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First, I do have a street bike (a big cruiser), so I am not new to motorcycles...but I am totally new to dirt bikes. I’ve always wanted a dirt bike and I finally bought one at age 40...go figure.

I bought a 4 stroke enduro and I wanted to get into dual sport riding. I also thought it would something fun I can do with my kids. I’ve only had it out a few times. Unfortunately, when I took it out a month ago, I wiped out on it. I took it out yesterday and rode a very short while on a dirt and gravel road. My big question is...

How do you all get comfortable with the tire occasionally slipping? I know I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s so different than how planted you feel on a street bike. It’s an uneasy feeling, especially when I’m just getting back on it after my wipe out. I’ve watched lots of YouTube videos too on tips for off road riding for beginners and they skip too sometimes. So, I’m assuming tire slippage is fairly normal and common. One potential issue is that my bike has 50/50 tires on it...maybe even more so oriented for street. So, I am not running full Knobbies.

Do you or did you also feel weird and uncomfortable with the slippage and loss of traction? How did you overcome it?
 

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The whole idea of riding in the dirt, is to get used to the feel of the bike moving around. You can practice locking each brake. Start in a straight line, then try it in the corners. You will soon find out what happens. Just do it carefully at first. It will come to you.

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I started out riding in dirt & if the front tire didn't wash out I could steer with the throttle. Just leaned over, pinned the throttle & backed off some after the rear broke loose. Not too much or I'd high side off the bike. Unsettling at first until I got the hang of it. Lots of crashes at first. Road racers do that on asphalt at much higher speeds but I don't have the berries to ever try that.
 

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Said it before, saddle time. That uneasy feeling is actually why dirt riders are for the most part better street riders. They are used to a little slip so don't panic. Your 50/50 tires are not good for street or dirt when it comes down to it. They are okay for well groomed fire trail roads and that's it. But pure street tires can handle those too. If you want to ride dirt, get some real dirt tires. But you will still need saddle time to get used to slipping and how to correct for it. On gravel just stay relaxed and let the slipping go, only slight corrections can be made. Gravel is like riding on marbles. It's very difficult even with aggressive knobbies. Sometimes the only way to steer on that stuff is with the rear tire and more speed. It's just crazy stuff. So don't judge your ability to ride on dirt riding on gravel. Get on dirt, it's even more different but saddle time is how you get used to it. If there is such a thing as "get used to it". I don't think there is. You might get used to dealing with it though. Can you get used to falling down? I couldn't. Therefore I'm not a good dirt rider. I can do it but I don't like it.
 

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You overcome the fear by embracing it...you practice intentionally making the bike slide...then it actually becomes fun and it's a life saving skill that I hope you never need to use on the cement streets.
 

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I am not a believer in these dual sport machines, compromised at everything, good at nothing. I started out on dirt, raced motocross and scrambles. Dirt skills do cross to street but street skills do not really cross to dirt.

If you are on dirt, then you need knobbies and if you are on the street then you need a proper street tire. I can see these "scramblers" which like scramblers past were really street bikes with off road pretensions that were more related to style than anything and had a more aggressive tread but in no way would I ever think them or such a (street) tire ready for the dirt. On dirt, you never have 100% traction and the truth is, on the street, when you do not have 100% traction, that is when the dirt skills transfer. These weird dual sport things with half knobbie, half street tires, how does that work? That just does not seem to work out and is a plan to try out your Kevlar and see how your hide does skidding down the road.
 

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I am not a believer in these dual sport machines, compromised at everything, good at nothing. I started out on dirt, raced motocross and scrambles. Dirt skills do cross to street but street skills do not really cross to dirt.

If you are on dirt, then you need knobbies and if you are on the street then you need a proper street tire. I can see these "scramblers" which like scramblers past were really street bikes with off road pretensions that were more related to style than anything and had a more aggressive tread but in no way would I ever think them or such a (street) tire ready for the dirt. On dirt, you never have 100% traction and the truth is, on the street, when you do not have 100% traction, that is when the dirt skills transfer. These weird dual sport things with half knobbie, half street tires, how does that work? That just does not seem to work out and is a plan to try out your Kevlar and see how your hide does skidding down the road.
"On dirt, you never have 100% traction and the truth is, on the street, when you do not have 100% traction, that is when the dirt skills transfer"

Well said...exactly right...dirt teaches us how to stay upright and in control...and if you fail due to inexperience, the landing is usually much softer than concrete...and the bike, that just might land on you, doesn't weigh 700lbs:)

"These weird dual sport things"

What about those "adventure" bikes?, a dirt looking bike with crotch rocket tires? ...and that seat is 6' in the air...I totally don't get those bikes...I'm 6'1 and I'm on my toes when I try both feet down on one of those machines.
 

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I learned to ride on dirt bikes and scramblers. That was many years ago and I was a lot younger. Most of the time when the rear wheel broke loose and started spinning, I'd open up the throttle and let it fishtail until the speed caught up with the spinning tire, depending on prevailing conditions. That was fun! The only racing I did on dirt was against my brother, cousins and friends across a cow pasture on a variety of bikes. We rode like the juvenile delinquents we were and we learned how to handle a motorcycle that was sliding or fishtailing on grass, dirt or gravel.
If I was 40 again, I'm sure I wouldn't ride like that, especially at the speeds we managed to get up to, but you can make a dirt bike break loose at lower speeds, do a few donuts, and get a feel for what is happening. You're going to go down, dress for it. My last dirt bike was back in the late 80's but I can still remember the workout I'd get just riding in the gravel pits. It was exhausting but it was fun. It would probably kill me now. Hahaha!!!
 

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...

What about those "adventure" bikes?, a dirt looking bike with crotch rocket tires? ...and that seat is 6' in the air...I totally don't get those bikes...I'm 6'1 and I'm on my toes when I try both feet down on one of those machines.
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Obviously you lack common logic on this matter. You're supposed to carry a little stool you can step on, then hook it onto the seat behind you when riding. :devil:

That's what I used to do. But nowadays I speed things up. I just strap the stool to my right foot so it comes right up when I start moving. :smile_big:

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I rode on dirt for the first time ever during the weekend. And it's not like I had much time to practice. It was literally start the bike and ride nearly 200 miles. My steed was a Honda Elite 150D wearing street rubber. Yup, short wheelbase and skinny pizza cutters with no knobbies. I almost immediately noticed that weird feeling when you lose grip. It didn't take long for me to notice that if you just keep your balance (it helps to move your hips like a dancer), the bike will keep going in the direction you point it in. If the slipping really went south (like one time I hit sand going 60 and the scooter entered into a violent death wobble/tank slapper) I stuck out my legs like outriggers and let the bike correct itself. Not sure if I'll ever get over that uneasy feeling, but I'm very happy that I can very much overcome the loss of traction.

Despite the disadvantages, the scooter was amazingly proficient offroad. I got through mud that made cars turn back, water crossings that submerged the airbox (good on Honda for venting that thing well) loose rocks, and even sand. I wonder what a proper offroad bike would have done!
 

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you should learn to lock the wheels in a straight line first.
Then learn to lock sideways on turns.
Try accelerating even when its slipping, and lean yourself to balance.
Try standing, jumping and sliding while standing.
Slip your bike as much as possible.
 
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