting gears. So, let’s get started!

Choose the right dirt bike

Consider your skill level

When choosing a dirt bike, it’s crucial to consider your skill level. If you’re a beginner, opt for a bike with a smaller engine size and less power. This will allow you to learn the basics without feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, if you have some experience, you can go for a bike with a larger engine size for more power and speed.

Choose the appropriate engine size

The engine size of a dirt bike is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). Smaller engine sizes, such as 125cc or 250cc, are suitable for beginners, while larger engine sizes, like 450cc, are better suited for experienced riders. Consider your riding goals and preferences when selecting the engine size.

Here’s a summary table outlining engine size considerations for selecting a dirt bike:

Engine Size Skill Level & Experience Intended Use Advantages Considerations
50cc – 110cc Beginner Kids, beginners, learning Lightweight, easy to handle, suitable for learning Limited power, outgrown quickly
125cc – 250cc Beginner to Intermediate Trail riding, casual off-road use Good balance of power and control, suitable for learning Adequate for trails, may lack power for advanced riders
250cc – 450cc Intermediate to Advanced Trail riding, motocross, enduro Strong power, versatile for various terrains, experienced use Heavier and more powerful, may be challenging for beginners
500cc and above Advanced Motocross, enduro, competitive riding Maximum power, top-tier performance Very powerful, requires advanced riding skills and experience

Consider the bike’s weight and height

The weight and height of the dirt bike are important factors to consider for comfort and control. Make sure the bike is not too heavy for you to handle, especially when maneuvering through tight spaces or lifting it off the ground. Additionally, ensure that you can comfortably reach the ground with both feet when sitting on the bike.

Wear the proper safety gear


A helmet is the most essential piece of safety gear when riding a dirt bike. It protects your head from potential injuries in case of a fall or collision. Choose a helmet that fits properly and meets safety standards.


Goggles are crucial for protecting your eyes from dirt, debris, and flying objects while riding. Look for goggles with a snug fit and anti-fog features for clear vision.


Invest in a pair of sturdy boots specifically designed for dirt biking. These boots provide ankle support, protection against impacts, and a firm grip on the bike’s footpegs.


Gloves not only protect your hands from blisters and abrasions but also provide better grip and control over the bike’s handlebars. Look for gloves with reinforced palms and knuckle protection.

Protective clothing

Wearing protective clothing, such as a chest protector, knee and elbow pads, and a body armor jacket, can minimize the risk of injuries in case of a fall or crash. Choose clothing made from durable materials that offer both protection and flexibility.

Find a suitable practice area

Look for an open space with minimal obstacles

When practicing riding a dirt bike, it’s important to find an open area with minimal obstacles. This will allow you to focus on your skills without the risk of colliding with trees, rocks, or other objects.

Avoid public roads or areas with heavy traffic

For your safety and the safety of others, avoid practicing on public roads or areas with heavy traffic. Look for designated off-road trails, motocross tracks, or private properties where dirt biking is permitted.

Learn the basic controls


The throttle is located on the right handlebar and controls the bike’s speed. To accelerate, twist the throttle towards you. To decelerate or stop, release the throttle or apply the brakes.


The clutch lever is located on the left handlebar. It is used to engage and disengage the engine’s power to the rear wheel. Press the clutch lever in to disengage the power and shift gears.


Dirt bikes typically have both front and rear brakes. The front brake lever is located on the right handlebar, while the rear brake pedal is located on the right side of the bike. Use a combination of both brakes to slow down or stop.

Shifting gears

Most dirt bikes have a manual transmission with multiple gears. To shift gears, use your left foot to press the gear shifter lever located near the left footpeg. Practice shifting up and down smoothly to maintain control and power.

Practice balancing and maneuvering

Start with slow speeds and gradually increase

When starting out, practice riding at slow speeds to get a feel for the bike’s balance and handling. As you gain confidence, gradually increase your speed and challenge yourself with different maneuvers.

Practice turning, stopping, and accelerating

Mastering the basic maneuvers is essential for safe and enjoyable dirt bike riding. Practice making smooth turns by leaning your body and bike into the direction you want to go. Practice stopping quickly and accelerating from a standstill to improve your control.

