Getting Started with Motocross
Nothing quite compares to the thrill of motocross; physically and mentally, there’s very little like it! Getting started can be a little daunting, especially if you’ve got no experience in the sport. That’s why we sat down at Venhill and put together our top tips for getting started with MX, covering the basics of practise, maintenance, and gear.
Get Out on a Mountain Bike First
Getting a feel for the dirt under your wheels is an important first step and provides some valuable experience to help hone your reactions, reflexes, and technique (and gets you used to the aching in muscles you didn’t even know existed!). Racing through a few local trails lets you dip your toes without jumping headfirst into MX.
Even after transitioning over to MX, many still continue to practise on their mountain bikes as there’s a fair few transferrable skills, and it’s great fun!
What’s the Best Beginner MX Bike?
A divisive topic amongst veteran riders, the perfect beginner bike will change depending on who you ask. Realistically, it depends on your experience level, budget, and whether you’re looking for a racing bike, or a trail bike.
While any MX bike can be used interchangeably, there are a few key differences in bikes depending on whether they’re specialised for racing or trail riding.
As trail bikes are ridden off-road on unmanaged trails, they are heavier, with more protective features & modifications to allow them to cope with harsher conditions.
- Generally beefier with more power (and weight).
- Higher pick up with lower top speed.
- More shielding to protect the bike from the elements.
- Larger tanks to last longer between refuelling.
- Wider gear ratios
- Muted exhausts
Racing dirt bikes are used on managed tracks. As the conditions are closely managed, the bike can afford to forgo some safety features, resulting in a lightweight, generally faster bike.
- A more lightweight build allows for a higher top speed.
- Less safety features such as shielding.
- Tighter gear ratios to help navigate tight tracks.
- Nice and noisy – showing off their power!
- Less tank capacity to help keep weight down.
- Lower profile for better handling.
Two Stroke vs Four Stroke
Terms that you’ll become increasingly familiar with, ‘strokes’ refer to piston actions that get an engine going. Two stroke engines take two strokes to complete an engine cycle while four stroke engines take four.
Two stroke dirt bikes are simpler, lighter, and cheaper on average, while four stroke engines are weightier, more expensive but more durable. Both have a whole host of pros and cons. Finding the one that’s best for you will ultimately boil down to what kind of rider you are. Many tracks will provide bikes that you can rent and try out – we definitely recommend taking the time to research and try out various different types of bikes before you commit!
Brand New or Used?
If you’re looking to buy a used bike, there are a handful of red flags to look out for when you go for a viewing. Make sure that the previous owner can give you a good idea of how much the bike has been run and try it out before purchasing. Look out for:
- The state of the controls – are the grips in good nick, is the handlebar nice and straight and does the clutch and throttle operate smoothly?
- Check the chain and sprockets – if they are in poor condition then the bike has likely been neglected.
- Ensure there are no alarming cracks, dinks or welds – make sure to check under the bike, too.
- Check the bearings by giving the wheels a little wobble, if it feels loose, that could be an issue.
- Feel the fork lugs and check the suspension, the last thing you want is a pricey suspension replacement.
- If you’re not 100% sure, bring someone along who has experience with MX bikes.
You’ll need a way of transporting your bike around. If you own a large van, you’re sorted, but if not, investing in a small trailer is the perfect alternative.
Pick Up Some Quality Protective Gear
It’s easy to neglect protective equipment, especially as expensive bike parts and other pricey expenses are piling up, but it’s definitely not an area that you want to be skimping on. Resistant clothing, a reliable helmet, thick gloves, and sturdy boots are absolutely essential pieces of kit that are worth investing in. You’ll also want a strong pair of goggles that balance safety and visibility.
Learning some basic maintenance skills are important (and will save you a lot of money in the long run). Learn your bike and its mechanisms, that way you’ll be able to identify when something’s not quite right.
One thing that’s rarely mentioned in maintenance checks are your cables. Your bike wouldn’t be able to function without its cables, and ensuring that you’ve got the highest quality cabling, be that reliable clutch cables, durable brake cables or Featherlight throttle cables in your MX bike will ensure that it’s always fully responsive. Taking the time to install high-quality motorcycle cables on your MX bike will pay dividends in the long run – thank us later!
Attend MX Events
Check out some local MX events; they’re a perfect family day out and give you a fantastic opportunity to watch and learn techniques from professional riders. There are helpful tutorial videos on the internet, too, and many tracks have professionals present to offer you advice on how you can improve your ride.
Practise, Practise, Practise!
The more time you put in, the better you’ll get, just like everything else in life. Many MX pros will tell you that technique comes first, speed naturally follows. Take your time perfecting your technique and building your confidence; try not to be too hard on yourself and, most importantly, have fun!
Control Cables, Hydraulic Lines and Specialist Tools with Venhill
Over the last 50 years, our team at Venhill have specialised in the most advanced motorcycle cables and hoses that money can buy. We believe that the connection between rider and machine is important, that’s why we created our Part Finder and Line Builder tools to help you find the perfect components for your bike with ease.
Our products are used by both beginner and professional riders worldwide. If you’d like some more advice on finding the ideal products for your motorcycle, be it an MX bike or a road bike, give our experts a shout by clicking here – we’re on hand to help in any way that we can.