This is a section of the site where you may pick up some tips on how to progress off road.
The first article is by Malcolm Bissett an Expert Class rider. Later there will be some
articles on specific areas - downhill or corners etc - hopefully with some pictures to
illustrate. The best way to improve is to ride, you can't get bike fit reading !
Scottish Enduro Riding Technique by Malcolm Bissett
to mark up your time card, at sign on and during the event.
Enduro Riding Technique by Malcolm Bissett
The basics for riding either Enduro or Motocross are very similar. On top of the basics
there are more specialised techniques specific to Enduros. The following pages will cover
firstly the basics of riding the motorcycle efficiently concentrating on rider positioning
on the bike when riding 'the going' / course and when riding the special test. Secondly
more advanced riding skills relating to specific obstacles that could be encountered in an
Enduro. Then finishing by looking at fitness and machine preparation.
RIDING THE GOING
When riding the going you should be as relaxed as possible and concentrating ahead for
good lines or hazards. Generally you should be in the standing position with your elbows
up and letting the bike wander between your legs and not gripping it heavily. The aim of
riding the going is to get to the next check on time. You will have to adjust your pace to
make the tighter checks and this will come naturally with experience. You go fast on the
going, not by taking risks, but by riding fast in the places were you can and picking good
lines. The latter is very important. Don't just follow the brown line.
ADVANCED RIDING SKILLS
Ditches & Boggy Ground
These are one of the most feared hazards in the Enduro event.
When riding ditches you should aim to loft the front wheel so that it clears the ditch
and then bunnyhop the rear of the bike over too. When you approach, be in the standing
position and using the clutch and the throttle preload the suspension. Gripping the bike
with your legs will help you get the back in the air.
When riding bogs you need to pick a good line and stay away from the deepest part,
usually the middle. Approach in the same way as you would approach a ditch but keep your
speed up shifting your weight towards the back of the bike. Using a combination of
throttle and clutch lift the front wheel over the bog. For larger bogs you will have to
lift the front end higher. If the bog is continuous and there is the possibility of
getting stuck, zigzag across from side to side so that you are riding over the underlying
ruts rather than in them. If you are not sure, stop and have a look don't just hope for
the best, even see how another rider gets through.
Uphills and Downhills
When tackling uphills it is all about momentum. You need to accelerate before you reach
the start of
the hill and keep the momentum going as you progress up the hill. It is easier if the hill
is fairly smooth to sit down with both feet on the pegs and with your weight slightly
back. On steeper hills if the front comes up don't back off but feather the clutch to
regain control. On rougher hills with stones it is important to be committed and keep the
momentum going. You will have to stand up on the rougher hills to get over certain
obstacles like roots and rocks. If you have to sit down, keeping one foot on the peg will
When riding down hills you must stand (never sit down) with your weight back and
keeping your arms slightly bent. Select a high gear and control your descent using both
brakes. When braking the front brake will mostly control your speed while the back brake
is used mostly for control of the rear end. When using the back brake do not pull in the
clutch, as this will cause the back wheel to lock and break out, probably overtaking you.
This will take practice to prevent you from stalling the bike.
Downhill - sit back
The way to ride a camber is to be as smooth as possible with any movement and your
throttle control. That is not to say you must ride them very slowly. When approaching a
camber try to stay as high as possible and out of the brown line. If you slide a little
you have the option to go down. Stand up in the middle of the bike and weight the outside
footpeg. If it is very tricky or you loose gnip and you must put a foot down, keep most of
your weight on the outside peg and not on the seat.
Riding ruts takes a lot of practice and good balance. It is easier, faster and uses
much less energy riding a rut standing up with both feet on the pegs. You must focus ahead
of you and lean slightly forward on the bike to aid steering and balance. You have to lean
left or right to keep the bike upright and to make turns. If you have to sit down when it
becomes very tricky, keep your backside as far forward on the scat as possible and avoid
your legs constantly running along side the bike, this is the quickest way to get cramp.
On some of the very deep ruts you will have to wheelie the bike through to stop it from
grounding and getting stuck.
Stony Ground and Tree Roots
For the smaller stones and tree roots the best way to ride them is to stay loose in a
high gear and ignore them. The bike will wiggle around a bit but you will get used to this
with experience. For larger stones and roots that you cannot avoid, try and hit them as
square as possible keeping the front end light and going at a constant speed.
Riding in heather is always a bit daunting especially when there are stones about. You
must be in a high gear and stand up in the middle of the bike. Reading the ground is
all-important and will take time to learn. Keep to the heather that looks most constant
avoiding any lumps or strange areas. This should keep you away from the larger stones and
hazards. You will hit smaller stones but with practice over this type of going you will be
able to control any kicks or direction changes that the bike will make. To ride in heather
is about experience rather than technique.