Master the art of shifting gears

How To Ride Dirt Bike

Learn the proper timing and technique

Shifting gears at the right time and using the proper technique is crucial for maintaining control and power. Learn the optimal RPM range for shifting and practice timing your shifts accordingly.

Practice shifting up and down smoothly

Smoothly shifting up and down through the gears is essential for a seamless riding experience. Practice shifting gears without jerking the bike or losing momentum.

Develop good riding habits

Keep your body relaxed and balanced

Maintain a relaxed and balanced posture while riding. Keep your elbows up, knees bent, and weight centered over the bike. This will improve your control and stability.

Look ahead and anticipate obstacles

Always look ahead and scan the terrain for potential obstacles or hazards. Anticipate turns, jumps, and changes in terrain to adjust your speed and position accordingly.

Use your body weight to control the bike

Shift your body weight to control the bike’s balance and maneuverability. Lean forward during acceleration, shift your weight to the outside during turns, and shift your weight back during braking.

Learn how to handle different terrains

Gravel and loose dirt

When riding on gravel or loose dirt, maintain a steady speed and avoid sudden acceleration or braking. Keep a firm grip on the handlebars and use your body weight to maintain balance.

Mud and wet surfaces

When riding on muddy or wet surfaces, reduce your speed and avoid sudden movements. Keep your feet on the footpegs and use gentle throttle and brake inputs to maintain control.

Steep inclines and declines

Approach steep inclines and declines with caution. Shift your body weight forward when climbing and backward when descending to maintain traction and control. Use the brakes and throttle judiciously to control your speed.

Take a dirt bike training course

How To Ride Dirt Bike

Learn from experienced instructors

Taking a dirt bike training course can provide valuable guidance and instruction from experienced riders. Instructors can teach you proper techniques, safety protocols, and advanced riding skills.

Gain valuable tips and techniques

Training courses offer a wealth of knowledge and tips that can enhance your riding skills. You’ll learn about bike maintenance, trail etiquette, and advanced riding techniques that can take your dirt biking to the next level.

While availability may vary by location, here are some popular dirt bike training courses and programs that you may consider:

  1. Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) DirtBike School:
    • The MSF offers a DirtBike School program designed to teach safe and responsible off-road riding techniques. It covers fundamental skills and safety procedures for riders of all levels, including beginners.
  2. Trail Rider’s Guide Off-Road Riding School:
    • Trail Rider’s Guide provides off-road riding schools, clinics, and private instruction for riders of different skill levels. They focus on teaching proper riding techniques and improving trail-riding skills.
  3. Rider Planet USA Dirt Bike School:
    • Rider Planet USA offers dirt bike schools at various locations across the United States. These schools focus on teaching riders how to ride off-road, including fundamental skills, bike control, and safety.
  4. RawHyde Adventures Off-Road Riding School:
    • RawHyde Adventures offers a variety of off-road motorcycle training courses, including beginner to advanced levels. Their courses cover adventure riding skills, technical riding, and more.
  5. Total Control Training Off-Road Riding Clinic:
    • Total Control Training provides off-road riding clinics that focus on improving riding skills, understanding bike dynamics, and enhancing off-road riding techniques.
  6. Ride Now Powersports Off-Road Training:
    • Ride Now Powersports offers off-road training courses, including hands-on instruction and safety tips for dirt bike enthusiasts. They cover various aspects of dirt biking, including riding techniques and bike maintenance.
  7. Babes in the Dirt (Women-Specific):
    • Babes in the Dirt hosts women-specific off-road riding events and clinics. These events provide a supportive environment for women to learn and improve their dirt biking skills.
  8. Local Motorcycle Schools and Clubs:
    • Many local motorcycle schools and clubs offer off-road training courses. Check with local motorcycle dealerships, riding clubs, or organizations to find programs available in your area.

Before enrolling in a dirt bike training course, ensure that the program aligns with your skill level, goals, and interests. Always prioritize safety and proper instruction to enhance your off-road riding experience.


Learning how to ride a dirt bike requires patience, practice, and a commitment to safety. By choosing the right bike, wearing proper safety gear, practicing in suitable areas, and mastering the basic controls, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled dirt bike rider.

Remember to always ride responsibly and respect the environment and other riders. So, gear up, hop on your dirt bike, and enjoy the thrilling adventure that awaits you!

Originally posted 2023-07-31 10:30:24.

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