It doesn't feel like that long ago that I stuck my not quite four-year-old son on a 50cc Indian Mini-Buffalo. What was I thinking! It seemed like a good idea at the time, but fortunately and in spite of me, my children survived a series of dirtbikes and ATVs without any serious injuries. Back then, there were no instructional DVDs or VHS tapes on how to ride a dirtbike. In fact, there were no VHS tapes of anything! VHS hadn't been invented yet. Now, it may still not be a good idea to launch a four-year-old down the trail on a little motorcycle, but at least there is more information out there, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Dirtbike School: Learn to Ride Safely DVD.
Filmed at the Honda Rider Education Center in Colton, California in 2006, MSF coach Jun Villegas shows four novices the basics of dirtbike riding. Sal Masekela, the Rastafarian looking dude you may have seen as an announcer on the X-Games, an X-gen slacker, a boy and an aspiring stunt-woman, Stacey Carino, are accompanied by pounding music as they dodge cones and sweat out their riding gear in grueling training sessions. Masekela looked comical, his helmet did not fit properly over his idiotic dreadlocks, but even in all her gear Stacey still looked like a girl.
The DVD covers equipment, controls, starting and the friction zone, proper stance, visual directional control, braking, shifting, standing up and lower body control, turning and counter-balancing, and riding management. The DVD also shows how to do a K-turn if you stall on a hill and how to ride over obstacles.
Factory riders Mike LaRocca and Kevin Windham of Honda, Heath Voss and Chad Reed of Yamaha and Suzuki's Ricky Carmichael provide sidebars to emphasize training points. Additional riding footage was provided by Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and KTM.
This DVD is available on the Internet from Amazon and others for $5 to $15. It is also available to rent from Blockbuster and Netflix, which is how I found out about it. An experienced dirt rider may not get much out of this DVD, but if you are a novice or if you are experienced but you want to train a novice, this DVD will show fundamentals unknown to the novice and long-since taken for granted by the expert. "See son, do it like Ricky Carmichael said."
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