5. Balance is Vital
We mentioned balance above, but we elaborate. Each bike will feel different in regards to balance, but the best way to learn your balance is to sit on the stationary motorcycle not secured by a kickstand or centerstand. Hold the handlebars normally, and try to balance your bike with both feet on the footpegs. This will also get your feet trained for quick action when losing balance on the trail or slipping off a peg. You’ll be amazed at how much easier this gets with practice.
Also, to further work on balance, ride your motorcycle at the slowest pace possible, and progressively create a more challenging situation by letting go of the handlebars (one at a time, then both!), taking a foot of the peg and bringing it around to the other side, etc. Try to ride at the slowest speeds possible. This will get you up to balance quickly.
6. Turning in Dirt – Don’t lean into it; Counterbalance
This is sometimes the toughest thing for a new ADV rider to learn. On the street, we lean into corners, which you will continue to do while riding on roads. But in the dirt, things are much different. Your body remains straight up and down, and you lean the bike underneath you to the left or right. To stop the bike from falling over, you counterbalance it.
The secret to counterbalancing is always keeping the outer peg weighted; if you’re leaning a bike to the right, you should have all weight for on the left footpeg; leaning to the left, all weight on the right footpeg. Practice figure eights while counterbalancing, making right and left turns with zero weight on the inside peg (take your foot completely off if needed when practicing, but only when practicing…you need that rear brake covered). This will teach you to use the bike’s weight to assist in turning. Constantly work until you have the tightest circles possible. In regards to upper body position, always keep your shoulders square to the bars (as it turns), and keep the arms and the knees slightly bent, and never rigid. This will get your muscle memory charged for advanced techniques.