Adventure riding can be quite an endeavor, and many coaches and experienced riders are willing to help you get on the dirt. However, not all advice is good, and Bret Tkacs has something to say about that in his video.
Bret tackles eight tips that combat the bad advisers out there, and most of them have to do with common misconceptions and bad practices that won’t do much for you or even harm you and your motorcycle.
The first is with tire choice and airing down. There are tons of tire choices out there in the market, but you could do just fine on a trail with your stock tires. The argument that Bret makes is that the rims of the bike will definitely come into contact with some pretty gnarly stuff while out on the trail, and perhaps a rock, log, or something could turn your rim into a “taco,” as he puts it. Adventure bikes are not the same as dirt bikes, in the same vein, adventure tires are not the same as dirt bike tires.
“Start with what the tire manufacturer recommends. If they don’t have a recommendation, then stick with what the OEM recommends. Don’t exceed the sidewall pressures… otherwise, stick with the OEM.”
Do you “spend more money and put on a steering damper?” Bret says, no. You don’t need to. Good technique will overtake the need to add or improve the stability of your motorcycle. There is a big possibility that as a new rider, your techniques aren’t up to the level of experienced riders. Bret’s advice is to practice good technique first instead of throwing money at the problem.
Then, speaking of technique, Bret talks about vision. Off-road riding can be quite technical, so it’s not a cardinal sin to look down at the ground and see what’s going on. Certainly, looking ahead to where you want to go is still important, but planning by looking at where you’re going to cross on a trail is equally as paramount on a technical trail.
Rear brake only? The common misconception on a trail is that you have to use your rear brake all the time. Front brakes can actually be used on dirt, but the technique is different. Remember, rough roads require smooth input. Front brakes can be used with the right technique.
Do you sit or stand? Either’s fine, but your technique is still the most important factor here. Standing won’t help you much if your technique is wrong. Sitting won’t help you if your technique is wrong. The important piece of advice here is to remain relaxed and let the bike “move freely underneath you.”
Finally, we go into the stuff that you actually have to buy, but don’t worry, it’s not a steering damper. You don’t need to get goggles and you don’t need a fancy adventure helmet. A regular street helmet will do just fine, but you do need to consider getting eye protection like a pair of sports sunglasses, you should be riding with armored and ventilated gear, and you definitely need a good pair of off-road boots because you definitely will drop the bike as a new rider. Boots that look like motocross boots are the best choice if you’re new.