Extreme Sections & Getting Stuck
Towards the end of the Enduro the going will tend to get more cut up and difficult to
ride especially if it is wet. You are constantly having to sit down and use your legs. In
this stage of the Enduro your mental and physical strength comes into play.
When you come to extreme sections on the course you have to get through them quickly to
avoid getting stuck or using too much energy. Be very aggressive when you need to be but
think of where you are going. The aim is to keep going at all cost. If you are finding it
hard, it is hard and everyone else will find it hard as well. If you get stuck there are a
number of ways to get going again : jump off the bike with the engine still running and in
gear and push it out or over the hazard ; if you are totally buried move the bike from
side to side and try again to push it out using the engine while lifting under the bars
with your left arm; if on a rare occasion when you have to lift the bike out, lift the
back out first as the steering head will allow this.
Riding the Special Test
Riding the test takes total commitment. The test is about 60% ability and 40% mental
commitment. You will have to ride the bike very aggressively, not wildly. The test
requires a different approach than riding the going.
Always walk the test; this is very important as it will give you faster lines and
alternative lines as well as keeping you out of trouble.
When cornering on flat ground sit on the outside of the seat and lean the opposite way
from the bike. Keep your inside foot outstretched in front of you while weighting the
outside footpeg with the other. Feed in
slowly and don't open the throttle fully until you can keep it wide open.
When in rutted or bermed corners lean with the bike. Again inside foot outstretched in
front of you. As you approach the corner ease off the brakes and begin to lean over feed
in the power to prevent you from falling right over. Again don't bring on the power
completely until you can keep it on.
Avoid over use of the clutch when comerig and try to be as smooth but aggressive as
When you are on the straights make sure that you have the throttle fully open. Sounds
stupid but most riders don't open the throttle fully even when they think the have.
It is a fact that the fitter you are the easier
riding the bike is. To be fit for the bike you need to be physically fit a well as bike
fit. Bike fit is when you can ride the bike without obtaining sore muscles after a short
time. Physically fit is when you can maintain maximum effort and concentration throughout
You should aim to be on your bike for at least 2-3 hours per week. The physical
training side is more difficult to achieve and requires a high degree of motivation and
commitment. This can consist of a run swim or cycle, 2-3 times per week.
The position of your brake and clutch levers will depend on your individual riding
style and physique. In general most of the top Enduro riders set the position of their
controls for when they are standing. This is because when you are travelling cross-
country , this is the position when you are in most control. You should also try and ride
with only two fingers on the levers and will allow you to retain a good grip on the bars.
To aid tyre changing it is a good idea to do the following.
1. Move the security bolt around to the first set of diverging spokes next to the valve.
2. Throw away the original rim tape; replace with a narrow run of duct tape wrapped round
two to three times.
3. Tyre changing techniques vary from individual to individual. Once you have mastered a
technique then it is just down to practice.
Always use the best tyres that you can afford. The tyre pressures, unless you are
running mooses, are a compromise between preventing punctures and obtaining maximum grip.
A guide to tyre pressures:
Sand/Mud 10 - 12 PSI
Mud/Rock 12 - 13 PSI
13 - 15 PSI
If the going is dry rocky and fast then you should run a slightly higher pressure to
avoid getting punctures.
Scottish Enduro Training Riding Techniques prepared by Malcom Bissett
2. How to mark up your time card, at sign on and during the event.
At signing on for each event you will be given a time card. Usually sealed in a
plastic wallet it will have a space for your name, riding number and start time. These
items may be filled in for you by the organisers but you will have to fill in the rest
Check the number of laps you have to do and the time allowed for each lap, or in the
case of long laps, the time between checks.
|Start Time 10:30
Above is your card at the start of the event with the time you aim to meet. However due
to your own speed or errors on the course you may arrive late at a check. If you arrive
early you do not check in until your set time (you wil be
penalised for early arrival). Once you are late you stay late. Below is a card with actual
times on it.
|Start Time 10:30
(A) On time - zeroed the check.
(B) Ten minutes late - you are allowed up to maxium of 60 minutes before you are disqualified.
(C) The rider should have added 40 minutes on to his arrival time at the last check and
arrived at 12:50. But the rider kept to his original time sheet and has arrived 10 minutes
early - incurring a ten minute early arrival penalty.
(D) The rider has arrived early at the last check of the day and can go straight through
with no penalty.
There are several tricks to be employed with time cards. One
is to arrive early at a check and accept the time penalties if
you know the next check is tight and it could put you over your
hour. Better to have a few extra points than be disqualified on
The above instructions are basic - and if you know better let me know.