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10 OTR tips for motorcyclists (Part 2)

Step 4: Lowering Your Center of Gravity

Everyone experienced rider knows that the higher the center of gravity the harder it is to maneuver your bike. A bike's center of gravity is usually where its engine is located, and when a rider sits on the bike that center gets raised. And though it sound like utter nonsense, when a rider stands on the footpegs the center of gravity dramatically drops, since all your weight is now resting on the pegs.

Here are a few tips for standing and riding a bike:

Stand on the balls of your feet, not the heels; the shifter and brake pedal are a bit out of reach that way, but it's much easier to understand how the bike is behaving.
Use your knees as shock absorbers; that will ensure you don't get thrown off the bike.
Ride with your elbows out; that will provide flexibility when the road gets bumpy.


Step 5: The act of Braking

Braking on a paved road and on a dirt track are two totally different things. Braking on tarmac largely involves using your front brakes almost 70% of the time; however, braking in the dirt is a different ball game all together since it's easy to "wash out" the front wheel due to tire slippage. While riding in the dirt you need to apply most of your effort towards the rear brake. Sliding the rear tyre is an almost natural way to reduce your speed when you're riding off the road.

Make sure to avoid panic braking and stay off your front brakes unless you know it won't wash out.

Step 6: Obstacles - Bring them on

While riding on the street, most riders naturally tend to avoid all obstacles or potholes that they come across as most street bikes don't have enough suspension travel to absorb serious shocks. A dirt bike on the other hand is equipped with good enough suspensions that can climb over logs, wade through mud and slush, and take on most of the ripples and ruts that an off road track can throw at you.

The sensation a rider gets after crossing and obstacle is just liberating. Just make sure to cross the obstacles in your path at a 90 degree angle; that way, your tire won't get caught. Now dirt bikes are way lighter than most street bike and its really easy to lift your front wheel by rolling on the throttle and tugging up at the handlebars. Just make sure to use this momentum to your advantage while taking on any obstacles.