You may have conquered the concrete jungles and pathways but when it comes to dealing with dirt tracks and gravel tracks you are coming up against a whole new terrain that can have a varied effect on just how your bike controls itself. Whether its traction problems or stamina issues it’s important to know just what you are up against, and what habits you really need to break when tackling dirt roads.
In today’s article and guide we wanted to explore in detail some of the best tips and tricks that you can utilise in order to make the most of dirt terrain so next time you take your two-wheeled companion out you know what to expect and you have everything well prepared.
Take a Closer Look at Those Tyres
As we have said, traction can be a real issue when it comes to gravel tracks and what you really are going to struggle with is keeping control of your bike if your tyres are not inflated to the fullest. Pumping up your tyres will help give you more control, and sometimes it may come down to a complete tyre change. Wider tyres with low pressure can provide a higher level of both comfort and traction.
It’s not just about getting the right tyres though as many experienced dirt bikers will tell you, that it’s just as important to pick out the best lines to avoid hazards and debris on the trail. Therefore the difference between road trails and dirt trails means that you have to react faster and be constantly alert of what may be up ahead. Keeping distance from others is paramount for your own safety but it just gives you time to scan ahead and then judge rocks, holes and any other obstacles that will cross your path.
If you are in the woodlands you are always going to come up against fallen logs, so it’s all about dealing with these by reacting fast and having the right tyres on.
Take Your Corners Much Wider and Be Prepared on Blind Bends
Dirt tracks are full of interesting elements but in general you should take corners on dirt tracks much wider than you would on road type tracks, this is just down to the fact that on pavements the chances are you aren’t going to slide but on dirt tracks you have more of a chance at this happening.
If you are experienced then of course you can use the drifting option to come in and out of corners but in general stay seated, keep your weight over the rear wheel and just stick to wider lines coming into corners so you keep traction at all times.
The other part to this is that you never know what to expect around a corner on a dirt track, whereas roads tend to have less surprising things jump out at you. One blind corner could quite easily lead to a huge drop and descent so it’s always key to be aware and to always cover your brakes.
Punctures Are Bound to Happen
Roads are flat, smooth and you are hardly going to get a puncture, right? Well dirt tracks are a haven for flat tyres because the terrain is so uneven, full of small sharp rocks and pebbles, and the ground plays hosts to many pieces of debris fit to blow out your tyres. At the end of the day it’s going to happen so always be prepared if you are going dirt biking by packing away two tubes, a patch kit and a multi-tool so you have a backup should the unwanted event occur.
This just means that you are prepared and you don’t have to cut the day short because of a puncture.
Use The Force!
We aren’t talking about Star Wars here, we are talking about drifting force which you will see many pro dirt bikers use to handle tough or long corners. We recently penned an article surrounding drifting and how to do it, and believe us , using this technique on gravel or dirt tracks can really work well and it’s something that you just wouldn’t be able to do on a flat and solid surface like a road.
It is important that if you do try drifting around corners that your back brakes are functioning correctly as you will need the wheel to lock with ease but not come unstuck on the turn.
The final point is that you are going to get loose debris flick up as well, either from your bike or a bike in front so it’s always worth putting on a pair of protective glasses or goggles so that you don’t get hit in the eyes by any sharp objects. Just like punctures, getting hit by deflected pebbles is far too common so just protect yourself when it comes to dirt or gravel biking.