What Level of Dirt Bike Rider Am I? | Bytown Motorcycle Association
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June 2018
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What Level of Dirt Bike Rider Am I Anyways?

Most of us tend to over-estimate our abilities - at least as relatively new riders. There are places on our website where we indicate that a ride is suitable for novices, or for intermediate level riders.  But how is a beginner, novice, or intermediate defined?  While certainly not a universal definition, here is how the BMA defines it.

You are a beginning rider if you ...

  • Are just beginning your riding experience, and may or may not have ridden a motorcycle before
  • Have uncertain balance control
  • Are still working on throttle, clutch, brake, shift control
  • Expend a lot of energy to maintain a sense of control over bike and very tired after a short period of riding
  • Experience a number drops, falls, and/or stalls each ride
  • Would not be comfortable on single track trail, ascending or descending hills, or encountering obstacles
  • Tend to use sitting riding position vs. standing position
  • Are most comfortable riding in open spaces such as fields, or on gravel roads used by cars

You are a novice rider if you ...

  • Are comfortable operating throttle, clutch and brake controls, and with shifting while riding in the standing position
  • Are comfortable using front brake alone in slowing down
  • Can come to a complete stop and then continue forward without putting a foot down (dabbing)
  • Are able to ride in third and fourth gear off-road when safe to do so
  • Do not experience stalls or over-revving while using the clutch
  • Initiates and controls all but tightest turns with legs in standing position
  • Comfortable and relatively certain of traction on easy, ATV trails, or easy single track trails (Limerick Forest) with short ascents and descents
  • Expend a fair amount of energy riding, quite tired after riding 2-3 hours

You are an intermediate rider if you are ...

  • Comfortable on tight single-track, (intermediate) level 3 trails which includes fairly sharp ascents and descents, often with rock, water, loose stone and/or roots present.
  • Wheelie from a stop and not have the bike move forward much, and can wheelie from moving sitting position. Can comfortably wheelie over obstacles higher than axle height
  • Comfortable using both brakes in stopping, and braking to control skids and change/initiate direction.
  • Comfortable and effectively using multiple controls simultaneously
  • Can do full steering lock turns and tight figure-eights, can balance without dabbing at very slow speeds
  • Comfortable sliding rear wheel and able to produce and control the slides
  • Comfortable riding the bike off-road in higher gears when safe to do so
  • Can read the terrain, select and maintain a line most of the time, and can recover quickly from deflections off obstacles
  • Not intimidated by different soil conditions and obstacles (sand, mud, loose/rolling stones, large rocks, logs).
  • Not intimidated by steep uphills and downhills or off-camber slopes and hills
  • Comfortable jumping the motorcycle and riding in rough conditions without bottoming the suspension unexpectedly
  • Able to ride a day of intermediate level trails (level 3) including short sections of level 4 or 5 trails