Tips on choosing your dirt bike
My pal, Lexi and I teamed up to provide a few tips on choosing your first dirt bike. With Lexi’s 17 years of technical skills and dirt bike knowledge, she is more than equipped to provide bike purchase and setup tips. I relate to the regular gal who is getting into the sport as a newbie, progressing from a little girl bike to a big girl bike, and learning all the skills required for a good time twisting the throttle.
Firstly, you need to decide what type of riding you will be doing most often:
- Trail riding
- Road, etc.
Your height and riding ability steers your choices of large or small… in size and power
Other important factors to consider:
- Which shop will you deal with?
- What brands do they carry?
- Do they sell bikes that fit your riding ability?
- Do they stock parts for your bike?
- Do they know about bike setups, adapted just for you?
Lexi recommends looking up your bike parts that commonly break or wear, to make sure of their availability, or your next ride may be compromised by an inoperable bike.
I started on a little girl bike, a Kawasaki KLX 140L and I’m glad I did. This little 4 stroke broke me into the sport gently; wish I could say I treated her the same.
After sorting myself out with the how-to of dirt biking, I pushed that little tractor beyond her limits. While she was a great introduction to off-roading, perhaps I should have kept it casual instead of committing to a six-year relationship.
If your machines are tapping out before your skill level does, it will be mighty hard to find progression
As much as little bikes seem less daunting, they don’t fit the average bear for a proper riding position. An uncomfortable stance will be had and there’s a good chance of enduring ass-over-tea-kettle. But sometimes a little bike is all you have at your disposal.
Lexi offers some options to make the most of it…
Modification options for a tall gal on a small bike:
- Bar risers; no more than a 2” rise
- High seat
- Foot-pegs; depending on the model, some pegs can be lowered
- Bars; high bars or enduro bars are available to give extra height… just remember your cables are only so long and they may need replacing.
Modification options for a small gal on a tall bike:
- Lowering seat; available for purchase or you can shave it yourself
- Bars; with a lower bar bend
- Suspension; as a last resort you can lower your suspension. This makes the bike feel 100% different and the rider will lose clearance and cornering is different, not to mention it’s going to take a bite out of your bank account.
These items can be ordered online if not found at your local shop.
Now you’re trying to decide… do I get a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke?
This is a personal preference… again, try out a variety of bikes so that you feel the difference for yourself. Don’t panic when your salesman tells you 225 lbs/100 kg is what your bike is weighing in at. We don’t have to dead-lift her.
In dirt biking, techniques are available to get that girl right side up with a little less strain. Of course, learning techniques for strong riding will help you keep her rubber side down… that will be discussed in a future article.
However, remember… dirt biking is a tough sport and certainly not for the faint of heart
But nobody’s saying you don’t have it in you, to get tougher… so, what are you waiting for?
Get out there! Toss a leg over a few different bikes to see how they feel and how they roar.
Now that you have a little knowledge in your back pocket, you know what to look for to start with.
Meet Lexi Pechout, an adventurous woman who grew up in Alberta’s dirt bike community.
At the young age of two, Lexi started riding her PW50 and hasn’t looked back. Her parents always supported and encouraged her to try new sports, work hard and above all enjoy what she is doing.
With this support, she has attempted the toughest, achieved incredible goals and continues to further her dirt biking career.
If you have been fortunate enough to attend one of Lexi’s skill camps, you know that she is just as passionate about the success of others as she is in her own progression.
Which makes it no surprise that she has joined forces with the Surfin Berms Crew in Calgary, Alberta encouraging and empowering women on two wheels.
By Jenny Bateman,