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Discussion Starter #1
first off want to say "Hey"....been lurking in the shadows for some time now and finally decided to register. You guys have a great website and it has helped me make my decision on what bike to get ( purchasing spring '06), well your website and the hundreds and hundreds of articles I read.

My question is how hard is the transition from off-road motorcycles to on-road motorcycles. I've spent most of my life riding a dirtbike. I know that they are two totally different riding disciplines. I'm also aware that moving onto the world of asphalt will have a ton of new skills and situations that I'll have to learn, but i was just wandering if I'm going to be ahead of the average noob or if I'm gana be worse off? Should I de-learn all of the things I have gained over the years on a DB or will I be able to use some of th skills I have already?
 

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i've never ridden a dirtbike, but i figure your db skills will have taught you to balance on two wheels and shift.

from what people have said that have ridden both, not much translates from db to street. take the msf course to learn how to properly ride on the street.
 

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You will still be a noob on asphalt. You try to ride a street bike like a dirt bike, you die. You try to ride a dirt bike like a street bike, you die. I'd know 8).

But in all seriousness, theres not much besides the two wheels, perhaps some throttle control, and how to shift. The way you lean, sit, use the throttle are all different. I went from dirt to street and now I'm going back to my roots by going back to the dirt. And each time I switch, I suck in the beginning. Re-learning how to ride a dirt bike recently has been one of the most painful things I've ever done. My dirt bike ain't no stinkin' Sv.
 

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The dirt bike skills will come in handy for all those moments you hope won't happen on the street.
You hit a patch of sand mid corner and your front end washes out, or you lock up the rear and the back steps out..
I've done a little dirt bike riding and found that it really helped my confidence in low traction situations on the road..
rain, oil patches etc.

plus you're probably used to sitting relaxed on a bike, and the throttle control and brake feel skills will transfer.

But the riding styles are very different. So while you might have an advantage over another beginner... remember to keep reminding yourself that you are still a beginner on the street
 

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I guess I don't understand what is so different

I have never ridden a dirtbike except for a bultaco 250 once about 20 years ago, BUT I have ridden every streetbike i ever owned off road (I'm not talking about my gravel road riding, I'm talking off road) to some extent, my SV, a lot.
 

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RandyO said:
I guess I don't understand what is so different

I have never ridden a dirtbike except for a bultaco 250 once about 20 years ago, BUT I have ridden every streetbike i ever owned  off road (I'm not talking about my gravel road riding, I'm talking off road) to some extent, my SV, a lot.
Riding a street bike on the dirt and riding a dirt bike (or at least riding one hard) are very different things.

Street riding vs. dirt riding, body position, steering and braking are the big differences. On a dirt bike you tend to push the bike down and keep your body semi vertical, on the street it's better to have your body leaned over and to the inside. Street steering is virtually all counter-steering, on dirt you rely a lot on sliding the rear wheel around. On dirt you use a lot of rear brake and use the front sparingly, on the street it's the opposite.
 

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The biggest difference is the amount of "body English" and the amount of power and sliding you use. On dirt bikes your body weight is part of getting the bike into the right attitude. You still do that on the road but to a much lesser degree, and only in curves. Overshooting control on dirt is more forgiving. On the street you don't want to make repeat corrections, you want to be as smooth as possible. On dirt you can use power to slide the rear tire left or right to bring the axis of travel around. You don't want to do that on the road.

On the road the goal is to be as smooth and consistent as possible. On dirt smoothness is important, but a certain amount of manhandling the bike works also. And, of course, on the road the surfaces are much more predictable.
 

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im never going to take my bike off roading...and my acura is so low i cant take it on to my job site :(
 

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with 23 years of dirt riding, and the last 5 years on the street I can say that quite a bit transfers.  Understanding how the controls work (clutch, break, shifting).  How traction or the lack of affects the motorcycle, like when the back wheel locks up because you are on the breaks hard, or if the back end starts to step out and what it feels like.  The main goal of riding smooth transfers but the excecution is a bit different on the asphalt.  Having a good understanding of how motorcycles behave puts you steps ahead of other newbies
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I've done a bit of both, and IMO riding dirt is the best way to learn how to operate a motorcycle. What you need to learn now is roadcraft. Imagine riding an enduro with a psycho Buick pilot behind every other tree...

Take your time, pay attention, and things wil probably work out fine!

Ride safe!

:)
 

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There is a fair amount that transfers. I started on dirt many years ago, then quit, then went to street and rode that way for a couple of years. Now I do both, but probably hour wise spend more time on the dirtbike. I use more rear brake in the dirt, slide the back, muscle the bike around and many other things mentioned by others here. On the road you generally use more front brake less rear, and you don't want to be sliding the rear, though I have by accident a time or too. Plus you have other obstacles on the road to avoid. The dirt bike experience helped to avoid a few possible crashes including a off road excursion at the track. :eek:

Welcome to the club. Take the MSF, it will help, take your time and you'll be fine.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
I'm a former dirt rider and now a newbie on the street. I think starting on the street already understanding the basics of how a motorcycle operates has given me more opportunity to concentrate on proper street riding skills. The differences in proper brake usage has been the most difficult transition. It's also a little humbling to be on a bike that I can't manhandle like my old dirtbike. I took the msf and was pretty amazed at what I learned, it's a great course!
 

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I am taking the MSF on the first weekend of September ... looking forward to it!

As for dirt riding techniques being different, I agree that there are a lot of differences.

Also there is a lot that transitions over to the street. Countersteering works in dirt and that comes over very well. Like someone else said, low traction situations give a dirt rider an edge as he knows how the bike responds by gassing it thru a patch of gravel rather than applying the brakes.

There are some good books on sport bike riding, check out Borders and/or Barnes and Noble.
I picked up a couple there that made me re-evaluate some of the assumptions that I had.
It also allowed me to confront misperceptions head on and deal with them immediately.

Bottom line ... You are much better than a noob, the difference is that you have to learn new
limits and develop a totally new sense of situational awareness.

The best way I heard that describes it is every car is out to hit you, pretend that you are invisble and no one can see you. With that in mind, you can survive, assume nothing.
 

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I guess i still don't reallly understand the difference, at least with a nekid SV that is, the ergonomics are much like a dirtbike, Is my perception different cause my rider to bike weight ratio is much like a average size person on a dirtbike? I dunno.
 

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welcome to the world of road rash ;D Just take an MSF course and spend some time in the parking lot ;-) don't try to jump hills and do flips and you should be aight :)
 
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I plan on taking some sort of riding course...just need to find out were they are held around my area

I've ridden  my buddies Buell XB9R Firebolt a few times, prolly about 50miles on back country roads. Very first thing I noticed was how much heavier the bike felt than a DB, I knew I wasn't going to be able to throw that bike around. I also had to keep telling myself that I couldn't roost coming out of a corner. Other than that I loved my first experience on a street bike. Just hope I will be able to make the transition safely and learn the new skills of the street. Which will be half the fun...new challenge for myself
 

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the hardest part for me was the postion. it hurt my back at first and my palms, i still have and endro and ride it occasionally
 

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similar situation here. dirtbikes, 3-wheelers (remember those?!), and 4-wheelers all summer every summer as a kid. The two biggest differences for me were

1 - HOOK UP - On street your tires hook up, there's not near as much sliding.

2 - KNEES IN - Cornering with my knee out was second nature. I had a hard time remembering to hug the tank with my knees.

The MSF is a gret place to start.
 
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